Twenty-four enthusiastic young swimmers from the competitive, South East club Orpington Ojays took to the sky on the 23rd of October 2021 for a tough week in Spain. The group of dedicated county to national athletes participated in multiple demanding pool sessions, land training and bike rides whilst enjoying the fun-filled sun experience.

Over the week, each attendee completed over 55 kilometres of swimming and roughly 90 kilometres of cycling. Spirits were successfully maintained throughout the intense exercise with music and games. During their free time, the swimmers played volleyball, football and spent afternoons on the local beach where the group engaged in a competitive game of Frisbee.

The days all began bright and early at 6.30 AM when all swimmers fuelled up on breakfast before a group cycle to the pool. Many commenting on how the cycle was “a nice change” and helped to “wake us all up”. Upon arrival at the pool, a sunrise land training session was undertaken which included gentle stretching and difficult conditioning sets. The best part followed where the swimmers dove into the 50 meter outdoor pool to do what they do best.

Muscles soon began to ache and tiredness was overcoming everyone but the enthusiastic buzz never died. The group all enjoyed a mini golf evening at a local arcade as a reward for the upheld team spirit. Some (the coaches) were more enthusiastic than others. Every evening the group gathered for a small award ceremony where two swimmers were commended each time as ‘swimmer of the day’. The prizes included a handful of sweets and the privilege of wearing a bright sash all day without fail. The young and older swimmers all came together over the week and bonded to create a strong team ready for the return to England.

The journey home began with relief as the tough training came to an end. This relief drifted into a peaceful coach drive back home as many struggled to stay awake. The club reached Orpington wearily at 2AM greeted with the support and familiarity of parents. The week had finally been wrapped up and all the swimmers enjoyed a lie in and day off before getting back in their home pool and training again.