Highlights from the 2024 National Flippers Open Water Camp

13 March 2024
Written by: Jon Harrison - Head Coach, Westside Christ Church

The National Flippers Open Water Camp was held at Lake Ainsworth Sport and Recreation Centre in Lennox Head, New South Wales (NSW) from March 6-10.

The peaceful lake and the beautiful natural surroundings of the location made it an ideal place for open water training and skill development. The camp was specifically created to serve as a comprehensive training and development platform for athletes specialising in open water swimming.

Xavier Collins (Westside Christ Church, c: Jon Harrison) and Lucas Fackerell (Breakers, c: Harry Clark), who will both be representing Australia in the upcoming World Aquatics Junior World Open Water Championships in Italy this September, were selected to attend the camp. Along with Bianca Monaco (Westside Christ Church, c: Jon Harrison) and Thomas Dreverman (South Shore, c: Matt Magee) based off their performances at the recent 2024 National Open Water Championships.

Mel Tantrum attended as Team Leader and Head Coach Jon Harrison (Westside Christ Church) participated along with four other coaches from Queensland, NSW and Victoria in the camp which included the following activities:

  • Open water specific training and skills sessions in Lake Ainsworth, tailored to help the athletes refine their techniques and improve their race performance.
  • A mixed team relay and a 5km race allowing the athletes to put the skills they learnt throughout the week to the test, in a competitive environment.
  • Learning about the Australian Swim Team values and culture.
  • A guest speaker session with Australian Dolphin Bailey Armstrong who shared his insights and experiences, offering advice and inspiration to aspiring open water swimmers, along with in water skills training sessions.
  • A dryland/pre-training activation session to develop physical conditioning and readiness for the in water sessions.
  • Sessions focused on building personal resilience, equipping athletes with mental tools and strategies to overcome challenges and achieve success in their future swimming endeavours.
  • The athletes also received guidance on nutrition for optimal performance, followed by a shopping trip to purchase food for the week, emphasising the importance of fueling the body for peak performance.
  • A get-to-know-your-team members quiz night: providing participants with an opportunity to bond with their teammates.

Overall, the camp provided a holistic and enriching experience for all athletes, combining rigorous training sessions with educational and social activities.

Collins, Fackerell, Monaco and Dreverman all said it was an amazing experience, training with some of the best junior open water swimmers and learning from a group of the top open water coaches in Australia. Something that will help to foster their individual skill development and personal growth.

Harrison explained, "The camp served as a valuable stepping stone for aspiring open water swimmers on their future journey."

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