Rowing Blues’ hard graft in Spain

Ricardo Herreros Symonds 23 January 2014

The Boat Race crew’s training camp in Banyoles is crucial for technical and physiological training and crew selection.

The squad flew out on the morning of New Year’s Day. Most athletes had to truncate celebrations the night before, while those who did not endured an uncomfortable flight which had more than its fair share of turbulence.

The key to a successful training camp is squeezing in as much volume and intensity without pushing to the point of injury and mental breakdown.  With few injuries and only minor breakdowns, the balance seemed about right.

The food at the hostel could be considered satisfactory, although the constant appearance of sausages and SPAM squares on the menu disheartened some of the rowers. As the week wore on and the need for extra meals increased, the Banyoles kebab shop saw a substantial spike in its sales. While the sunshine was intermittent, the rain stayed away and the pictures that came in from the diluvial training camps in the UK certainly helped lighten the mood.

General opinion was that this had been one of the most successful camps, although no session topped the perfect paddle of 2009.

One moment of controversy occurred when coxswains almost came to blows over who should be leading the dynamic warm-up as the BBC looked on.

Banyoles provided a platform from which to develop rowing patterns. In Cambridge, the squad is together, the boats are shifting and the dice have been cast. Oxford can do as they like but the onus is on them to respond.