Dan Jones on the Elite Training Camp in Miami

  1. Dan Jones on the Elite Training Camp in Miami

    Dan Jones and the Swim Wales National Elite Squad headed off to Miami Florida training camp, here’s how it went and don’t get too jealous of the bright blue sky!

    Written by Dan Jones 

    Swim Wales flew 13 of the National Senior Elite Squad out to Miami, Florida USA on a 2-week warm weather training camp. Our training facilities were based in Coral Springs Aquatics Complex which I’ve been lucky enough to train at 7 years ago on one of my first Welsh Camps abroad. It has world class facilities with the 8 lane 50m pool/ diving pool, boards & platforms/ Short course yards pool & a massive gym with 3 big rooms full of different equipment & weights.

    The aim of the camp was to jell as a team as all of us are on the long list for commonwealth games this year, get a great block of training in to push each other to make those extra gains & enjoy a bit of outdoor training and sun.

    The first couple of sessions for myself in the pool were low level aerobic with a lot of high skills & drill with equipment to get the feel of the water back after the long 10hr flight out to the states.

    My favourite kit to use for skills/ drills are the Arena Elite Finger Paddles with a snorkel & fins just so you can focus on the catch & feel for the  water at the start of the stoke & using the snorkel it takes rotating your head out of the equation so you can just focus on the catch. Then when progressing the drill into more of a propulsion & recovery drill I’ll swap the finger paddles for the Elite Hand Paddles just so I can hold more water in the propulsion phase of the stroke to generate more power.

    I believe that lower level/ higher skill sessions are as important as race pace/ specific sessions because you need to be able to get the technique correct first before you can start applying the speed/power. Once you’re able to hold great technique & water then start bringing in more power & see how long you can hold it with great technique.

    Throughout the first week in Florida, we built up the intensity of the sessions with a couple of tough race pace sessions towards the back end of the week & rounding it off with a great speed set in the short course yards pool. All alongside a de-load week in the gym as in the second week all the athletes would be 1 rep Max testing!

     

    After a tough first week we did have some downtime on the Sunday where we all decide to go to Fort Lauderdale Beach which was about 30mins drive from our hotel, so we all got in the hire cars & the coaches dropped us off for a couple of hours to relax, switch off from training & enjoy our day off as a team as we knew he had an even bigger week coming up!

    Week 2, started as we were meant to go on! I had an aerobic with speed set Monday morning to fire me up for the day, then when we came in Monday night, we had a speed into Lactate Production set. We’d done this set before back in Swansea, but this was a progression of that set, so it ramped up at the end to push us that little bit more, the set was tough, but we managed it well & got a great return. Resulting in getting a new Lactate PB of 19.9 which was a great start to the week.

    Tuesday morning was our first 1 Rep Max Day in the gym which consisted of Back Squat, Bench Press & Prone Pull. We tend to only do a couple of lifts as it takes a while to warm up to the heavy set & also you only want to be few lifts, so you don’t jeopardise the lift because of being fatigued. Especially on the back of Monday night’s session I was very happy to get new PB’s in all my lifts that morning. We carried that momentum into the afternoon set which was out & out speed, short sharp & Max with long rests and a couple of assisted bungees to help with over speed. Our speed sets will be a lot of short max efforts either from a dive or push being between 15-25m on longer rests just so every effort can be at maximum effort.

    The start of the 2nd week was a big one for me because Wednesday morning we didn’t stop there! I had my own test set that morning which the coaches have designed specifically for me to test my ‘Stroke Length & Velocity’ in the water. I could tell you what the set is & how it’s done but I can’t because I don’t want to give away all my secrets… sorry but what I can tell you is that it’s hard, it’s all Max & the lactate acid is burning at the end. The one difference in doing the set in Miami was that because it was outdoors in the morning it was a lot cooler air temperature so between efforts, I was able to stay warm by jumping in the hot tub by the diving pit, I think because of this I managed to get my best results.

    So after a heavy start to the week, I had Wednesday afternoon off & was able to just chill out/ recover at & around the hotel, which I think was well deserved.

    Thursday we were back in the gym that morning for another testing session, exercises for that session were Football Bar Rack Press (like bench press but the weight is resting on stands just above your chest then you press up), Pull Up & Lat Pull Down. Again, it was another great session getting even more PB’s in all the lifts. So, myself & my Strength and conditioning coach were very happy with the numbers being produced that week in the gym.

    That Afternoon I was very privileged & fortunate to be able to have a 1-1 coaching/ training session with Arena Athlete, and 50m freestyle Olympic Bronze Medallist Bruno Fratus & his coach Brett Hawke as this is where Bruno trains. We were lucky enough to talk to him throughout the week & the coaches manage to organise the session with them.

    The session started with some gentle swimming & drills so that Brett could suss me out quick & what I would like him to help me work on during that session to carry on back into my own program. At this point Bruno had already started watching from underwater & was giving me pointers on how to adjust my arm position for the catch phase to be able to generate more power in the propulsion phase when I got up to speed.

    It was interesting listening to the break down the stroke & explain things in a different way as Bruno was very switched on & knew a lot about the mechanics of the stroke to be able to put maximum force down in the water.

    We carried on with some short drills for body position & hand positioning then transferring it into speed. It was very beneficial because Bruno would demonstrate the task with Brett explaining on the poolside then when I would give it a go & Brett would be able to explain what I was doing from the surface again & Bruno would be watching under the water.

    It was an amazing opportunity to get some great technical pointers to develop my stroke from one of the best sprinters in the world. That afternoon session wasn’t too long, mainly consisting of drill & some speed to stay sharp as they were heading to Orlando the next day to race so it was really nice of them to take the time out of their program to help. The Coaching team & I learnt a lot that we have now brought back to our daily sessions back in Swansea. Another thing that Bruno & Brett looked at was my equipment & one thing they spotted was my snorkel & said it wasn’t good for sprinting as it moved too much & was like an rudder so since being home Arena have sent me the Arena Swim Snorkel Pro III & immediately I’ve noticed the difference, I’m not having to adjust it coming off turns & it’s so much more stable for when I’m doing speed as its design is more streamline/ compact it doesn’t move around so I would highly recommend any swimmer gets this snorkel as it is a vital bit of equipment to have in your kit bag!

    Our final couple of session we had out in the sun started with a chilled Fins Friday session then in afternoon was our last big push with everyone having suited swims to finish off the 2 weeks.

    My suited swims consisted of:

    Dive 50m Max (22.5) – 200m ez

    Broken 100m- 50/50 @60 (23.2/24.7= 48.0) – 200m ez

    Broken 100m- 50/50 @50 (23.2/24.6= 47.8) – 200m ez

    Dive 50m Max (22.7)

    Which I was very happy about and it finished off a great camp.

     

     

  2. Welcome Reuben Rowbotham-Keating to the arena team

    We are excited to announce a new 3 year sponsorship contract with Reuben Rowbotham-Keating.

     

    The 16 year from City of Manchester Aquatic Swim Team ( COMAST) is also a member of the 2022 Swim England Junior Swim Squad. Reuben’s selection to this elite Junior squad followers his superb results at the Swim England Winter Nationals (25M) in Sheffield in December, where he picked up five Junior National titles . Read More >

  3. The National arena Swimming League Finals 2022

    The National arena Swimming League – Finals Weekend – Cardiff 5th & 6th March 2022

    After a forced hiatus in 2021 due to the covid pandemic, the finals of the National arena Swimming League returned to the Cardiff International Pool on the 5th & 6th March. With the return of this popular club competition came all the colour, noise, atmosphere and excitement . From the face paints, fancy dress, and banners to the music, air-horns and chants it was great to see that this fun filled competition once again cover all ages & experience in the 42 event competition.  It was great to be back!

    Saturday 5th March- B Final

    Saturday saw an extremely close and exciting B-Final with Basildon Phoenix coming out on top lifting the title by just 10 points from home club City of Cardiff .

    The lead changed many times throughout the 42 events but the Essex based club came through at the end with solid performances across all the age groups. This is a double cause for celebration for Basildon as they  were also successful in winning the National arena Junior Swimming League in September 2021.

    Basildon head coach Doug Campbell was delighted with his teams’ results especially as this is the clubs first ever appearance in the National Finals .Doug commented “ this is a great result for the club who have made steady progress through the London Region Divisions  over the past 5 years . We finished runner-up in the London League Premier Final in December and today all the swimmers stepped  up, whether in a relay or individual event,  it was a superb team performance.”  Doug has previously won the A-Final when he was head coach of Millfield so todays was a step towards winning again with a different team.

    Club Chairman, Tom Baster, was delighted with the club and commented “ The club has been on an extraordinary journey since the Basildon Sporting Village 50m pool opened in 2011 and today I am extremely proud of the swimmers, coaches & parents . I would like to thank Basildon Council and Basildon Sporting Village for their support  and arena UK and Solo Sports for their sponsorship of this great club competition.”

    The stand out performance at the meet came from Swansea’s Medi Harris with her 60.35 in the womens 100m back continuing her recent good form.GB Olympians Dan Jervis ( 200 IM  2.05.51 ) and Harriet Jones ( 100 Fly 60.26) both had comfortable wins.

    It’s also about the support at this meet and the award for the top supporters was awarded to Basildon Pheonix who kept the cheers & chanting going through the afternoon . The top relay club competition was also won by Basildon Phoenix

    Basildon Phoenix – Top Relay Winners

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    B Final Results –

    Top Age Group Swimmers

    •  11/12 Years – Alexandra Numey (Camden) Jacob Bacon (Basildon),
    • 13/14 Years – Aran Bissett (RTW Monson) Mabil Collyier (Swansea),
    • 15/16 Years  – Davey Unwin (Stockport) Skye Carter (Basildon)
    • Top Male: Bradley Newman (City of Cardiff) and Top Female: Medi Harris (Swansea Aquatics)

    Bradley Newman & Medi Harris

    Final Points:

    • 1-Basildon Phoenix 259points
    • 2-City of Cardiff 249
    • 3-Camden Swiss Cottage 238
    • 4-Stockport Metro 206
    • 5-RTW Monson 200
    • 6-City of Norwich 192
    • 7-Swansea Aquatics 190
    • 8-City of Peterborough 185
    • 9-LeamingtonSpa 167

    Full Results for B Final can be found here https://results.swimming.org/swimming/results/2022/naslb/

    More images can be found here https://www.nationalswimmingleague.org.uk/2022-league-finals/ or here https://www.dropbox.com/sh/tvy869y4n13ozak/AADxrSwRRu-U7bYhBg9l3lmba?dl=0

    Sunday 6th March – Cup Final

    Mount Kelly, representing the Western League Division,  won the 52nd Cup Final of the National arena Swimming League on Sunday 6th March in Cardiff. After a forced hiatus in 2021 due to the covid pandemic, the Devon based boarding school retained the title that they won in 2020.

    Mount Kelly were convincing winners, taking top spot with 359 points from runners-up Millfield (320) with Wycombe & District rounding out the top three places with 266.  Mount Kelly’s strength showed all the way through with top 3 places in 33 of the 42 events, they also won the relay challenge trophy.

    Emma Collings-Barnes, director of swimming at Mount Kelly, commented “this win today has given a great buzz for everyone on the team especially after all the issues around covid and the lack of racing for so long. I would like to thank all the staff at the school for their support especially over the last few years and a special mention to my assistant director of Swimming, Greg King-Lamb who has run this programme whilst I have been on maternity leave. This competition is so special to win as it involves so many great swimmers & clubs from across the country. Today has been a great sign that swimming for all levels and age groups is back in this country . Thanks to the National League organisers and arena UK for putting together a superb event today and running the League rounds through the year.”

    Cup Final Results –

    Top Age Group Swimmers

    • 11/12 Years – Ben Macdougall (Wycombe) Ella Humpries (Guildford)
    • 13/14 Years – Abduljabar Adama (Mt. Kelly) Alice Young (Guildford)
    • 15/16 Years – Conor Cherrington (Millfield) Hollie Widdows (Mt. Kelly)
    • Top Male: Cameron Brooker ( Wycombe) and Top Female: Aimee Canny

    Final Points:

    • 1-Mount Kelly….359points
    • 2-Millfield ….320
    • 3-Wycombe & District ….266
    • 4-Guildford City …. 261
    • 5-Plymouth Leander …. 257
    • 6-Bromley …. 210
    • 7-Hatfield …. 195
    • 8-Wigan BEST …. 151
    • 9-Leicester Sharks …. 147
    • 10-City of Cambridge …. 142

    Full Results for Cup Final can be found here https://results.swimming.org/swimming/results/2022/nasla/result1.pdf

    More images can be found here https://www.nationalswimmingleague.org.uk/2022-league-finals/ or here https://www.dropbox.com/sh/tvy869y4n13ozak/AADxrSwRRu-U7bYhBg9l3lmba?dl=0

    All in all a great weekend was had by all with some great results, it was great to be to a live event.

  4. Dan & Alys at The Welsh Winter Championships

    Read about Dan Jones and Alys Thomas, and the dog’s weekend at the Welsh Winter Championships –

    Written By Dan Jones –

    ” The Swim Wales Winter Championships were held in Swansea from the 17/12/2021 – 19/12/2021. For 2021 the event was swam long course to provide a Commonwealth Games nomination opportunity in line with the Swim Wales Commonwealth Games Nomination policy.

    Alys is a partnered athlete with Arena UK and Solo Sports, and as Alys & I train together at the Swim Wales HPC we also live together being in a long-term relationship. Arena are also kind enough to support me in the lead up to Commonwealth Games which is a great help & very much appreciated.

    With Alys’ performances at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, she has already achieved the nomination standard times for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

    Alys & I were competing over all 3 days in Swansea, swimming in the 50/100/200 butterfly & 50/200 freestyle for Alys then the 50/100 freestyle & 50 butterfly for myself.

    Read More >

  5. Exciting News – Laura Stephens is now an arena athlete

    We are pleased to announce a sponsorship deal with Great Britain’s Olympian Laura Stephens.

    Laura has been a regular member of Great Britain’s senior swimming team over the past four years and has competed at Olympic, World, European & Commonwealth level . At the Tokyo Olympics Laura was a semi-finalist in her main event, the 200m butterfly, after making the final at the 2021 European Championships. Laura picked up her first European gold as a member of the successful women’s 4 x 100 Medley Relay Team at the same European Championships in Budapest .

    Laura has recently moved her training base to the Loughborough NTC after many successful years at Plymouth Leander SC .  Laura will work with coach David Hemmings and is targeting the 2022 World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan from 13th – 29th May and the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham  from 28 July – 8 August . arena UK are looking forward to working with and supporting Laura at this point in her swimming career.

  6. arena athletes on lockdown and road to Olympics

    As the lockdown road map continues to move forward with plans and more restrictions being lifted from Monday 12th April  meaning indoor pools can now also open, we got in touch with some of our athletes to see how lockdown has affected them, how they feel about the Olympics Trails and the road to Tokyo.

    We sent the same set of questions to Toby Robinson (TR), Conor Ferguson (CF) and David Murphy (DM), heres what they had to say –

    Read More >

  7. Lucy Thornton on swimming pools reopening

    Outdoor swimming facilities are now open!

    Monday 29 March saw the second stage of the first phase of lockdown restrictions eased across England – The restrictions relaxed on Monday allowed people to meet up outdoors in groups of six or two households, and allow a return to outdoor sports. This includes swimming in outdoor facilities, great news!

    We have loved seeing all the people getting back to swimming and asked Lucy Thornton what she thought about getting back into water after all this time, here is what she had to say –Read More >

  8. Kayla van der Merwe

    New Sponsored Athlete – Kayla van der Merwe

    arena UK are excited to announce a new 3 year sponsorship contract with Kayla van der Merwe . The 16 year old Winchester City Penguins swimmer has had a standout year in her first year racing  internationally for Great Britain.Read More >

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