30 October 2018

We all arrived bright-eyed and bushy-tailed on the Sunday morning at London Heathrow, eager for the week ahead. After a smooth journey with no delays we arrived in rainy Banyoles in the early evening. Then followed a wet rigging of boats and a whole wave of new sights for the J16 crew.

Despite the rain, the lake looked majestic with the green covered mountains standing high and mighty over it. We were welcomed back with piles of hot food, which became a highlight of the day throughout the camp.

The days of rowing consisted of three sessions; in the morning we primarily focused on quads and fours and carried this on into session 2, the 3rd evening session was made up of singles technique and mileage or telemetry in the 8+.

The weather stayed relatively tame with the odd sunny spell and thankfully limited rain, despite the unfortunate weather we completed all sessions bar 1 on the Thursday where it didn't seem to stop raining all morning. So, to the delight of the boys, the coaches decided that some hard training pieces were the necessary next steps.

The J16 squad enjoyed racing in a 10 person-per-heat singles race and a four-abreast set of pieces between 2 fours and 2 quads on the last session of camp. Altogether, the boys improved significantly over the camp and a great level of skill was displayed for this early in the season – showing the group’s exceptional strength in depth.

A highlight of the camp was definitely the annual Saints Day of Banyoles, which the boys got to enjoy in their down time on the last two nights of camp. Everyone enjoyed watching the seemingly bizarre traditional dances and ceremonies which took place throughout the weekend.

These included a trail of gunpowder being ignited with some surprisingly loud explosions to follow, children in paper mache dragons having fireworks attached to them and people in giant costumes parading about the town.

The camp also provided a great opportunity for the seniors and J16s to get to know each other and create a unity between the two. Whether it be racing and congratulating each other on the water, or having a laugh in the evening, the two squads really began to get to know each other, which can only be positive for the season to come.

A particular show of this was on the final sunny Sunday of camp where a senior four raced alongside the J16 fours and quads, congratulating each boat individually every time they crossed the line, despite their margin of victory.

Overall the camp proved majorly successful in both the development of the rowers and the bringing together of the Club as a whole. Every J16 thoroughly enjoying their first Banyoles experience.

Written by Daniel McNamara

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