A squad of over 30 Eton boys journeyed to the middle of the exquisite countryside of Gerês, Portugal, during the Easter break for a rigorous 8 day training camp alongside the Albufeira de Caniçada lake.
Prior to boarding the plane, two of the squad (Max Ridgwell and Max Shakespeare) learned that they had qualified for the Munich International Regatta, representing Great Britain later in the Summer Half – an extremely commendable achievement.
We were immensely lucky to have coach Robin Williams MBE for the first few days of the camp. Mr Williams coached the GB women’s pair to gold at both the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games and was the former Cambridge University Boat Club chief coach. To have his expertise provided to the boys of ECBC was an extraordinary opportunity for them to progress technically.
The conditions proved to be tremendously damp for the first few days, with the water level reaching almost too high to boat. The beach that could be seen last year was non-existent; for some time the only visible flag on the flagpole was the highest one!
Deep in the countryside, every way you looked there was a different view. To one side, two valleys descended where the lake crept through, to the other, multitudinous mountaintops overlooked the water. To have spectacular views to accompany the long rows is simply a bonus.
While it rained most days, and selection for boats remained tough, morale stayed high and there was always a good atmosphere about the entire team. Many thanks must go out to Guy Pooley, The VIII coach Mark Fangen-Hall, Richard Hardy, Henry Clarke, Nick Sellers and Andrew Cross for making this camp as smooth and as successful as it was.
Nathan Swidler (NCWS)