For most of us the Covid restrictions have curtailed our ability to travel to foreign climes and to be able to swim somewhere other than our local area. I suspect, therefore, that many of you will read the following account of swim camps held recently in Italy by our colleagues at swim-arts with undisguised jealousy! And why not, the pictures are truly stunning, Hopefully, it will not be too long before such wonderful experiences will be open to us all again. Meanwhile, sit back, relax and relish the account provided by Margarethe and Pavel…
Elba – a beautiful Italian island in the Mediterranean, close to the coast of Tuscany and only 60 kilometres away from Corsica. It was the perfect destination for the two swim-camps in September and October 2021 with its clear and warm waters and scenic coast. Both camps were run and organized by swim-arts, the SwimMastery swimming school based in Basel, Switzerland.
The experienced coaches Margarethe and Pavel, both open water swimmers and SwimMastery Advanced Coaches, worked on the stroke techniques for both groups with video analyses and supported the swimmers in the water and on land.
The first and the last day of each camp was dedicated to video-analyses so that the swimmers could work on their stroke technique in the days to come and could see in the end what progress they had made.
The first week was for open water newbies and so-called pleasure swimmers:
We did some nice OW practices, had pool-lessons in the salt-water hotel pool, went hiking and shopping – and enjoyed the delicious Italian meals which were served in local restaurants.
And we had stunning early morning swims in the calm bay of Cala di Mola, close to Porto Azzurro – with spectacular sunrises over the Mediterranean Sea.
And of course, we had some wonderful open water swims, not too long though, but ideal for the newbies, who learnt to swim longer distances in the open water, to cope with waves and wind as well as using a tow float.
But the reward was a choppy 1.5k swim to the twin Gemini islands with spectacular vistas, just off the coast of Innamorata, a small village in the south-eastern part of Elba.
All completed the swim with pride, some even had a second helping!
The second week was for the more experienced swimmers who were eager for longer distances.
So, we offered some swims between 3.5 and up to 10k along the coast. The swimmers were divided up into three groups; the fastest went with Pavel, the second group swam with Karin, also a very experienced OW marathon swimmer and a SwimMastery Advanced Coach, and the third group swam with Margarethe.
Two partners of swimmers escorted us on two kayaks.
For the very first swim, we started off the beach of Calanova, swimming back to the bay of Cala di Mola. The next swim started in Innamorata and had us swimming along the coast to the old mines of Capoliveri. One swim circled the small peninsula of Enfola on the north coast of Elba, where we had a nice stop in a grotto with mesmerising turquoise waters. On another day, we swam from the Remaiolo beach to an offshore crag, then to the Canello beach where we had a treasure hunt as a break with searching for precious stones like Malachite, Azurite, Chrysocolla and Turquoise.
The day before last, the wind came up and thus, we had a choppy farewell swim around the bay of Cala di Mola and Porto Azzurro.
We had two great and mostly sunny weeks with beautiful swims and very dedicated swimmers, excellent food and lots of fun!