Sunday, 23 August 2015

Rebecca Perrot's Swim Trek through the Greek Islands

When an old swimming friend of mine, Melanie Jones, mentioned she was planning a mid-winter holiday in the Greek Islands for June this year, I’ll admit I was more than a little bit jealous.

Sightseeing, shopping, eating and sun!
When she also mentioned she had booked a week-long trip with SwimTrek, the world’s leading swimming holiday operator, I found myself thinking “what better way to celebrate my birthday” (which just happens to be in June), and I decided to join her!

As Melanie was already holidaying in Europe, we met up in Athens in early June. We then spent the next 10 days, before the swim holiday began, visiting three of the bigger islands in the Cyclades: Santorini, Paros and Naxos.

Mel had not done much swimming this year so we made sure we got a decent sea swim in each day, and spent the rest of our time sightseeing, shopping, lying in the sun and eating! We were there before the peak of the summer season, so there weren’t too many other tourists around, nor was there much evidence of the impending economic crisis!                                            

Walking from the hotel down to the port at Schinoussa
The swimming holiday we did was based amongst the Little Cyclades islands and began in Schinoussa, which was a two hour ferry trip away from Naxos. The first evening was a ‘meet and greet’ session and safety briefing with our swim guides and fellow swim ‘trekkers’. Following the formalities, we all enjoyed a group dinner at a local restaurant where we got to sample lots of traditional Greek dishes, all of which were made using local produce.


Video session at the hotel pool
The next day started with a 400-500 metre swim at Tsigouri Beach, which was just a few hundred metres from our hotel. This was so our lovely and very experienced Irish swim guide, Trish, could divide us into smaller groups of similar speed. This was followed by a 45 minute session covering basic open water swimming technique and freestyle drills. Initially, Mel and I were a little surprised by this, but we later found out that the majority of people that go on swim safari-type holidays are not from a competitive, or even masters, swimming background, and include a number that have never done any open water swimming before. After this initial session it was back to the hotel so that we could all be videoed in the pool there and, later that evening, we all watched our videos and were given feedback on things we could work on in our stroke.

For the remainder of the week our group was based on a 40 foot yacht, Katerina, skippered by Aki, a local, who has been working for SwimTrek since its inception in 2003.  We had our first proper swim that afternoon – about 2.5km following the coast of the island of Iraklia and finishing in the little port there.
Katerina and Aki, our local pilot for the week
The following days followed a similar pattern: we would have breakfast at the hotel each day then we would be transferred to the Katerina by IRB and taken, by sail if the weather cooperated, to the starting point for our first swim of the day. The location of each day’s swims was dependant on weather and sea conditions. We usually had a longer swim in the morning, probably 60-90 minutes, with a couple of these being actual crossings from one island to another. This would be followed by 2-3 hours of eating (morning tea), sunbathing, reading, chatting and eating again (lunch this time), either on the boat or at a nearby beach.
Swimming with SwimTrek

In the afternoon there would be another shorter swim, probably 45-50 minutes long. This would often be a coastal swim where we would just hug the coastline, swimming only a couple metres from shore and swimming into every little bay or cave along the way. All of our swims were done in the groups we had been assigned on that first day, and we were always accompanied by an IRB and a guide.

Once we were back on shore, the group would usually head to one of the local beach cafes for a beer. We were then free to do whatever we wanted for the remainder of the day though as our group all got on very well, we tended to get together for dinner. Interestingly our group was mainly women and the majority were around the same age as us, (50-54 years!), though we were told by Trish that they usually get a wider range of ages and have had teenagers through to people in their 60s. The majority of our group were from the UK but we also had an Irish woman, two Germans, a resident of Spain and, of course, the two of us Kiwis.

Midway through the week we transferred to the island of Koufinissi which, while still very much an unspoilt island, had a town that was bigger and quite a lot busier than the one on Schinoussa – though we’re still only talking about populations in the low hundreds (which no doubt grows over summer with all the holidaymakers).

The Greek islands are a lovely place to go for a holiday – we found everyone incredibly helpful and friendly, and the way of life is relaxing, with long siestas in the afternoon with everything staying open till late.

I would definitely recommend SwimTrek. The trip was well organised, safety was always a priority, and we were looked after well. While it may not suit everyone given how structured it was, if you’re happy to go with the flow it really is a lot of fun.




Rebecca Perrot

Monday, 17 August 2015

Upcoming Events

TAUPO MASTERS BROWN TROUT - 19 September 2015 

SOUTH ISLAND SHORT COURSE MEET - 18 and 19 September 2015, Ashburton
Entry forms

HARBOUR CAPITAL MASTERS CHOCOLATE FISH MEET - 19 September 2015
Entry Forms

NZMS NISC 2015 - 16 and 17 October 2015 hosted by Levin
Entry Forms

ACM Auckland Harbour Swims 2015/16:
Herne Bay - 15 November
Bays - 13 December
Chelsea - 21 February 2016
Rangitoto - 10 April 2016
Zoggs Ocean Walker Marathon - 24 April 2016

Visit the ACM website for more info:  http://www.aucklandharbourswims.org.nz/

NEW ZEALAND OCEAN SWIM SERIES: ( entries open 1st September) www.oceanswim.co.n
Bay of Islands - 28 November 2015
Harbour Crossing -  12 December 2015
Capital Classic - 31 January 2016
Christchurch Crown - 13 February 2016
Blue Lake Swim - 28 February 2016
Sand to Surf - 12 March 2016
King of The Bays - 2 April 2016

Win a $50 Swim T3 Voucher - Like and Subscribe Promotion

To go into the draw to win a Swim T3 $50 voucher all you need to do is Like our facebook page and subscribe to our Blog.

How to go into the draw:

1. Like the NZMS facebook page below or visit our page www.facebook.com/nzmastersswim


AND

2. Subscribe to the Masterscrawl Blog by entering you email address below or use the Follow by email option in main menu to the right of the NZMS blog screen.



Enter your email address:



Recipe: Bacon Nests - Post Workout Low Carb Breakfast - Perfect for Lunchboxes too!

Ingredients
350g streaky bacon
300g spinach, steamed, well drained.
6 large eggs
1,5 block feta cheese, crumbled
freshly ground black pepper to taste 

Method
Preheat oven to 230 °C.
Grease and line a muffin tray, a 6 tart tin (not loose bottom) or 6 ramekins with tightly arranged streaky bacon to form 6 bacon nests/baskets.

Roast in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes or until the bacon is 95% cooked with crispy edges. The bacon may curl and buckle a bit when baked, don’t worry! When you add the filling the shape will be retained.

Make sure all the liquid is squeezed out of the steamed spinach and roughly chop.
Sprinkle the bacon nests with feta and spinach then crack and whole egg into each one. Sprinkle with black pepper and bake for a further 6-8 minutes or until the egg is set to your liking. Some of the egg may leak through the bacon, this is perfect!

Carefully use a palette knife to remove from the tray and serve immediately.

Tip: These are rather lovely served at room temperature or chilled for the lunchbox or picnic. Just make sure the egg yolk is cooked through to prevent a mess.


www.food24.com

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Swimming The English Channel - Liz Richardson Speaks About Her Experience

My name is Liz Richardson. I am originally from England and moved to New Zealand this January.

I have an amazing friend, Mary Stanley-Duke who I met playing water polo at University back in 1997. In 2007 we were both pregnant with our first children, we lived about 30 minutes from each other and planned the time that we would spend together on maternity leave. In May of that year my son was born, happy and healthy, but 5 weeks early. Three weeks later Mary called me to tell me that her baby had stopped moving and scans showed that she had died at 36 weeks. She was devastated and I had no words to console her. She was admitted to hospital to be induced and her daughter, Martha, was stillborn on 25th May.

Happily Mary now has 3 gorgeous children. She had always wanted to do one significant thing in memory of Martha and in June last year, while I was living in Hong Kong, I woke up to an email asking if I would be willing to swim the English Channel with her to raise awareness and funds for SANDS, a stillbirth and neonatal death charity.

Swimming had given Mary some form of solace as she grieved for Martha and so when she was looking for a challenge to take up in Martha’s memory, swimming the English Channel seemed the obvious choice and she got in touch with the old polo team to join her.

The English Channel is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world and channel swimming is strictly regulated. To swim, you must be supported by a pilot from the Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation. You can swim individually or as a relay of up to 6 people. For the swim to qualify as official, no wetsuits are allowed, you can only wear one hat and one swimming costume and there are a whole heap of rules around starting, changeovers, swimming and landing in France. With our pilot booked, we all set about training. While I sea swam in Hong Kong in water temperatures of around 26 degrees, the rest of the girls were battled strong currents in the Bristol Channel and sea temperatures as low of 6 degrees through the winter in the UK (all without wetsuits). At the beginning of the year, I moved to New Zealand and joined Waitakere Masters. I continued to sea swim and as water temperatures dropped in New Zealand, they were slowly climbing in the UK.

In June I flew to the UK and met up with the girls. Our pilot sent us a message and we were all set to

leave at 4:30am on 25th June. We were exceptionally lucky with the weather, we left Dover Harbour as the sun was rising on a beautiful day. Our Pilot took us around to Shakespear Beach. The first of the girls jumped into the water, swam in to the beach, walked clear of the wash, raised her hand and the official observer started his watch. She ran back in to the sea and we were away. The sea was a balmy 14 degrees, it wasn’t too choppy and the shoals of jellyfish that we swam through were small and relatively benign. It took a good 5 minutes or so to get control of your breathing and for the cold water to stop stinging your skin but once you were acclimatised, it was almost enjoyable. We pressed on through the day, swapping every hour and keeping the swimmers updated on progress through messages on a white board. Point to point, from Shakespear Beach to Cap Gris Nez the total distance is 21miles, the currents though the channel are very strong, channel crossings are only attempted for a few days each month through the summer on the weaker neap tides. Even with the weaker tides, the currents mean that you actually swim much further. This is the GPS track from our swim (the straight line is the boat heading home)

After 11 hours of swimming we made what we thought would be our last change over, France looked in touching distance and the water looked calm. Claire, number 6 in our team, swam for all she was worth, but the current around the cap was fierce and pushed her north. After an hour of swimming she swapped out, one of the crew launched the dinghy and sat at the boundary of the still water. With a relatively fresh pair of arms, Suzi sprinted for the boat and we were in. We completed the swim in 12 hours and 18 minutes. Everyone jumped in and swam to meet her on the boat ramp that she landed on, being careful to stay well behind her to not break any rules. We all walked up the ramp holding hands, full of a sense of accomplishment, emotion and to applause from French tourists. (photo from left to right: Rebecca Vivian, Claire Talbot, Mary Stanley-Duke, Suzy Brown, Jane Hamilton, Liz Richardson)

Having collected a few pebbles from the beach of posterity, we swam back to Anastasia, our boat. As the boat turned to head back to England Mary dropped a yellow rose in to the sea, the flowers that were on Martha’s coffin. We all had a good hug and cry and opened a bottle of champagne.

The White Horse Inn is the oldest pub in Dover dating back from 1365. There is a tradition amongst channel swimmers, that a qualifying swim earns you the entitlement to write your name on the wall of the pub. The day after our swim we went to add our names to the wall and have a well-earned pint in the beer garden.

I am extremely proud of what we achieved. Not many have swum the English Channel, that aside, Mary found the whole process very cathartic. Swimming and water polo bound our friendships and for me, the most significant benefit was supporting a friend in coming to terms with the most devastating event in her life by doing something that we all love, just swimming.

Blog of our swim: www.swimforSANDS.com
Channel Swimming: www.cspf.com.uk

Roskill Masters Prize Giving

Roskill Masters Swimming Club recently held their annual prizegiving with three members of the Club being presented with their New Zealand Masters Swimming Service Award badges.

(Left to right) Graeme Rogers, Carmel Dickson and Barbara Daw, all long serving members of the Roskill Club committee.


and  trophies being awarded as follows:

 (Left to right) Kyla Steenhart the Joan Monahan Trophy for the Most Meritorious Performance of the Year, Paul Grondin Most Improved Swimmer of the Year, and Robina Hewlett the Wally Martin Trophy for Club Spirit.



Article submitted by Jan Fulton (Secretary of the Club)

Winner of the 1hr Private Swimming Lesson + Video Analysis in an Endless Pool from The Swim Clinic










The winner of the 1hr Private Swimming Lesson + Video Analysis in an Endless Pool from The Swim Clinic (value $130) is:


Deryn McGregor from South City Masters


Endless Pools
A leader in counter-current swimming for the last two decades, Endless Pools, Inc. makes water exercise fun and available to virtually everyone indoors or out. Whether you are an avid swimmer, competitive swimmer, learning to swim or require water exercise for therapy & rehabilitation, Endless Pools, Inc. has a model to fit any lifestyle or location. With over 100 proud owners in New Zealand, and thousands worldwide, learn how these quality products will provide your swimming solutions.

Private Swimming Lessons
Improve your swim times in open water and in the pool - enjoy the privacy of one-on-one tuition in the unique Endless Pool swimming flume. Well established as one of New Zealand's most effective swim technique coaches, Ally Boggs offers personalised swim instruction that will help you swim more efficiently, faster and injury-free. Lessons can include development of correct technique in all strokes: Freestyle, Butterfly, Backstroke and Breaststroke, and event strategies, mentoring and turns. Read the Reviews.

Underwater Video Analysis
Exceptional footage on DVD from all angles, overhead, front, side and from underwater providing a visual learning tool. Discussion on stroke efficiencies and areas for development. Read the Reviews.

Swim Technique Workshops
Group lessons held at pools located around New Zealand, covering specific skills including tumble turns, kicking, freestyle drills, learn-to-swim Backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly. Classes are of 60 minutes duration, minimum of 6 participants, maximum of 12. Click here to request more information about workshops near you.

www.theswimclinic.co.nz
www.endlesspools.co.nz

          

                                                                                                 

500th Facebook Liker Wins a $50 Swim T3 Voucher

To celebrate reaching over 500 likes on facebook, we are giving away a $50 Swim T3 voucher to our lucky 500th liker:

Congratulations:

Ryan Young 

Upcoming Events

TAUPO MASTERS BROWN TROUT - 19 September 2015 

SOUTH ISLAND SHORT COURSE MEET - 18 and 19 September 2015, Ashburton
Entry forms

HARBOUR CAPITAL MASTERS CHOCOLATE FISH MEET - 19 September 2015
Entry Forms

NZMS NISC 2015 - 16 and 17 October 2015 hosted by Levin
Entry Forms

ACM Auckland Harbour Swims 2015/16:
Herne Bay - 15 November
Bays - 13 December
Chelsea - 21 February 2016
Rangitoto - 10 April 2016
Zoggs Ocean Walker Marathon - 24 April 2016

Visit the ACM website for more info:  http://www.aucklandharbourswims.org.nz/

NEW ZEALAND OCEAN SWIM SERIES: ( entries open 1st September) www.oceanswim.co.n
Bay of Islands - 28 November 2015
Harbour Crossing -  12 December 2015
Capital Classic - 31 January 2016
Christchurch Crown - 13 February 2016
Blue Lake Swim - 28 February 2016
Sand to Surf - 12 March 2016
King of The Bays - 2 April 2016