Elly Gandy’s Postcard from Oz - May Update
Hi. I’m Elly Gandy. I used to swim for Beckenham until my dad got a job in Melbourne so my whole family relocated to Australia. In my last blog I was about to have some time off at the beach…
I managed to spent about four days at JanJuc beach in the end, walking everywhere and getting some fresh sea air - just generally getting away from anything to do with swimming for a bit!
It was a brilliant week. Some friends and I went to the Ripcurl Pro Surf Tour which was held at Bells Beach (a few breaks along from JanJuc). We managed to time it perfectly and were there for the men's finals on the last day.
The waves were huge and the highlight was definitely seeing 10-time world champion Kelly Slater in person.
I had never been to a surfing competition before so I had absolutely no idea what to expect but the whole day was amazing.
The waves were huge (to me at least) and the highlight was definitely seeing 10-time world champion Kelly Slater in person! Even though he was knocked out in the quarter finals he came back for the 30-minute 'legends round' where all the old legends (and Kelly) just showed off for half an hour while the finalists got a break before their last round.
It was amazing to see him come out and just have fun even though he was probably gutted he had just been knocked out. But he showed true sportsmanship and landed a 360 air (spinning 360 degrees horizontally in the air) which was unbelievable to watch.
After my break it was straight back into traning but it was a lot easier than before because the rest of my squad was there and I didnt have to train by myself!
I did about three weeks of conditioning and then packed up and left for a training camp in Spain (where I am right now) with three other swimmers (Tay Zimmer, Leisel Jones and Michael Klim) from my squad.
The camp is in Sierra Nevada, a ski region in the south of Spain which is about 30 minutes drive up a mountain from Granada. It's definitely one of the strangest and most beautiful places I've ever been to!
We're about 2500m above sea level on top of this mountain which is covered in snow and yet when it's sunny, it gets so hot we lay outside sunbathing in bikinis!
It was such a challenge that getting to the top was the best feeling... until you realise you had to climb down again!
The scenery is beautiful and we've been on a few training hikes up the numerous walks and trecks up the mountain. One of them ended up being a four-hour hike to the giant satellite that sits on one of the very top peaks.
Luckily I had my hiking boots with me but they didn't really help my legs on the hill repeats we had to do in the snow - it was one of the hardest four hours of my life.
But it was a such a challenge that getting to the top was the best feeling... which lasted for a few minutes until you realised you had to climb down again.
Training is really different at altitude because there is less oxygen and more stress on your body so it's harder to get your breath back during sets and also harder to recover between sessions.
The best way to recover is to just swim steadily up and down which suits me because I quite like plodding up and down the pool!
The facitily we are based at is amazing. There's a pool, running track, three gyms, a recovery centre, physio, doctor, two canteens and accommodation all on site.
There are quite a few sportspeople here with us as well: skiers, wrestlers, other swimming groups and also a few cyclists preparing for the Tour de France. All the different sports make it quite interesting, especially because I like to have a bit of a nose at what other sports do.
We are here for another 10 days and then we fly to Barcelona for a leg of the Mare Nostrum tour on the 8th and 9th of June. We then have a day off before we fly back to Australia so I'm hoping to do some sightseeing in Barcelona because I've never had a good look around before!