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Adele Carlsen - World Cup training camp blog

3 September, 2010
The British Synchro squad, powered by British Gas, are currently preparing for the Synchronised Swimming World Cup in Changshu, China on 16 – 19 September. In this update, high performance manager Adele Carlsen lifts the lid on the team’s pre-competition training camp in Doha.

Jenna cheekily asked if she could go in first class for the flight to Doha - the crew took the whole team up for the rest of the trip!

Finding a suitable synchro training camp isn’t always easy. We need access to deep water – which closes the door to about 50 per cent of pool venues – and we require a pool that is at least 25m and available to hire for seven to eight hours a day.

I was struggling to find a venue in the Far East so we decided to go to Doha – the same camp that British Swimming have booked for a pre-Commonwealth Games training facility. It matched our requirements and was generally on the way to China and, as an added bonus, it would familiarise our Commonwealth athletes with the facility and hotel before returning at the end of the month.

We met at the airport minus one athlete – Cherry Wilson had been advised not to travel with the team due to illness.

While waiting on the tarmac at a stop-off in Bahrain, Jenna cheekily asked if she could go in first class for the 20 min flight to Doha as it was empty. The crew then took the whole team up into first and said they could stay there for the rest of the trip! The staff had to settle with business class as there weren't quite enough seats!

The hotel that we are staying in – La Cigale – is quite luxurious. The lifts are even a sparkly gold with blue lighting! The rooms are huge with 50 inch TV screens and remotes that work everything from lights to the speakers in the bathroom! We’re not used to this level of hotel all the time so it’s quite exciting for the team. On our last training camp we stayed on site at a sports school with just the very basics so it’s great for us to experience both!

Doha is an Islamic community in the Middle East and, while they don’t enforce their faith on tourists, we obviously must respect their culture which is quite different from our own. It’s been a great opportunity for us to experience a whole different way of life.

It’s currently the holy month of Ramadan which means no food or drink may be consumed during daylight hours – and certainly not in public. Thankfully our training facility doesn’t mind us eating and drinking on poolside and the hotel has special restaurants for guests that allow meals as normal!

We also have to be careful about what we wear and to think about covering our shoulders and wearing knee length shorts but that's not too difficult to manage. Again this doesn't apply to the pool and due to Ramadan we have ended up with the whole facility to ourselves which is fantastic.

The training facility we are using is incredible. The Hamad Aquatic Centre is part of the Aspire Sports Complex that hosted the Asian Games in 2006. The pools are fantastic and we have been given our own team room with mirrors, mats, our requested gym equipment, physio beds and a fridge full of bottled water.

We also get use of their HD wide screen TV on poolside for our video analysis and the staff are super-helpful. Thankfully, it’s air-conditioned as the temperature outside is around 45 degrees with a lot of humidity - it’s too hot to stand outside more than five minutes. We are training from 8am to 12pm then 3pm to 6pm every day, though we will have one day off during our ten days here.

Since starting the camp we have heard that Cherry won't be joining us at all as the doctor wants her to have a full two-week recovery in the UK. We are all disappointed for Cherry but we have strong alternates and the team have really pulled together more than usual.

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