In celebration of the London 2012 Olympic Games, a unique groundbreaking sporting day-out was enjoyed by 70 child and youth swimmers from Silverdale Swim Schools, when they travelled with their own army of instructors to the spectacular OLYMPIC size training pool and multi sports facility at The Army's Aldershot Garrison in Hampshire.
The exciting day was billed as Silverdale's 'OLYMPIC EXPERIENCE' and was designed to give some of the many young swimmers in the upper ability groups, the ultimate aquatic experience; to feel what it is like to swim in a pool of Olympic proportions and briefly imagine what it must be like to be a real Olympic swimmer. The day was also a useful team and friendship building exercise. Sadly the number of participants had to be limited to 70 for logistical reasons.
The Army's pool is the 'home pool' for the GB SYNCHRONIZED SWIMMING TEAM and is in daily use for training, in readiness for the imminent 2012 Olympics. Silverdale Swim Schools were extremely fortunate to be allowed to use the impressive and significant sporting venue, during such an important time in the pre-Olympics training calendar.
Having travelled by luxury coach from Bexhill to the Aldershot Garrison, the seventy young Silverdale swimmers thoroughly enjoyed burning up their energies in an exhausting one hour dry games session in the massive sports halls, followed by an 'Olympic swimming experience' lasting almost 2 hours.
Apart from participating in their own coached & tutored training sessions, the Silverdale swimmers watched with great respect and awe, as four past and present members of the SSS teaching & coaching team performed thoroughly impressive swimming, and diving skills. The demonstration team led by KEVIN PICKARD, included AMY DEEPROSE, JAMES COPPER and TESS MURRAY.
Also visiting the Aldershot Garrison on ST. PATRICK’S DAY, coincidentally the very same day that Silverdale Swim Schools visited, was HRH THE DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE on her first solo military engagement since marrying HRH PRINCE WILLIAM – Hon. Colonel of 1st Battalion Irish Guards. The Duchess was the royal guest of honour at the ST. PATRICK'S DAY PARADE where she presented traditional sprigs of shamrock to Irish Guards, and inspected the Garrison barracks and its facilities.
As a bonus to their otherwise exciting visit to Aldershot Garrison, some lucky Silverdale swimmers and instructors were fortunate enough to glimpse HRH and her retinue, accompanied by MAJOR GENERAL WILLIAM CUBBITT, as they walked right past the windows of the pool were they were swimming. The masterclass demonstrations were briefly halted by Trevor who invited the Silverdale party to look out of the window at the royal party.
The pool experience culminated in what was probably the largest frontcrawl marathon relay ever staged by any swimming group; let alone by a swimming school from Bexhill-on-Sea. The 'very friendly' relay race, comprised of four teams of seventeen swimmers per team; each completing a 50m leg (length). The maths works out at a total of 68 swimmers covering a distance of 50m each; a grand total race distance of 3,400 Metres (2.11 Miles). Great excitement! Especially from many of the very young swimmers who had never even seen a 50m pool before. The day finished with the mass invasion of the Silverdale contingent upon an Aldershot restaurant, before journeying home, weary but highly elated.
Each participant received a unique commemorative 'Olympic Experience' personalized certificate, which was kindly donated by the SOUTHERN WATER 'Learn to swim' scheme.
Event organizers Trevor & Sue Spinks, wish to thank all their Silverdale Swim Schools’ instructors and support staff (past & present) who gave freely of their valuable time and energies to make the event such a success for so many young swimming enthusiasts, living in and around Bexhill, Hastings, Battle & Rye.
The day was such a fabulous success that a sequel has already been booked and planned for 2013. Watch this space!
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Further photos taken during the 'Olympic Experience' may be found randomly scattered in the website gallery