Preparing For Swim Camp
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
Information About The Training Experience
Preparing To Learn
How do I prepare for the training?
We expect that you have some positive exposure to the Total Immersion method before coming to our camp. It is our expectation to teach eager and open-minded students. If you have doubts about its appropriateness for you we recommend that you first study the official materials (books and video), and better yet, seek out a private lesson with a certified TI Coach before deciding to attend one of our camps and taking this expense.
We highly recommend that you purchase (download) and begin practicing the TI Perpetual Motion Freestyle drill series videos ($29.95 USD), or the new TI Ultra-Efficient Freestyle Video and Workbook Bundle (download $49.95 USD). This will familiarize you with the drills, focal points and terminology we will be using at camp. Starting to practice with these videos before camp will provide a great head-start and you will likely appreciate having the videos to review after the camp.
However, if you are new to TI and eager to learn, we are ready to teach you from the beginning in the Introductory camps. The calm (morning) Mediterranean Sea provides us with ideal (sometimes better-than-pool) conditions for teaching.
- Comfort & Confidence (beginner)
- Efficiency (intermediate)
- Performance (advanced)
We recognize that in the big picture of physics and physiology Comfort in the body and mind precede Efficiency, and Efficiency precedes higher Performance. So we guide our swimmers along the skill progression that respects this development process. Our training plan takes each swimmer through these three stages:
- Review the fundamental swimming and thinking skills.
- Identify each swimmer’s highest priority personal improvement points.
- Then imprint the improvements and expand the related skills.
In addition, in our training sessions we will blend stroke skills with open-water skills, according to the needs and interests of swimmers in our group:
- Stroke control
- Pace control
- Group swimming dynamics (cooperative and competitive)
- Mental control, endurance, and enjoyment
Swim Safety Buoy
Planning to swim in open-water regularly?
If so, you may consider purchasing one of these Swimmer Safety Buoys (at a retailer in Europe HERE, or at the TI Store in USA). We have a few on hand for swimmers to borrow at camp, but if you plan swim in open water regularly, we highly recommend you get one. The provide confidence, storage for small items, and you can easily be seen 500m away!
Warmth and Wetsuit
Do I need a wetsuit?
The wetsuit is a matter of personal comfort, in terms of staying warm. It depends on you and it depends on the temperatures in that month. The sea may be ‘slightly cool’ in our general swim camp season from 20 to 27 C but the sun in Turkey is very intense and this radiation makes a big difference for your comfort.
It would not be easy for me to judge how comfortable you would be in the water under the sun here. But let’s look at the temperatures expected at your camp date and we can help you make a more thoughtful decision.
When doing slow careful stroke correction work a wetsuit would allow you more time before getting a bit chilled. But while cruising around, the sea – under this intense sun – is right at the threshold of comfortable and you may actually feel too warm in a full thickness suit at aerobic level exertion.
Another consideration is if you intend to use a wetsuit regularly at home (for recreation, or especially for racing) we do recommend that you practice with it so that you become familiar with how to adjust your technique to work within the constraints this suit imposes upon you. You should bring it so you can practice ‘wetsuited’ technique in it. This is a good place to do it.
If you have room/weight in your luggage to spare you should bring it just in case – it is an easy backup solution for your comfort. If it is an inconvenience to bring it, then we can discuss further your personal ‘heating’ situation and see if we can together make a better decision whether it is worth it or not. OK?
Another option, if you think you will be on the boundary of comfortable, is that you could purchase a tight-fitting ‘swim shirt’ or ‘rash guard’ (as surfers call them) to give just a bit more warmth, if needed.
Qualifications To Swim
Do you qualify to participate in the training?
You may find more detailed description of training levels on our page Levels Of Proficiency.
Here are some basic qualifications to get started:
- You can swim 400 meters continuously, in the pool, any style.
- You are not afraid of being in the water and having your head submerged while swimming.
- Your doctor would recommend that you attend this camp (meaning, you have no medical conditions that would make swimming dangerous).
Whether you feel you are ‘too slow’ or ‘too fast’ for our group, there is a place for you. We are gentle with the timid and are challenging with the confident. The swimmers in our camps tend to be the very warm and welcoming type.
We divide our students into three groups: Introductory (to freestyle, to open-water swimming), Intermediate (some open-water experience), and Advanced (looking for more distance, more challenge). We have fun ways to customize the challenge level or the training for any swimmer at any level and expose the weaknesses every swimmer has. It is not a problem if you struggle to move forward, if you get exhausted easily, if you feel you are ‘slow’, or ‘old’, or a non-competitive type. We invite and customize the training to those on both ends of the spectrum.
It is common at our Total Immersion camps for a short-distance breast-stroking fitness swimmers to be comfortably swimming 1000 meters freestyle (and loving it so much they don’t want to stop!) by Day 4. We are used to creating ‘miracles’ like that on a regular basis. You’ll realize you just needed someone to finally show you how it works!
Feeling afraid of the water?
If you have a fear of water in general and this interrupts your ability to swim and concentrate we recommend that you seek out individual private lessons with a TI Coach first – that is a far more effective setting to remove that fear and set you up for a more peaceful learning situation in big, wild water. Total Immersion is superbly equipped to help remove fear for those who struggle with it. If you are comfortable with swimming in deeper water in a pool, but merely have anxiety about open (i.e big, wild) water, then this is exactly the kind of camp that will help you. It is hard to imagine a more ideal location than the Turkish Mediterranean Coast to become introduced and gain confidence in open-water – it is warm and mild and there are virtually no dangerous creatures and conditions to worry about, and Total Immersion supplies all the skills you need to master it.
Our three highest priorities for the training sessions influence our group size:
- Safety for swimmers and staff.
- Optimal learning environment.
- Personalized coaching attention.
In typical introductory and intermediate swim camps we want to have no more than 6 swimmers with each coach.
Each camp is targeted and skill set. Yet each camp attracts a variety of swimmers, different in skill level and interests. We divide the swimmers into skill/interest groups.
We interview each guest before coming and then set up training groups according to needs and interests each day. We provide both group instruction and individual attention, in the water and between training sessions.
We are flexible with daily or single swimming distances. Everyone gets to decide when to participate and how long to swim. No one is pressured to swim more than they are comfortable with.
These are some general guidelines for the distances we plan for each skill group:
- Introductory – 500 to 2km
- Intermeditate – 1km to 3km
- Advanced – 3km to 6km
- Distance – 5km to 10km+
We customize the training distances to each group, for each swimmer. We set a framework for each training session, with training sessions broken down into various skill-oriented activities.
Swimmers are given the objective, a demonstration, instructions, and a time frame. Then each swimmer may choose the distance and level of complexity to use within that framework.
We encourage swimmers to make high-quality attention higher priority over completing any certain distance or time. Swimmers are in complete control over distance, time and effort level.
Depending on the swimmer’s needs and interests a swim session may cover less than 500 meters, or as much as 2km or more. In the afternoons or later in the week some swimmers choose longer swims. For Introductory and Intermediate swimmers the early part of the week learning is often done in short swim segments, close to shore. Longer training swims along shore, or away from shore always have escort.
We recommend that each swimmer purchase and bring a swimmer-safety buoy, especially if they intend to swim in open-water more often at home.
The swimmer is always in control of the distances he/she chooses to swim, and always with a staff escort during our sessions. We create opportunities for each to swim what distances are attractive – some choose just a few hundred meters and some choose a few thousand. The sea and our coaching staff make room for all.
We provide two video analysis sessions for each swimmer with our underwater video equipment. Usually, we take the first video right at the beginning and the next one one near the end of camp.
Video analysis will help identify the swimmer’s strengths and the highest priority improvement points, followed with a prescription for solutions using focal points and drill + whole stroke combinations for each one.
You should to bring a notebook or favorite note-taking device, as well as a flash drive or SD card to load personal video and pictures to take home. We will provide you with your videos while at camp, but not afterwards.
Preparing For Swim Camp
- One parent is also participating in our training camp, as a swimmer.
- The student already knows how to swim (in a pool, at least) comfortably at least 400 meters continuously.
- This student is seriously interested in developing better technique (versus ‘just swimming’)
- This student already has some positive exposure to TI.
- The student wants to learn TI as much or more than his/her parent wants them to.
Contact us to discuss your child’s interests and needs and see how this event could serve your family.
Bring The Family
In most cases, it may be quite appropriate to bring your family along to enjoy the time with you. Family members are welcome to be at the beach with us during training times. We love to have a cheering section.
Please contact us to discuss your family’s needs for room and board, transfer, and extra activities. We will calculate a package price for you based on that.
You are welcome to arrive early or stay extra nights at our chosen hotel – if rooms are available.
Please contact us to check availability and prices for extra nights at our chosen hotel. Understandably, if you plan your trip and flights earlier, it will be more likely you can secure extra nights.
Payments, Cancellation, Refund
A $150 USD non-refundable deposit, per swimmer, is required in order to secure your spot in the swim camp.
Total (remaining) payment is due 30 days before the starting day of the swim camp.
You may cancel for any reason up to this 30-day mark – provide this request in writing. You may receive your payment minus the non-refundable deposit.
Within 30 days of the start of the camp we will not issue a refund.
The non-refundable deposit is NOT refundable, of course. However, you may apply the $150 deposit to another Mediterra training event.
Packing For Swim Camp
What should I pack?
These are items we consider essential to bring to swim camp:
- 2 or more form-fitting swim suits
- 2 or more goggles or swim-mask (UV coated and tinted is recommended)
- Swim cap
- Swim-shirt (if you prefer)
- Sunscreen lotion (particle block type is recommended)
- Sun glasses
- Sun hat
- Sandals for walking around
- Towel for the beach
- Anti-chaffing cream for salt-water (Bodyglide, Vasoline, etc)
These are items that you may be glad to have:
- Aqua-shoes for walking on pebble beach, standing in shallow water, boat trip day
- Tempo Trainer (bring if you have one, or we will have some available for purchase)
- Mosquito repellent (sometimes needed)
- Flash drive (to collect your video and pictures)
And for evenings?
It will be ‘hot’ by your standards during the day time, with only minimal chance of thunderstorms (but still possible). Even then it will not be ‘cold’ but refreshing.
- Light weight trousers.
- Windbreaker, or light rain jacket.
- Light, strong walking shoes or sandals.
Sun and Skin Care
How to care for my skin?
Skin-from-northern-latitudes will need extra care here. Please be ready to be very cautious, especially the first days as you get acquainted with the sun’s intensity.
Below you can read a brief article written by a Swedish dermatologist and one of our TI swim students. In summary, she recommends what is called a particle-block sunscreen rather than a chemical-block sunscreen. Basically, use sun screen that has zinc-oxide and titanium-oxide as the main radiation-blocking mechanism. These compounds do no soak into the skin and do not release questionable, if not harmful chemical byproducts into your bloodstream upon impact from radiation. These are what are often used in baby sunscreen and sensitive-skin sunscreen – because they don’t produce these chemical reactions inside the skin. And from Coach Mat’s extensive experience living and working under the harsh sun, from my own research and experimentation with products he strongly agrees. Even with a substantial base tan, he uses particle-block sunscreen every day.
Here is what we recommend:
The slightly white sheen this sunscreen leaves on the skin is not so appealing for some, but it works well to reflect the radiation – and, in my book, a longer life is better than temporary fashion foul. If you would like to heed our advice please purchase some at home for it is very hard to find in Turkey, and if found, very expensive.
But you should be pleased by how gentle the salt water is on your skin compared to the harsh, and drying effects of chlorine in commons pools. Be ready to enjoy the cleansing effects of salt on your skin, and in your mouth and sinuses too!
You can read more of Coach Mat’s thoughts about this in the blog article Open Water Sun Protection.
Some advice from dermatologist and TI Swimmer, Margit Skeppar, from Lulea, Sweden:
Keep the skin you are born with! Getting a sunburn or tanned is a sign of the skin struggling to defend itself against the sun. Darkening skin means changes in the cells of the skin, which, later in life, may lead to permanent cell changes and skin cancer. Furthermore, this accelerates the process of aging of the skin, noticeable by wrinkles and spots.
Therefore, use sunscreen in sufficient amounts and as often as is needed in order to prevent getting red or tanned by the sun. The best choice are sunscreen for children because these contain what is known as a a particle-filter – particles in the sun creme that actually reflect the sun rather than absorb it as a chemical sunscreen would. Instead of being absorbed a particle-filter sunscreen will remain as a protective layer on the surface of the skin, not allowing the radiation to penetrate the skin’s surface. This white layer may not be so attractive but because it is visible it makes it easy to see whether or not you used a sufficient amount and/or if it is time to repeat the application.
As a swimmer it is also important to use sunscreen that is water-proof.
Be sure to bring an extra tube to the beach or on the boat to be able to apply it several times a day.
Information Specific to Camps in Turkey
Our Camp Locations in Turkey
We have two main regions for our swim camps:
Çıralı – one of the last quiet seaside village untouched by large hotels and crowds. A 3km pebble beach backed by a quiet, peaceful, family-friendly farming village.
Kaş – this is the quiet hillside town favored by our Turkish friends who love culture, water sports and outdoor living, as well as expat residents in-the-know. It is a bit further away from Antalya (3.5 hours) but that is part of the reason it stays small and pleasant.
We provide custom group and private swim camps in these locations, as well as in Antalya, and other locations in Western Turkey, and around the Greek Islands off the coast of Turkey.
Private Transfer Instructions
For ease of mind we recommend that you schedule a private transfer with the company we prefer to work with in this region – Akdeniz Transfer. You may view the price list and make a reservation HERE.
For both arrival and departure transfer, the info you will need to provide:
- Date of flight (arrival or departure)
- Airline code and flight number
- Name of airline
- Number of passengers
- Your full name
- Your mobile number (that you will use while in Turkey)
Let them know you are traveling to participate in a Mediterra Swim Camp with Coach Mat Hudson – they take good care of our guests.
This private transfer will provide trustworthy personal service, door-to-door, at a price lower than a taxi. The transfer company will monitor your arrival flights on the web, and know precisely how long and what uncertainties there might be in traffic so they can schedule your transfer time safely.
Private transfers can be arranged for you any time day or night, 24/7. No worries.
Travel time to Çıralı is abou 90 minutes from the airport. The return transfer will be scheduled about 2 hours before the time you need to arrive at the airport.
Travel time to Kaş is about 4 hours (with a 30 minute rest stop). The return transfer will be scheduled about 4 hours before the time you need to arrive at the airport.
The transfer company will send you specific instructions for how to find your driver upon exiting the baggage claim area of the airport.
If you are traveling alone or have any concerns about the safety of these transfers we will be glad to explain what you can expect in the transfer experience.
Wildlife and Sealife
What kind of critters will we see?
In case any of you were wondering, there is very little danger for us in this part of the Mediterranean Sea. It is incredibly mild and benign.
Mostly, this is who you will see…
Caretta caretta – our beloved sea turtles. I am pleased to say they have been congregating in bigger numbers around Kaş in the last couple years and they nest on the protected beach at Çıralı.
We’ve never had a shark sighting nor jellyfish sightings, though these do exist out in the Med. Small stingrays may swim way down deep, well below swimmer depth and they tend to escape quickly if we come overhead. There might be an occasional slightly stinging ‘strand of invisible hair’ floating in the water – we might feel these occasionally, but there is nothing to see. It is just a mysterious little series of pricks on the skin with no side effects.
There are sometimes little urchins in the rocks near shore, and the limestone is weathered into VERY jagged shapes, like serrated knives, and one must be very careful crawling out of the water at rocky places. We do recommend that you bring light water-shoes to wear while standing in shallow water.
There is no visible tide and there is no current in our swimming areas except for what the wind creates.
Really, the biggest danger we face is the sun.
Have some strict or unusual dietary needs?
Please let me know so we can either help the pansiyon staff anticipate your needs (within reason), or help you plan how to meet your needs from the common menus and from the local market.
Vegetarians will have no problem – the menu here in Turkey is loaded with vegetable dishes, raw vegetables, milk products, and grains. There are always meat-free dishes on the table.
Vegans will find it a bit more limited but still will not be lost for good food.
Gluten-intolerant people (like Coach Mat’s wife) have a bit more inconvenience, but we know what to ask about and what options you have in the local menu.
Occasionally, we have a guest with some very unusual restrictions – for this we will do our best to help you, but please come prepared to be creative and bring along extra supplies (or purchase from the market here) for yourself as needed.
You are certainly welcome to explain your particular situation further. we can work together to come up with a plan to get you through the week comfortably.
And you should practice this phrase…
Afiyet Olsun! (‘ah-fee-yet ol-soon’) – Turkish for “Bon Appetit!)
What about spending money?
Your room, breakfast (and sometimes dinner, depending on the camp) are covered in your camp fee already. You will likely have some extra expenses for lunch, beverages, and snacks as you please. You just need to pay for extra expenses upon checkout.
What might you need money for?
Lunch and dinner, paying for water, and buying snacks at the market (ice cream!), and relatively cheap produce.
If you like, you may tip the transfer driver – 10 to 30 lira (for a group) would be a nice gesture. But don’t feel obligated to.
And, you don’t have to tip the coaches either – but we do accept gifts of nuts, fruit, ice cream and glasses of wine, occasionally. 🙂
In the village of Çıralı
You can order lunch at our pansiyon (they make a small variety of home-style food each day). There are some small markets within a few minutes walk. The village center is about 2km away, with restaurants, a larger market and souvenirs. At the pansiyon there are some bicycles available for our use around the village.
There is now one ATM in Çıralı! Yet, we still recommend that you convert a small amount of money at the airport, just in case it is not operating when you arrive. Unfortunately, there is no convenient stop for money exchange on the road between the airport and the village.
You may use your credit card to pay for extras at the pansiyon, and in the restaurants in the village. They will accept Euros, but you may get a slightly better rate paying in Turkish Lira.
On Monday, there is a nice open-air bazaar in the nearest city of Kemer, about 40 minute drive away. It will have a good variety of fruits, vegetables, spices, snacks, and souvenirs also. I can arrange transport to take a group of you there for a couple hours in the middle of the day. There are ATM machines and exchange offices in Kemer.
In the city of Kaş
If you want to withdraw cash there are lot’s of banks and ATM machines in Kaş. If needed, be sure to contact your bank to let them know you will use your card in Turkey.
Virtually every place will accept your credit card. You may also use Euros in some restaurants and at the hotel – though you may pay a bit more than if you paid in Turkish Lira.
On Fridays there is a really nice open-air pazar in Kaş. It has a nice selection of fruits, vegetables, spices, soap, hand-made clothing and items of interest. In our opinion, the quality of goods is a bit higher here, on the account of the tasteful tourists who come to Kaş.
Mobile Phone Service
Will my mobile phone work in Turkey?
Once your phone signal is detected by the local carrier it should connect.
However, we cannot tell you anything about what rates you will be charged! So, please check on what your home carrier rates will be and consider purchasing a temporary international calling plan.
Signal should be strong at our lodging and at our training locations. But during our boat excursion, it is possible we may park or travel through a zone where cell reception does not work so well.
One more caution: Turkey has this thing about registering any phone that stays in the country after about a week or two. If you’ve been here more than 7 days it is possible your phone service will get cut off until you go to a local cell service shop, register and pay a fee which may not be more than 40 lira. We agree it is a hassle, but we don’t run the place.
Our official START time will be 16:00 at the hotel on the first day. We will make our greetings and introductions, and pass out camp materials. We will go for a first warm-up swim (or ‘cool-down swim’ if you prefer) after the introductions.
Our official END time will be 12:00 on the final day. We will have a final swim/training session that morning. Because of variation in everyone’s departure times, we may give our official congratulations and certificates the night before.
Our guests may come from any corner of the world. We understand the challenges of finding suitable flights. It is OK with us to arrive a little late or leave a little early if necessary (though we cannot offer discounts on the fees for this).
If the weather is hot and the water is warm, we will have our first practice before breakfast at 7:00 to 9:00.
If it is more suitable, we will have our first practice session at 10:00 to 12:00.
Our afternoon sessions are typically around 16:30 once the sun is lower in the sky.
First of all, our schedule and agenda is completely customized to the needs and interests of the group of swimmers we have for each event. We may change it to make things better for everyone.
This is our general weekly schedule for a 6 night/day camp:
- Day 1 (arrival) – Greetings & Introduction, afternoon swim session.
- Day 2 – Morning session and video shoot #1, post-breakfast video analysis, afternoon session.
- Day 3 – Morning session, post-breakfast discussion, afternoon session.
- Day 4 – Morning session, and rest day – (option afternoon swim possible).
- Day 5 – Boat Excursion with exploratory swims.
- Day 6 – Morning session and video shoot #2, post-breakfast video analysis, afternoon session. Evening certificates.
- Day 7 (departure) – Morning challenge swim, Goodbyes.
Will there be wifi at our lodging?
But we cannot tell you how strong the signal will be. It may be available only in the common area of the hotel, and sometimes reaches to the rooms.
And, the delivery to these locations is by phone line, so do not expect super-fast connection speeds. For basic communications with the world, it should be adequate.
Turkey Tourist Visa
Do you have your tourist visa for Turkey yet?
Of course, those of you who live here don’t need one. Neither do citizens of certain countries which have travel agreements with Turkey. You likely know this already if you live in one of these countries (like Russia).
You can apply for it online HERE. It costs $20 USD and is valid for 180 days (you can stay in Turkey for a total of 90 days within that 180 day period). You will print out your visa and present this paper with your passport when you go to passport control after arriving at your first Turkish airport.
There are two international airports closest to our camp locations:
- Antalya International Airport (AYT)
- Dalaman International Airport (DAL)
Antalya International Airport has two main terminal buildings – Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. The two buildings are not connected and it is not possible to walk between them safely.
Terminal 1 has a Domestic side (İç Hatları) which services flights coming from Istanbul and inside Turkey, and an International side (Dış Hatları) which services major year-round airlines.
Terminal 2 is open just for the height of tourist season and services charter flights direct from other countries.
In arranging a private transfer it is important to note which terminal your flight will arrive and depart from.
From Antalya it is approximately 90 minutes to Çıralı by private transfer and 3.5 hours to Kaş.
Dalaman International Airport has one main Terminal building with a Domestic side and an International side.
From Dalaman it is approximately 25 minutest to Göcek by private transfer and 2.5 hours to Kaş.
Might need some laundry done?
The family who runs this pansiyon will be ready to help our stay be comfortable. They have washing machines and you may request a load of laundry washed for a small fee. Every thing is dried in the air and the weather will be warm enough to do that in a couple hours.
There is a professional laundry service down by the harbor in Kaş which will do a load for about 15 lira.
However, we have a nice relationship with the staff at our hotel and they may be willing to run a load for you for a similar fee.
What if I need some medical attention?
First, we are going to send you an interview form to collect Emergency Contact information and notes on your current medical needs and condition. We will keep this information secure and delete if directly after camp. But in the case of an emergency everyone will be glad we have it.
Please bring any critical medications you need, but also have us help you check for backup solutions in case you need one locally.
There is no hospital or pharmacy in the village of Çıralı. But there are in the city of Kemer, 40 minute drive away. The ambulances are stationed there also.
There is a medical helicopter stationed in at the government hospital in Antalya and it can arrive in less than 30 minutes, if needed. It is sad but also comforting to see this chopper flying over the region frequently.
There is a local hospital and a new regional hospital in Kaş. There are several pharmacies also.
If you have any questions about whether a critical medication is readily available in Turkey you can send us the specific information and we’ll ask our pharmacist friend to check for it.