Preparing for Swim Camps
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
Info About The Training Experience
Preparing To Learn
How do I prepare for the training?
We expect that you have some positive exposure to the our 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 view our Introductory Video, and better yet, seek out a private lesson with a one of our coaches before deciding to attend one of our camps and taking this expense.
However, if you are new to technical training 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.
Our camps are designed to provide you with a refreshing balance of training, rest, and pleasure. Camps may be 4 to 6 days, composed of training in sea, discussion on land, and exploring marvelous water. There are usually one or two swim sessions each day, with 2 hours set aside for each training session. That time can be broken up into different activities, focus, and rest times depending on the needs and interests of the group. We interview and organize our students into one of these main skill objective zones:
- 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
If the event is taking place in your home country, you may not need additional insurance medical or accident insurance, though you may still need travel insurance.
Mediterra does not provide this coverage for you. It is much less expensive for you to secure your own individual insurance than for us to provide it for you and pass the expense on to you in your training fee.
You may find some insurance providers such as these:
- World Nomads (North America and worldwide customers)
- HCC Medical Insurance – Atlas Travel Program (North America and worldwide customers)
- Good Neighbor Insurance for travelers (North America and worldwide customers)
- Travelex Insurance Services
Or you may look for insurance providers in your home country.
Swim Safety Buoy
Planning to swim in open-water regularly?
If so, you may consider purchasing one of these Swimmer Safety Buoys. 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 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, therapeutic private lessons with a 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. Our approach 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 neurologically sensitive approach 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.
Because of the better safety, social and coaching dynamic, we prefer 8 to 12 swimmers in a camp, with 15 as a maximum. On occasion, we have worked with other coach partners to produce bigger camps, but we prefer smaller groups.
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. In typical introductory and intermediate swim camps we want to have no more than 6 swimmers with each coach.
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 are prepared to provide video analysis sessions for each swimmer with our underwater video equipment. Depending on your needs and interests we do this once or more often during 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
Because of the nature of our training environment (wild water) and the nature of our training approach (mindful), we will consider accepting eager students starting from around 12 to 18 years old under these conditions:
- 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 technical development.
- The student wants to learn 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
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 (email). 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 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.