The WILD Camp Experience – by Gurjit

You’re about read a real WILD Swimrun Camp experience – we’re happy to share Gurjit’s own words about her WILD HVAR Camp in Croatia this spring. Many thanks to Gurjit and happy reading!

How I found WILD Swimrun

Having heard about this new growing sport and watching coverage of ÖtillÖ World Series events, I was curious about swimrun and stumbled across a Facebook page advertising a Wild swimrun camp in Croatia. The idea of training, entering a sprint event and watching the full ÖtillÖ World Series Hvar race all in one trip appealed. 

Prior to booking a place, I emailed a number of questions to the Wild Swimrun team, mainly seeking reassurance I wouldn’t be the only first timer! Not only did the team patiently answer my questions but co founder Maria called me a few weeks before the camp to chat through the itinerary. Maria set up a WhatsApp group enabling my roommate Claire and I to connect ahead of the trip and exchange packing lists!
Claire and I happened to be on the same flight out which gave us ample opportunity to get to know one another, after a long journey to Hvar, we were warmly greeted by Fanny and Maria in the early hours of the morning. The personal touches continued with a beautiful welcome pack on our hotel beds, containing lots of lovely goodies and handy swimrun essentials. 

The Arrival

The Amfora hotel was used by many fellow swimrunners, ÖtillÖ Organisation team/volunteers and us! It had everything we needed including a delicious buffet and a short walk to the pre race briefing. With everyone being in one place it was a great way to meet others and hear what had attracted so many people to the sport. 

Day 1: Trying Open Water Swimming for the first time

Day one I was feeling anxious after breakfast, having never swam in the ocean I was trying to not to panic as we walked to the beach for our first session. Maria immediately picked up on this and reassured me we would go at my pace. Fanny and Maria encouraged us to try all the  different types of wetsuits and kit, so we could see what we liked. After a quick warm up, we ventured into the water.

Initially, the panic overwhelmed me and Maria gave me some exercises to do in the water. Most of which I continue with in the UK, especially if I ever feel panicked particularly in open water. The benefit of having a small group was having one to one coaching. In that first session I remember the feeling of swimming in the sea for the first time and hearing Maria shouting from the beach cheering me on. Claire and I had a go being tethered and swimrunning around the bay, it was such fun and there was a lot to think about.

A running technique session was an eye opener, watching the video footage helped me to identify where I needed to improve. Fanny was so encouraging, always sharing her own experiences with an infectious giggle and smile on her face. 

Day 2: The Swimrun boat Excursion

Day two involved a boat trip and swimrunning around Paklini Islands, part of the ÖtillÖ World Series Hvar course, jumping off the boat into the sea was a real pinch myself moment and of course Fanny’s top tip of ‘keeping your legs together’ made me laugh. 

Day 3: Race day!

Day three was sprint race day! Claire and I were supported with every last detail, pre race reassurance, kit checks, nutrition, the girls  took pictures, and of course cheered us on. The sense of achievement was exhilarating and I knew this wouldn’t be my last event, I was hooked.

The benefit of swimrun being a relatively new sport and the close relationship the girls have with the ÖtillÖ World Series Organisation was evident throughout the camp. Fanny and Maria made things happen without any fuss, and get things done with ease, style and grace. From knowing who to speak to about making team changes, connecting us to fellow swimrunners and organising a spectator boat to follow the ÖtillÖ World Series Hvar race, all made us feel part of the event and the swimrun family. Six weeks after returning the support continues, I have been connected to previous camp attendee. Becky and I have entered a swimrun event in July and I am keen to introduce the sport to other women too.

/Gurjit

PS. Follow Gurjit’s next adventures on her Instagram.

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