Para camp cohort work on stroke development

28 Feb 2024

A select number of World Class Programme athletes were invited to attend a three day para-swimming camp hosted at the University of Bath, with a focus on developing stroke technique and skills as part of continuing preparations for the British Swimming Championships.

The three-day camp supported a cohort of seven athletes from the British Para-Swimming World Class Programme athletes on their stroke development, looking at optimising clean swimming speed and providing a long course training opportunity ahead of April’s Championships.

At the core of the scheduled athlete activity, Astrid Carroll, Becky Redfern, Bruce Dee, Eliza Humphrey, Rhys Darbey, Roan Brennan and Scarlett Humphrey engaged in coached pool sessions which focused on technique and utilised progressive drills. This was further supported with Victoria Jones, Dan Waddingham and Sasha Bloomfield leading the sport science and medical provision of biomechanical video analysis and physical conditioning – including gym programmes, Pilates as well as working with all athletes on pre and post-pool exercises.

Biomechanics Bath Stroke Camp 2024
Bruce Dee and Gerry Gillespie look at underwater video footage

The camp - headed up by British Para-Swimming Head Coach, Rob Aubry and Paralympic Performance Pathway Lead, Jacquie Marshall - also provided a setting for the athletes to build on previous education and grow independence around making the right nutritional choices when away from home. This was done by using group supermarket trips to put into practice selecting good lunch options, while also replicating the situations encountered at swimming meets where cooking isn’t practical by eating out and navigating the best options to choose from the menus of establish food chains.

Rhys Darbey Bruce Dee Bath Stroke Camp 2024
Rhys Darbey and Bruce Dee using an automated checkout

Further positives from the camp environment were initiated by collaborative integrated working with a British Swimming Performance Centre Bath training session led by Jamie Main, providing the opportunity for a couple of the athletes to train alongside Olympic Programme counterparts.

Sharing his thoughts on the focused development opportunity, Brennan spoke highly of the experience:

“I would say the most valuable part of the camp was really the in depth focus on skills and technique. I was introduced to drills I hadn’t used before and there was always time throughout the camp pool sessions to work on progressive drills and implement that then into your main stroke.

“I got to join a session with the [British Swimming] Performance Centre athletes at Bath too - training in a lane alongside Brodie Williams and Leah Crisp. That session was technique based as well so I found it really beneficial, because again I was using drills I’d never used before and progressing that into my stroke. The whole experience was so valuable and there is loads I can take back into my home training environment.”

Development opportunity was not limited only the athlete cohort, with two coaches from the Para-Coaches Development Programme - Keith Hall from Richmond Dale and Gerry Gillespie from Enfield S.C. – taking the lead on sessions as part of their own progression and confidence development in the experience of applying necessary adaptations for the athletes in the water, while additionally Rod Wardle acted as Team Manager for his first para-swimming camp.

Gym and Physical Prep Bath Stroke Camp 2024
Sasha Bloomfield supports Astrid Carroll in the gym

Paralympic Performance Pathway Lead, Jacquie Marshall commented:

“The camp provided a really positive environment with athletes and staff fully engaged to work together as a team towards the aims and objectives set out.

“Working closely with the small cohort of athletes invited allowed space for dedicated one to one interactions, and it’s pleasing to see this reflected in the development outcomes of individuals both in and out of the water.”

The British Swimming Championships are returning to London in April 2024 - and for the first time, will fully combine swimming and para-swimming events in one momentous competition. Ticket are on sale at, with full schedule information here.

Keith Hall and Gerry Gillespie briefing Bath Stroke Camp 2024
Gerry Gillespie and Keith Hall lead a poolside briefing