Swimmers from across the globe are now migrating to the European continent to acclimate ahead of the upcoming Olympic Games that launch in just 18 days. With a limited number of 50m pools available in the United Kingdom, federations have ventured across the Strait of Dover to the main continent to find training spots, and it is perhaps the Canadians who have found the gem of the whole bunch.
As the Canuck athletes wrapped up the Canada Cup in Montreal over the weekend, they now immediately head off to the small city of Olbia on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia. There, the Geovillage Sport & Convention Center is one of Europe’s best-kept-training secrets. The complex features a 10-lane, 50-meter pool, with additional 25-meter and 20-meter training pools.
The island locale has a near-perfect climate, and is away from all of the chaos that will be overtaking the United Kingdom in the leadup to the Games. The pools are also set in what is basically a resort, meaning that all facilities the teams would need (spas, healthy eating) to hit their tapers will be at-hand.
The lone drawback of this off-the-beaten-trail locale is that they will have a bit of a longer commute back to London than many at about 2.5 hours in-air. Then again, the Olbia airport should be much less stressful than what many will face even flying from closer destinations.
Simply put, this seems like a winning choice by Swimming Canada. How much of a difference can the location of a pre-Olympic camp make? It’s probably easier to do damage than to significantly improve your standing, but this will be a good place for the Canadians to “not do any damage”.