The European Championships consists of two main components: the Pool Events (competitions in the swimming pool) and the Ocean Events (competitions at the beach and in the ocean). This year the senior event is being held from Friday the 16th August until Sunday the 18th August 2013. This event is organised by ‘Reddingsbrigade Nederland’, the Royal Dutch Life Saving Organisation. The Pool Events will be hosted by the ‘Hofbad’ pool in The Hague. The beach where the Ocean Events will be held is located in Noordwijk, and hosted by the ‘Noordwijkse Reddingsbrigade’, the local Life Saving organisation.

On Friday the 16th August, they start with the spectacular opening ceremony. Moreover, the same night the SERC (Simulated Emergency Response Competition) will take place from 19.00-21.30 hrs. All this is located in ‘Het Hofbad’ in The Hague, one of the newest and most state-of-the-art swimming pools in the country. On Saturday the 17th August the event really kicks off. The Pool Events will start at 09.00 hrs, again in ‘Het Hofbad’ in The Hague. In the morning, the series will take place. The afternoon will be filled with the finals. We expect an exciting and entertaining day for all, and maybe even some new European records…? On Sunday August 18th, we go to the Northsea beach in the town of Noordwijk. This town with its beautiful boulevard and its sandy beaches is the venue for the Ocean Events during this edition of the European Championships. Again, five events will take place, and for the complete program we refer you to our website. On the last evening the closing ceremony and closing party will be held as well. These events take place in Hotel Den Haag.

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2013 European Lifesaving Championships – Day 1

Written by Scott Wood GB & NI Team Manager

GB & NI Representative Team


George Haynes
Charlie Haynes
Andrew Kane
Simon Worne
Lewis Rosewell


Zara Williams
Mesha Wardman
Ellie Parker
Charley Gourley
Rhian Thomas
Team Manager: Scott Wood
Pool Coach: Amy Wilkinson
Beach Coach: Lloyd Roswell
Team Physio: Lucy Barrell

The Seamless Travel Plan

We had everything going for us. Flying out of Exeter was easy. Flight time of a bit over an hour up to Amsterdam was easy. Being met at the airport by some representatives from the organising committee who proceeded to take us to the train that would deliver us to The Hague was easy. Lloyd Rosewell offering to take the map that would allow us to get from Schiphol Airport train station to the doorstep of our hotel was easy. NOT.

Lloydy’s job was simple, to get us off at the Station Den Haag LNOI which from there was a short simple walk to the hotel. Our only instruction from our organising committee helpers was ‘make sure you don’t miss your stop as it’s difficult to get back if you do’.

Let me try to paint a picture for you. 14 team members with average of two bags each plus fin bags, massage table and assorted other items crammed into a section of the upper deck of a Dutch local train. In my mind, Lloydy would give us a warning that the next stop was ours so we could prepare to move en-masse down the stairs that would lead, eventually, off the train.

We had been travelling for about 35 minutes and visited six or seven stops when the train slowed and then stopped at yet another station. After what seemed a long period of time – a point which Lloydy will undoubtably argue – he shouted, ‘this is our stop’. As I was closest to the stairs I jumped up first and began to descend the stairs toward the door but my bag got wedged and I couldn’t move. The team backed up behind me and between me and the open door was a big red headed dude whom I assumed that, being on a Dutch train in the Netherlands, was Dutch. Yelling to him in my best ever Australian with Dutch twist accent ‘Hey mate hold the door’.

Now I am first to say that, at times, I am not easy to understand but the big red headed dude looked at me like I has just asked him to explain the Bible to me in one quick sentence and the train door slipped quietly closed behind him.

As we moved away from the train stop that ‘we promised we’d make sure we wouldn’t miss’ my mind wandered to a place it seems to spend a large majority of its thinking time, outside the box!

I quickly un-wedged my bag from the stair case, gave the red headed dude a dirty look and as the train pulled up at the next station – team GB piled off and headed to an unknown platform looking for an unknown train headed for an unknown direction.

I write this blog from the comfort of my hotel room proving that we did indeed make it safely, and on reflection, the process of taking the local Tram from station Lan Vaan NOI on Tram 3 to Zoetemeer Central West and switching to Tram 19 to Delft Trathof but getting off at Leidshenveen and the taking Tram 13 to Scholester-Singel was both a no brainer and the perfect training to write a piece for Lonely Planet on the Dutch transport system.

After all that drama we still managed an hour of training in the Hofbad Pool, venue for the Lifesaving competition component of these championships, and then dinner. The process of preparation both physical and mental for Friday’s competition start, has begun.

The team entering Holland

2013 European Lifesaving Championships – Day 2

Written by Scott Wood GB & NI Team Manager

Google Translate and the Two Charlies

Anyone will tell you clear and concise communication is the key for any successful sporting team. Yeah right! Cast your imagination around this mix. Three team members from Newcastle, three from Wales, one Australian, one from Sheffield, a couple from Devon and Cornwall and the two Haynes brothers who have their own language that is seemingly only spoken in a galaxy far from planet earth. All this combined with the fact we are in a country where English is the second language. Needless to say, the team meetings are epic in all aspects and I often wonder if they often drift back to their respective rooms and say to each other, ‘what did he say?’

So, two days in and training is good and we have managed to get the 50m pool to ourselves for one hour on each of the first two days which has been a real bonus and allowed us some quality SERC training.

The only two members of our squad not having represented GB before are the two Charlies, Charley Gourley and Charlie Haynes. Charley G is our female fins swimmer from Newcastle who, although we only first met at the airport, has settled in great and although neither of us understands a word we say I am excited by what she brings to the team for now and the future. Speaking of the future, Charlie H is just that. With hair that has its own schedule and agenda and an infallible stomach I am salivating at the prospect of unleashing him on Europe. Also if Charley G marries Charlie H they will both be called Charlie (ey) Haynes which is sort of funky.

I write from the pool deck of the Hofbad Swim Centre – a newly built facility 10 mins from the CBD of The Hague – training today is a structure 1.5 hrs of skills and drills.

Personally I am adjusting well to Dutch food although this morning I tried something called Groot Brood which was on the breakfast table wrapped in plastic and although it isn’t confirmed, I have a feeling that it may be Dutch tradition that at every breakfast table it is imperative that catering is supplied to anyone who brings a pet or animal of some description with them. That’s a nice touch!!

GB & NI Team

2013 European Lifesaving Championships – Day 3

Written by Scott Wood GB & NI Team Manager

Timber shoes and Welsh legends

It was a terrifying moment and when I think back I get a cold shiver down my spine and quite frankly, I am lucky to be alive. I mean who invented the Clog anyway? ‘Hey everyone look at this, I just made a shoe out of this bit of timber’ and wearing them on a wet tiled hotel bathroom floor was just plain madness!!!

On the eve of event #1, the SERC, we travelled to Noordwijk Beach, venue for Sundays beach competition, it was nice, well sort of nice in a Dutch beach resort way. Let’s be honest, I’m not thinking that there are many families in the Netherlands tossing around either the Bahamas or Noordwijk for the summer break. But this is our battleground and with the anticipated strong winds and a metre of swell forecast for Sunday. All this combined with a long wade sets it up for us and the vibe was awesome.

Magic moment in the pool today when one of Wales most decorated athletes, the great Lewis Rosewell set a PB of 26.5 for 50m freestyle.

Before leaving for the SERC competition we spoke as a team about personal commitment when wearing the letters GBR on your shirt and not letting the reputation or previous results of our competitors affect our own focus and performance. The four GB athletes selected for the SERC are Andrew Kane, Charley Gourley, Simon Worne and Lewis Rosewell and all are 100% aware that a great result is key to 2013 European success.

2013 European Lifesaving Championships – Day 4

Written by Scott Wood GB & NI Team Manager

Anthems and British Records

It was the weirdest thing, there I was awake at 1am humming a tune (for a moment) with an unknown origin. Yeah it was a real happy bouncy tune and every time you thought it was going to end it started right up again for another minute or so and it took this path three or four times in the duration of the tune.

Ladies and gentleman welcome to the national anthem of Italy, and yes we heard it many times during the pool component of these championships (Saturday) Team GB completed possibly its finest ever pool performance today with a silver medal in the SERC competition only 14 points behind host country the Netherlands and competitors in 5 x A finals and 10 x B finals.

We boarded the bus for the 15 minute journey from the pool to the hotel with three new British records (50 manikin carry female, medley relay men, medley relay women) and 100 points in the bag. A couple of DQ’s soured momentum but overall it was a remarkable evening for us. With world records being broken in three of the finals it was a meet of epic proportions and shows clearly the scale of Team GB performance.

So, to pick a highlight or standout GB performance, wow, I’m not sure where to start possibly Zara Williams that she is indeed world class in the 50 carry or maybe the two Charlies (eys) Haynes and Gourley who showed that even at 16 and 17 they belong at this level or was it the professionalism of Kaney and Worney even though at times the orange plastic thing was determined to look for coins on the bottom of the pool (which is something the judges don’t like apparently). Ellie made her first individual final and all the girls including Rhian and Meshs made team A finals. When you give George Haines a mission, he is unlikely to let you down (I am being serious Andrea!) The men’s medley relay demanded a sub 25 second 50 from the big man and whilst the Haynes brothers pumped themselves up with a dance of some description before the final, it worked a treat with George smashing out a 24.5 and started a process that lead to breaking a British record which has stood since 2006.

We have given ourselves a platform from which we can achieve great things on Sunday. We need to be tougher and smarter than ever before.