ABU DHABI // The Russia swimming squad may make Abu Dhabi their base for an annual winter camp following a successful first visit for training. A 27-member squad, which includes 11 members of the technical staff, were to leave today after a three-week training camp at the Al Jazira club's indoor pool, which their head coach Andrei Vorontsov described as having been a huge help to his young swimmers in the build-up to the Russian national championships .
"This is 50 per cent of the national squad and they come from the coldest parts of Russia," said Vorontsov. "It was important for us to provide them with good training conditions, particularly in a warmer climate to keep in good shape. "This is the first time we decided to hold a training camp abroad and I think it was a great idea. "I would like to think this will be an annual camp. The other half of the squad are from the warmer areas in Russia, and they train back home.
"It was the Russian Swimming Federation's idea to travel to Dubai or Abu Dhabi. Dubai was booked already, so we travelled to Abu Dhabi. "We are absolutely delighted with the facilities and the training we have had." Vorontsov said the swimmers were returning home for a 10-day break before the national championships in St Petersburg from February 7 to 11. The Abu Dhabi training camp and the national championships are also part of the Russian team's preparations for the European Long Course Championship in Budapest, Hungary, in August.
Among the 16 swimmers in the squad in Abu Dhabi were Olympic silver medallists, Mikhail Polischuk and Yevgeny Lagunov, who were in the Russian 4x200m freestyle relay team at the 2008 Beijing Games. firstname.lastname@example.org