In March 2018, Olympic swimmer Keri-anne Payne will be jetting off to Nevis to hold a week-long swim retreat based at Nisbet Plantation Beach Club, an opportunity which is exclusive to Tropic Breeze clients.
Silver medallist Keri-anne and fellow Olympian David Carry will be helping guests to become a more efficient swimmer in the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea. The retreat is perfect for all abilities, from beginners who wish to learn how to swim front crawl to those who are more experienced and are looking to hone their skills in open water swimming.
Below we talk to Keri-anne to find out why she thinks swimming is such a beneficial activity, what inspired her to run swim retreats and why she loves the Caribbean.
New Year resolutions often involve taking up a new activity. Swimming is supposed to be particularly beneficial, can you tell us why?
“Swimming has many different benefits. It is a really good for the whole body. In particular, it is a great cardiovascular workout and because there is no weight on the joints, it’s a sports that can be done no matter your age or ability.
If you don’t want to swim, running in the water is good. If you find running on land hard on the body, try running in the water. With the water being denser than air your muscles have to work that bit harder but without causing injuries.
Humans are naturally drawn to water and it has a wonderful calming effect. Swimming is a very mindful activity. It gives you a chance to de-stress and have time for yourself, which is very important.”
And if you’re serious about getting fit by swimming how many hours a week would you recommend?
“The key thing is to find a routine that fits around your lifestyle and that you can stick to. As long as you keep to a consistent, regular regime you will lose weight and see an improvement in your muscle tone and fitness.”
What inspired you to start running swim retreats?
“We wanted to find a way to remove some of the barriers that stop people from learning how to swim. Our retreats create the perfect environment for people to take on a new challenge because on holiday generally everyone is much more relaxed and more open to trying something new. The retreats are specifically designed for teaching adults. We opt for the crystal clear sea in the Caribbean as it’s very enticing and helps to persuade even the reluctant beginner. When clients leave feeling happy and inspired with their new life-enhancing skills then we know we have done a good job!”
Open water swimming is a totally different experience to swimming in a pool. Are there different techniques that need to be applied?
“The main one is ‘sighting’. You need to be able to see where you are going, and in the open water, unlike in a swimming pool, there are no lines to follow! You need to either fix on another swimmer or choose a landmark to follow.”
The Caribbean retreat coincides with the annual Nevis to St Kitts cross channel swim. What makes this famous race so special?
“For me, the fact you are swimming from one island to another I find very exciting. And, also you see some amazing sea life there. Last year I was racing and aiming to win, but kept being distracted by the sea turtles!”
When did you first visit the Caribbean and why do you like it so much?
“I first visited the Caribbean in 2013 and from the second I arrived I knew it was amazing. Fantastic weather, beautiful scenery and lovely turquoise sea. Everyone is so friendly and each island is very different but with that distinct Caribbean feel.”
And, where is your favourite place in the Caribbean for open water swimming?
“Nevis is wonderful! It is particularly special which is why we are running a retreat there in March. I also love The Cayman Islands because the water is unbelievably clear and warm. The islands also boast some amazing water wildlife.”
The Nevis swim retreat will take place from 21 – 28 March 2018. A 7 night holiday package costs from £2670 per person including flights, transfers and accommodation and the swim package.