Cdt Simpson was recently selected to swim for London & South East Region. She tells her story below:
On Friday 12th November the London & South East Region swimmers had to meet either at Three Bridges Station in Crawley at 1630hrs or at RAF Northolt at 1830hrs to be picked up by a coach which would take us to RAF Cranwell for us to compete in the swimming gala the following day.
Once everyone had been picked up we headed off to RAF Cranwell which was about 3hrs 30mins away. We eventually got there at about 2245hrs and once we had got to our accomodation we had to choose a room, drop our bags off, sign in then go and get our team kit. When that had all been sorted it was already around 2320hrs and lights had to be out at 2330hrs but we still managed to talk for a bit and get to know each other a bit better.
That night we all slept very well as we were shattered from the journey, sadly though our wake up call was at 0600hrs, which was more like a fire alarm, and that woke us up immediately. Once we were up we had to pack our things and get into our team kit and be ready by 7.
That was okay as the 5 of us girls on that floor were ready by half 6 so we all sat outside our rooms and talked till it was time to go. We then had to form up outside with the other regions to be registered. Three regions were sent off to breakfast then the rest of us about 10mins later were let off. We had a choice of English breakfast, juices, cereal and toast, the breakfast was good.
When we had all marched back from breakfast we had about half an hour to sort our rooms, belongings and bins out ready for someone to check, then we met downstairs and waited for a mini bus to pick us and our bags up to take us to the swimming pool.
The gala started around 1030hrs and finished about 1400hrs. We worked well as a team and everyone as well as the staff were very supportive but we still had fun, laughed and talked with each other on the poolside.
I was in the junior girls freestyle relay and we came 4th. The regions that were there were: L&SER, Wales & West, Scotland & N. Ireland, South West, Central & East, North. When it had finished we got changed back into our clothes to wear on the way home which had to be the same as it was on the way which was smart civilian clothes and then headed towards the gym where we were given our certificates and regional sports blue, as well as our two packed lunches, one for lunch and one for dinner.
By the time we were back on the coach many of us had made new friends or had got to know each other better, so the journey home was much less quiet. We finished off watching the film that we had on the way to RAF Cranwell and we also watched another film. We stopped once at services, the same as on the way for about 30mins and then headed back to RAF Northolt where many people got off. There were a couple of us that were going back to Three Bridges Station and the journey was fun as we all heard stories about camps that people had been on. We arrived at 1840hrs.
I had a lot of fun doing the swimming and i would love to do it again, it was an amazing experience that I will never forget and I met many new people. It was hard work but we all did our best and made our Region proud.