Yes, that’s right! We’re re-opening!
The committee have reviewed the latest guidelines from Swim England and our pool providers and we now ready to return to swimming from Monday 12th April 2021. MyTime have confirmed the pool time we have at both the Walnuts and now also at Biggin Hill.
As we cautiously move out of the current restrictions through this year, we hope some of the restrictions we had previously will be relaxed and we will make our members aware if changes can be made. In the meantime, we hope to see as many of you possible poolside.
As part of the guidelines we have to ensure all swimmers and volunteers complete the Covid and Health Declarations. These forms are new and need to be complete again prior to swimming. Links to these forms can be found at the end of this article. Please complete these forms before your first swimming session.
The updated training schedule is available on this website under the Information/Squads menu item. Please take a look to ensure you know when and where you are swimming; there have been a few changes to some squads.
Please remember to adjust your adjust \ reinstate your monthly Standing Order to the Squad Fee as of the 1st working day of the month where possible. Any adjustments for partial months will be invoiced separately.
Please note that you are still required to wear face coverings when moving around any of the venues – unless you are exempt. Please make our Welfare Officer aware of any exemptions via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Covid Liaison volunteers will still play a big part of our routine. Without enough volunteers, the swimming sessions can not take place. Please spare some time where possible to ensure the session run as smoothly as possible.
All swimmers are required to wear a swim cap when in the water. One of these, along with the other vital kit is available from our club shop!
Don’t forget to update your information in Team Unify or the OnDeck Mobile Application. It is vital we have telephone contact numbers in the system, as well as being able to see attendance, personal best records and more. Please let us know if you have any questions\issues with the system.
If you have any questions on any subjects please do not hesitate to contact us. The committee email addresses are on the Information/Our Committee menu link
Fantastic Job Orpington Ojays. You are all amazing
Monday 22nd March 2021
Fantastic Job Orpington Ojays. You are all amazing.
Our Strava team of 70 athletes have ran, walked, swam, cycled and scootered well past our target of 5,944 miles on our virtual relay to Tokyo.
The stadiums look amazing, and the planning is nearly done, but there is one small technical hitch - due to pesky Covid -19 they are no longer allowing international spectators to attend. So, we need to get back home pretty quickly and organise a prime viewing spot on the sofa. Not only that, but the day most of us get back in the water is fast approaching, and we cannot be late for training.
From Tadpoles to Masters, our squad members and their families and their dogs have all been a part of something special. We have discovered that swimmers CAN run as well as swim, and that fresh air really DOES lift our spirits. We have trained through snow, rain, sunshine and everything else between. It has been so nice to see what everyone has been achieving and reading encouraging and supportive comments on the Strava page.
Please continue; the Strava link is live and we can continue to share our experiences and engage as a team.
Fundraising has gone well and so far we’ve raised £705. Thank you. I know some people were holding back to see if we made it before adding to the total. Well, we have, so you can make your donations now.
Watch out for future fund-raising ideas (share if you have any) as we really do need to hit that £2000 target.
Well done team, let us keep up the fabulous routines and keep posting your progress. Strava has lots of smaller individual challenges to choose from and there are also virtual events to enter where you can earn real medals. Congratulations Team Ojays you are all superstars.
As a team we have covered 11,000km on our virtual relay together. An absolutely fantastic achievement and one that puts us just north of the Oki Islands in the Sea of Japan.
This week has seen the return to school, which many of our swimmers and their families are incredibly happy about. Trainers and slippers are swapped for smart shoes, and school uniforms replace joggers and Dri-FIT T-shirts.
Whilst the school day has slowed the number of early morning exercise sessions, lighter evenings are helping to keep the pace up and our fitness levels for when we get back in the water.
Week 7 was the week when one of our athletes set new personal record. Lucas Bond set a personal distance record completing his first ever 5k run! An amazing achievement and the distance many people target when they first lace up running shoes. Congratulations Lucas, you have done it and it can never be undone. Nick Bunclark, a senior athlete, also achieved a distance he has not managed in over three years, when he crossed the 10k mark on Mother’s Day. Ava Hickey made us all wish we went to her school with the photos of her school pool which she has access to before classes. Steve Morris was back trail running through dark woods and Justin Strover once again hit the track with his outstanding pace to lead some of the challenge leader boards.
With Tokyo so close, we need to keep going for that last little bit…no breathing in the last 5 meters!
That means with the fund raising as well. Our goal was to raise £2000, but let’s see if we can all chip in to get half way by the time we reach Tokyo! Can we raise the remaining £295 by next weekend?
As a team we can!
With good fortune and everyone playing their part in keeping the population safe by reducing the risks of coronavirus infection to as low as possible, we are looking forward to the day when we can return to training and then one day competition. With that in mind we have been working with our club kit manufacture to streamline the process of ordering our poolside kit.
Below is the link for ZEON, the company we purchase the Club Kit from. The link takes you to the OOJSC Club Kit range and purchasing page. To order our kit you will need to register and login. Once logged in you can then purchase whatever part of our club kit range you require. Payment is required to submit the order, however, as the kit is custom made ZEON will batch up your order with others and then deliver to the club three times per year. You will then be able to collect your order from the Walnuts on a Monday evening. Closing dates for each batch will be published so please keep an eye on this website, and the noticeboard the pool.
Plenty of our swimmers already have this kit, so if you are ordering for the first time then chances are you can ask friends in your squad what size they have so you can be sure to get the size you require. The kit will have you name on it, so please be sure you are confident on the size as exchanges are not possible.
Week six is behind us already and we have raised a fantastic £705 so far. Thank you for all your support in our massive multidiscipline virtual relay!
The maps on Strava can often paint lovely and interesting shaps. Some are perfect loops of parks, very orderly, whilst others are crazy zigzagging routes around the countryside. This week Tom Barrett created an amazing spiral in the middle of sea, which was apparently his virtual ride up a volcano! Obviously the gps data is slightly off, which whilst unfortunate does make a cool map. As expected, Chris Cook did take to the sea and he reported that the temperature was colder than when it was snowing. He kept his composure though and swam an impressive 2k. Certainly not recommended for those that have not taken part in cold water training. For the rest of us, warmer water will soon be available as we make our way through 2021.
It is wonderful to see some of our younger swimmers still joining the challenge. Finola did a nice long walk this week and it is great to see swimmers getting into good routines; like Sam R, Max P, Ava H (first 10k), Billy B, Max B, Oliver W, Samantha J, Sophie F, Tom B and Hannah S.
Keep up the good work, it is helping you stay fit and ready to make a splash when we return, alongside nudging us ever closer to Tokyo. We added just over 1700km this week, which takes us to just over 9000km on our journey. Stay hydrated, keep stretching and listen to what your body is telling you.
We are doing so well now having covered approximately 7,416KM, we are somewhere over Mongolia, at this rate we will be heading into Tokyo in just a few weeks. WOOHOO!
Fund raising has had a boost this week as well and the total now stands at £650 almost a third of the way to our £2000 total. If you have not yet asked your friends and family to support the team, then please do so this week. It would be so great if we can raise the money in time for our arrival in Tokyo.
The spring sunshine has prompted some to dust off those bikes in the shed, round up the kids and partners for some sunshine rides. Lovely to see some of our tadpoles Chloe and Isabel were out on their scooters with mum walking behind at city pace to keep up.
Lovely to see the photos of Chris who lives within a reasonable distance of the sea. The photos of him getting into the cold waters are a reminder of the close future where we can all get back in the water. Please continue to play your important part in keeping everyone safe to minimise the chance of those dates slipping.
This week our runners have been challenging themselves with some mammoth distances – some half marathons being put on the board, some sprint sets with Justin setting a blistering pace over 5km, and others like Grant, opted for a challenging hill set. Wonderful efforts from everyone.
The February challenges are in. Steve Morris and Louis Strover were our only entrants in the half marathon, taking Gold and Silver respectively. For the 10k they were joined by Justin Strover and Mark and Lauren Bond. Justin took Gold from Steve with an average pace of 5:04/km.
In the 5km challenge we had Justin was out of sight, taking gold with an average pace of 3:05/km. Steve was in Silver with 4:30/km and Nick Bunclark grabbed Bronze with 5:20/km. Jess Page, Callum B and Megan Ward joined Lauren and Mark Bond for other places.
A new month brings new chance to get on the boards. You only need to finished the distance and there are many many challenges to choose from for all disciplines. Enjoy.
Wow what a difference a week makes, it almost feels like spring!
Lots of trainers are firmly laced up and back clocking up some impressive distances. Fitness levels must be improving as some seem to be getting faster or going even further each week.
We have has a few casualties, most notably is young George who was almost at 10km before taking a tumble and a bash to the knee. He is all patched up and ready to go again. Others have some muscle tightness so have switched to a walk or a bike to aid recovery. Remember to warm up, cool down and stretch!
Half term has seen a trend of fewer early morning outings as our athletes take advantage of some lie ins. Pancake day may have been responsible for some extra trips to the shops. We have also seen the introduction of interval training, shuttle runs and hills!
We are now at 5700km, with running now totaling over 2000km! Walking follows with 1600km and 1180km on bikes.
Keep up the good work now we are back to home school working again and let’s see if we can focus and boost the fundraising this week.
It is with great sadness that we are announcing that our long serving Masters squad coach, Nick Cockran, is stepping down. Nick took over coaching the squad 14 years ago, after a long period of temporary coaches and self coaching by the swimmers. Through that 14 years, Nick brought stability to the squad and helped grow the squad into a size that needed three lanes at The Walnuts. With swimmers of varying ability, and a huge variation of age (teens to 50+), Nick wrote and managed sets each week to include and accommodate everyone’s desire, from social fitness to competition fitness. This is an extremely difficult task which all his swimmer appreciated very much.
From all your swimmers and members, present and past; thank you Nick for looking after the squad so well for such a long time.
Week 3 - Snow week!
Monday 15th February 2021
A warm welcome to those who have joined the Tokyo challenge this week.
We have continued to make amazing progress in the snow and are now past Moscow having covered just over 4000km in the three weeks. Even with the treacherous conditions our athletes managed to run, walk and hike over 100km and Chris continued the swimming section with another couple of swim in the sea not add over 3km to our tally.
Looking at the elevation data, perhaps some of our athletes have added to the distance by running up hills so they can toboggan back down; a great interval training workout. It also looks like some have taken the snow as a perfectly acceptable reason to stay warm and cosy.
With the snow and ice clearing and it being the half term week, we are ready for week four to see what we can achieve.
Please do not forget that this is also a fundraising exercise; so if you can persuade your family and friends to support your effort to Tokyo for the club, that would be wonderful.
Welcome to all those who have joined us and laced up those trainers this week.
It is so nice to see everyone getting involved, giving each other support and adding encouraging comments to each other.
You can see from the Strava page, the coaches have been stretching their legs, Silver, Gold and Platinum are building team momentum and getting involved. Bronze have a group building, Chrome have just one swimmer, Tadpoles Black & Purple, don’t be shy we need your help.
Special mentions go to some of our youngsters this week who have been out, George and Ben Farthing (Silver & Bronze), Welcome to the Tokyo journey the Davey Family (Gold & Silver), Lucas Bond (Chrome) linking with his football challenge that’s a 2 for 1!
Fund raising total is going up £290 so far 14% of the target – Thank you. Remember to get your friends and family to support the team.
Whilst over the last year we have been open, closed, open, closed with no fund raising or galas to bring in the extra pennies, the club has been softening the impact of covid, balancing the difference between the accounting income vs outgoings, so we need to top up the coffers to ensure we can continue to plan extra opportunities and experiences for all our swimmers once we get back in the pool.
Some great weather pictures this week rain, glorious sunshine and then a flurry of snow to end.
We are now approximately 2,263km along 🏃♀️🚶♂️🏊♂️🚴♂️
It is with great pleasure that we can announce that Joseph Gaster has accepted the position of Head Coach for Orpington Ojays.
Joe has a long history with Orpington Ojays. He started as a swimmer when he was just nine years old, joining us in Bronze Squad and progressing through the ranks to Top Squad. He reached county, regional and national levels and won numerous medals along the way.
In 2014 he took up the position of Bronze Assistant Coach for Orpington Ojays, and then a year later moved to Sevenoaks Swimming Club to train their Bronze Squad. He spent almost three years with Sevenoaks, assisting the Top Squad and working on several winter-training camps, before returning to Orpington Ojays to take up the position of Platinum Coach where he got to know many of our current swimmers.
After almost two years as Platinum Coach, Joe took the decision to pursue a career in finance in the City. When the position of Head Coach became available, Joe realised this was an opportunity to rekindle his love of swimming. He says he could not pass up the opportunity to coach at the club he had been connected with since he was a boy.
After a lengthy interview process – all safely conducted with appropriate social-distancing measures – Joe has shown he has the skills, drive and love for Orpington Ojays to help take us forward as Head Coach. We are delighted that Joe has made this decision, and we are looking forward to our return to swimming when he will take up the position full-time.
Please support Joe as he transitions into his new role and we hope you agree that this is a huge and exciting step forward for us as a club.
Tokyo Challenge (9,566km / 5,944 miles)
Sunday 31st January 2021
With 52 athletes signed up to the Orpington Ojays Strava Club, we have travelled an incredible distance in the first week.
The distance covered for activities breaks down like this:
Sea Swim = 6.89km
Hike = 79.92km
Virtual Ride = 92.21km
Ride = 184.93km
Walk = 289.064km
Run = 545.51km
Other workouts = 4.84km
This adds up to an amazing 1,203km placing us somewhere in Germany!
Parents, Masters and then Top Squad fill a big % of our athletes, who are logging their activities. Some deserve a special mention as they are covering some serious distances. Thank you Grant Ballard-Tremeer & Brian Tinker.
Tadpoles, Bronze, Chrome, Silver, Gold and Platinum have a few brilliant swimmers who are walking the walk, but they need your help, so sign up soon. It’s easy, when you go shopping or walk the dog, pop your strava on record and every small distance adds to the total and we really don’t want to leave anyone behind.
Sharon Soyza has been going out virtually every day this week, Sam Ryan has got into an early morning run routine, and families have been getting out in the fresh air together.
Our coaching team and even our chairman have dusted off their trainers, gone for a walk, some broken into a run and got rained on!
You can add photos you take to your activities on Strava and we will include a selection in our updates. If you put photos elsewhere, please let us know with #OjaysTokyoChallenge
Don’t forget to share your progress with your families and friends, ask them to support Team Orpington Ojays SC Just Givin page. We are off to a wonderful start with £210 raised so far.
NB: Any parents walking with younger ones, if you can add their names in the bio, it’ll help me mention their achievements.
You are all amazing, looking forward to seeing what we can achieve together.
Congratulations to Amanda Jackson, Andrea Richardson, Kerry Barrett and Mark Bond for being among the selected volunteers for the Swim England London award for December 2020. The Unsung Hero award recognizes volunteers who have positively worked behind the scenes with a positive attitude, a willingness to help in whatever capacity necessary, and a commitment to excellence.
We have created a club in the sports app Strava.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Strava, it is a sports service, created by athletes and dedicated to athletes around the world. It is by far the most popular in its class and integrates with everything, phones, sports watches of all makes and fitness trackers of all makes. You can also upload activities manually or share activities if someone you trained with did not record.
Strava’s terms and conditions state “The Services are intended solely for persons who are 13 years old or such higher age required in your country to use the Services. If you are under the legal age to form a binding contract in your jurisdiction, you represent that your parent or legal guardian has reviewed and agreed to these Terms on your behalf.”
There are already several our athletes using the service and the club page is so they can easily compare how they are getting on against others. For a few years now a handful of our Masters squad have used the app to see who has swum the furthest, run the furthest and ridden the furthest in a calendar year.
If you sign up to Strava and start tracking your workouts, whether runs, walks, trail runs, stand up paddle boarding, yogo, zwift virtual, whatever sport, please make sure you set your privacy settings up. The most important is your privacy zone. This blanks out GPS data around your home to keep your home address private.
If you sign up, please also join the Orpington Ojays Swimming Club on Strava to help motivate you. There are also many challenges for different sports and virtual trophies.
Most importantly though, if you are exercising outside, please follow the current virus rules, and please ask an adult to accompany you. If you are exercising in the dark, please wear reflective clothing and ideally a light.
Hope to see your latest activities on our homepage widget.
Happy New Year to everyone and best wishes for the year.
Whilst we have been away from the pool, we have added a new section to our website to show what is available from our club shop. Currently it is for browsing only; the facility to reserve and order kit will be developed and added when ready.