Week in the Creek Summer Camp Q&A

April 11, 2018, 9:32 p.m. (ET)

The Walnut Creek Aquanuts are set to host their annual Week in the Creek, July 27-31, in Walnut Creek, Calif. The annual summer camp is celebrating 50 years of producing Olympians and National Champions. Walnut Creek Club Head Coach Kim Probst, the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Captain, answers a few questions about the camp, where swimmers can expect specialty training on their lifts, a few field trips, and one-on-one instructions from some of the best synchronized swimmers in the country.

Tell us a little bit about Week in the Creek. Who is it for?

We hold Week in the Creek every year, and it’s primarily for swimmers 10 to 18 years of age with synchro experience and the passion to improve. We try to do something unique each year, and the focus this year will be all about lifts. The day is packed with workouts, but I think the athletes always cherish the friendships, the contests and the counselors just as much as the swimming.

What kind of skill training and activities can the campers expect?

In the mornings we always try to start with a land workout and then an intensive water workout. Then we aim to get a lot of basic skill work done while their minds are fresh. In the afternoons we typically switch to routine work, and then we always have a special night activity, whether it’s circus school training or a dance class. This year all the special activities will focus on lift training to make them higher, more explosive and more creative. We’ll also focus on how to train your lifts as safely as possible.

Tell us more about these nighttime activities.

We’re going to take a field trip to Sky High Sports in Concord for trampoline training, and another field trip will be to Oakland to go to a place called Trapeze Arts. The smaller girls and those looking to become a flyer will be able to train on the harness and improve their basic tumbling skills. At Trapeze Arts we have access to the whole gym so we can also safely train the bases and core athletes that will be pushing underneath the water.

What will the lift training entail?

Our focus this year is about lifts – obviously a main component is the tumbling and the athleticism – but you also want to have a variety of lifts. So we’re also going to try to help the kids explore creative ways to do that, either by being an actress if you’re on top of the lift, or by putting some flexibility into it. We’ll have rhythmic gymnastics training for their flexibility, and then we’ll have a dance teacher and a professional actress come in to work on some of the more theatrical skills with the kids.

What are some commonly asked questions you get from parents and campers?

They usually want to know the schedule, and basically we start at 8 and go all the way to 8 at night. There are obviously breaks from meals in there, but it’s pretty intensive. It’s a five-day camp, so we want to pack in as much as we can.

We always have the camp in the final week of July so when the kids go home they might have a couple more weeks of summer, but they’re really getting ready to start the next season. We try to use this camp as a motivator to get their ideas flowing for their new routines, and to get them excited to get back to work. Another goal of the camp is to send them back to their home teams and coaches with a head start on their fall conditioning.

We host the camp at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, so all the water training and a lot of the land training too, like the acting class, will be right there on the campus. Lunch and dinner are served on the campus.  For synchro training we’ve got the whole 50-meter pool to ourselves so we have plenty of deep water, but we also have a shallow end where we can do some lift work or some drills that require the bottom.

We usually try to carve out a little time, whether it’s after lunch one day or during our morning stations where the girls can ask questions. This year, for example, a lot of girls will be doing tech routines for the first time so we’ll make sure they have some one-on-one time. They might have questions about sculls or how to do a certain element. If they have any specific questions or something that we didn’t cover at camp we can address it so they can bring that home to their team.

Who are the coaches at Week in the Creek?

We structure the camp so that our Olympic-level coaches lead specialty sessions and work with every athlete. Tammy McGregor (1996 Olympic gold), Gail Emery (seven-time Olympic coach), Olga Kouznetsova (Coach for both Russia and the USA) and Mariya Koroleva (2012 and 2016 Olympic duet) will be four of our fantastic clinicians this year.

The athletes are divided up by age and ability, and each group is assigned a counselor. These counselors spend the whole week training the girls and teaching them a team routine. Our counselors are our WCA alumni, home from college, bringing their passion and expertise to the girls. The athletes can look forward to being coached by Joanna Langner (Stanford University), Nathalie Fletcher (Stanford University), Renee Stehlik (The Ohio State University) and Remy Mink (UCLA and current Aqualily).

Week in the Creek

What:  Summer camp for synchronized swimmers in the 10-18 age range

When: July 27-31, 2018

Where: Walnut Creek, Calif.

Prices: Overnight camper: $740 (before April 15), $840; day camper: $640 (before April 15), $740; coach: $540 (before April 15), $640

Register: For more information about Week in the Creek and to register, click here.