2023 dates: Coming soon!
Price: from £1,370pp
improve your technique with coaching from olympian dan wallace, and put your new skills into practice with exploratory swims around the stunning diapontia archipelago, just off corfu. suitable for all abilities.Our popular technique and explore weeks are a winning combination for anyone looking to combine ocean swims with technique work. This week tends to involve technique sessions in the hotel bay in the mornings, explanatory on-land seminars, plus amazing open water swims in the afternoons, whether that be between islands or along coastlines. Swim as much or as little as you like, and let Dan and the SwimQuest team look after you. With our small group sizes, there is plenty of time and scope to ensure you are getting tailored one-to-one advice as well as group sessions. If you have any questions or if you would like to chat to a member of SwimQuest staff about this trip, please contact the office.
about Dan WallaceDan has competed across the world against some of the world’s most talented athletes (including Michael Phelps!) We are delighted to have Dan joining the SwimQuest team in Mathraki to share some of his stories and valuable experience with us.
Dan's international career spans across two World Championships, two Commonwealth Games and one Olympic Games, winning medals at all major international competitions. The highlights of his career have been winning an Olympic Silver Medal for Team GB as part of the Men’s 4x200m Freestyle and claiming Gold in the Men’s 400m Individual Medley at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Dan now runs his own swim coaching business, The Swim Experience.
ABOUT MATHRAKIA remote island to the west of Corfu, Mathraki has a population of just 50 inhabitants. It is one of the three sleepy Diapontia Islands, which have only been inhabited from the mid 19th Century due to piracy. With the pirates long gone, Mathraki provides a wonderful array of island hops, inter island swims and coastal exploration – an ideal time for fantastic swims, wonderful Greek hospitality and plenty of relaxation.
- A remote Greek island with just one hotel (which we fill with lovely swimmers!)
- Technique coaching from Olympic Medallist Dan Wallace
- A series of fascinating seminars
- A great variety of coastal, inter-island and exploration swims
- Wonderful Greek hospitality with delicious home cooked food
- Compulsory ‘bouts' of chill time
- A mid-week BBQ with the island villagers
- Sea temperature: 22-26oC
- Daily swimming distance: 1-3km / day, building up throughout the week (don’t worry about distances, we will look after you - swim as much or as little as you wish)
- Swimming ability: all abilities welcome
- Non-swimmers: are welcome to join the tour and take advantage of peaceful Mathraki, or sit on the boat with us, although please note the island is small and remote – so bring a book or three!
- Accommodation in a beach-side hotel (click to visit hotel website)
- Swimming, assisted by safety boats where required and always escorted by swim guide/s
- Technique coaching, stroke filming
- Traditional home-cooked lunches (except lunch on one day when we will eat in Arillas, weather permitting)
- Safety boats
- Swim guides
- SwimQuest dry bag and swim cap
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED?
- Travel to and from Mathraki (guests are advised to fly into Corfu airport and meet at Agios Stefanos harbour (on the west coast) for a 4pm crossing to Mathraki on the arrival day - see getting there tab for further details)
- Wetsuits and fins (if required)
- Evening meals and one lunch (when we will take you to a taverna in Arillas)
- Alcohol (we run an honesty bar system)
- Single room supplement (see ACCOMMODATION tab for details)
WHERE DO WE STAY?In Mathraki we stay at the family run Hotel Paradise. As Hotel Paradise is the only hotel on the island, it’s not unusual for us to have the hotel (and the island!) to ourselves. Our local hosts Giorgos, Giannis and Nora provide fantastic home-cooked food and local knowledge, and look forward to welcoming you.
ROOM CHOICESThere are just seven rooms in the hotel. Unless you wish to opt for a single supplement at £215, rooms are allocated on a twin / double share basis. Please indicate your room choice on the booking form when booking. Rooms are subject to availability.
- Psilos is a basic but comfortable twin share on the first floor, with air conditioning, and a shared balcony. There is a sea view and this room looks out to the southern side of the hotel.
- Varkoysa is a basic but comfortable twin share on the first floor, with air conditioning, and a shared balcony. There is a sea view and this room looks out to the southern side of the hotel.
- Diapolos (£50pp supplement) is a larger, triple room on the second floor. It contains a double bed and a comfortably sized sofa bed. Diapolos has air conditioning and sole use of a balcony. It looks out to the east, over the Diapolos islands. A great room for a couple.
- Diakopos (£150pp supplement for sole use of either room, with shared bathroom) is a family apartment, with a twin share room and a double room, both separated by a corridor, but sharing a bathroom. Each room has air con and a door out onto a large front facing balcony. Ideal for a couple and two friends, or a family.
- Karavi (£60pp supplement) is a triple room, with a separate double room and a sofa bed in a kitchenette. Great for a couple or a small family. Karavi has air conditioning in the double room only, and the double room has a door out onto the hotels large front-facing balcony.
- Plateia (£20pp supplement) is a basic but comfortable double room on the top floor of the hotel, with air conditioning and a shared square balcony, which has a sea view.
- Trachia is a basic but comfortable twin room on the top floor of the hotel, with air conditioning and a shared square balcony, which has a sea view.
itineraryOur weekly itinerary will be governed by the weather, and is liable to change. Below provides a guide to a typical week. Your swim guides will structure the week carefully to ensure you get the very best swimming experiences taking into account the conditions. Most days involve a technique session in the morning and an afternoon swim, returning to the hotel for a home-cooked lunch in between. You can do as little or as much swimming as you like and if you’d like to swim only part of any swim, just let the guides know and you can hop back on the boat and just relax. As part of your stroke analysis from Dan, you will be filmed at the start of the week both above and below the water. dan and your swim guides will work with you to analyse your stroke, helping you to improve as the week progresses. You can of course take the footage home with you.
SATURDAYArrivals and welcome to the island. Dan and the guides will hold an acclimitization swim with you in the hotel bay, taking some footage of your stroke to kick start the week.
SundayAfter breakfast and with time to digest, Dan and the guides will start the day with an introduction to the frontcrawl stoke. Dan will break the stroke down, explaining how we will work on different aspects of the stroke throughout the week. This can range from length of stroke, rotation, breathing, head position, sighting in open water, arm entry and the catch phase. Later over a beer, Dan and the guides will go over the stroke videos with the group, offering starting points to work on. After lunch you will jump in the safety boat and head along Mathraki’s east coastline; a beautiful yellow-orange sandy beach stretching towards the harbour. Dan and the Guides will assess the distance and get you in the water to start putting into practice what was covered in the morning technique session. Swim back to the hotel in time for a well-deserved ice cream at the finish!
MondayThe morning technique session will focus on breathing, and how to ensure you are breathing optimally for your stroke. In the afternoon, we will head out to Trachia - a small rocky outcrop island off the north coast of Mathraki for our first inter-island swim.
TuesdayFor the technique session in the bay, Dan and the guides will focus on rotation – a hugely helpful part of any freestyle stroke. In the afternoon, you will swim from Plateia Island off the west coast of Mathraki, back towards the hotel over the beautiful underwater rock formations.
WednesdayThis morning will start with a swim, exploring the Diakopo and Diaplo islands which you can see from the hotel taverna. Starting by Diakopo Island, this is a gentle swim along the east coast before having a look at the caves. A short 200m swim across a small inlet to the west side of Diaplo and then we venture along the upper west side of the island. In the afternoon Dan will give you a talk about his swim journey – how he started from the early days as a school boy that took him to two World Championships, two Commonwealth Games and one Olympic Games. It is a wonderful opportunity to hear about what it takes to be an Olympian – the training, coaching and the sheer dedication required to get to the top. After Dan’s seminar the afternoon is free to chill out and relax before meeting for evening drinks and dinner.
ThursdayA busy day ahead, with a technique session focusing on the catch - or other aspects of the stroke that will be most useful to your own personal circumstances. Weather depending, in the afternoon we will jump in the escort boat to Karavi which sits just off the coast of Corfu. It a great place for lunch in Arillis Bay (this you will need to pay for) and then we will start from the beach and swim to the rocky outcrop of Karavi and along the length of its imposing cliffs. Look out for the minature secret beach.
FridayA quick early morning sunrise swim in the bay by the hotel before departing the island for your onward journey home.
GETTING TO MATHRAKI ISLANDAlthough remote, we have chosen Mathraki as one of our locations because it is easily accessible. We appreciate that you want to spend less time travelling and more time swimming! The easiest method of travel is to fly into Corfu, get a taxi across to Agios Stefanos harbour (on the west side of Corfu - please note there are two Agios Stefanos on Corfu) and then get the Mathraki Sea Taxi to Mathraki Island. Boat transfer to Mathraki: Meet at Agios Stefanos harbour for a 4pm crossing on the Saturday Boat transfer from Mathraki: We will get you up early on Friday morning for an 8am crossing back to Corfu, so that you can catch at 11.20am flight should you wish (this tends to be the most popular flight our of Corfu on a Friday morning).
GETTING TO CORFU
Fly to CorfuFlying to Corfu is a three-hour flight from the UK. Airlines such as Easyjet and Ryanair provide regular flights from a variety of UK airports. Olympic Airlines provide flights from Greece to Corfu. For a variety of flight options we would recommend www.skyscanner.co.uk or www.kayak.co.uk.
Ferry to CorfuThere are many ferries to Corfu from Italy (Bari, Brintezi and Ancona) and from mainland Greece at Igoumenitsia and Patra. Most stop at Corfu along with more local ferry services so for more information please check with Direct Ferries on www.directferries.co.uk.
GETTING FROM CORFU TO MATHRAKI
Taxis from the airport to Agios StefanosWe would recommend booking your transfer through Corfu Holiday Taxis. Dimitris and his team will look after you and are familiar with SwimQuest and how to get to Agios Stefanos Harbour for your downward journey to Mathraki. Simply email email@example.com,
Buses from the airport to Agios StefanosThe local bus terminal is a short taxi ride from the airport where there is a regular green bus service that stops off at Agios Stefanos. The bus fare is approximately €4.00. Ensure the bus driver takes you all the way down to the little cafe by the harbour in Agios Stefanos.
Mathraki Sea Taxi (run by our hotel)To circumvent all local ferry times (which an be extremely unpredictable) our hoteliers on Mathraki Island offer a sea taxi service from Agios Stefanos harbour. This will run at 4pm on your arrival day, and 8am on the departure day, and costs €30pp for the return journey. Should you wish to get across to the island outside of these times, it is possible to book a private transfer for €100 each way.
Local ferriesThere are infrequent local ferries to Mathraki. Alexandros runs from Corfu Town and takes approximately 3-4 hours, and Pegasus runs from Agios Stefanos and takes 45 minutes. Timings vary from week to week. Please contact the office one week prior to your trip should you wish to take a local ferry, and we will check times with our local hosts.
WHAT DO I PACK?
- At least 2 swimming costumes
- Wetsuit (optional)
- Swim fins (optional, although useful for additional speed and for technique drills if you have some)
- 2 pairs of swim goggles – one clear and one tinted
- Small daypack/rucksack to use for your personal equipment/clothing during the day (note you will receive a SwimQuest dry bag)
- Sandals/aqua shoes / flip flops – for getting wet
- Insect repellent
- Fleece or warm jumper
- Sun hat, sun cream and sunglasses
- A waterproof watch (optional)
- A memory stick should you wish to take your video analysis home with you immediately
- Travel insurance details
- Trainers / sports gear (optional - if you like to run, there is a lovely 8-10km hill loop around the island – non guided, at your own risk)
THE MAGUS JOHN FOWLESOn a remote Greek Island, Nicholas Urfe finds himself embroiled in the deceptions of a master trickster. As reality and illusion intertwine, Urfe is caught up in the darkest of psychological games. Fowles expertly unfolds a tale that is lush with over-powering imagery in a spellbinding exploration of human complexities. By turns disturbing, thrilling and seductive, The Magus, like Mathraki, is a feast for the mind and the senses.
MY FAMILY AND OTHER ANIMALS GERALD DURRELLIf you haven’t read this already, this is a perfect opportunity. Just before the Second World War the Durrell family decamped to the glorious, sun-soaked island of Corfu where the youngest of the four children, ten-year-old Gerald, discovered his passion for animals: toads and tortoises, bats and butterflies, scorpions and octopuses. Through glorious silver-green olive groves and across brilliant-white beaches Gerry pursued his obsession, causing hilarity and mayhem in his ever-tolerant family.
CALLING ALL ARTISTS!Bring your paints! There will be sufficient downtime to have a dabble, and we are working up a nice collection of Mathraki art now, the island seems to inspire people...
WHAT IS MATHRAKI LIKE?
READY TO BOOK?We’re excited about meeting you on tour. To book your swimming holiday, simply fill in the booking form below. Once you have submitted the form, Charlotte (our bookings co-ordinator) will be in touch to request payment and to help you with any additional requirements.
In booking with us, you accept our terms and conditions, which can be found here. If at any point you have any questions, feel free to contact us: Charlotte Benton | +44 7743 233803 | firstname.lastname@example.org Alice Todd | +44 7825 301443 | email@example.com