2024 Dates: 29 June – 5 July
Price: from £1,690pp
TECHNIQUE SESSIONS FROM OLYMPIC MEDALLIST DAN WALLACE, WITH A CHANCE TO PUT YOUR NEW SKILLS INTO PRACTICE IN THE AFTERNOONS WITH GLORIOUS INTER-ISLAND AND COASTAL SWIMSOn this tour Olympic medallist and swim guide Dan Wallace will help you with your swimming technique as well as guiding you on some fantastic island to island, coastal and inter-island swims. As such, this tour will combine technique sessions in the bay with some longer bay, inter-island and coastal swims around this beautiful part of the Mediterranean. Dan is very happy to coach swimmers of all abilities – and we have worked closely with Dan to ensure the week will be suitable for everyone. Ideally, you should be able to swim 400m without stopping, however please feel free to contact the office to speak to a member of SwimQuest staff if you're unsure.
ABOUT DAN WALLACEDan Wallace represented Great Britain in the Olympic Games and FINA world championships, and Scotland in the Commonwealth Games. The 2014 Commonwealth Games champion at 400 metre individual medley, he was part of the Great Britain 4 x 200 metre freestyle relay team that won gold at the 2015 FINA World Aquatics Championships, and silver at the same event at the 2016 Summer Olympics. More recently, Dan has discovered a love for open water swimming - and has joined the SwimQuest team as a coach, helping our guests improve upon and deepen their love and understanding for open water technique. You can read more about Dan in our SQ guide interview here.
ABOUT MATHRAKIMathraki lies just off the north-west coast of Corfu and is part of a small archipelago called the Diapontia Islands. These islands include Erikousa, Othoni and Mathraki. Mathraki is the smallest and southernmost. It is 3.1km in length and 6km from Agios Stefanos harbour on Corfu. With a population of approximately 50 people, expect a very quiet, tranquil location. It has crystal clear water, wonderful shallow beaches, marine caves, undersea rock formations and beautiful coastal swims. There are also some inter-island swims to the neighbouring uninhabited islands of Trachia, Platia and Diapolos. 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 and lessons
- 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: 20-24oC
- Daily swimming distance: 1-3.5km / 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, it will be tailored to your needs)
- Swimming ability: all abilities welcome but ideally you will need to be able to swim at least 400 m front crawl without stopping
- 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 £270, 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 (£205pp 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.
ITINERARYPlease note that the below itinerary is a rough guide and will be governed by your needs, aims and ability in the water. This itinerary is adaptable and will change depending on the weather and your requirements.
ACCLIMATISATION SWIM : 400-800 M.We will meet at the villa late afternoon for the mandatory safety briefing. Topics will include: swim preparation, swim routes, feeding, prevailing weather, and safety procedures prior to the acclimatisation swim. Once completed, we will swim in the shallow bay by the hotel. This allows Dan and the team to assess your stroke and if necessary, adapt your personal itinerary. Once completed, we will then relax and have dinner during which we will discuss the week ahead. If for any reason guests are unavoidably delayed, the briefing may be deferred to Sunday morning.
AM: Technique focus: body position PM: COASTAL SWIM, MATHRAKI ISLAND: (1.5KM)The day is designed to be easy, allowing you to settle in after your journey. After breakfast we will begin our first technique session, consisting of a land based talk followed by a sea technique session. Back at the hotel after lunch, prior to the second swim, we will film your stroke both above and below the water. We will then continue with another coastal swim. Later in the day the swim guides will play back the swim films, offering both advice and encouragement on your swim stroke. This will be a continuing theme throughout the week with regular filming to help you improve your stroke technique.
AM: TECHNIQUE FOCUS: BREATHING PM: TRACHIA TO MATHRAKI: (2.5-3KM)After breakfast, we will start another technique session with Dan, with a focus on breathing - often swimmers' number one challenge - and potentially the quickest fix. A few simple tweaks in the timing, technique and volume of your breath can control your entire mood in the water. Dan shares his expert advice. After lunch we will board the boat and make our way to the island of Trachia where we will look to swim around the island, enjoying the beautiful warm sea, rock formations and sea life. We will then swim back to Mathraki Island, just slightly north of Nisos Mathrakion. It will be our first inter-island swim and a great way to finish the day. Once completed, we will make our way back to the hotel for some relaxation time prior to dinner at a local taverna.
AM: TECHNIQUE FOCUS - MOTION PM: SOUTHERN COASTLINE (2KM)This morning Dan will break down the mechanics of what makes us move forward: how do we propel through the water, and what makes us move? Making every stroke count and understanding the beat of your stroke will be the theme is morning. In the afternoon we put this into practice when swimming along the south coast of Mathraki island, from the southern harbour back into the hotel.
AM: TECHNIQUE FOCU - RECOVERY PM: DIAPOLOS ISLAND GROUPGood swimmers make it easy for themselves - swimming smarter, not harder. Today we look at how we can break down your stroke into movement and recovery. The efficiency of your stroke will allow you to go further, faster and easier than you have before. In the afternoon, we will take the boat across to Corfu mainland, and swim along Kravia Island and into Arillis bay. Your SwimQuest guides will be on hand to give you advice in the water and technique tips. In the afternoon we will look at stopping off at the Diapolos island for fish spotting and a relaxed afternoon swim before heading back to the hotel on Mathraki.
am: technique focus - intensity PM: PLATIA ISLAND TO MATHRAKI (UP TO 3.5KM)The final piece of the jigsaw - how do we swim faster? Where does our speed come from, and how can speed change throughout our stroke? Dan will ensure swimmers get some one-to-one coaching time this morning so that everyone heads home with a clear understanding of what they need to work on in order to progress when they get home. In the afternoon, there will be an opportunity to complete another glorious inter island swim, from Platia Island to Mathraki.
SWIM AM: SHORT BAY SWIM BY THE HOTELAs this is the last day, there will be a short pre-breakfast bay swim by the hotel as you will need to pack and prepare for your ferry back to Agios Stefanos.
WHAT DO I PACK?
- At least 2 swimming costumes
- Wetsuit (optional) - our Partners at Zone3 offer a wide range of wetsuits, including the eco Yulex natural rubber range HERE and you get 20% OFFall full price Zone3 products with code : SWIMQUEST
- 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
- Tow float (required) - if you haven’t got one yet, you can find a great range from Swim Secure HERE and receive 15% off with code: 15SwimQuest23
- 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...
GETTING TO MATHRAKI ISLAND
TOUR START / FINISH TIMES
- We advise you land in Corfu around lunchtime on Saturday. We arrange a taxi to pick up the group at 2.15pm from Hotel Bretagne (a short 5 min walk up the road from the airport). You are welcome to opt into this group taxi which will take you all to Agios Stefanos harbour ready for your boat transfer to Mathraki at 4pm. If you would rather get to Agios Stefanos on your own, please meet us at Agios Stefanos harbour ON THE WEST SIDE OF Corfu for a 4pm crossing to Mathraki.
- 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). Your swim guides can arrange a taxi to meet you at the harbour to take you back to the airport.