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Find out how a Team England swimmer makes the most of his time in Flagstaff.
I’ve been to Flagstaff on four occasions and each time it has not failed to keep us entertained in and out of the pool. Most training camps we go on it's either a hot European country, where sunbathing is the only thing to do, or in an indoor camp with not much to do outside of the pool. In Flagstaff, the training facilities are world-class with the pool and gym providing exactly what we need from an altitude camp to improve and make the performance gains we aim for.
As a city, Flagstaff is peaceful with quite a lot to do if you know where to look. Over my four camps and the six that GB has been on over the 4-year cycle, we have found many things to do. Many of the swimmers on the team, including myself, enjoy going for coffee or lunch in the town. Places such as Matador, Tourist Home, and Firecreek give us different options where we can go and chill to do work or just be social outside of the hotel or pool environment.
I myself am a huge fan of sports, along with many others on the team, and Collins Sports Bar became a favourite on the weekends, watching the NFL and NBA (which are sports we usually wouldn’t be able to watch live in the UK). On evenings there are loads of places to eat which gives us options on the weekends to go out and eat in different places while hanging out as a team.
One of my favourite things to do in Flagstaff is visiting the world-renowned Lowell Observatory, learning about the observatory and seeing planets through their telescopes. The observatory is usually changing what they offer and last year they brought out a view deck area which lets one see the night sky in a much better way than anything I’ve seen in the UK before.
Although NAU isn’t one of the biggest sports universities in America, I have been to a few football, ice hockey, and basketball games to watch and support NAU, which I really enjoyed as it is nothing like we get in the UK at our university games. Going to these games gives us time away from the hotel on weekends and keeps us from just being stuck in the room all weekend.
Overall, I really enjoy training in Flagstaff due to the facilities providing me with what I need from my training, which is always the number 1, but it also has things to do outside of the pool to take my mind away from the pool and rest.
Joe Litchfield is a Team England swimmer from Yorkshire. After a great start to his career winning four silver medals at Samoa in 2015, Joe has won a range of international honours including bronze at the 2017 World University Games.