ORCA at the Olympics

2nd April

Leaving Volokolamsk, we continue racking up miles through Russia (well it is a big place) and we soon find ourselves (virtually anyway) in Moscow.

Originally established in 1147, Moscow grew to become a prosperous and powerful city that served as the capital of the Grand Duchy that bears its namesake. When the Tsardom was reformed into the Russian Empire, the capital was moved from Moscow to Saint Petersburg, but was then moved back to Moscow following the Russian Revolution.

Moscow is full of tradition and modern. The famous landmark of St Basil’s Cathedral. The onion-shaped domes were designed to make the building look like the shape of a flame on a bonfire.

St Basil’s Cathedral

And Moscow’s premier green space, Gorky Park. Offering entertainment for every taste: outdoor dancing sessions, yoga and fitness classes all summer, as well as beach volleyball and ping-pong, rollerblading, skateboarding and cycling opportunities, along with segway and boat-rentals. In winter, half of the park turns into one of the city’s biggest skating rinks.

Gorky Park in winter

But Moscow is not all traditional buildings and history, the downtown skyscrapers show a modern city and culture.

Moscow Centre

But we must not forget: Moscow hosted the Olympic Games in 1980 and Duncan Goodhew of Great Britain won the Gold Medal the 100 metres breaststroke.

Next stop on this update, we take a break in Kazan. Ancient Kazan was founded in the late 13th century by the Golden Horde. In 1438, Kazan became the capital of the Khanate of Kazan. In 1552, Kazan was captured by Ivan the Terrible and became a part of Russia. 

Kazan is renowned for its vibrant mix of Tatar and Russian cultures.  In 2015, 2.1 million tourists visited Kazan, and 1.5 million tourists visited the Kazan Kremlin, a World Heritage Site.

Kazan Kremlin

 In 2009, Kazan was chosen as the “Sports capital of Russia” hosting the 2013 Summer Universiade and was one of the host cities of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

We are now over 25% through the journey so please keep up the good work and remember to send in your progress updates (Daily or Weekly or a bulk number if you need to catch up.

Swimming will soon be open ! we can add Swim Miles to the totals then, though Russia has a lot more land to welcome us with yet.

16th March

Leaving Kaunas behind, we seem to have left some of our team behind – the whereabouts and mileage of these is unknown but we hope they catch up soon and let us know their progress once more.

Our first stop is Daugavpils, a city in south-eastern Latvia, located on the banks of the Daugava River, from which the city gets its name. It is the second-largest city in the country after the capital Riga, which is located some 230 kilometres (143 miles) to its north-west.

Daugavpils is located relatively close to Belarus and Lithuania and is a major railway junction and industrial centre and was an historically important garrison city lying approximately midway between Riga and Minsk, and between Warsaw and Saint Petersburg.

Stropu ezersLielais Stropu Lake is the largest water body in Daugavpils that attracts many holidaymakers during the summer season. Every year International Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) designates a Blue Flag Award for high environmental and quality standards to Central Beach of Lielais Stropu Lake.

Central Beach of Lielais Stropu Lake offers a wide choice of leisure activities for everyone, including a unique lake pontoon construction is available for visitors of the beach. The construction consists of the lake promenade, the 25-meter outdoor swimming pool with 4 lanes, jumping tower and children’s swimming pool. There is also a seating area with umbrellas and lounge chairs that can be used for free.

Anyone fancy a Swim ?

Continuing on, we find a long road through towns and villages that Wikipedia does not know much about – but of course we stumble on this in the middle of nowhere at a place called Nikitino, Tver Oblast

Anyone fancy a Maccies?

On the way to Pskov, on our way there was a new memorial to a Soviet soldier. This is a new memorial, built mainly at the expense of the residents of the city of Rzhev. Monument in honor of the fallen soldiers who defended the city of Rzhev during the Second World War. 17,000 names of soldiers killed in battles are engraved on the memorial. It becomes hard on your soul, as you understand how many people died in those years, defending their homeland. I recommend to visit.

Final stop at Volokolamsk, a town and the administrative center of Volokolamsky District in Moscow OblastRussia, located on the Gorodenka River, not far from its confluence with the Lama River, 129 kilometers (80 mi) northwest of Moscow

The online game War Thunder (where one controls Armored vehicles such as Tanks) features a ground forces map titled “Volokolamsk”, and a larger version titled “Surroundings of Volokolamsk”. The map is derided from players as being too open and being too big

Next stop – Moscow

4th March 2021

After leaving Berlin, we crossed the border into Poland and in total achieved a substantial 413 miles this week on our epic journey,

Crossing into Poland, our first major stop was Szczecin, a city on the Oder River in northwest Poland. It’s known for its 19th-century Wały Chrobrego, or Chobry Embankment, and the renovated Pomeranian Dukes’ Castle, now a cultural center.

Chrobry Embankment

The vast St. James Cathedral has a 14th-century triptych, stained-glass windows and a tower with city views. Nearby is the Gothic Old Town Hall, hosting The National Museum’s exhibitions on Szczecin’s history and culture.

Pomeranian Dukes’ Castle

From Szczecin, we Headed East to Starogard Gdański, the charming capital of Poland’s Kociewie region. Despite being less than an hour from Gdańsk, Starogard Gdański still remains one of the coolest undiscovered gems in rural Poland. It makes a good stop over town if visiting nearby Tczew, Torun or Malbork, which houses the largest castle in the world by land area.

Malbork, Malbork

The final leg of this weeks travels has now taken us out of Poland and across into Lithuania.

We finish off the week in Kaunas. At the confluence of the Neris and Nemunas rivers, Kaunas Castle is a medieval fortress housing historical exhibitions. To the east, the old town is home to the Kaunas Cathedral Basilica, with its ornate interior, and the Gothic spires of the Hanseatic House of Perkūnas. Laisvės Alėja, a pedestrianized street lined with trees and cafes, crosses the city from west to east.

Kaunas Castle, House of Perkūnas

So, our journey this week has taken us to a total of 1268 miles and we next head on into Latvia and then on into Russia.

23rd February 2021

We left Creswell and hoping to get to Felixstowe to catch the ferry crossing over to mainland Europe, and two things happened.

Firstly we found a number of new recruits to join the challenge, and they had already done some mileage in catching up. We now have 29 in the team, keep passing word around its not too late to join in.

Secondly, you smashed my expectations.

Not only did we make it to Felixstowe to catch the ferry to Rotterdam.

Not even a tour around Rotterdam, to view the city that hosted the 2020 Eurovision contest.

And enough time to take a slight detour into the Netherlands Olympic Stadium, where Great Britain won medals in the 100 Freestyle and 100 Backstroke events.

And on again to Berlin to visit the Berlin Olympic Stadium (we won no swimming medals there, so we wont go into that bit too much) (and you may know what was going on in Berlin in 1936)

We still, we had time to get out of Berlin and close to the border with Poland.

So – in 1 week we have completed 10% of the journey and head into Poland then Russia. Keep it up, we may need to think of throwing in some extra challenges into the route. !

16th February 2021

New Athletes added their names into the list and we have distances covered over the weekend for half of the team. If you want details of entering, scroll down the page where you can find the information pack. If you want to enter, and send us your progress, the email to use is Olympics@orcaswimming.club.

We are 52 miles into the epic adventure, which took us over the Pennines and past Sheffield and on to Creswell, Worksop where you can find the Creswell Crags Museum & Prehistoric Gorge to visit whilst we prepare for the next stage of the journey towards the ferry at Felixstowe.

Creswell Prehistoric Gorge
Creswell Crags Museum

14th February 2021

We picked a cold week to start, but we have 20 confirmed athletes on the way to the Tokyo Olympic opening ceremony. Lets hope it goes ahead !

With 20 Athletes we have 2.58 Miles per day to cover and I know some people have been out braving the cold and gathering sponsorships.

Our current location, of course, Royton Leisure Centre – today’s weather is Cold – wet – cloudy – windy.

Progress Map 14th February 2021

There is plenty of time to sign up, please let us know if you want to join in. If you have already signed up then please let us know how many miles you racked up over the weekend for the first Progress Update.

Email to olympics@orcaswimming.club

7th February 2021

ORCA 2021 Challenge – to reach the 2021 Tokyo Olympics

It was going to be the 2020 Olympics last year, but 2020 has been impacted worldwide by the global pandemic. The ORCA swimmers cannot train, and the club is determined to rebuild and get back to its former glory.

The lack of swim training means that the swimmers are missing both the physical exercise, connections with the other swimmers and the connection to the club.

The Club has also missed the interaction with the swimmers, Parents / Guardians and of course have financial outlays continuing without the club in operation. Future restrictions will ease, but we are operating with reduced capacity, increase in pool hire fees, unable to recruit new members and of course hold swimming events that may help fundraise for the club.

All of the Annual membership fees, monthly fees and monies raised through fundraising and donations is used for the benefit of the swimmers. Pool fees take the vast majority of the monthly fees, membership to Swim England and Central Lancs take the vast majority of the annual fees.

So – we have a challenge for you all :- Open the document below for details.

For those that would like an Excel version of the sponsorship form :