Last year our Cornwall region, Acorn Blue, sponsored competitive swimmer 16-year-old Caja Rodda. Acorn’s sponsorship provided Caja with a much needed new surfboard to support her brilliant talent. Caja has competed successfully at both County and Regional level and her commitment and dedication to training has led her to regional athletic programmes and many swim training camps around the UK and Europe.
Caja is also passionate about Surf Life Saving and is a proud member of the Portreath Surf Life Saving Club in Cornwall. Surf Life Saving competitions are aimed at training athletes to save lives in the water as well as encouraging young children to be confident in the ocean.
We recently caught up with Caja to see how her training is going and whether the impact of lockdown affected her time in the water.
1) How did you get into competitive swimming and what do you enjoy most about it?
When I was younger I attended swimming lessons at my local leisure centre until about 7 years old when I was prompted to join the swim club. I loved it there and really enjoyed not only the sport but also the social aspect. The club held competitions for the younger groups to allow them to get a feel of what a competitive atmosphere would be like and I loved it! This led me to progress my swimming career and get to where I am today, competing at Regional and County level.
I enjoy swimming because after studying all day, especially in year 11, it allows me time to relax and practise something I love whilst also being with friends. Also having something to achieve and aspire to as I’m very determined.
2) How long have you been a Surf Life Saver?
I joined Portreath Surf Life Saving Club when I was 7 years old, alongside the swim club, so almost 10 years now. I enjoy it because in the summer season you’re in the sea which is different to the swim club inside. This has allowed me to meet new people and I am now competing at County, National and European level in which I competed for England in France last August.
3) Did lockdown affect your training at all?
Lockdown did affect my training as I was unable to access a pool and couldn’t train in the sea due to lockdown rules. However during this time I kept myself busy with gym workouts, cycling and running. I also volunteered as a beach warden at Portreath Beach which allowed me to keep members of the public safe during a time where the RNLI was not present. Since the lockdown easing, I’ve started to get back into sea training which has allowed me to get my swim fitness back up.
4) How often do you get out into the water?
Normally, in the summer season, I would train seven times a week in the sea consisting of early mornings and evenings. On top of that, I would volunteer two times a week to help the younger members with their training. During the winter months it’s mainly pool based training so around five to six sessions a week. Then on Saturdays, I head to the rivers to complete a board or ski session.
5) What are your favourite beaches in the UK?
My favourite beaches have to be Portreath as it’s where I have grown up and learnt the skills that I have today. I also love Fistral Beach as it has nice waves. Kynance Cove is also a great one for relaxing and enjoying the Cornish coast – it’s so pretty.
From everyone at Acorn, we wish Caja the best of luck with her training and in future competitions.