Great results

Most useful to know the actual improvements of a swim in the results pages. Hackney Aquatics gives this superb overview on results in age group competitions and that is more useful than to know one has won a medal.

It is actually better to get a 15 second PB and second place in the 800 free rather than a gold medal with a time that is not a personal best.

Once a performance swimmer as a teenager, there is an aim to get better times most meets.

We did do a lot of meets though and the more meets one participates in the lower becomes the improvement ratio.

If you only compete 3 times per year than the improvement ratio becomes higher and more impressive.

 

A new chapter

Looking ahead to the new season 2019 and the challenges this bring. So many new things and routines are going to happen:

  • school GCSE studies begin
  • swimming, join the youth performance squad with more AM training and gym.

Till the end of this season, Madison diverted away from the usual pool competition focus and spent a lot of energy on the 3km open water races. That puts a lot of demand on the body and having all those pool competitions on top of tough long-distance meets puts any athlete to the test.

One reason why Madison’s shoulder gave way with the 400 IM in the Barking & Dagenham summer meet was the participation in a long-distance Open Water meet and we just shelved the rest of this B&D gala. 2 silver medals won this weekend.

It doesn’t matter if an athlete has to pull out of a meet. There are many more to come.

We are now focussing on more intellectual and athletic challenges for next season.

Pool training will soon stop but the summer swim camp is still to come.

School term is nearly complete and with the last week of school term an academic award is still waiting.

The summer holiday will be filled with regular gym sessions, some climbing, canoeing and biking and nature walks. It is very important to relax.

Obviously ultimately the challenge is to get national qualifying times but we don’t want to restrict the variety to just one or two events. The swimmers with the biggest longevity also have the most variety of stroke performance.

Whilst still in the pre-GCSE stage, there is no national training scheme available other than getting a place at a boarding school like Millfield for example. We keep in touch with national swimming by regularly attending the Melanie Marshall swim camps. At age 14 it is progress to keep on getting personal best times and achieving regional qualifying times.

 

Pulled muscle

The Summer at Dagenham meet worked well as far as the 800 freestyle went on Friday evening. From then on things just went down-hill. #lastopenmeetoftheseason #swimfast

A muscle pull during the 400 IM put a firm stop to Madison’s racing weekend. the life guard said Madison should have ice packs every 20 minutes but only supplied one ice pack and refused to give more.

I was working as official and could not get away easily. Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea after all that I put Madison into races, she didn’t really enjoy doing. Perhaps swimmers need to be happy with their races to perform well.  Others say swimmers sometimes need to be taken out of their comfort zone.

Perhaps I should discuss this with the coaches about race selection. That is always a subject that can cause friction. Do you do the races that the swimmer likes, the races that the coach wants or the races that the parents want. They are not necessarily the same.

 

No phones please

Today at the swimming meet I saw an official using a phone and texting during the races.

I was shocked. Imagine a football lines man/woman texting on the phone whilst the players are on the other side of the pitch.

All pupils and kids are not allowed to use their phones whilst in school but then come to a swimming meet and see an official texting on their phone during races.

I am frankly appalled, not only that the use of phones seems to be tolerated by referees but also that kids get such stupidly bad examples set by adults.

You are not allowed to text whilst driving, so why should it be OK to text whilst officiating?

A real dilemma

Today’s appearance at the Dagenham Summer meet was cut short by a shoulder injury, requiring ice bags of which Madison received only one at the pool.

Went home as quickly as possible to make some more ice at home.

Madison was really brave to complete her 400 IM race with an injured shoulder.

Not the Life of Riley

When I look at our immediate future, I see nothing less than a cozy home-life in the bosom of the family. It’s a whole new life-style, whereby the least time is spent at home.

Find myself more and more booking into away-competitions in out-of-London locations and having to book into the meets, the trains and hotels.

But why not, why centre life around the home and spend all time at the house we live in when most exciting activities happen elsewhere.

I need to look at lifestyle, what is the norm and what is more fun.

Why spend all year at home to just go on a holiday once a year and an expensive one at that.

We rather go on lots of swimming meets, which only last a weekend and bring us out-of-town but we can combine healthy sporting activity with away-weekends, which also help to see different towns, different clubs and get us away from the same old.

It’s great fun to get out of London and have a reason to breathe fresher air and experience the great British countryside.

We go to Repton, Chichester, to Cambridge and hopefully soon also to City of Derby and Wycombe. Unfortunately we miss the Welsh Nationals but hey we can’t be everywhere.

The prospect of competing at Cambridge Swimming club’s event the Cambridge Grand Prix, should be a superb taster of the town, especially as they have a famous university to which Madison could go after her A-levels.

 

 

 

doing the fly

Feeling very patriotic today. We reside underneath the flight path of aircraft onto the  Buckingham Palace and today the RAF jets flew over us in formation.

butterflyDoesn’t it just remind you of the Butterfly stroke when you see the swimmer and underneath the flight formation.

Fighter aircraft in formation are just as smart as our swimmer.

raf100
Aircraft part of the RAF 100 flypast on 10. July 2018

Butterfly was first introduced in 1933 as competition swimming stroke, whilst the RAF celebrated the 100. Birthday today.

Just writing this little article as Butterfly was Madison’s first favourite stroke when she was smaller and she won her first gold medal with this stroke.

Dad’s officials army

As an immigrant to Great Britain and a converted German, from German to English, I always admired the sheer grit and determination the British as a whole showed during the wars of the last century.

The best and most popular reminder for us is the series Dad’s army. Amazing what the volunteers went through to help their country. The title implies there was more sexism in the days of the series and during the war, but we need to understand that. Nowadays women and men equally can help.

Whilst I can’t totally compare World Wars with swimming wars, the fact remains that Swimmers also rely on volunteers and that this nation’s swimmers need to train up to international competitions to equal or better performers from other nations.

In that sense a lot of national pride is involved.

Yet, the amount of parents wanting to become swimming officials seems to be dwindling.

There is no alternative to use paid officials as the sport would become too expensive. There is also no way to permanently replace highly trained volunteers with quickly drafted in volunteers who have no specific training.

official
An official’s clip board

 

Because if your swimmers do not get disqualified for doing the strokes wrongly, they do not learn and will not find a reason to learn the correct stroke technique, hence they are wasting a lot of their time.

I hear a lot of reasons why parents can’t do the job of time-keeper, swimming judge or referee e.g.

  1. It is too hot
    1. looking at the fact that many people book summer holidays in hotter climates than Britain it seems odd that people complain the pool area is too hot. My son went on a holiday 2 years back and the temperatures rose to 42 degrees. The temperatures around pools are usually around 30 degrees.
  2. We are on a trip that weekend
    1. Obviously it is important to set priorities and they should rather support the sport their kids are involved in.
  3. Got to work
    1. Work is probably the most used excuse but then if we all just spend time earning money instead of helping out, we won’t have any helpers and have to stop the sport altogether.
  4. Have smaller children
    1. Very reasonable excuse but there are always relatives and friends who could help out as well.

People just need to make that extra effort. People need to find the grit and determination to help their swimmers, to help the sport and to help their national swimming development.

There was a time when clubs had more money and more sponsors and clubs could actually give officials chocolates or bottles of wine as a thank you but since clubs are not that well off at the moment, we just all have to pick ourselves up and do the job anyhow because it is important that our children can continue to develop their skills.

We do not need to have wars to see what our priorities should be. Our children are always the most important assets in our life and we need to support them in what they do.

In my view the best performing clubs are the ones with the most officials in the long run.

 

 

After the busy weekend

All pics taken in the London Aquatics Centre appear with blue tint. That’s due to the windows being covered in blue foil. Just dropped my official’s board on the floor to take a pic of Hackney’s trophy won at the Gators meet on Sunday 8th. July 2018.

HAC TROPHY
Head coach Rick Hall with coach Naomi and some of the swimmers who won medals at the Gators meet on 8th. July 2018. Madison missed this photo opportunity.

We had a long weekend. First swimming for Tower Hamlets at the London Youth Games on Saturday 7th. July and then competing at the Gators meet in the LAC on Sunday 8th. July.

It’s all important to earn the stripes necessary to progress further in a swimming career.

Madison won 4 medals at the Gators meet.

gator-medals-July18
3 x silver and 1 x bronze at the Gators meet in July 2018

I am awaiting the results and will add-on as soon as published.

But in the 50 Freestyle Madison went all out and finished well ahead in her penultimate heat, making second place, with a great Personal Best in the long-course, which is the best result a swimmer can have, great PBs.

 

Officials are important

Just heard that a distance meet planned in conjunction with Chelsea and Westminster swimming club at their pool for next week Thursday has had to be cancelled for a lack of officials.

It can happen, that if a club wants to get swimmers into a meet that the club will not be accepted if they do not bring officials.

I am very pleased that I have now become a J2 and will be very willing to encourage other parents to become officials too.