Keeping up the performance

In performance sports constant fitness regimes and a lifestyle that is focused on performance are imperative.

There is no fast way to sporting results for most athletes, not all are fast starters and many reap the results of their training and clean living efforts later on in life. Remember you can establish a swimming record till very late in life, age-groups never stop.

Learning to deal with rejections and throwbacks is almost as important for a young swimmer as being able to win. Most swimmers probably lose more races than winning them.

It is however very important to attend competitions on a monthly basis to stay tuned.

In swimming as a sport, peaking at 18+ is probably more convenient than earlier because it fits in with the schooling regime that we all have to follow here in the UK.

What is important is that we get into healthy living habits, don’t slack on the swimming training and keep it up.

Performance swimming means being constantly on the swim, on a daily basis. You gotta love swimming a lot to be able to do it.

Once you get selected for national teams, you get a whole host of wonderful training opportunities through podium funding. Prior to that all athletes can apply for GLL funding. But as said previously there are also many practical ways to improve fitness.

The glamour of being fit

It is not about the glamour of looking good, it is about the glamour of looking good by being fit.

Practical ways to get fit and to benefit the body and the mind, which cost the least, are always practical.

There are many ways to get fit, which do not cost any extra money, you do not need to go to the gym to get basically fit and build muscle.

When I, the parent, had a spell of poverty to go through and could not even afford a washing machine nor a car or any luxuries, I found myself having to wash the laundry for a family of seven by hand in the bath tub, I went shopping and carried 10 bags from the nearest supermarket, which was over 2 miles away on a daily basis, I painted all the walls in a 10 room flat and cooked and washed up, swept the floors.

There was no problem with obesity. And

  • when I entered the 10km NIKE fun run, I was a middle performer, despite never having been in an athletics club,
  • when I joined a local King Fu club, I simply pushed those muscular big blokes over and I was small compared to them.

The point I am trying to make is that there are many youngsters out there who come from poor families and there is no point complaining. There are clubs like Hackney Aquatics who subsidise your monthly fees if your parents are unable to pay.

Practical exercises include

  • cleaning up your room, sweep under and behind the furniture,
  • paint your walls and
  • wash your laundry
  • carrying shopping home in a rucksack and walk all the way
  • do gardening if you have one or help neighbours
  • walk whenever possible and take the stairs
  • Swim as much as possible, it is good for the brain and helps your school results.

Very important indeed, eat as many self-cooked or prepared meals as possible, avoid highly processed foods whenever possible.

Remember you do not need a gym to have a great fitness regime, floor exercises are free and running is also free, so are home chores.


AM training

AM training Feb 20171Days are getting longer again and it’s always refreshing to see the sun rise around morning training. We go three times per week now and getting used to it.

The lifestyle in the city is such that we get used to late evenings, cosy TV watching and later to bed and later to rise.

AM training means getting up at 4:30, having breakfast, then off to the pool before school. Whilst in Primary it was very easy for Madison as the pool was directly next to the school but now there is travel involved.

London’s transport is excellent and it is very easy to get from place to place using very fast and reliable public transport. It is so much easier to enjoy the landscapes whilst using a bus/train or walking to or from a train station rather than driving.

WP_20180217_06_58_54_Pro_LIIt is cold but fresh this morning and as long as the sky is blue and the sun is shining, the weather is not so much of an issue.

AM training has now firmly become a part of our routine and is embedded in our life-style. It is not only the swimmer that is affected by the training routine because as long as they are young teens the parents are the ones that bring them to training. So chop, chop and bristol fashion, no excuses.



Time was not on our side with the Beckenham International meet as Madison gotten rejected for the majority of her entries. Apparently the Beckenham rejected list is extremely long with many competitors being rejected.

All the entry times weren’t actually Madison’s fastest times but the Beckenham meet entry system doesn’t automatically up-date the latest times available for her six individual entries and so Madison gotten accepted for only 1 entry and that is the 100 backstroke. Apparently it is not her stroke with currently the highest FINA points. It is however a great privilege to be able to compete with 1 race at the meet.

What a wonderful opportunity though for many clubs to send swimmers to the London Aquatics Centre, like a mini Olympics.

Here in Britain and with Swim England there are always plenty of meets to go to.

Easter meets are very popular now and so we just find another meet and go to different meets on different days of the long Easter weekend.

There is always an opportunity to race and get new Personal Best Times.


You know when you purchase underwear, swimming costumes, jewellery, these are items you cannot return for hygiene reasons because when an item has come in contact with some body parts then that is a taboo.

I’ve learned that snorkels need to be sterilised after use from our brilliant head coach and that definitely has reduced the sore throat feeling but now I am going on about the swimming costume dryers we use in some pools.

I am just thinking we are wearing our costumes close to the body and everybody then puts their costume or trunks into the dryer and then the next person and the next person and in the dryer that is where all those germs get exchanged.

So when I come home, I put my costume into a disinfecting solution, as I do not want to put them through a washing machine cycle.

Sneaking in exercise

One of the biggest causes of obesity and general unfitness is our lifestyle, the fact that we spend long periods sitting or lying around doing nothing and then only have small periods of activity.

Even though health gurus generally recommend small bursts of high-intensity workouts to keep the body going, that is just about all it does, but it doesn’t increase general fitness stamina.

I recommended this previously, that you should do exercise whenever possible but I have not reached to the parts of the exercise that are generally taboo, the bed and the holiday sun loungers or the beach.

In the bed, the sun loungers or the beach, there is one excellent exercise that is brilliant. Whilst you lay down, and this is best done with plenty of blankets or towels on the legs, to weigh you down, just lift up your legs, keeping them straight and hold them up at about 2 – 3 inches height as long as possible. Repeat at least 10 times. Rest. Repeat. You can do this for hours.

This tones your core, keeps your tummy flat and even tones the neck muscles and face muscles. You feel mentally refreshed doing this. I can’t offer you your money back if you don’t as you do not pay for the advice but try it anyhow.

I recommend this for sleepless nights, lazy days, beach holidays.

The Happy Club

HAC has got the very appropriate abbreviation, that could also stand for Happy Club. After this year’s County’s everybody is happy, singing praise to the coaches and the swimmers, whilst all parents congratulate each other on supporting their successful swimmers.

It is all down to a very happy combination of everything working together just fine,

  1. the professional coaching team, who are all very friendly, very approachable and always happy to have a chat in a nice way, superb communications,
  2. the extremely keen swimmers who work very hard and train to compete and if they do not compete, they are all very supportive members of a club that welcomes all swimmers,
  3. the excellent Advanced Coaching Scheme that provides superb transitional coaching and an unreal and good land and swim training program,
  4. all the kind and cordial parents who all support each other.

hackney tablesThe superb progression of achievement has been well shown by the recent graphs and tables Rick has posted for us to see and I shall recommend that everybody is proud but not complacent with the achievements but aims to work even harder to continue the success.

Madison made a relatively small contribution to this success by having contributed to the Top 8/final category. But MADISON is chuffed to bits that she can be part of such a successful and well-run club by head coach Rick Hall.

It makes it so much more worthwhile to invest time into training and not having the feeling that she wastes time in the pool. There is something to aim for and it seems achievable.

drink water

NIke fun run 1989

As a parent I ran my first and only Marathon (10k) in 1989. I ran in the NIKE ‘woman’s own’ event fun run at Hyde Park, I came 282 out of 487. I trained every day, preparing myself by jogging around Victoria Park. My youngest and fifth child was just under 1-year-old.

On the day of the event, there was not one water station at the run. That was normal at the time. I didn’t prepare myself either by bringing any water. About 2/3 through the race, I gotten rather tired. I think that was the last public running event held without water provision.

By now a big industry has sprung up by producing all kinds of water supplies that help counter the dehydration.

imageI suppose that swimmers produce as much perspiration as marathon runners do. Yet whilst in the water, you cannot see or feel the sweat.

I spoken to some young swimmers and they said that because they feel water in their mouth all the time, their brain might be tricked into believing that they drink water, whilst in fact they do not. Some youngsters just don’t feel thirsty, perhaps again the mind is tricked into thinking that because of all the water around them, they do not need to drink it.

However losing all that body moisture that must fatigue a swimmer. But on the other hand because the body is in water, perhaps the water helps to moisturise. I have not found any study around that.

Perhaps it helps swimmers if they are reminded just to drink more water if they feel fatigued and just think they cannot do another lap. Encourage swimmers to drink lots of water before a training session and also have sips during the session and drink again a considerable amount after the session, I think they feel less tired and worn out doing this.

MCASA weekends (3)

As parent volunteer I only worked briefly this weekend and again came to the conclusion that swimming is simply the best sport for youngsters. Can any parent, non swimmers of course, imagine hundreds of kids in one hall in good discipline, hard-working, cheerful and enthusiastic all weekend?

All participants are very positive, eager, committed and following the rules. The activity is very healthy and can’t do any harm. Highly recommended.

Freestyle v. Front crawl

Not wanting to dwell in the past, it seems now that calling freestyle front crawl during Medley competitions seems more appropriate now that changes to FINA rules with respect to Freestyle include the ‘Lochte rule’.

Swimmers now have to be on their breast prior to engaging into any kick or stroke in freestyle during a Medley race.

But if swimmers swim freestyle in any freestyle race e.g. 50, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1500 or any other distance solely devoted to freestyle, swimmers can swim that in any stroke or stroke-combination of their choice. Swimmers can even swim on their side or do flip turns throughout the race, as long as part of their body is above the water unless they start or do a turn.

The term freestyle is synonymous with no restriction on style. Front crawl implies that a swimmer has to be on their front to crawl in the water.

The majority of swimmers have picked up this new rule without problem but explaining it to novices is not so easy.