All sorted

changing club can sometimes be quite work intensive. The already planned competitions, the training schedules, the new club, the different competitions schedules there and all the coaches want the swimmers to do their best.

I must say Swim England or British Swimming is the best organisation I have ever had the pleasure to deal with. the vast majority of officials, coaches and swimmers are very friendly, polite, helpful and keen to get on and make things easy. There is even a friend service to help.

Swimming is a tough sport, training is very intense but Madison says she wants to work hard and toughen up. British swimming is always on the side of the hard-working swimmers who want to swim.

A lot of previous LACPP swimmers had to find other clubs. Whilst Madison was a junior performer, she still found that the LACPP was not a club as such and neither is the replacement LAC ACS. LAC ACS is now associated with Newham and that is well out of our geographical reach. LAC ACS offered to take over all previous LACPP swimmers but those who were national material went to other clubs.

Another swimmer not yet associated is the National, possible podium funded Jarvis Parkinson who is the only swimmer on the 2018 funding list without a club, Jarvis swam and trained with LACPP until the program had the plug pulled and swimmers dispersed in all directions. Jarvis is the proof that the LACPP delivered excellent results for swimmers. I just read that Jarvis joins the National Centre in Loughborough.

It shows that being part of a program has slight difficulties associated with getting into the club environment again. One has to live local to the club.

But all is well that ends well for Madison and she will compete in her last competition for Newham on Sunday 1st October at the LAC, early County qualifier and then storm into the Hackney training and competition environment; taking part in the ARENA league and a Middlesex development meet.

Hackney Aquatics, HAC for short, has a list of national classed swimmers who are up and coming.

swimming with Hackney

We are very happy to announce, that Madison is now officially a member at Hackney Aquatics Club HAC. I am not stating that Hackney is the best club because all swimming clubs are good clubs but to give you an idea, the sheer happiness factor of the Hackney Swimming club can be seen on this picture from Going Swimmingly.

Currently Madison has dual membership with LAC ACS, Newham and Hackney. It is all possible and you can have as many clubs as you like as long as they’ll have you.

Madison is especially happy to join HAC because many of her “old”* swimming mates are there now and as they know each other, there is no need to get over this first hurdle of getting to know somebody as the ice is already melted. HAC seems to be a magnet for local swimmers who show longevity in swimming.

Madison tried many new things lately, the new LACPP, now the LAC ACS and Newham & UEL but the good old friends are always easiest to have around.

But in my mind also, I think that Hackney Aquatics have the BEST training schedule of any club I’ve seen.

* I don’t think any are older than 15.

onward forward

I have already had to quit the LAC ACS scheme because their training schedule has been altered in such a way, from what was originally agreed, that it is no longer suitable for Madison’s needs.

It is up to each club to produce a training package, that they can manage and afford and think it is most effective, but all training packages have time-restraints and travel needs. So unfortunately LAC ACS is no longer suitable for us.

I shall miss those wonderful shopping opportunities nearby, e.g. popping into Waitrose or John Lewis whilst Madison is swimming. Also it is very sad to say good-bye to a very well cleaned pool environment.

I believe we have found a club, which is not only the most improved but also has, in my opinion, the best training package in the area.

Luckily here in London we have quite a few clubs to choose from but for me it is always important

  • what the training times are
  • how easy I can travel there
  • what training package there is
  • COST.

I think that the LAC training is quite expensive for the actual training offered, I am very sorry to say that.

But because we have already signed up for competitions, we’ll need to wait a while before we can formally join another club and compete in their name.

I have found that once a swimmer becomes a swimming teenager, it becomes increasingly difficult to find quality training and a club that suits with timing especially.

Competitions schedules

Of course once you are in a competitive club, you sign up for competitions. Competitions are often signed up in advance of 3 months. Once you have signed up for a competition, you do so as a member of a particular club. Then you are prescribed to that club. The club knows you rely on them and you have to adhere to the club’s conditions, even if they change.

Some top swimmers, argue to become professional swimmers and participate as individual rather than for a club. For a young swimmer that is not so easy, younger swimmers like to feel part of a club or a crowd, that makes them more confident and gives more motivation.

To change club, requires long advance planning. You cannot get your money back for competitions entered if you decide you do not longer want to compete with the club you have entered with.

We are now in that position.

It is best to be with a club that has established, predictable routines. Unfortunately for us, with this new LAC ACS set-up, we have very many unknown factors to cope with.

Yes it is in a fancy and nice location like the LAC but it is very expensive and things constantly change and nothing seems to be certain.

I sometimes look at the scruffy stairs of York Hall when I go past there and then think of the shining new facilities at the LAC and wonder whether it is worth having all this shining new club if there are so many pitfalls in taking part or whether it is not better to stick with an established club that runs from less fanciful facilities but is stable.

Just to reiterate

I do not want to be negative, I know everybody probably does their best. Previously we were advised not to join a club that isn’t part of the Advanced Coaching Scheme, I followed that advice but since I followed it and signed up for the club with the Advanced Coaching Scheme, I have suddenly been presented with unforseen changes in the training schedule that were not agreed prior to signing up.

Previously we were supposed to get training at the LAC exclusively, if we sign up to become members at the newly created LAC ACS. We had to sign up by 15. September; as soon as I had signed up and entered competitions, up to November 2017, I was given a new training schedule that requires me to be at East Ham Leisure Centre at 5:30 AM. I reside in Bethnal Green and whilst I find it easy to be at the LAC for 6 AM, as it usually started with LACPP and LAC ACS training, the new host club Newham UEL suddenly changes the routine against all agreements that were formed previously with Swim England.

Additionally the cost of being a member in LAC ACS has sharply risen and it is not even quite clear now, whether the Beacon Program is included in the price as it was last year.

In fact the whole Beacon program has so far not been agreed with the host boroughs.

I am not blaming anybody, I suppose it is very difficult to set up a club from scratch and cost this, but I know what I need, I need a regular routine for my swimmer, my swimmer needs to be able to attend school, learn and form relationships and that is only possible with a predictable regular routine. That is what the Advanced Coaching Scheme cannot offer us at present.

I am now looking to join an already established well running local club, even if they are not members in the Advanced Coaching Scheme because we need peace of mind, we need affordable club swimming and we need a good routine that we can rely on.

I have contacted the parties involved in this and await responses. It is the weekend and hopefully something will have changed for the Better by next week.

unpredicted changes

Now that tuition fees at university are so high, becoming a swimmer seems a good career move, but just as I get friendly with the thought the government might cap tuition fees for students to a set cost of £7,500 per year.

Whatever happens with university fees, swimming fees are also quite expensive and need to be well-managed to be affordable.

Young people need a certain amount of consistency to be successful in whatever they do because too many changes cause unnecessary disruptions.

When I read those wonderful blogs like Swim Vortex, everything seems to easy, people swim, train and win medals. But when you are in the mix, you actually need to work hard to stay ahead of the game and succeed in sport and life challenges.

Already problems have emerged with the new LAC ACS setup and we might need to change club again.

I am not apportioning blame because pressures are on everybody these days and I am certain all do their utmost best. But young people do need regular and reliable routines to get on in education and in sport; that is really what we are looking for.

Swimming also needs to be affordable and manageable from the aspect of finance, travel, time and effort involved. We are currently looking for a new club.

I think those swimmers who swim in the well-established smooth running clubs do best in the long-run. The LAC ACS, formerly LACPP is a relatively new setup and it is quite hard to cope with the continuing changes.

It is much harder to form friendships, to organise home-work and it is actually getting really expensive as well when routines constantly change.

BWFSC, first meet of the season

Since Madison was now signed up for the LAC ACS, she will be competing under the colours of Newham & UEL swimming club at competitions. Our first meet of the season will be the Gators meet at the LAC on 1st October 2017, second session.

Madison will try to improve on some weaker strokes because she already has gained qualifying times for counties in other disciplines.

We are looking forward to see you there.

Time is on our side

We’ve now managed to reduce daily travel time by 2 hours by changing school and those 2 hours mean a lot in terms of having time for home-work, especially as Madison now enters the active GCSE phase. Madison is very happy to have joined Raine’s Foundation school, which carries the Sport England Sports mark, works with the Jack Petchey Foundation and where at least one Assistant Head teacher also has competitive swimmers in the family.

Planning one’s day by calculating sleep time, eat time, school time, swim time, home work time and fun time; it is easiest to come to a happy arrangement for making life good in the fast lane.

The more stress-free and streamlined a swimmer’s day is, the more likely are they to swim to the best of their ability because the swimmer does not have to worry about things.

The Advanced Coaching Scheme

is the secret to swimming success.

We have been presented with it at the LAC by Nick Sellwood as the best method to train youngsters into competitive swimming, as authorised by Swim England directly.

LAC-Advanced-Coaching-Scheme-Presentation2-3-September-2017

Apparently Birmingham is also using a similar approach. Birmingham have an excellent reputation in swimming, as they presented Nick Gillingham, the last South English swimmer who won bronze for Britain in 1992. All other swimming stars came from further north. He actually mastered the 200 breast.

The training approach is  a crucial and very important stepping stone on producing successful specialist swimmers.

Now the whole training system employed in the London Aquatic Centre employs this scientific and proven approach. That starts from learning to swim to joining the swimming club.

It is very important that you start your child off with the correct training approach.

No Sharks for us now

As I discussed my plans for Madison to re-join Bethnal Green Sharks with the Swim England development coach I was made aware that the London Aquatics Advanced Coaching Program has an especially developed coaching plan, that is most scientifically selected and takes all matters like growth and heart rates, lactic acid production and other things into serious consideration.

LAC-Advanced-Coaching-Scheme-Presentation2-3-September-2017

Some swimmers train full-time at the LAC ACS and they are always fully able to take advantage of the latest training regime and some swimmers join the program on a part-time basis from other clubs.

However, I have been advised that a number of local clubs have subscribed to take part in the advanced coaching scheme, so that swimmers can seamlessly train with their own club and then part-time in the LAC. But if a club is not part of this advanced coaching scheme then the swimmer risks loosing a lot of progress by not training to the latest methods and for that reason Madison cannot join or swim for Bethnal Green Sharks at the moment.

Bethnal Green Sharks were offered by Swim England to participate in the Advanced Coaching Scheme but refused at this time. That means, Madison is unable for this reason to swim for this club. Sorry Bethnal Green.

Now even learner swimmers can take advantage of this scheme, if they train at the London Aquatics Centre. Swimming Lessons are run by Better, but they select talented swimmers and invite them to a Talent Lane program and then there is also the option to join the LAC ACS training program in the swimming club.

Currently learner swimmers have a better chance to develop properly if they start learning at the London Aquatics Centre or at any London Club that is part of the Advanced Coaching Scheme or has similar methods that succeed with national swimming programs.