A superb social gathering

Last night’s award ceremony and Christmas Party was the best sports club party I had the pleasure to attend.

Set in the iconic Hackney Marshes centre facility, the gathering enjoyed great music, a lovely buffet and of course an award ceremony for the achievers of the club. I suppose if everybody in the club gotten a medal for achieving, the medal table would have collapsed. This club has lots of superbly supportive parents, extremely eager and talented swimmers, excellent coaches and volunteers.

Madison joint the club in August but earned the silver medal for the 13-year-old female club champs category.

HAC has some fantastic role models in its swimming fraternity with national champs gold medal winners, regional and county champs medal winners to look up to. That is just the right environment for any swimmer to learn and progress in the sport.

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The Christmas Party costume 2017

I, as supporting parent, stood out on this occasion coming dressed as a blue-haired Mrs Crinch.

The party provided a superb setting for people with children of all ages to enjoy the evening.

I recommend the Rose wine Spritzer they sold at the centre bar to the parents who do like a tipple.

On the winning Arena team

Last week’s debacle at Barnet all but forgotten, with a swift recovery, Madison swam for her club @HackneyAquaticsclub at the National Arena League finals at Borehamwood yesterday and Hackney emerged as winner of the League 2 teams and got promoted to League 1.

It was a fast and furious meet with swimmers from 8 clubs hunting the promotion. Everybody gave their best and swam the fastest they could. Really proud to be part of the team.

 

Nothing in our Christmas Cracker

The Harrow meet didn’t go well at all for Madison. Illness led to an early departure and weak performances throughout. Considerable misses of previously established PB times and very little improvement, that was our Harrow experience this year. There was a small improvement on the 200 free and an expected but not as large as possible improvement on the 100 IM.

No swimmer can always be on top form and don’t worry if a swimmer has to admit defeat through illness. Swimmers can only try their best and if the will is strong but the body says no, then it’s home-time and rest until things get better.

A busy weekend

As a parent I am now fully involved in Madison’s swimming career and as there is little chance of Madison giving up swimming in the near future, I decided to go for qualifying further along the officials path.

On Saturday 19.11.17 I officiated at the ESSA Secondary School championships, a very worthwhile chore, as several records had been broken and thanks to Nick Gillingham Academy, here is one of them. I can be seen on lane 7.

I didn’t have a swimmer at this event as Madison’s school does not have any swimmers. But I very much want to support those who bring swimming to their school communities.

On Sunday, I officiated at the Hackney Aquatics championships, with an unbelievably good atmosphere and great community spirit, an occasion where mainly younger swimmers take their first steps into competition. Madison took part and won several medals and entered the finals.

My Jack Petchey medal

Finally, yesterday, after a year of waiting, we went to celebrate the Jack Petchey award by collecting a wonderfully made medal and joined in a nicely made evening celebration with pics of all the winners and their groups. I won for the Girl Guides in my area.

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I missed the evening swim training but wanted to join in to celebrate the wonderful scheme that Jack Petchey provides for community and sports groups by awarding funding and celebrating dedication and achievement.

This program radiates a lot of positivity and inspiration to all.

Girl Guiding is my long-lasting hobby, I went to Rainbows, then Brownies and now Guides.

Helping the sport

If only those parents whose swimmers make it to the top would help with swimming duties or organising galas, club functions etc, we would have very few helpers.

The better the sport is organised the more possibilities there are for more swimmers to prosper and benefit in the sport.

I actually quite enjoy helping when my own swimmer isn’t competing, as I look at the sport as a whole and not just onto how my own swimmer performs. I need to be as impartial as possible and keep my mind on the smooth running of the meet rather than just my own swimmer.

But of course having my swimmer get into a high level meet is a special bonus. Most parents start off helping with the club, officiating because their own child swims. That is how it has to be as only volunteers run the sport events.

I have seen people demand for the employment of professional judges and referees but the sheer volume of swimming competitions would make that a very expensive option and not sustainable at all.

It’s all about facilitating options for swimmers to compete. My own swimmer just loves competitions, they are the culmination of weeks of swimming practise day after day and often twice a day.

But often as swimmers get older and do no longer need constant close supervision, I can sneak off and help out at competitions at the weekends. It is great to be able to help those succeed who have the dedication, skill and time to compete to the highest levels.

parent helpers

As a licensed swimming official I decided to officiate at the London Region Swimming Champs at the LAC, even though my swimmer didn’t qualify to compete.

Normally, whenever my swimmer doesn’t qualify we just sit at home and let time go by, but by my involvement in the meet, Madison gotten an interest in this and wants to be involved as swimmer in the future.

Parents helping at meets always helps swimmers and the sport of swimming. All our swimmers need the sport to evolve and continue to be organised and meets to happen and parents helping will enable swimmers to take part in competitions.

Not all parents can help, many have to work but if at all possible I think parents should consider helping even if their children do not swim at an occasion. Swimming is a great hobby and even ‘just’ officiating a superb fitness exercise.