For many swimmers the fun starts in the small pool. Having fun with friends. This pool in Wuerzburg’s Dallenbergbad has a very long slide and provides hours of fun.
The next stage is the swimming club. When Madison gotten to the big pool it was like a mile stone. That was the big goal we had at the time, to get into the big pool with all the big swimmers.
But then nobody thought of any records or Galas or Age-groups. I didn’t even know about those and the club didn’t tell me about it either. I only ever realised that someone went around talking to parents and I thought why do they never talk to me?
Then other swimmers started to ask me, isn’t Madison allowed to come to Galas? I was astounded as I didn’t even know anything about Galas at all.
I started to enquire and found out that the club takes swimmers to Galas. Of course we wanted to take part. Galas are the first step to competition.
Then I saw how parents handed form to the swimming coach and I wondered, where do they get these forms from. Nobody told me about age-groups. I had to find out for myself.
Eventually I gotten Madison into a gala and then also into an age-group. The first Age-group we took part in was Redbridge. I never forget it. We didn’t know about starts or fast turns and when Madison was in the lead of the first 25 meters, after the turn she was last. What a downer. And it went on from there.
But nobody ever encouraged us to watch any other competitions, e.g. British Championships or follow others. So all big achievements were another world. And when I see suddenly those new swimming stars in the media. I think, how do they do that? It seems to far away, those times they get.
When Madison was 10, she had the 9th fasted time in the 50 fly in London; I found that out by looking up the ASA Individual best times tables. Again nobody told me about those, it’s just that I have years of experience as webmaster and know how to source things.
The best any swimmer can get is to be World Record Holder and that seems a far, far and long, long way away. I watched the last Olympics and realised that swimmers from some countries are not faster than Madison is now but we are not in those countries, we are expected to be the Best and only the Best is good enough.