Contention

blossomI feel a spring in my step. A lot of performance happens in the mind. All that I need to make sure of is that what I put in my body is good stuff and that my life is without hassle, that I have plenty of supportive people around me and that I feel good.

It doesn matter whether you live in a castle or in a flat, whether you have a car or take the train, whether you are rich or poorish, what matters is that you want to do it and be the best. Regular attendance at training sessions is crucial. You learn all the techniques and speed during training.

The less problems you create in your mind, the more you can focus on the swims.

The competitions then become just a relaxing weekend away with a few enjoyable swims.

 

 

In Focus

Suddenly the national qualifying window becomes meaningful. Whilst we are totally in focus on the goals, it is important to make decisions that are in sync with aims. Today we break up from school at 12:20 and a few of my school mates go to Stratford Westfield window shopping. I decide to pass on this, I know I have got my second training session of the day tonight and have a full weekend of competition ahead of me.

I use this afternoon as a welcome rest period before the storm.

first dawn 540
First signs of dawn on 29. March 2018 at 5:40AM in East London

Performance athletes are definitely in the minority. It just helps me a lot to see determined early morning joggers on my way to AM practise, I then know that there are others who are also focussed on fitness and training. Of course when I arrive at the pool, that is the best feeling, being amongst like-minded friends then.

I am feeling more relaxed now by making decisions that fit in with my performance goals rather than with pleasing others who have different lifestyles. It seems rather trivial to find the trip to Spain more exciting than getting national qualifying times. I suppose national athletes who swim for Britain get many great training sessions abroad anyhow.

BB

not Bed and Breakfast, not Brigit Bardot but Basildon and Beckenham.

The Basildon and Beckenham meets run concurrently in Basildon Sporting Village and the London Aquatics Centre, both are long-course meets on 31. March and 1. April 2018.

We are splitting ourselves between the two. Saturday at Basildon and Sunday at the LAC. All long-course times achieved at licensed meets are acceptable for the national competitions.

We’ll leave the 25m competitions to catch up on weaker strokes, e.g. 200 fly or 200 breast.

 

 

On the paper trail

Whilst waiting for the first train, to get to Stoke Newington for AM training at 6:45, we start to see some light in the sky night. It is a clear and crisp morning, just good to wake us up enough to want to get to our destination, the Clissold Pool.

Whilst I joined the BBC weatherwatch, I am tempted to take more weather photos to capture the moment of the day. I realise phone cameras don’t seem to be good enough to get a brilliant picture.

AM-church
Church Street in Stoke Newington at 6:25 AM

Apparently today, Hackney Aquatics has an article in the Hackney Gazette. I know the e-edition for 22. March is not online until the next day, after publication and so I trotted down Church Street, on the way to Stoke Newington Station to get a paper copy.

But there was not one shop open that sold papers at that time in the morning e.g. 6:15-6:30 AM. It is the same here in Tower Hamlets, paper shops just don’t seem to open early any longer.

Perhaps we are developing into a coffee-house culture, getting up late, going to bed late, which is entirely contrary to the life-style of a performance swimmer.

Whilst we were members at Bethnal Green Sharks we featured in many newspaper articles in the East London Advertiser as that club always submitted articles to the paper. After leaving Sharks to join London Aquatics Performance Program at the LAC, all newspaper reporting ceased because that program didn’t publish in the newspapers.

But now Hackney Aquatics will publish articles about the spoils of competition wins in the Hackney Gazette regularly. I shall make sure of it.

It’s just great to pose for a team-photo after a competition, especially if you won lots of medals. If you didn’t win any, you just think, well next time, I’ll have one as well.

At least I can add more newspaper cuttings to my personal development box in which I keep all the articles published about Madison.

 

 

Prospecting the swims

Our scene is changing, we are moving from the level 3 meets into the level 1 meets as our main focus.

This just shows that the Hackney Aquatics training is working, Madison has settled into her new club and is steaming ahead. If you can steam in a pool.

Probably after a 5k training session, some steam starts to emerge.

It is a big learning process. We need to know how the Nationals work and apparently they only accept times achieved in 50m pools. Of course that puts a major focus on taking part in 50m competitions all year round as a main source of competition times.

This learning curve reminds me of the learning we had to go through from the small pool to the big pool program. It is coupled with excitement and a new focus.

Big expectations with unrealistic dreams. You cannot dream anything realistic, a dream is always something that is in the clouds and gets into reach only by trying and trying again.