Fabulous fun day

Today was a great fun day, unforgettable, filled with ambition and eagerness to achieve, coupled with fun.


In the early afternoon was the 3km swim for the London Region Open Water championships at Surrey Quay and following that was another 2km sponsored swim at the London Fields Lido.

Madison, still with her number 60 on the skin from the London Open Water Championships 2018

It was really enjoyable seeing the coaches chip in and swim for fun too.

Rick Hall, HAC head coach on his sponsored swim, go Rick

Everybody enjoyed themselves, superb.

I shall greatly miss Coach Naomi, who always encouraged me to join Hackney Aquatics.


Casing out the joint

We decided to take this inset day off school to look at the venue for tomorrows Open Water bout.

We looked at the best transport route. Apparently tomorrow no trains will stop at Whitechapel, due to Crossrail work, so we found 2 other routes we could take.

Also from the station to the Surrey Quays Watersport centre, the walkway is quite easy to find when there, which is not so easy to see on maps.

Previously when I suggested Madison could swim in the Bathing Ponds in Hampstead Heath, she was terrified about the prospect as the water looked so dark and dirty. And apparently pool swimmers can develop an anxiety about swimming in open waters because in the pool the water is so clear, clean and transparent.


When we arrived at Surrey Quays, the water also looked dark with bits of leaves in, fish swimming there and some lovely ducks.

But you just can’t beat the scenery and the natural atmosphere. It must be better for the immune system to have some proper contact with the natural environment.

No pool gives you this wonderfully scenic look with real trees and a wonderful skyline. It’s amazing what one can find in the middle of London.


We’ll have an amazing day tomorrow, which we’ll finish off at the Hackney Lido for the Hackney Aquatics Community Day, donations very welcome.

A perfect inset day

The school inset day could not have come at a better time. It’s the day before our first Open Water swim and a day off school with a taper down training session prepares Madison perfectly for the 3km swim tomorrow.

Talking of swimming reminds me of the water shortage reports I’ve heard on the news this morning. Apparently people are advised to have short showers instead of a bath to save water. I do not agree at all. If you have a bath and then use the old bath water to water the garden you get much more out of your water. If you have showers the water just runs down the drain.


Make or break

There is now a lot of suspense in the air because Hackney Aquatics will shortly announce squad movements. It’s a very big deal for swimmers whether they get selected for the top Performance squad or the competition squad.

Makes a huge difference, some competitions can only be entered by performance squads. Madison has been in performance since several years now and doesn’t want anything else.

At the moment we are trying to get tougher. We are entering competitions mainly to increase stamina. Going to swim in

Some events we do not enter to win but just to condition.

We know where Madison can get good results but there are those events where the chances are not so good and those are the ones we will enter as well, e.g. 400 free, 400 IM. Winning medals is not always possible but taking part is.

Overall the consistently best swimmers in the long run are always the ones who have the best variety of strokes and distances.

As a special treat for after the summer break. during which Madison will keep busy by attending

  • The Melanie Marshall SwimInspiration summer camp
  • climbing and canoeing workshops
  • perhaps a Hackney Aquatics summer camp

then in September onto the level 2 Cambridge Grand Prix 

and also Redbridge which is always a nice weekend to get some more County and Regional Times for next season.

Overall there is an excellent variety of competitions that Hackney Aquatics attends, which really enriches the life of any swimmer.

Fun is in the eyes of the beholder

Whilst I was browsing the web yesterday, looking for inspirations, I came across some articles whereby people complain about the amount of swimming performance swimmers have to do.

Well what is there in life that is not repetitive?

Every sport requires total dedication if performing athletes want to get to the top of the sport, meaning practise, practise and more practise.

So why is it better to kick a ball around all day rather than swim?

It just all depends what personal preferences are.

Some people just spend all day sitting around playing on the games console or others spend all day on a desk doing paper work.

Fact is that spending time in the pool swimming is one of the healthiest activities a person can do. Of course the swimmer must enjoy it; it is just like everything else, we need to enjoy what we do so that we love doing it.

I can understand warnings that too much time in chlorinated water can have side effects. In the LAC for example there is a system that uses less chlorine and some ultraviolet light to increase cleanliness of the water. Some pools use a combination of saline and chlorinated water.

There is a concern that resistance to normal illnesses becomes less if always in a pool of chlorinated water. There is also the possibility of swimming in Open Water.

Yet too much chlorinated water exposure can be countered by doing activities in the field, going to forests and having walks or jogging in nature. Better still is to change the composition of the water compounds.

Swimming fitness does not necessarily just come from the pool.

If parents are concerned about the amount of chlorine in their local pool, just contact the pool manager, it is mostly pressure from parents, which initiates changes for the better.

It is important to have a day off per week and do something away from the pool. Yet Michael Phelps managed to train every day and even didn’t take Christmas off.

If performance schemes find enough swimmers who cope very well with constant pool training then they will not get any reason to change. It all depends on the ability of the athletes to do the training and if they can, then it is fine and for those who cannot cope they just need to find another sport.

Fact is that each and every sport produces sport specific injuries and some are more prone to some injuries than others.

I’ve witnessed kids falling over and breaking an arm by just running down a straight line but that doesn’t mean that we will cancel  school sports day.

Swimmers who are naturally talented for the sport and who enjoy the training must be given the opportunity to take part. But here are some statistics of injuries swimmers can get.

With whatever we do or don’t do, we run a risk of harm or injury,  it is up to each individual to decide whether the health benefits outweight the risks.

Please bear in mind that inactivity is the worst thing we can do to our health.

Nothing can stop us

We had a few obstacles in our way to get to early morning training.

  • First a lot of walkways around the LAC are closed due to an event nearby
  • and buses are on diversion
  • then we could not enter the LAC because of a staff problem there
Carpenters Road underpass

We decided to take a nightbus to near the LAC and walk the rest of the way from the other side of the venue to get there on time. Isn’t that underpass psychedelic? I love it.

We were relatively early just to find out that the LAC manager was locked into her office and they had to call the fire brigade to get her out.

Our ever so reliable head coach then took some of us to Clissold so that we do not miss the morning practise.

After a nice car ride we finally made the practise. Nothing can stop us from morning practise.

If a morning practise is finished at 7:30AM it is still easily possible to be in school for 8:30AM because public transport in London is fantastic.

Mental health

Is a big discussion going on and one of the questions that plague young people is: “Why do adults keep on talking?” Chas and Dave’s song “You won’t stop talking, why don’t you give it a rest?” also questions constant conversation along those lines.

My simple answer to this is, adults who do not engage in sport, fitness simply spend more time talking, constantly seeking emotional security by engaging in conversations. But there are 2 types of emotional problems, the destructive and constructive type.

Yesterday’s performance of Hamlet was a very good example how badly managed mental health ends in tragedy and death for everyone involved.

Hamlet didn’t like his mother’s re-marriage to his uncle and Hamlet became quite abusive and threatening towards his family and friends.  Hamlet listened to his dead father’s ghost. He killed Ophelia’s father, then fought with Ophelia’s brother, then his mother drank the poison that was meant for Hamlet; Hamlet then forced his step-father to also drink the poison and eventually drank the rest himself, leaving the stage full of dead bodies.

My motto is always, do not succumb to bad moods, avoid any moodiness and rather spend time on thinking about positive things. However talking doesn’t work for everyone. Engaging in fitness and sport can help reducing dark and destructive or self-destructive moods.

On the other hand we all heard about Michael Phelps’s problems with mental health but in his case, the outcome was very positive. He won a lot of medals and established a happy family life for himself and even helps others by opening up about his struggles.

There are different qualities to talking and conversing, the one which is constantly being negative and talking only to see the dark and problematic side of things and on the other hand there is the struggle to succeed and fulfill a goal or ambition, which involved bettering health and performance.

But seriously don’t be a slouch and spend all your time just talking to others, take some time out and do some fitness exercises and that doesn’t leave all that time for talking but clears the mind and helps the blood flow to the brain, which makes it work better. Perhaps politicians should go for a run or swim in between sessions instead of having drinks. Many employers now make gyms and fitness facilities part of the employment environment.





Tragedies of Shakespeare are an important educational stepping stone of any English 14-year old. Fulfilling the requirements of the English Curriculum, we went to see Hamlet at the Globe theatre today. We try to see at l east 1 Shakespeare play per year and so far we saw Romeo and Juliet and now Hamlet.

We always admire those ‘professional’ swimmers who write about nothing but their training and winning medals, and I hope I’ll get to this stage eventually, but at the moment life is a mix of school and sport.

st.paulsWe went along the picturesque London city, past St. Paul’s Cathedral, over the bridge, near the Tate Modern gallery and towards the Globe theatre. Admiring the sky-line, whilst waiting for the doors to open we had a nice lunch.


We just can’t believe how lucky we are to be living in London, a town full of opportunities and superb facilities.

We are never far from my favourite element water here in London. Just reminds me that my first open water swim will be next weekend.

Keeping the mind focussed on achievement. Hamlets was a prime example of badly managed mental health.


just training

Having no competition for 2 weeks feels just like a holiday. Currently just training, the usual 7 times per week and it gets easier, the longer its done.

Just remember the posts made when we started the regular AM training with constant moaning about having to get up.

Now its all routine and such a toddle.

Busy raising money for the annual fund-raiser “Swim the Thames”. We have generous neighbours and the fund-raising form fills. But there are some who pay immediately and there are some who pledge.

Rather than keeping all the cash collected we just pay it via the club’s GoFundMe page and leave the rest of the donations for later, until the pledgers paid up.

Feeling fresh and relaxed, it’s always good to help and be positive, our club is such a great place to be and the team is fabulous.

The up-coming competitions feel easy and not bothered about having 2 800 m freestyle competitions on 2 consecutive days.

Swimming is fun!!!

Breaststroke ahoi

Madison is not ashamed to laboriously pick up her breaststroke skills to build up the full set of strokes to be proud of.

Of course there are a quite a few swimmers in the club who already found their special fast strokes and qualified for this year’s English and British nationals but Madison will continue to build skills across the range.

Today, at the very nice Hackney Development meet, Madison swam the breaststroke and took the 50m breast by storm with a new Personal Best of 42:79 improved from 45:79.

But then, came the amazingly generous lunch that Hackney Aquatics provided for Young volunteers and that 3/4 pizza made Madison look like she swallowed a stone when she participated in the 100 breast straight after lunch with a new Personal Best of 1:36:84. yet it is an improvement from 1:37:19.

There is a very good feeling for not resting on the laurels and continuing to graft on all skills.

Being Young Volunteers is an incredibly rewarding experience for Hackney Swimmers, the club is very friendly and has skill building for the swimmers at its heart.