Rother Valley Open Water Festival 2018

Brilliant! To all you parents, if you look for something refreshing, therapeutic and rejuvenating activity that doesn’t cost you any money and is extremely good for you, consider becoming an Open Water Swimming Official.

Rother Valley is near Sheffield but very rural. It’s like so many Open Water locations a lake or part of a managed inland water area in various locations around the country.

rotherswans
Swans near the lake where the British Open Water Championships 2018 are held

Wildlife occupy the wonderful lake, the water is very clear and the atmosphere is tranquil despite the fierce competing and swimmers racing around the 1km course as many times as they need to complete their distance. the birds are not phased in the slightest by the swimmers, I saw a group of ducks swimming through without any fear or stress.

All helpers are the friendliest people you can imagine and the team spirit and camaraderie is excellent. A thoroughly enjoyable weekend.

rotherareaEven the journey home is nice, through a wonderfully tranquil area in the middle of England.

You simply feel a totally wonderful new you after a weekend working in the great team with eager young people in the great English countryside.

 

Use your loaf

Just to mention that when Madison had the Better sponsorship, during her membership with LACPP, Madison hardly had any time to go to the gym to top up the water-based club training. Madison never needed to see the physio. One felt invincible.

better=copper
Better membership card for the GLL training support

Then, the following year, I did not apply for the Better GLL sponsorship, which brings with it, free physio treatment. I thought we do not need it, Madison was never injured to a significant degree. I thought better let other athletes have the sponsorship, those who do need to supplement their training with extra gym sessions.

Now the injury has finally arrived. No, I have not been waiting for it but it has happened.

My GP told me that coming to the NHS for advice is a waste of time because the NHS has no resources to treat sporting injuries quickly enough. Perhaps the NHS should reconsider their treatment options. NHS constantly peaches to us about healthy life-styles, yet that brings with it more sporting activities with sporting related injuries. If the NHS wants to specialise in deteriorating illnesses, which are not sport related only, they should re-name themselves.

Now I have been told that the physio in my own club charges at least £50 for a consultation. Obviously like most average people I am not made of money.

I have to find ways of solving problems without spending even more than I already do on the swimming.

We have enormous cost because we not only need to pay the club membership, we also constantly got extra costs like:

  • Travel costs – to and from training and going to competitions
  • Accommodation cost – most further away competitions require hotel stays
  • Performance costumes – can cost around £300,–
  • Training equipment – quite a lot of stuff
  • Competition entry – At the LAC can cost up to £12,– per event.

Now having even more cost, would just about break the camels back.

I do not understand, that Swim England, doesn’t make Physios available for free. Just perhaps a physio per region. Or perhaps advertise for physios who want to help the sport on a voluntary basis.

I need to turn to the Internet for advice. There is quite a lot about. There are some useful pages, which are seriously useful. Search the Internet for Swimmer’s shoulder and some good pages with advice come up for free. Obviously it only needs a terra bad and a wall to do a couple of exercised.

Our club coaches are also pretty good and allow the continuation of training, just not using the injured shoulder. Yet active Physio intervention is not available, especially in the holidays. I am hoping that the Mel Marshall camp, that also cost quite a lot of money has gotten some solutions available.

Dunno Groupie

As Madison didn’t make it to the British Summer Champs this year, we tried our hardest to get tickets for spectating.

But………………..

Didn’t know when our swimmers had their heats and today, on the 24th. apparently there are no longer tickets on sale online with the ticket factory.

It is not quite clear to us whether there are still tickets for sale on the door in Ponds Forge, Sheffield.

Only solution qualify next year and then its much easier to take part.

There are also the London Winter champs 3. and 4. November to look forward to and Madison looks like she qualifies this year. Gotto start somewhere.

Get the mind working

Just watching this program about a computer programmer in Silicon Valley. He says his mind works faster if go goes on a treadmill.

I still say, go swimming instead as this doesn’t wear down the knees and also provides a better overall body workout.

I definitely notice the difference in how my mind processes things after swimming. I am more rational, happier, rational, logical and level-minded.

Of course for any working person that would mean higher productivity. And for pupils it means being able to learn faster and remember the things taught.

I am a fan

Just trying to organise a fan-trip to Sheffield next week to support some of our Hackney swimmers.

When I first looked up the printable start-list the swimmers all appeared and I believed that two of our swimmers Ryan and Jude swim on the Thursday morning.

Got on to purchase tickets for the Ponds Forge Venue and then the train tickets. But then, just before I purchased the train tickets, I thought, I check the start lists again to make sure I got the correct day.

By then the printable start lists had disappeared. So what now? I think our club could at least publish the dates our swimmers are performing so that we fans can get tickets to watch them.

Because if I want to purchase tickets from the British Swimming website, there is no direct link to printed start lists.

How can fans be expected to travel to support certain swimmers if one doesn’t know when they swim?

Well on schedule

Pleased to discover that Madison already has achieved 6 automatic qualifying times for next year’s County Championships.

Even though she does not participate in any national competition this year, the qualifying window for counties gets better each year, indicating an over-all improvement of performance. Meaning Madison qualifies for more difficult target times earlier than before.

In previous years Madison had to struggle to get the County qualifying times in time for registration but this year we are well ahead. The 2018 season has not yet finished and we already qualify for 2019.

 

 

MCASA 2019 qualifying times

the big change this year is that there are no more consideration times. And all times for all ages are in 25m times and they are all on the same page. I upload MCASA 2019 qualifying standard as normally, if I link to the MCASA website the document disappears when the season is over.

Great about this is that 50m times can be converted to 25m times. Though I suspect much of the competition – for the older swimmers – will take place in 50m pools.

Competition dates 26. – 27. January 2019, venue to be announced.

Hang in there

The outlook is good. No nationals for us this year. I tend to defer to next year and wait for more and better times in more strokes rather than go into competition on a just-about time.

It can be crushing to go all that way and end up last.

It can also be detrimental for overall development if a swimmer gets a really good time in one stroke or a particular distance and then gets stuck doing this over and over again because its the only successful stroke and distance.

I think it is important to gather better fitness, better stamina and better overall performance prior to entering any arena.

Madison did qualify for Welsh Nationals but we rather don’t enter this year. There is always next year.

A kick test result is always a good indication for overall performance fitness and capability even if some parts of the body ir limbs are not 100% fit. Madison’ kick test result for this month was excellent.

Yet, it is kind of good that we did not enter any nationals this year as the heavy competition load prior to the nationals meant that injury would have prevented any competition anyhow.

Invincible

I suppose becoming invincible is the ultimate goal of any performance athlete, that nothing can get you down. But it will take years of hard graft to achieve that goal. Careful management of resources is required.

This year’s competition schedule, with the unexpected 3km Open Water thrown in, was simply too much for a young person like Madison. She already trains quite a lot, perhaps above average, compared to her peers, yet unexpected demand on strength just collapsed the shoulder muscles eventually when the 400 IM followed an 800 freestyle, which followed the 3km freestyle.

Just because somebody is young and fit obviously doesn’t mean they are also invincible.

We’ll learn from that for next season. Last season we did more than 1 competition per month. We’ll try a more targeted approach, carefully selecting meets and strokes to slowly develop a repertoire that is sustainable and promising.

Talking of sustainable, we noticed that some former swimming and training partners have dropped out of competitive swimming when goals were reached. That is a bit sad. We want to continue the swimming and make it a lifestyle that can be maintained forever. The drop-outs were  swimmers who specialise really early and the danger is that there is not enough to go along with once a certain goal is reached. Yet I cannot rule out that an injury stopped the sport for those who dropped out.

On the other hand, multi-discipline swimmers like Katinka Hosszu, Aimee Willmott or Michael Phelps are much more able to stick to the sport for more years.

George Corones
Swimming Australia Picture

Swimmers don’t have to reach their peak aged 14, there is plenty of lifetime to come. Swimmers need the self-confidence to develop their swimming styles regardless of constantly winning medals. Of course a swimmer wants to reach the regionals but winning medals is often the prerogative of specialist swimmers who decided quite early what to focus on.

I think too much pressure to reach very fast times too early can push swimmers over the edge and drive them to injury. Yet it is often the swimmers themselves who set themselves goals, which are too high.

Every swimmers who takes part in age-group competitions makes a positive contribution to the sport.