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.
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.
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.
It seems that every activity comes with risks. But looking at it overall, some muscle sprain injuries should be the least of our worries. That is relatively save and if managed correctly will not lead to lasting damage.