The Cambridge Common

Whilst Madison had to miss out on the Cambridge Grand Prix, I made a parental contribution to the racing action going on in Cambridge over the weekend by acting as official.

Swimming competitions, which are licensed at a certain level, need a set number of qualified officials to meet the criteria.

The level of a nationalmeet is level 1 and Cambridge Grand Prix was licensed as level 2.

cambridge cows
Cows in Cambridge living in a public park

I stayed the night in a local bed and breakfast and whilst I walked from my hotel to the pool in the morning, walked through a park and could not believe my eyes seeing a herd of cows grazing on the Common.

It is almost unthinkable for a Londoner that cows should live so freely in a public park, that is used by joggers, cyclist and walkers as a through route in the city. Apparently the animals are docile and keep the grass short, no clue who picks up their cow pads, as I didn’t see any, apart from the residue on the cow I pictured.

An ingenious system of fencing, which doesn’t look particularly high or dense, keeps the cows within the common.

cambridge pool
Parkside Pools, Gonville Place, Cambridge, CB1 1LY

When I arrived at the pool on the second day of my stay, I looked forward to helping swimmers reach their dream of making qualifying times for the National Short Course championships.

The pool is nice and airy, fully surrounded by windows, it is light and appears spacey. The air quality in the pool area is also pretty good, so that working around the pool for a couple of days doesn’t make one feel too tired.

The best kick ever

Whilst the shoulder muscles are wasting away with inactivity. The legs are absolutely booming. The kick over 100 m has now gone to 1.31.

It shouldn’t take longer than 4 weeks to get the arms back up to scratch.

There is a big difference to be seen if only part of the body trains whilst another stays dormant.

barefoot beach blur break
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Cambridge Grand Prix

With Madison’s competition career on hold, we had to take her out of this competition. Everybody says, hurting shoulders need to rest Waiting for Godot, on a hospital appointment, will test our patience, in the truest sense of the word. Ahem patients.

Swimming is a sport for swimmers and swimmers usually are children and it is the children’s parents that keep the sport going, organise the meets, officiate at meets and keep the clubs running. All parents can train as

  • Time keepers
  • J1 or J2 judges
  • J2S starters
  • Referees

It is the biggest volunteering effort and the Big Society of Sport that parents do the work and the swimmers do the swimming. Yet the sport volunteering existed long before the term Big Society was invented very recently.

Even though Madison is not competing, I, as parent, can go and help  with the meet. Cambridge, the City of Cambridge Swimming Club have been marvellous in engaging people to help. Even the most placid of parents, suddenly jump up and want to help in this great occasion.

As it says Cambridge Grand Prix, an event easily associated with the City of Cambridge. Obviously another club that is run in conjunction with the City it is located in.

City_of_London_skyline_from_London_City_Hall_-_Sept_2015_-_Crop_Aligned
By © User:Colin and Kim Hansen / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48935921

Yes, we do have London Swimming events, but not as in a club run by the City of London, no, it is a loose conglomerate of independent swimming clubs strewn around the big town. London Swimming is more of a geographical marker and overhead organisation such as Swim England, London branch.

Look at the difference, the rural City of Cambridge at the top and the City of London just above, yet only the rural town can manage to support a Swimming club. London Swimming has no City of London sponsor message on their website.

I think if the City of London would throw their weight behind a swimming club and actively sponsor it, like obviously other towns or cities do, then perhaps the London Aquatic Centre could host a successful London club.

But as it is, the London Aquatic Centre, is again, organised to cater for host-boroughs that are geographically located around the venue. Nothing that says, yes it is our city, our pool, our swimming club, City of London Swimming Club.

British qualifying window shorter in 2020

We are now  in 2018 and British Swimming just announced that the Qualifying window for 2020 will be shorter to help lessen the cross-over with school examination periods. Great to know that as many parents plan their children’s lives well ahead of their GCSE periods.

2020 qualifying window is going to be:

Friday 13th March – Sunday 10th May 2020 inclusive.

In Madison’s case we need to think further ahead as the fitness situation is probably not going to get her fit by the 2019 Summer champs where the qualifying window will be

Friday 22nd March – Sunday 27th May 2019 inclusive.

The difference amounts to 59 days in 2020 – 67 days in 2019 = 8 days less to qualify. Of course the qualifying period also starts earlier in 2020.

 

City of London SC ???

Building on my last post, it makes only sense and is logical – how I love logic – to think hey, why is there not a City of London Swimming Club?

Looking at the National Selection page of British Swimming, the team base of most selected swimmers have a City name or University / School swim team attached.

We have gotten: 

  • Loughborough
  • Sterling
  • Sheffield 
  • Derby
  • Bath 
  • Swansea
  • Stockport
  • Millfield

amongst others

Yep, you ask, where is London? 

I get constantly requests from the Mayor of London to take part in surveys, none of which has anything to do with swimming.

Incidentally the London Secondary School Swim Team performance is non existent as well. The English School Swimming Association events, have few performers from London Schools. 

Yes, the London Youth Games bring in many swimmers, who are all related to local swimming clubs, yet, London has not managed to produce a London Swimming Club, despite London being the richest City in the country. 

Wonder, how do those other towns / cities manage to fund nationally successful swim teams?

Perhaps London should divide into Quadrants and have several London swimming clubs e.g. North, South, West and East.