Helping the homeless

should be the first priority for everyone this Christmas. Knowing that homeless deaths are up 24% and that the life expectancy of a homeless person is only half that of us housed people, I cannot enjoy Christmas this year as I did last year.

This year, we won’t buy any gifts for those who  have homes or jobs as they already have enough to survive on, instead we give every spare penny or tin to food banks.

Wanting to help homeless people is made more difficult for those who have flats but beg for drug money. There are plenty of those about and it makes it very hard to distinguish between genuinely homeless people and those we know have homes an who just beg to get extra money off passers-by.

Please download the street-link app to help those unfortunate members of our community who sleep outside.

street-link
Step 1. See a rough sleeper Step 2. Open the Streetlink App Step 3. Enter rough sleepers details Step 4. A professional will attend that rough sleeper

 

 

The money reason for the new swim league

I wondered what is driving this new swim league movement.

One remark of Sarah Sjostrom in an article published by the BBC explains that performance swimmers often suffer from poverty problems. They sometimes cannot pay their rent, even if they are Olympic swimmers.

Well, the sport is extremely time-consuming and the rewards are little or

underwater photography of swimmer
Photo by Sabrina Schulz on Pexels.com

non-existent if swimmers do not get major sponsorship money.

This ISL discussion is now letting the cat out of the bag. Often we just read about the glory of the sport.

The competitions, the medals, the achievements.

We hardly ever hear about the pitfalls and problems that swimmers suffer. I aim to make a difference to this by discussing what is actually happening to swimmers doing the sport.

If that ISL system is poverty driven and swimmers see no other way to make money, but to swim for it, then that is what they need to do.

There is hardly any point in gaining the skill through years of training, which is initally financed through parents paying, and then just stop doing it because of a lack of money.

It is hard to get used to the performance swimmers lifestyle just to find that there is nowhere to go.

I’ve pointed out in previous articles how training is set up to peak swimmers at yearly national, european and international competitions and then again at Olympic games but those extra money earning competitions could put a lot of extra strain onto the swimmers.

I am sceptical.

Especially, as already said, the skills of swimmers are often earned from sponsored training and if swimmers then earn money from it the training providers could ask for their money back.

Perhaps the whole system needs an overhaul. In our society, sport is seen as a voluntary and amateur activity, yet sport stars are expected to win the medals and put in the work, that takes more than just doing some side-line training; it is a full-time activity.

When 5% of people in the world own 95% of all the wealth, then those in between are always either working very hard to make ends meet or end up begging those having all the cash.

Now FINA wants to counter-act the legal action taken against them by Katinka Hosszu in the USA by launching a new innovative Champtions swim series in 2019.

Whilst the ISL has announced Swim League teams and international venues.

Mixed relays

boys team
Hackney boys team.

Gender mixing is a great way of ensuring motivation for sport in both main sexes. Sports are still divided into male and female and for that purpose I need to express that in both sexes.*

The headline reads Hackney Aquatics at Winter Nationals 2018, there are only boys in the picture.

The 2020 Olympics in Tokyo will feature mixed relays in swimming and athletics. See article. 

Hm, it’s just that Hackney Aquatics did not send one female swimmer to the Swim England Winter Championships and the only team swimming was purely male.

I welcome the mixed relay strategy as it motivates clubs to encourage male and female alike to make it to the top-level of their sport. Yet Swim England did not entertain any mixed relay races at the recent short-course winter champs either.

Madison is losing the drive for performance. Not only does the steroid injection give her a pounding headache, there is also little encouragement to get in with the girls so to speak.

girl volunteers
Hackney volunteers

I don’t know whether it is an expression of status for girls in Hackney, to show that it was the girls who picked up the award from London Swimming for volunteering club of the year, as all recipients, with exception of head coach Rick Hall, were female. Rick of course accepted the trophy for the outstanding contribution to swimming in London.

Is it the classic old-fashioned boys and girls do this and that atmosphere?

Yet the volunteering award shows the girls. I don’t really want to stereotype but the thought simply comes to mind.

Madison’s whole attitude is changing from wanting to be at the top of the sport to wanting to become a volunteer. As I have heard, Sport England very much supports that scheme. And I really hope they read this.

I do not want to take away from the achievement of either the boy swimmers or the girl volunteers but instead would like to emphasize that a mix is a better result than purely just boys or girls achieving in either category.

*Of course many forms these days provide various possibilities of gender identity but that doesn’t work for sport, so all who want to raise an eyebrow about me using both sexes as an expression, please refer to the general rules in sport about this.

joyous expectation

When watching live streams of national swimming competitions, the best part is often the brilliant and very useful comments the commentators make off and on. Especially if the narrator is an ex Olympian, the knowledge passed on in casual remarks is often quite brilliant.

The best comment I’ve heard during the Swim England Winter Nationals was the commentator remarking that swimmers who had to take time out because of injury would swim bigger and better on their return to the performance competitions.

That is just what I wanted to hear and it gives us a lot of encouragement to believe in the future of Madison’s swimming career.

It is thought that the long rest may strengthen a swimmer’s overall condition when they return to full training after an injury break. We are hoping for a come-back.

Mentality is important

imageSince years I have been around swimming clubs, officials, coaches and competitions and my personal impression is that those with the most rational and straightforward mentalities are in the clubs with the best swimmers.

Obviously there is a connection between attitude and performance. There is no place for odd thinking in performance sport.

Personally, those that I most admire also do very well and I can see that in the Winter Nationals.