The club is it

After long and laborious deliberations whether or not to change club, it was decided to stay at the LACPP. It isn’t so bad after all.

Sometimes it helps a lot of look around though and go through the motion of the fictional change, calculate travel time, look at training schedules and see how that would work with the usual routines.

Changes can be dramatic when changing club. Madison was at her first club for 7 years and recent uncertainties at our new club led us to seek out other clubs but what the heck, why change things that do not need changing.

We could not wish for a better coach, we could not get a better pool, we could  not get better training.

It is just much easier if a swimmer qualifies for the top tournament and goes on tour to swim with a team, like the European Champs, World Champs or Olympics; then one doesn’t need to ponder which club to swim with at all. Instead we just amuse ourselves with the achievements of others and dream to do better next season.

Ultimately all a competitive swimmer wants to do is to swim faster and looking at the Personal Best Times should be the best reward possible.

If PB’s seem to stall then a change of club could be a solution but in our case, Madison has had a lot of PB’s since joining the LACPP and made a lot of progress.

It’s always good to keep the important objectives in mind and not to get lost in little frustrations. Things like rumours or assumptions coupled with insecurities can make a  person think another club would be better.

Especially smaller children can often admire other clubs that seem happier or better organised and moan that ‘they get the sweets and we don’t’ but nice looking pictures are not everything. Happiness is our fulfillment in our achievements and trying to strive to the ultimate best time.

No more excuses

Whilst I was sitting around, being a bit bored, a link from British Swimming to the ‘progressive age-group records‘ came up.

I saw, to my total amazement that Francesca Halsall actually achieved her first recorded British age-group record on this list aged 13 in the 50 free, on 7 April  2004 in 26:43. Born on 12 April 1990, this happened just 5 days before her 14. birthday.

I find this completely amazing because Fran is relatively short, she even joked about  her height in one of her recent interviews saying it would help her being a bit taller. The current Wikipedia profile list Francesca as 1.71m height.

This just puts fire into the flames of those who argue they could never win against all those tall people who turn up at age-groups.

I think Francesca should become a real trend-setter for swimmers because she achieves and swims with longevity and now aged 27 has again been nominated to the British Olympic team.

Apparently I show YouTube videos of Fran’s sprints to Madison to show her the technique; recommend this to all who want to be good at freestyle sprint.

5 days camp and 5 Olympians

What an action-packed week. This 5 day camp was superbly organised, even better delivered and certainly had a lot of inspiration packed into the program.

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Madison met Melanie Marshall, Grant Turner, Tim Shuttleworth, Adam Peaty and Luke Greenbank.

All swimmers gotten a medal, engraved with their name at the end of the 5-day camp and Madison chose to purchase a hoodie to remember the camp as well.

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Madison was in team South Africa. And during the week various athletes came to visit the

swimmers. This was an action-packed week and I can only admire how the organisers managed to keep 80 kids busy and happy during a week full of fun.

Tim Shuttleworth was giving a question and answer session as well as showing off his skills.

 

The calm waters of Fullwell Cross

with bright reflections of the glorious sunshine on the Saturday midday break were the calm before the storm; when swimmers set out to get those last-chance regional qualifying times. See full results LBRSC-17-Last-Chance-Regional-Qualifier-Results.

Despite the heavy cough last weekend Madison smashed her Personal Best times by quite a margin.

  • 20 seconds off the 400 freestyle
  • 2 seconds off the 50 back
  • 5 seconds off the 100 back
  • 3 seconds off the 200 back
  • 4 seconds off the 50 breast

and winning

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1 Gold (50back), 2 silvers (100 back, 50 fly), 1 bronze (200 back) and some place medals in an excellent field of swimmers. But unfortunately Madison is just a fraction outside of the regional qualifying times but edges nearer and nearer to them each year and in more strokes than one. That sounds promising. I think there will be a breakthrough on the regional times next year.

Just trying to find out at what stage other swimmers reached their regional status, whether they were all early or some later.

One has to measure progress in manageable steps and what is so very pleasing about this spring’s Redbridge result is the fact that

  • Madison won 4 top 3 finishes in an age 12-13 group, when she is not even 13 yet.
  • the 50 back gold won straight after the 400 free, which also produced a record 20 sec. improvement.

The friendships were renewed by swimmers across the club scene with many moments of happiness around the pool.

A way with words

Encouraging words, friendly gestures, smiles and favourite treats are often more effective than harsh shouting and commanding orders.

A helping of favourite fruit, nicely hand-cooked breakfast on a lovely plate brings a lot of cheer and can make the day.

I can shout at my child to get ready for school or say with a broad smile, that it is the start of a new day with many exciting things to learn and the way out of bed is much quicker and with a lot of expectation and wanting to participate in the day.

Sporting endeavours need a lot of support and patience and should always be encouraged with gentle and understanding encouragement rather than harsh and/or loud words that can bring a person over the edge and proof the needle that broke the camels back.

These are the things that pop into my head when I think about the bullying scandal in British Swimming.

Redbridge we are getting ready

Just one week to go and a severe chesty cough has come upon my swimmer. I furiously looked up a Google search about swimming and coughing and learned that a mild to moderate cough won’t impede the swimmer much, but that a heavy one needs a rest.

After a weekend of resting we are back to the training schedule and the pool definitely lifts the spirits and is very stimulating and makes one forget all ailments.

 

How Mel spotted Adam’s talent

I want to share this article with you, in which Mel Marshall talks about how she perceived Adam Peaty as swimmer aged 14 and how she thought his gold medal was like a huge Christmas present for her.

It’s good to read that Adam’s only decent stroke was breast and that specialising helped achieve this medal. Please read it is a joy.

Of course Madison is booked into the Easter swim camp that Mel Marshall runs in Repton school. I look forward to bringing her.

Interestingly breaststroke is currently Madison’s worst stroke, I want her to learn it, she is only 12 and it is too early to specialise I think.

My conscience is clear

As a parent, I have been called all kinds of things for bringing my child to a lot of swimming sessions, starting at 6am on some days. The worst one was slave-driver. It hit me hard. I suppose some like the word couch potato more?

Having an active life should be the norm and not the exception and the concept of always keeping busy, I suppose has become alien to many.

Yet I had some doubts as to whether it is justifiable to allow Madison to spend so many hours per week at the pool, that is prolonged by travel-time to and from the LAC.

Yet so far Madison always had 100% school attendance through from Primary School. Madison never missed a day since she started Secondary school and has no late marks either.

Madison had the highest marks on the SATS exams in year 6 of Primary and now still is 2 grades ahead of target in 70% of her subjects and does not fall below target in any subjects taught at school.

I just received her interim report from school and again can only recommend swimming as sport for youngsters, as it definitely does not dim the intellect. However, having said that, I must emphasize that high quality coaching is essential. The coaches at the LACPP use the latest methods in a pleasantly professional manner, which aids a child’s development and doesn’t cloud the mind.

 

Rankings

The ASA website has this wonderful tool, that allows swimmers to compare themselves to others within a chosen region. Also one can ascertain the ranking within the last 12 months or all time for various nationalities.

It’s a little bit hard sometimes to see one doesn’t come within the top 10 on a search; Today Madison ranks joint 16th on the 50 meter freestyle in Essex County. Tomorrow comes the big test, swimmers from 29 clubs will try to get into the top-ten, to make the finals. They swim in age-groups and anybody is aged as they would be on 31st. December 2017, even if they are born in January.

Last year Madison was ranked 20th in the same category, she has improved 4 places since joining LACPP.

I am taking some solace from stories I heard that Adam Peaty ranked 38? when he was younger and that Michael Phelps always was in the B-squad as a youngsters and tried his best to catch up.

I suppose in swimming success comes with endurance and longevity; swimmers train for years each day of the week, sometimes twice per day with gym training in between to be at the peak performance in a competition.

Swimming skills build over time, hang in there and train hard. A personal best is always good.

Swims can only get Better

Madison’s previous club did not have early morning training for quite a while. Some years ago Madison went to morning training twice a week. Now it takes a little getting used to again. Especially on those cold winter-mornings, when it is really dark and frosty outside. Even for me as parent, I occasionally find myself moaning and not being exactly the best role-model there is.

But, overcoming the initial hick-ups, we are getting there. The hope that it will soon be spring and we can see the sun-rise again in the morning, cheers us up. (A picture will follow as soon as we can see a sun-rise again).

Obviously after changing club there can be no sudden jump in performance, especially as it takes around 9 month to get out of bad stroke-practise.

The best effect of changing clubs to LACPP is that Madison has found the will for swimming again. Madison can see hope that her swimming performance now stands a chance of achieving something in the long-term. If I had not changed club for Madison, she would have dropped out of swimming completely this year.

We do follow the County champs results of Madison’s previous club mates who also changed clubs to various other clubs closely. Some are doing extremely well.

OK, so the 800 free didn’t go too well, but then not everyone is an 800-meter swimmer. This weekend we have the 50 sprints to come and that is going to be very exciting. As it takes place in Madison’s home-pool the LAC, she hopes to do well. I am sure she will do her best. So far we had PBs in every race Madison entered, which is a good result. What more could we want?