Stereotypes

There is nothing more dangerous than talking about religion and food. On my Facebook account I have plenty of American friends who regularly boast about the amount of bacon they eat. It’s almost like a dare to many.

Generally everybody who doesn’t like bacon is labelled as a Muslim.

There are however food health research results advocating that eating bacon is dangerous for the health because the meat is cured with a lot of salt.

The Guardian was running a story on bacon and why it is killing us. Sausages are also not healthy if eaten in excess.

Also Madison doesn’t like her food over-brown, and literally browning and roasting food is also dangerous to an extent.

The Times reports that in California a court has ordered that sellers of coffee have to warn about cancer causing qualities. Apparently during the roasting “The chemical, acrylamide, is produced during the coffee bean roasting process, as well as when sugars and amino acids found in other foods are cooked at high temperatures.”

Our household is using very little salt. Madison was raised on eating little salt. So eating bacon is just being associated with a salty taste that Madison dislikes. Yet looking Asian and disliking bacon is almost always associated in being a Muslim who dislikes bacon .I think people should not associate looks of people with the health of some foods.

During our last holiday in Germany we were served chips that had a thick salt crust on them, my relative said that this is just what Germans eat. So Germany is not our favourite holiday spot any longer.

 

 

Massive

Just read this great post from @massivemel on Twitter and she is listing all the medals the Loughborough swimmers achieve at the 2018 European Championships, 5 Gold , 3 Silver, 2 Bronze.

Then yesterday, on Friday, 10th August 2018, the very day after Adam Peaty won his last Gold, she came to our MMSwiminspiration swim camp and oversaw our finale gala and gave a motivational talk at the end of it.

Keep calm and carry on
Keep calm and carry on

It was very up-lifting to hear her attitude to swimming and everything that comes with it. For Mel, everything is positive that is to do with swimming, the pain and the glory. That is very important because normally we only like what feels good but to learn and improve we need to accept that it does hurt a bit sometimes, that is muscle aches.

Madison’s shoulder sprain is still not gone away but as we’ve heard even Max Lichfield suffered from a sprained shoulder for about a year and now is back on full form. It takes a lot of persistence to deal with all sorts of sporting hurts over time.

He is selling us the dream

As Adam Peaty just broke the 100m breaststroke World record again and is only 1/100 off his project 56, by swimming in exactly 57:00 seconds, I am officially on holiday.

mel-marshall-width-300
Melanie Marshall

Going to a swim camp with Adam Peaty’s coach, makes good dreaming. Madison is really looking forward to this. Off to Derbyshire we go.

That is a woman with great aspirations and that’s alright for us.

Madison will be in good hands in the Swiminspirations swim camp. A real Inspiration it is and always will be.

Madison now also wants to become a coach.

Itching for next season

We were ecstatic yesterday to watch Kai Ogden (second from right) win a bronze in the English National Championships in Sheffield. Madison has been training with Kai since she was very small and apart from going to LACPP for a while and Kai changing to Hackney Aquatics earlier, when Madison still remained in Bethnal Green Sharks, they have spent almost their whole swimming careers within sight of each other, or within the same club.

Kai always struck as being Born to Swim, his dedication was always such an encouragement to us all.

I am pleased to say that Madison’s shoulder is now getting better, the exercises help and now she can at least stretch both her arms out again to do a proper starting jump and begin to do the arm strokes again.

It should be fine by Sunday, when we go to Melanie Marshall’s Swim inspirations camp.

But Madison is itching to join her fellow swimmers next season to make the podium on the premium events.

Even her friends who went to Welsh Nationals achieved very good placings in finals so far and Madison closely follows her long-standing training partner Kaia Cudmore on her success.

Somehow what Madison lost on training through injury before the end of the season will be made up through the mid-season swim camp. It is all working out fine but Madison really wanted to be part of the action, which is definitely going to happen next season.

We gotten our new training plan, and it provides the much-needed gym sessions, three sessions per week at the London Aquatic Centre. Most of Madison’s former friends from the LACPP, which was then taken over by Newham, have now also joined Hackney Aquatics. HAC is the club to be for us East Londoners.

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.

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.

 

 

 

No money back, no guarantee

Our planned trip to Chichester literally fell into the water.

Any away competitions make it necessary to

  • pre-book hotels,
  • arrange travel, buy train tickets
  • if official, let organisers down

Previously it happened to us that we had booked a hotel near Barnet Copthall for a whole weekend competition.

The injury came relatively late to my attention and the Hide hotel near Hendon Central would not accept the cancellation and I had to pay for the full hotel cost.

This time I was charged £25 at the time of booking the Cherry End Bed & Breakfast in Chichester but the proprietor Steve is a very nice guy and waived the remainder of the cost to be paid.

In any case away competitions can run into at least £200 with regards to the cost. Travel insurance doesn’t always cover such short-stay expenses in the home-country.

Yet the health of our young athletes always has to come first. Any injury that gets aggravated will get worst. We just take our losses and look at the bright side of things.

We do spend our money anyhow, if we do not spend it on a swimming competitions we would spend it on some other activity. And what is spent is spent.

It is worth looking at the whole competition strategy and decide what is just right and what is just too much.

I shall look to reduce the amount of competitions we enter because it is just very expensive. There is no funding to help with the cost of age-group competitions.

Great results

Most useful to know the actual improvements of a swim in the results pages. Hackney Aquatics gives this superb overview on results in age group competitions and that is more useful than to know one has won a medal.

It is actually better to get a 15 second PB and second place in the 800 free rather than a gold medal with a time that is not a personal best.

Once a performance swimmer as a teenager, there is an aim to get better times most meets.

We did do a lot of meets though and the more meets one participates in the lower becomes the improvement ratio.

If you only compete 3 times per year than the improvement ratio becomes higher and more impressive.

 

No phones please

Today at the swimming meet I saw an official using a phone and texting during the races.

I was shocked. Imagine a football lines man/woman texting on the phone whilst the players are on the other side of the pitch.

All pupils and kids are not allowed to use their phones whilst in school but then come to a swimming meet and see an official texting on their phone during races.

I am frankly appalled, not only that the use of phones seems to be tolerated by referees but also that kids get such stupidly bad examples set by adults.

You are not allowed to text whilst driving, so why should it be OK to text whilst officiating?