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.

The national team for 2019

It’s a whole new fresh approach. Some of the very trusted names like Aimee Wilmott and Hannah Miley are not among the chosen ones.

But the list published on British Swimming still shows some well-known, huge names like Adam Peaty, Tom Derbyshire, Luke Greenbank, both Lichfield brothers, James Guy, oops I am just quoting males here. Lets look at some females who are in: Freya Anderson and Imogen Clarke are well known from watching nationals and of course Freye Anderson made excellent performance in recent team medley events on an international level.

What impresses me most about the selection page is the part about the world-class sports science and medicine services attached to being selected.

No NHS queues for selected athletes then.

Most of the selected swimmers are already attached to a national training program like National Centre Bath or National Centre Loughborough. Very few local clubs have directly associated swimmers in the national program. That is a bit of a shame because it looses the local connection to big performance.

It’s either university/school run swim clubs or city run clubs apart from national centre swimmers, showing that independent clubs do not have a pool to perform in, rather than saying not a leg to stand on.

Local councils have to wake up to the fact that performance sport, swimming included, needs council or city funding. Here in London we have quite a few clubs but none of those have any swimmers in this national program. Why is it that London does not have a performance program? It may be due to the size of the city. London is a huge area, nothing compared to smaller cities, which have superb performance swimming clubs.

2018-common
Picture at the London Aquatics Centre of Jarvis Parkinson and Aimee Wilmott with Gold Cost Mascot for Team England

Yet all attempts to establish a performance program have been hampered perhaps by cost. The London Aquatics Performance Program was shelved after a couple of years. Both Aimee Wilmott and Jarvis Parkinson were part of it. Jarvis was a young newcomer at the beginning of it and now made it to Loughborough. Both former coaches of the LACPP now work for Chelsea and Westminster swimming club as coaches.

For example clubs like Barnet Copthall produced Olympic Swimmers but even they are not represented in the National team for 2019. The new club Natare, run by former Olympian Michal Jamieson, which produced many national swimmers, not in the game for 2019 either.

The London Beacon program has gone under.

Embracing the HAC

Don’t ever give up hope, some injuries take longer to heal than others and Swimmer’s shoulder can take as long as a normal pregnancy to heal, around 9 months.

It is hard not to take part in competitions and watch others rake in the medals whilst yourself is just kicking around in the pool. Yet, after 8 years of intense swimming there is little point in giving up the sport for an injury that is healable.

This just shows we are human beings with bodies that can break and need time to heal.

Our club and coach is fantastic in allowing swimmers to overcome injuries. It would be quite terrible if swimmers were discarded on the basis of having an injury. The key point is to keep training with the remaining parts of the body that allow keeping the core fitness at the highest possible peek whilst looking for solutions.

Ashley Twichell, a swimmer for Duke University wanted to get a place on the 2016 Olympic Team and gotten a shoulder injury. Read the story here how she overcame the problems.

Petria Thomas, Australia had to have several shoulder surgeries to win three golds at the Athens Olympics. Read that story here.

British diver Dan Goodfellow overcame nerve damage in his shoulder to win Bronze for Britain. Read the story here.

It really is not worth throwing years of training into the bin over a condition that is treatable and just needs a little time to diagnose and treat.

Keep on training with a coach that is knowledgeable on the condition.

There are great articles about this on the internet. The causes can vary, e.g.

  • nerve damage
  • torn tendon
  • scar tissue

There can be various causes and it is always worth looking into it properly rather than ignoring the pain and making it worst without proper treatment. We don’t know yet and do not want to attempt any treatments without knowing the exact cause. We’ve even had a suggeston that her pain could be in the mind!

Madison is still waiting for an MRI scan now and an appointment with an orthopaedic doctor. But in the meantime its training with the legs.

The kick is now tremendous. In effect it all depends if a swimmer really loves the sport, if they do then an injury will not stop them from pursuing the dream.

 

Are they really?

The first words Madison uttered when I came to collect her from MMSwiminspirations swim camp, under supervision from Mel Marshall were: “I swear they are trying to kill us with that land training!”

What does that tell you? What should it tell me?

Madison has had land-training regularly. Yoga, Pilates, and exercise. That has been going on since a year.  All soft training and still an injury of the shoulder. Perhaps the soft training is too soft to strengthen the muscles enough.

1 week at Mel Marshall’s swim camp and Madison’s feels totally overstretched.

But, who is winning the medals at top competitions? Those who work with Mel or those who work with Madison’s regular club?

I am just glad that Madison is going to train with the top squad in Hackney Aquatics from September with 2 gym sessions per week. It seems that all the soft options like Yoga and Pilates do not do too much for high performance athletes.

Our local Hackney Aquatics club is the only one we can attend, from where we live and school.

 

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.

I am a fan

Just trying to organise a fan-trip to Sheffield next week to support some of our Hackney swimmers.

When I first looked up the printable start-list the swimmers all appeared and I believed that two of our swimmers Ryan and Jude swim on the Thursday morning.

Got on to purchase tickets for the Ponds Forge Venue and then the train tickets. But then, just before I purchased the train tickets, I thought, I check the start lists again to make sure I got the correct day.

By then the printable start lists had disappeared. So what now? I think our club could at least publish the dates our swimmers are performing so that we fans can get tickets to watch them.

Because if I want to purchase tickets from the British Swimming website, there is no direct link to printed start lists.

How can fans be expected to travel to support certain swimmers if one doesn’t know when they swim?

Well on schedule

Pleased to discover that Madison already has achieved 6 automatic qualifying times for next year’s County Championships.

Even though she does not participate in any national competition this year, the qualifying window for counties gets better each year, indicating an over-all improvement of performance. Meaning Madison qualifies for more difficult target times earlier than before.

In previous years Madison had to struggle to get the County qualifying times in time for registration but this year we are well ahead. The 2018 season has not yet finished and we already qualify for 2019.

 

 

Officials are important

Just heard that a distance meet planned in conjunction with Chelsea and Westminster swimming club at their pool for next week Thursday has had to be cancelled for a lack of officials.

It can happen, that if a club wants to get swimmers into a meet that the club will not be accepted if they do not bring officials.

I am very pleased that I have now become a J2 and will be very willing to encourage other parents to become officials too.

that’s a club

Now I know what a superb club is run like. What a difference it makes to be in a club with a superb set of parent volunteers and excellent and dedicated coaches.

We have had the new squad structure circulated for next season and I am very pleased to learn that Madison has made the Performance Youth Squad.

But a great club is not just about the squads, it’s also about the volunteer engagement and the life-long swimming prospects for all involved.

Everything works for the benefit of all and everybody is happy. So far so good.

The new training schedule from next season involves the Lido and Madison already got a taster of swimming there at the Hackney Community event.

Very happy we are having 4 AM sessions per week as we are getting used to waking up early. It’s a bit strange to have to get up very early one day and late the next. It is better for the body clock to alway get up at the same time.

Summer’s here

There is an enormous feel-good factor in Britain since England won the entry into the quarter finals in the FIFA world cup.

It just couldn’t be better. We had a wonderful Community day with Hackney Aquatics, a very exciting finish to the season when some of our swimmers take part in the nationals and, hugely exciting, a new training schedule and competition schedule for next season.

Everybody seems satisfied and happy.