Just a word of appreciation

Whilst we are now gone beyond the season’s summer competitions and many of us didn’t reach times fast enough to participate, there is a need to reflect that every swimmer is important.

I often see those national swimmers at age-group competitions, in the last and fastest heats of course, and they swim with all of us to get those qualifying times, to make it to the top and be the best at the sport.

But don’t forget, they do need all of the swimmers there to compete with, to make the sport what it is and to get the feel of a good hub of excitement.

All the swimmers that train with a club, enter competitions and support swimmers who compete are important. Also their parents and family who sponsor the sport are very important too.

Yes, we only hear from those famous swimmers 84900739_84900738 that won medals at national and international competitions because they did our nation proud, but all the swimmers who take part are very important for the sport.

The more swimmers want to succeed, the more actually do succeed. All swimmers give emotional support to those who have that extra special gift to set those world records and win those medals at major meets.

 

History in the making

The new LAC based swimming club is in the making and we are going to take part in the newly compiled competition schedule for next season.

What a priviledge, not only could Madison participate in the first and only level-3 age group the old LACPP hosted at the LAC with Newham on 13. October last year, with medals that must have extreme rarity value, but she will also be part of the new club that is being developed.

This is true Olympic legacy, history in the making and very significant for Madison that she can swim for the first independently run swimming club that operates at the LAC.

We can hardly wait to learn who the new coaches are going to be and what the next season’s competition schedule will be.

I am sure that many swimmers are going to watch this new development closely. This new club is the most exciting swimming club development in Britain today.

 

 

Freestyle and fly records are tumbling

This is a very competitive phase in the world of swimming. The old 50 free world record stood for almost a decade and now a lot of freestyle sprint world records have been broken by Sarah Sjostrom, the Swedish swimmer. As a bonus, she is also very good at fly.

50 freestyle LCM – 23.67
100 freestyle LCM – 51.71
50 fly LCM – 24.43
100 fly LCM – 55.48

100 freestyle SCM – 50.58
200 freestyle SCM – 1:50.78
100 butterfly SCM – 54.61*

You find that sometimes there are long phases without change and then, when there are a few swimmers who train very hard and want to change, they all encourage each other and that is how new world records are achieved.

Of course that means that for the young swimmers of today, new world records get harder to achieve. So there is no time for complacency and too much rest swimmers.

*Source: swim swam

keeping up the momentum

Those 6 weeks holidays are the first year ever that we have had no club training for the whole of August. Kids are just used to being told what to do. But this year we are taking the initiative and get in some much-needed fitness.

All the progress we’ve made last season is going to be lost if Madison just spends the whole month out of the pool.

For younger swimmers it is harder to just go training by themselves. But just 1 hour each day is manageable at the moment and it keeps the momentum going.

I am not sure whether the coach was joking when he said: “Enjoy the time away from the pool”[sic]. Since when do coaches like to see their swimmers away from the pool?

Beware of jokes from coaches swimmers, they sure don’t mean it sometimes.

 

400 IM Mireia Belmonte SC record

Mireia managed to overturn Katinka Hosszu’s 400 IM short-course record recently. As shown in the video

Mareia’ great breaststroke term manged to achieve this new world record. But looking at the preceding fly and backstroke legs, if a swimmer would be perfect in all 4 strokes the 400IM world record could still be faster.

Quite often in IM the breaststroke is the deciding leg.

Katinka Hosszu was considerably ahead in the fly and then especially the backstroke and could not even overturn Mareia’s breaststroke lead in the final front crawl leg.

Belmonte set a new 400 IM WR of 4:18.94 at the SC Worldcup in Eindhoven. That eclipses the previous record held by Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu of 4:19.46 set at the 2015 European Short Course Championships.

Usually I think swimmers are either good in the stretchy strokes or the breaststroke but Mareia’s freestyle was equally as good as her breaststroke and so her breaststroke advances could not be overturned by Katinka in the final leg.

A sentimental journey

Learning to swim is a great milestone in every child’s life. The journey through the swimming stages are very important and a source of great excitement for the whole family. Getting those certificates and promotion to the next stage, coupled with a love of the pool and swimming, can lead to a career as competitive swimmer.

Madison learnt swimming at Sharks in Bethnal Green and I remember having spent years accompanying her to the small-pool sessions. They were staged, half hour each and you start at 6pm and the last session can end as late as 9pm. We were unlucky and had our last small pool sessions ending at 9pm in the middle of winter.

Perhaps that was one reason to want to promote to the large-pool sessions that would again start at 6pm. They were called Improvers at the time. With the Improvers came the promotion to the Talent lane, a session run by Tony Ansell, who learned talented swimmers from both Sharks and Better sessions to learn competitive tricks.

Again we spent a couple of years in Improvers until the promotion came to the Mini-Squad. The first Galas and the first competition at Redbridge followed shortly after.

madison-sharks-10
Madison at Sharks Championships with her friend

The most fun for Madison were always the Sharks club championships. Also great fun were the Canary Wharf Sprints held once a year.

After Mini-Squad came County-Squad. We had heard about the sessions being run at the LAC for elite swimmers, they were part-time sessions.

What I think in retrospective is, that once you start going to proper licensed competitions, you learn how achieved times are recorded and you just cannot help comparing to other swimmers as you get ranked. You want to achieve the County times and then of course you learn about the Regionals and the Nationals and so forth.

The Happiness of swimming with friends turns into eager anticipation to make it on the national scene.

For most swimmers that is an easy transition because they can achieve all that within their home club. Most very successful swimmers stayed with their home club until they reached the Olympic Squad or other squads run by British Swimming.

But unfortunately not so in Bethnal Green Sharks. Fact is, and that is a matter of public interest, is that most very successful swimmers left the Bethnal Green Sharks and joined other clubs.

Sam went to Chelsea & Westminster, Kai and his sister Mika went to Hackney Aquatics, Kai went on to swim in the nationals this year and also competed in the Europeans. Ilias competed this year in the Welsh nationals for Hackney Aquatics. Shawn competed in LACPP for County, winning important medals and then also joined Hackney, so did Tasso. Other swimmers joined Camden Swiss. Even the one swimmer of Bethnal Green Sharks that once won a bronze at the Olympics Dervis Konuralp* has now removed his child from Sharks to join Camden Swiss Cottage.

Madison joined LACPP and this year achieved 8 Middlesex County Times, which is an 800% improvement on last year. But Madison is one of these kids that are proud of their friends, that like to be part of their local club and Madison would not mind swimming for Sharks.

It is also bugging me a lot that we live just 5 minutes away from York Hall but cannot compete for Sharks any longer because we are too much trouble for them. Perhaps it is not only us that is too much trouble for them, perhaps all the other good swimmers were too much trouble.

I think it is a great shame that our local swimming club only exports great swimmers without raking in on the glory when they become national and international swimmers. Madison left Sharks last year in July 2016 and had since tried twice to re-join the club but without success.

We now have no choice but to either swim for the next nearest club, which is soon going to be a changed LACPP at the London Aquatics Centre or go to clubs like Hackney Aquatics or Chelsea etc. But for us, we just don’t want to spend hours and lots of money on public transport or on car journeys to clubs.

It takes away a lot of home-work time for a teenager to spend at least 2 hours travelling to and from 2 hour swimming sessions. Considering that school hours already comprise a full working day, e.g. 8 hours and teenagers need to do their GCSE’s and need more sleep than adults, it would make sense that swimmers can stay with their local clubs.

Yet the training provision seems better in other clubs, that is why swimmers leave the Sharks and go elsewhere. Training provision can involve many things including how sessions are staffed and how communications within the club work.

I looked at clubs’ constitutions and how they are set up and can see for example that in Redbridge and in Hackney, Gators, the parents of the most successful swimmers man the Committee, do central supportive roles in the club; but not so in Sharks.

I think there is demand for a high-quality swimming club in Bethnal Green and that improvements like getting equipment to turn the 33m pool into a 25m pool and getting proper timing equipment, so that licensed meets can be held is good. However, the club does not want to do it.

I even gained the J1 qualification, I would be willing to train others to become officials, because clubs need a certain number of officials to hold licensed meets, but all that is not wanted by the Sharks; for them everything is too much trouble. Yes, it would involve increasing the very low Sharks monthly membership fees but that is also not wanted by the club.

So Sharks train, and very successfully so, train young swimmers, but all the best competitors leave the club to join other clubs.

We now have to pay double what we would pay at Sharks, plus travel and competition costs. But we could also pay that to Sharks, have a local club that can deliver equal quality for the same price as other clubs and be happy locally.

What is so very important for swimmers, is the club atmosphere, Sharks definitely has that but to combine club atmosphere with great and continued competitiveness, is something the Sharks simply miss out on because their best swimmers always leave and I cannot see that the club would want to retain those swimmers, and indeed as we have experienced ourselves, they do not want those swimmers back.

* I am not certain whether this shift has to do with relocation or not.

Middlesex county quals 2018

14 years upwards longcourse   27+ 28 Feb 2018

10-13 short-course     20/21 Jan + 3/4 Feb 2018

Next year Madison, though only just turned 13 has to swim in the 14 year old category and she already has 8 qualifiying times, well done.

Swim England National Summer meet 2017

Just for my own reference I post here the link to the results page, which also includes a life-stream link, so I can watch this.

Girls’ age-groups start 12-13 and boys’ 13/14. Madison is not even near any of those qualification times. I am not certain whether we want to continue going for the very elite of swimming.

I think we are going to continue swimming but more to compliment the eduation and keep active rather than strive to be part of the top-elite swimming level.

50 m free world record female

It has finally happened, after all this time, this is one of the most long-standing world records of modern times, when it was stood by Britta Steffen on 2/8/2009 with a time of 23:73; it has now progressed to 23:67 from Sarah Sjostrom at the 2017 World Championships in Budapest. Sarah Sjostrom also took a margin of 0.78 seconds off the 50m butterfly. This beats the 0.53 seconds gap Adam Peaty achieved in the 50 breast. 0.78scds is a huge margin for a 1 lap race.

Commentators remarked that Britain does not have a sufficient sprint training program. Well perhaps the LAC offers an ideal venue for that purpose. British sprint swimmers have to train in Turkey because Britain has no dedicated sprinter program.

Is tall really the best asset in swimmng

I am writing all those who are not the tallest to stick to swimming.

looking at boxing as a sport and we see different classes of boxers, according to their weight, they can fight an equal partner. But then in boxing, each fight accumulates significant revenues and it is therefore profitable.

Swimming is not such a money raker, though lately, the increasingly impressive bodies and nice personalities of top swimmers, especially Adam Peaty, attract more viewers, now that the healthy body image is on the top of the agenda for many

I think it is because of financial considerations that swimming is merely portioned into age-groups. A big breakthrough lately has been a further distinction into able and various ability groups. Though if swimming was further portioned into height, then the swimming competitors would take considerably longer to process and already there are shortages of officials as it is in the average level 3 age-group competitions.

Though, when looking at swimming results I now straightaway, go to the swimmer’s Wikipedia page and see how high they are. I am always very relieved when I see that the tallest didn’t win.

The latest victory of Pellegrini in the 200 free for example, see Swimmingworld article, shows her not to be the tallest out of Katie Ledecky and McKeon, she is however only very marginally shorter than both.

Interestingly the Wikipedia profile of Katie Ledecky makes her 180cm whilst the Google search brings her up to 183cm.

In the Google search Emma McKeon is also 180cm and also 180cm on Wikipedia.

Frederica Pellegrini is 177cm on Google search and on Wikipedia.

The most significant height difference could be seen in the German Frankziska Hentke who won the prelims heat and gotten the silver in the finals of the World Championships in Budapest 2017. See FINA review.

Franziska Hentke is 169cm according to Google and also 169cm on Wikipedia. Franziska won the prelims before Yilin Zhou (175cm) and Mireia Belmonte (168cm). All these ladies are very muscular.

I would say that it often depends on the kind of stroke, whether shorter physical height can achieve.

Katinka Hosszu who currently holds the most world records for women is a mere 175cm.

I’ve also come across Katie Matts who was considerably shorter than her fellow competitors but won the British Champs 2 times in a row. Picture here on a podium in a different race where she won bronze, just to show the relative height. I am unable to find an article with her body height in it.

Layla Black won an impressive victory in the 200 breast at the LEN in Netanya Israel. Pics from British Swimming.

Last year, using the typical height charts I calculated Madison’s ultimate body height to become 175-78 but now I am not so sure. I think that height might play a big factor in how much one invests into the sport because the more time you invest the less time you have to do anything else.

I feel that endurance and bodybuilding can out-swim height and sprint ability in especially the 200m races in Butterfly and Breaststroke.

There is no need to be obsessive about height because the ultimate power of decision-making is with the swimmer and if the swimmer thinks they can win, they will want to try their hardest. Especially if swimming as sport increases the happiness factor of a swimmer and aids with learning there is no question that every length spent in the pool is time well spent.

Especially when Madison was younger and she was put into a fast heat, despite being so young, she always complaint, that everybody else was much taller than her. I think a swimmer learns to overcome certain fears and deal with it in a positive way.

But Hannah Miley must be an inspiration to anybody who is not very tall, she is a very fierce swimmer and full of winning energy.