just training

Having no competition for 2 weeks feels just like a holiday. Currently just training, the usual 7 times per week and it gets easier, the longer its done.

Just remember the posts made when we started the regular AM training with constant moaning about having to get up.

Now its all routine and such a toddle.

Busy raising money for the annual fund-raiser “Swim the Thames”. We have generous neighbours and the fund-raising form fills. But there are some who pay immediately and there are some who pledge.

Rather than keeping all the cash collected we just pay it via the club’s GoFundMe page and leave the rest of the donations for later, until the pledgers paid up.

Feeling fresh and relaxed, it’s always good to help and be positive, our club is such a great place to be and the team is fabulous.

The up-coming competitions feel easy and not bothered about having 2 800 m freestyle competitions on 2 consecutive days.

Swimming is fun!!!

Breaststroke ahoi

Madison is not ashamed to laboriously pick up her breaststroke skills to build up the full set of strokes to be proud of.

Of course there are a quite a few swimmers in the club who already found their special fast strokes and qualified for this year’s English and British nationals but Madison will continue to build skills across the range.

Today, at the very nice Hackney Development meet, Madison swam the breaststroke and took the 50m breast by storm with a new Personal Best of 42:79 improved from 45:79.

But then, came the amazingly generous lunch that Hackney Aquatics provided for Young volunteers and that 3/4 pizza made Madison look like she swallowed a stone when she participated in the 100 breast straight after lunch with a new Personal Best of 1:36:84. yet it is an improvement from 1:37:19.

There is a very good feeling for not resting on the laurels and continuing to graft on all skills.

Being Young Volunteers is an incredibly rewarding experience for Hackney Swimmers, the club is very friendly and has skill building for the swimmers at its heart.

 

Just swim

The London Region Open Water Championship details have just been announced and Madison will be in the last event of the day, the 3km age-group female champs. The 3km waves start at 14:45 and there is a maximum swimming time of 1 hour and 15 minutes allowed.

It must be total freedom to be able to just swim, with no turns or pool restrictions to cope with, just swim from your own strength and develop a rhythm that doesn’t stop at turns.

A swimmer doesn’t even know what strength they can develop during unrestricted Open Water swimming until they did it.

It’s worth a try. Qualifying within the first 3 of an age-group qualifies for the National Open Water Age-group championships in Rother Valley Country Park. Though the distance there is only 2km for age-groups. It is also possible to qualify with appropriate 800/1500 m times.

We are just interested in trying this out, to see what happens with this type of swimming.

Interestingly though it is going to be a very tough day because Madison will swim the 3km of the London Open Water champs at 14:45 and then head straightaway to the London Fields Lido to take part in the Hackney Aquatics sponsored Swim the Thames event and is attempting to swim another 3.5km in the 50m pool there, e.g. 70 lengths.

 

 

Going Nationals?

Madison qualified for various events in the Welsh Nationals 2018 but we have decided not to enter.

Reason, we need to pay for fares to get there, need to book into a hotel and that for several days because the events are spaced apart over several days.

We need to consider whether spending so much time and money actually furthers the swimming skills. Especially as the qualifying times are not higher than the London Region, which is just on our doorstep, it is not so exciting to go all out.

I can spend the same amount of money for a week’s works of training at the Melanie Marshall swimming camp the following week and get a lot of skills training for the money.

However had Madison qualified for the English or British Nationals, we wouldn’t mind spending money on going there because the qualifying times are faster and the demand on skills is higher.

Instead we will concentrate on getting faster for next season. It is never too late to get faster.

It is very important not to get demoralised when reading those publications whereby some swimmers win county and regional champs and go to British champs aged 14 and then thinking well I’m 14, and if I haven’t made it yet I never will. That is simply not so, everybody is different and as long as times improve there is a lot of hope.

Qualifying window for 2019

Next year’s qualifying window for British and home nation nationals will run from

22nd March – 27th May 2019 (inclusive).

Will be trying now to get the qualifying times for next year’s county champs prior to breaking up for the summer.

Yet we need to consider that there are plans to close the qualifying window even earlier in 2020 to avoid the examination period in schools.

As age-group swimmers have to swim as the age they would be at the end of the calendar year, most swimmers must swim ahead of their age.

Only people who are born in January of the year can swim their actual age for counties (that is where counties are held in January.

This principle of age as at the end of the calendar year, applies to all nationally regulated competitions throughout the year; most regional are in March/May (here in London). The summer champs are in July.

Madison will need to put her mind onto next year’s nationals.

One way to increase stamina and general strength will be to swim more long-distance competitions. Open water doesn’t have any turns and requires constant swimming. Other long-distance meets are held for us in July.

person on elliptical trainer
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The dilemma for younger swimmers is the fact that they are not allowed into gyms and the apparatuses within.

Madison will swim 2x 800m competitions on two consecutive days. Gone are the days were anything over 200m is greeted with shrieks of horror. We need to embrace long-distance.

hard summer

Toughen up is the motto of this year.

There are 2 open 3km swimming meets, 2 long-distance meets.

In an interesting new development Chelsea & Westminster and Hackney Aquatics combine a new long-distance time trial on 12. July and on 13. July is the long distance part of the Barking and Dagenham meet.

But what about 800 m freestyle?

We swim in each training session several km and swimming 800 should just feel like a bit of training at the end of the day.

I just can’t understand why some people build up such a big wall of fear between themselves and the 800 freestyle.

Next week Madison is going to sharpen up the breaststroke, a stroke long neglected. We are going to work hard on developing all styles and then the IM will be easier.

 

Need to get away from the easy 50s and 100s as the main goal.

Yes, we are in the Youth Games

after all the agonising wait and thoughts of not being selected, finally today came a text from the Tower Hamlets Youth Foundation confirming the selection.

Yes, 7. July, we are off to Crystal Palace for the swimming, loving it.

London Youth Games 2018

This is the first year Madison has not been invited for the London Youth Games. She always was very keen to get points for her borough which is Tower Hamlets.

Apparently other parents from Tower Hamlets in the past were concerned their children didn’t get invited though they are proven to be very fast and performance swimmers.

This year it is Madison’s turn not to get invited. Madison was in the top 3 fastest female swimmers in Tower Hamlets.

Either a lot of national ranked swimmers have moved to Tower Hamlets this year or Madison has just been forgotten.

Apparently an athlete has no way of complaining if they have been left out, it is the sole discretion of the borough coordinator, who is usually a club coach.

It is in the best interest of the borough to get the fastest swimmers into the Youth Games, that will influence the performance tables and might generate funding.

So I just wonder why Tower Hamlets leaves a very fast swimmer such as Madison out of the selection. We have not been given any reason whatsoever. We contacted the Youth Sport Foundation months ago to say that Madison is keen to take part.

Added on 07/06/2018, I have heard that some athletes get invited by post, lets wait for the postal service then, with eager anticipation. We love the youth games. I now got invited after all

No turning back

Madison has now entered two Open Water competitions this season. The London Region Open Water in Surrey Quays and the South East Region in Chichester.

The main difference between Open Water and pool swimming is the fact that there are actually no turns. You swim continuously around some buoys in circles.

There are some videos on YouTube to start your own open water journey. We won’t be swimming by ourselves. A Wikipedia article gives some more overview over the possibilities.

We will be taking part in strictly organised competitions, whereby each swimmer gets numbers written on their body and hat, so that they are always under control and cannot get lost.

Salford Quays- Swim Start 5274.JPG
By Clem Rutter, Rochester, Kent. – I, the copyright holder of this work, hereby publish it under the following license:, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

We will also be swimming in unsalted water e.g. lakes. You do not need a full body suit if the water temperature doesn’t fall below 16 degrees. However I do think that a pre-pool warmup is going to help in any case. And as it is summer, the lakes shouldn’t be too cold, they are also not very deep compared to open sea swimming.

For younger swimmers the distance should not exceed 3km or three laps of a set course around some buoys, which are arranged in a circle or square.

However, the skill is to learn to do this without relying on the regular turns pool swimmers are used to in 25m or 50m pools. That is going to be the most beneficial skills learned from this I think. Looking at swimmers’ Best Time profiles, they mostly find it easiest to get faster times in 25m pools because there are the most turns but in open water there are no turns. This helps with endurance and strengthens the body.

Did you know that all swimmers have to have their toe and finger nails trimmed, apparently that helps prevent damaging each other. In pool swimming each swimmer has their own lane but in open water swimming, there is often a scramble and short nails help prevent scratching injuries.

Alpha (Beta) ahem Bravo

As a parent helper I have now chosen to branch out into Open Water officiating. Open Water competitions take place only in the summer months, well from June onwards.

There are plenty of Open (Open) Water competitions throughout England this year.

Anybody can join any meet as long as under-18’s are supervised by a club coach or designated club official. But read the conditions on each individual event to be sure.

One can make a great weekend out of it by booking into local B&B and attending the swim. Fresh air is often guaranteed in the country based locations.

I am learning the phonetic alphabet, pronunciation of the numbers for radio communication purposes.