On balance…..

There are several parts of a successful swimming environment:

  1. The team
  2. the coach
  3. the pool

Neither of those three can function to full fruition without the other. There is a fourth part that has not been mentioned and that is the facility environment. I would love to see the London Aquatic Centre being made a British National Centre for Swimming. It is the ideal Competitive environment and simply asks for British Swimming to make it the third British National Centre besides Bath and Loughborough.

I am fighting tooth and nail for this to happen.

Current plans to downgrade the LACPP to a learn-to-swim facility with a Development Squad simply cannot have been properly thought through.

I am currently lobbying the Minister for Sport to get involved and avoid a national scandal around the use of the London Aquatics Centre.

An Olympic Pool is the ideal place to coach an Olympic team or part thereof.

A beautiful pool alone doesn’t make champions, it is the whole buzz around the facility that spurns swimmers on to do better.

One can see quite easily that since training with LACPP Madison has achieved a greater improvement rate than with her previous club. Click on any of her recent Personal Best Times on her records and see how the improvement curve becomes steeper since July 2016, when she first started swimming with LACPP.

Angharad Evans achieved record speeds in the national arena after having trained regularly with the LACPP team and the national coaches there.

The presence of such wonderful swimmers like Aimee Wilmott, Michael Gunning, Jarvis Parkinson and others have a great part to play in the desire to swim faster. If that top set of swimmers is no longer there then the biggest assets of the pool are missing.

There are many great British clubs who regularly participate in British Championships without having a permanent 50m pool to train in, just to mention Chelsea and Westminster and Camden Swiss Cottage, Barnet Copthall to name a few. Hackney Aquatics now has swimmers in the national summer champs. Such teams only train a couple of times per week in a 50 m pool. It is because of their team spirit and presence of long-standing swimming aces, that these clubs achieve so much.

The LAC has the ability to make the pool the greatest national swimming legacy by training national swimmers and Olympic swimmers there. But to ‘only’ use an Olympic pool for learn to swim and development sessions is a travesty.

We’ll consider our options if Swim England and UEL decide to down-grade the club because I think swimmers swim faster if they swim with other fast swimmers; fast championship swimmers in 25m pools are faster than leaner swimmers in 50m pools.

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.

We are still fighting to save the National Senior section of LACPP

I cannot help commenting on this awful situation that has developed around the LACPP’s senior program, that saw many swimmers move to London to take part.

It includes national, international and 1 Olympic athlete. This athlete, Aimee Wilmott, incidentially also is the Commowealth Games Ambassador for England for the next term. Considering that there was a hot article in the Swimming Times about this new hot club LACPP that also is the only club in London that has been awarded Swim 21 ASA competitive swimming environment status, it is hard to belief that those e-mails and messages from UEL to swimmers shall be final.

It beggars belief that a swimmer who needs to take part in the 2020 Olympics, the World Championships in Budapest and the Commonwealth Games in Australia, gets told suddently that their training program will be taken away. SwimSwam has published an article about the situation which is quite bizarre. Apparently senior swimmers did a job to attract younger swimmers to the club and are now no longer needed as the younger swimmers have now joined?

Cost-cutting measures never improve a service, what needs to be done is to make the service more attractive to make it pay.  I do not think that the tactic saying that perhaps in a few years time the senior program will start up again will make swimmers trust into the program again. They would naturally be afraid that it will be taken away again after a short while.

I am sure most club members will not accept this as final. There will be many complaints because also the parents of the lower squad members want the Senior swimmers to stay at the club to give the younger swimmers an aim. A good club has a mixture of younger and older swimmers, they compliment each other and make the club wholsome.

I am hopeful that there will be a reversal of that decision by the UEL and Swim England.

Just to calculate the cost of this proposed UEL scheme in that Senior Squad swimmers should find another club and only come part-time to training sessions at the LACPP. Currently a full-time swimmer at senior section pays £120 per months for 24 1/2 hours training per week. If swimmers need to join another club because LACPP wants to reduce senior swimming sessions to 16 hours per week then the swimmers would have to pay the full club fee for their new club at probably £95 per months and the LACPP fees at probably £100 per month. That would double their costs.

This is more than unreasonable from just this point of view alone.

British swimming championships 2017

A must to watch the live stream or highlights, look at the results and get an excellent insight into the latest trends in swimming. The commentators give invaluable tips on developments and techniques.

The Championships are live transmitted on the British Swimming YouTube channel and also via their website, #BSC17.

Even if you cannot find the time to watch it live, like my swimmer who is always training when the events are on, look at the highlights or the playbacks.

It is the first time for Madison that she actually knows the swimmers at the British Championships and that especially awakes Madison’s interest in performing well herself.

Known well to Madison is Angharad Evans; Angharad swims for West Suffolk but trains with Madison at the London Aquatic Centre in the National Youth Squad a few times per week; often in the same lane. Angharad who only just turns 14 on Tuesday, broke the British Junior record in the 50 breast and swims tomorrow the 100 breast as well, broke the age-group record.

It is a great bonus that swimmers such as Jarvis Parkinson and Aimee Willmott are daily acquaintances around the pool and the competitive spirit is great at the LACPP.

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.

 

British champs qualifying times

The age count only starts at the year 2000, so for anybody who is younger still there is that feeling: ‘plenty of time to get it’. 50 freestyle in 27:30 must be a doddle for a hard-swimming 16 year old.

Madison is 12 now and swims 50 free in just over 32 secs. It’s best to set a goal, e.g. improve by 1:20 second per year. Kids often make immense best times as they grow. Thinking that once the gym work kicks in times will get faster still.

It’s all a matter of sticking with the sport. It’s the biggest mistake to change sport once an athlete has spent so many years training on this already.

Whilst 4 seconds to gain on 50 free doesn’t seem a lot it is probably more difficult than knocking 30 seconds of a longer distance. We will see those qualifying times are for 2017, how fast will they be in 2021?

I have chosen the LACPP club for Madison because I think she has a better chance of getting better at 50m swimming when she trains each day in a 50 m pool. Most good swimmers in Britain train regularly in 50m pools.