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.

 

 

MCASA 2019 qualifying times

the big change this year is that there are no more consideration times. And all times for all ages are in 25m times and they are all on the same page. I upload MCASA 2019 qualifying standard as normally, if I link to the MCASA website the document disappears when the season is over.

Great about this is that 50m times can be converted to 25m times. Though I suspect much of the competition – for the older swimmers – will take place in 50m pools.

Competition dates 26. – 27. January 2019, venue to be announced.

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.

The full list

The final list of national qualifiers to be published on the 8. June 2018 for the national swimmers on the Swimmingorg website.

Madison did not qualify for England or British events and Hackney does not have a relay team.

The best course of action is to drive forward training and get as much strength conditioning as possible.

We need to think about qualifying for next year’s counties and regionals. With the long summer break, Madison does not want to drop down in the performance levels over that 5 weeks rest period. Madison will go to a week-long swim camp.

Some clubs offer sponsored swims, which help train for distance, there are also several 800 and 1500 meter events. Then of course there are Open water swims, which span from 2km to 5km normally. Madison’s distance would be 3km. We entered an Open Water event, details to follow.

Any type of training is good training as long as it helps the progress of the swimmer. All activities like walking, running, climbing or other sports will help to preserve and enhance conditioning.

We purely choose our events and activities according to the benefit for training progress. The more we pay and the more we want to gain from the activity.

 

On the fast trail

cptreeThe only thing Madison has in common with Michael Phelps is the fact that she is playing catch up. I seem to remember Michael saying that in his early career, he always played catch-up to the fast swimmers.

These days we are wearing his goggles.

One perk of going to swimming competitions is the fantastic landscape, that we can enjoy regularly. Crystal Palace is set in wonderful mature trees. However the performance is steadily going down-hill this time.

Madison managed to set a new long-course PB in the 50 back but both the 100 back and 200 back were slower than previously achieved times.

We’ll see whether an improvement can be achieved next weekend at the London Swimming Open Summer Champs at the London Aquatics Centre, when Madison will be swimming in four events.

When going to Regionals is a new experience for a swimmer, I suppose the routine and the priming of getting the fitness and results at the right time is something that has to be programmed into the psyche of a swimmer, to peak at the correct moments. Where there is a will there is a swim.

 

It’s good to be busy

Since I qualified for regionals, I have not even gotten time to think. I am literally at the pool every spare minute of the day. I don’t even have time to get myself into any kind of trouble, I am too busy for that.

May is an exceptionally busy month. Well, lets say January is busy with County qualifiers, then from May onwards, it’s a mad rush. Literally each weekend in May is a competition weekend because London Regional competitions are stretched out over the whole month to accommodate all age groups and all swimming disciplines.

Since I am also a volunteer, I help sometimes at meets and also in the club. That is very enjoyable. In June come the club development and then other competitions, which I want to use to already qualify for next year’s Counties and Regionals.

It’s always good to plan ahead. I want to widen my repertoire, increase skills in my weakest stroke and get better in my strongest ones.

From September there will be the GCSE time-table and once I know that, I can plan my next season in detail as far as school is concerned but sports wise, we all wait for the County and Regional qualifying times for next year and because world records always get faster, we will need to get faster too at the bottom end of the sport to qualify for those stepping stone meets that allow us to qualify for the national competitions.

My definite goal will be to win some medals at next years County and Regionals because I won so many at the local swimming competitions but winning them at the higher level meets is tough indeed.

One chance

You train all year, you train almost every day of the week all year round to just win this one race that you have in the season, whether that’s county, regional or national competition, you have to get it right this one time.

It is just not good enough to say, I went out too fast because there is no room or error. You have to get it right. Race strategies have to become routine, it has to be embedded in the racing planning how to pace any length of race.

It should be a matter of simple mathematics to pace a race, you know the distance, you know the time you want to achieve and you work out how fast you can go in each length of the course. All you need to do is to focus on this job.

Don’t get moody, face the pool, face the stroke, win the race.

 

The Training and the Performance

It’s an anagram of the chicken and egg question.

What came first? The chicken or the egg?

What comes first? The performance or the training?

To explain. To get promoted into a higher performance group in a swimming club you need the speed but to get the speed you need the training.

Whilst we get ready for our stint in the Regional Qualifier in Basildon tomorrow, it seems that it is very hard to make that step onto the regional ladder.

It’s achievable fairly easily to get County times by just popping into training about 7 times per week, on some days twice but the regional times are much faster. A few seconds are very hard to achieve.

The athletic ability needs to be much further developed to gain a few seconds on speed.

 

County press reporting

Since the government changed the rules on Council newspaper reporting, sports clubs increasingly rely on the FREE press to report about their achievements.

Apparently ARCHANT owns almost all big local papers in the region.

I want readers to compare the achievements reported in each paper to get a good idea about the quality of the club.

For Tower Hamlets we have the East London Advertiser, ELA reported very positively on 15. February 2018 about the relatively small achievements of Bethnal Green Sharks in a full press report. Yet Bethnal Green Sharks swimming club achieved the least medals out of the clubs mentioned here.

For Islington we have the Islington Gazette (Archant), they did not report at all about Camden Swiss Cottage swimming club. The club relied on the CamdenNewJournal to report about them online on 8. February 2018 and Ham&High on 7. February 2018.

Anaconda swimming club also from Islington mainly report on their own website about results.

Redbridge, an Essex County club, have the Ilford Recorder (Archant). I could not find any county report either on the Redbridge Swimming club website nor in the press.

Hackney Aquatics have the Hackney Gazette (Archant) where there is no press report in the paper but Hackney Aquatics have an excellent report about the County results on their website.

Even though newspapers are a bit old-fashioned in paper format, many read them online in E-editions. It helps clubs to get funding from sponsors if there is a good press coverage.

In this case the club with the least medals has been reported about the most by ARCHANT, perhaps a typical example of British behaviour to always support the Underdog.

 

MCASA weekends (3)

As parent volunteer I only worked briefly this weekend and again came to the conclusion that swimming is simply the best sport for youngsters. Can any parent, non swimmers of course, imagine hundreds of kids in one hall in good discipline, hard-working, cheerful and enthusiastic all weekend?

All participants are very positive, eager, committed and following the rules. The activity is very healthy and can’t do any harm. Highly recommended.