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.

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.

hip, hip, hip regionals

This year is the second time I am participating in London Regional Championships. The first time ever was on 19. July 2015, when I raced in the 11/12-year-old 50 butterfly event at Crystal Palace with a time of 42:74. That was my first ever long-course time in that stroke. My current PB is 34:38 and that was not good enough for this year’s accepted entries.

This year, I have been accepted for all 3 Backstroke events. Just amazing how stroke performance changes. Fly used to be my favourite stroke and now I just love backstroke. Over all my aim is to get to regional level on all strokes.

There is always next year. But also the Regional Summer Open Championships give a last chance to get a National time this year.

Even kicking is better in the sun

Swimming must be the Best sport, looking at those pics, the week in Spain is at the half-way mark and swimmers are having a wonderful time training in the sunny pool of Torremolinos Sports Abroad.

The first Olympic swimming took place in 1896 in the Bay of Zea but was only available for women since 1912 in Stockholm Sweden.

Now we do start to recognise that swimming has a beneficial effect on health for all ages and school children learn better when swimming.

There are now many swimming competitions held all year round and our next big event will be the London Regional Championships held at the London Aquatics Centre and Crystal Palace.

wed-sun

The swim camp in Torremolinos is an extra special Easter break treat and prepares nicely for the competitions ahead, culminating in the British Summer champs, European Champs.

Comparison

Look and compare the two pictures, showing the weather in Spain and in London on the 9/10 April 2018.

spainland1weather Since swimmers are expected to get the British National Qualifying times in this narrow 4 months window, incorporating the British winter and often dreary spring, especially for us Londoners, I wonder whether the results of spending a week in Spain, prior to Regionals will push up the performance results.

Lets wait and see.

In Focus

Suddenly the national qualifying window becomes meaningful. Whilst we are totally in focus on the goals, it is important to make decisions that are in sync with aims. Today we break up from school at 12:20 and a few of my school mates go to Stratford Westfield window shopping. I decide to pass on this, I know I have got my second training session of the day tonight and have a full weekend of competition ahead of me.

I use this afternoon as a welcome rest period before the storm.

first dawn 540
First signs of dawn on 29. March 2018 at 5:40AM in East London

Performance athletes are definitely in the minority. It just helps me a lot to see determined early morning joggers on my way to AM practise, I then know that there are others who are also focussed on fitness and training. Of course when I arrive at the pool, that is the best feeling, being amongst like-minded friends then.

I am feeling more relaxed now by making decisions that fit in with my performance goals rather than with pleasing others who have different lifestyles. It seems rather trivial to find the trip to Spain more exciting than getting national qualifying times. I suppose national athletes who swim for Britain get many great training sessions abroad anyhow.