The B-tech sport

Whilst with the swimming things go just steadily from training to training session and whilst the shoulder is kind of debilitating, and whilst the legs still work and Madison has to do two sports through the B-tech exam, it stands to reason that Madison uses those body parts that still work.

The legs are ideal for football and Madison has been selected for the school’s girls football team. What a great surprise.

Over the years Madison cut back on all other activities to concentrate on swimming but now another activity has opened up.

Obviously coaches want swimmers to just swim and spend every free minute either at the pool or in land-training or to go gym session to do with the swimming development but the education system has other ideas.

I suppose, when I read that younger people should do as many varied things as possible, the reality is, that all sports want their athletes to concentrate on a particular sport as soon as because an athlete’s peak comes usually about 20 or even younger. The international athletes field is hugely competitive and the most developed nations do their utmost to produce the fastest, strongest, best in whatever discipline possible.

It takes a lot of resilience to stay in any sport and I am questioning that it is possible for any average person to make it in any sport without specialist medical support, which usually costs a lot of money and is not available on the state, at least not in the western world.

Madison currently does get support with her shoulder and sticks to the training but also now has to do some football for a while, whilst the sport b-tech program is being dealt with.

I think that any sport is exercise and does good. And if you look how few athletes actually make it to the very top out of all that are in the clubs and on the competition scene, it just makes you wonder whether you are the one that will be it.

In the end, every sporting person counts towards supporting the ones that make it big because the more competitions we take part in, the more training sessions we do, the more we help each other and somebody somewhere is going to be the top.

 

Invincible

I suppose becoming invincible is the ultimate goal of any performance athlete, that nothing can get you down. But it will take years of hard graft to achieve that goal. Careful management of resources is required.

This year’s competition schedule, with the unexpected 3km Open Water thrown in, was simply too much for a young person like Madison. She already trains quite a lot, perhaps above average, compared to her peers, yet unexpected demand on strength just collapsed the shoulder muscles eventually when the 400 IM followed an 800 freestyle, which followed the 3km freestyle.

Just because somebody is young and fit obviously doesn’t mean they are also invincible.

We’ll learn from that for next season. Last season we did more than 1 competition per month. We’ll try a more targeted approach, carefully selecting meets and strokes to slowly develop a repertoire that is sustainable and promising.

Talking of sustainable, we noticed that some former swimming and training partners have dropped out of competitive swimming when goals were reached. That is a bit sad. We want to continue the swimming and make it a lifestyle that can be maintained forever. The drop-outs were  swimmers who specialise really early and the danger is that there is not enough to go along with once a certain goal is reached. Yet I cannot rule out that an injury stopped the sport for those who dropped out.

On the other hand, multi-discipline swimmers like Katinka Hosszu, Aimee Willmott or Michael Phelps are much more able to stick to the sport for more years.

George Corones
Swimming Australia Picture

Swimmers don’t have to reach their peak aged 14, there is plenty of lifetime to come. Swimmers need the self-confidence to develop their swimming styles regardless of constantly winning medals. Of course a swimmer wants to reach the regionals but winning medals is often the prerogative of specialist swimmers who decided quite early what to focus on.

I think too much pressure to reach very fast times too early can push swimmers over the edge and drive them to injury. Yet it is often the swimmers themselves who set themselves goals, which are too high.

Every swimmers who takes part in age-group competitions makes a positive contribution to the sport.

 

 

 

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.

Size matters

It does make a physical difference how tall a swimmer is.

Taking a 50 m pool and assuming that a 150cm tall swimmer achieves propelling forward by half the body length and assuming that in the 3 strokes of freestyle, backstroke or butterfly a swimmer reaches the water surface after 10 m during the start it takes the 150cm tall swimmer 17.78 strokes to reach the end of the pool.

Assuming that a 180cm tall swimmers swims in a 50m pool and assuming that this taller swimmer comes up at 15m after the starting jump it takes the 180 cm tall swimmer 12.97 strokes to reach the end of the pool.

That is assuming that both swimmers have the same stroke efficiency. Hence we see that in most sprint events at the major international competitions the taller swimmers seem to dominate at the short distances.

hosszc3ba_katinka_rio_2016
Katinka Hosszu

I did not include breaststroke into the calculation because there is no rule that a swimmer has to surface after 15m neither at the start or after a turn, meaning that efficient kicking during the under-water phase can propel a swimmer half-way across the pool.

Yet it is quite interesting that in disciplines like the Individual Medley, we see it time and time again that those swimmers who are most proficient at the breaststroke also win the whole race that consists of a combination of all four strokes.

National county team champs

Are to be held in Ponds Forge and the teams come from all over England.

Whilst looking through the swimmers representing Middlesex, our new County, I noticed that a new swimming club has been established.

Whilst Lisa Bates started at Chelsea & Westminster as Head of Swimming, one of the star swimmers, Clara von Opel, has joined the new club Natare, West London Swimming Club, headed by Michael Jamieson.

Michael Jamieson of course is a well-known ex Olympic swimmer for Great Britain and quite recent at that, Also Craig Gibbons is joint head-coach of the new club that trains at one of the C&W training pools, Latymer Upper school.

The Advanced Coaching Scheme

is the secret to swimming success.

We have been presented with it at the LAC by Nick Sellwood as the best method to train youngsters into competitive swimming, as authorised by Swim England directly.

LAC-Advanced-Coaching-Scheme-Presentation2-3-September-2017

Apparently Birmingham is also using a similar approach. Birmingham have an excellent reputation in swimming, as they presented Nick Gillingham, the last South English swimmer who won bronze for Britain in 1992. All other swimming stars came from further north. He actually mastered the 200 breast.

The training approach is  a crucial and very important stepping stone on producing successful specialist swimmers.

Now the whole training system employed in the London Aquatic Centre employs this scientific and proven approach. That starts from learning to swim to joining the swimming club.

It is very important that you start your child off with the correct training approach.

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.