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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 jobto 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.