Hamlet

Tragedies of Shakespeare are an important educational stepping stone of any English 14-year old. Fulfilling the requirements of the English Curriculum, we went to see Hamlet at the Globe theatre today. We try to see at l east 1 Shakespeare play per year and so far we saw Romeo and Juliet and now Hamlet.

We always admire those ‘professional’ swimmers who write about nothing but their training and winning medals, and I hope I’ll get to this stage eventually, but at the moment life is a mix of school and sport.

st.paulsWe went along the picturesque London city, past St. Paul’s Cathedral, over the bridge, near the Tate Modern gallery and towards the Globe theatre. Admiring the sky-line, whilst waiting for the doors to open we had a nice lunch.

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We just can’t believe how lucky we are to be living in London, a town full of opportunities and superb facilities.

We are never far from my favourite element water here in London. Just reminds me that my first open water swim will be next weekend.

 

Just swim

The London Region Open Water Championship details have just been announced and Madison will be in the last event of the day, the 3km age-group female champs. The 3km waves start at 14:45 and there is a maximum swimming time of 1 hour and 15 minutes allowed.

It must be total freedom to be able to just swim, with no turns or pool restrictions to cope with, just swim from your own strength and develop a rhythm that doesn’t stop at turns.

A swimmer doesn’t even know what strength they can develop during unrestricted Open Water swimming until they did it.

It’s worth a try. Qualifying within the first 3 of an age-group qualifies for the National Open Water Age-group championships in Rother Valley Country Park. Though the distance there is only 2km for age-groups. It is also possible to qualify with appropriate 800/1500 m times.

We are just interested in trying this out, to see what happens with this type of swimming.

Interestingly though it is going to be a very tough day because Madison will swim the 3km of the London Open Water champs at 14:45 and then head straightaway to the London Fields Lido to take part in the Hackney Aquatics sponsored Swim the Thames event and is attempting to swim another 3.5km in the 50m pool there, e.g. 70 lengths.

 

 

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.

No turning back

Madison has now entered two Open Water competitions this season. The London Region Open Water in Surrey Quays and the South East Region in Chichester.

The main difference between Open Water and pool swimming is the fact that there are actually no turns. You swim continuously around some buoys in circles.

There are some videos on YouTube to start your own open water journey. We won’t be swimming by ourselves. A Wikipedia article gives some more overview over the possibilities.

We will be taking part in strictly organised competitions, whereby each swimmer gets numbers written on their body and hat, so that they are always under control and cannot get lost.

Salford Quays- Swim Start 5274.JPG
By Clem Rutter, Rochester, Kent. – I, the copyright holder of this work, hereby publish it under the following license:, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

We will also be swimming in unsalted water e.g. lakes. You do not need a full body suit if the water temperature doesn’t fall below 16 degrees. However I do think that a pre-pool warmup is going to help in any case. And as it is summer, the lakes shouldn’t be too cold, they are also not very deep compared to open sea swimming.

For younger swimmers the distance should not exceed 3km or three laps of a set course around some buoys, which are arranged in a circle or square.

However, the skill is to learn to do this without relying on the regular turns pool swimmers are used to in 25m or 50m pools. That is going to be the most beneficial skills learned from this I think. Looking at swimmers’ Best Time profiles, they mostly find it easiest to get faster times in 25m pools because there are the most turns but in open water there are no turns. This helps with endurance and strengthens the body.

Did you know that all swimmers have to have their toe and finger nails trimmed, apparently that helps prevent damaging each other. In pool swimming each swimmer has their own lane but in open water swimming, there is often a scramble and short nails help prevent scratching injuries.

Alpha (Beta) ahem Bravo

As a parent helper I have now chosen to branch out into Open Water officiating. Open Water competitions take place only in the summer months, well from June onwards.

There are plenty of Open (Open) Water competitions throughout England this year.

Anybody can join any meet as long as under-18’s are supervised by a club coach or designated club official. But read the conditions on each individual event to be sure.

One can make a great weekend out of it by booking into local B&B and attending the swim. Fresh air is often guaranteed in the country based locations.

I am learning the phonetic alphabet, pronunciation of the numbers for radio communication purposes.

 

 

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.

 

the ultimate drag race

How many of the swimmers wear drag shorts Finis Ultimate Drag Suitto do 50m sprints in training? It is quite hard in the beginning. You slow yourself down by wearing extra ballast and in a normal 25 or 50 training pool, you can be assured that you get a break after a little while.

But now London Swimming is holding the annual Regional Open Water event and the FINA conditions on open water swimming demand that swimmers wear a Wetsuit that covers the knee and the shoulders if the water temperature falls below 17.9 degrees. I suppose in June, in London, open water temperatures won’t go above that.

Open water events last for around 3km or more. I think it must be harder to swim for 3km with that whole body suit rather than without it. It definitely toughens you up if you take part. Though in pool events it is now against the rule to wear a full body suit but I suppose the material of those would be very thin and paper-like and improve performance.

full-body-suitOlympians usedĀ  to wear them for a while; but the open-water suits would not be of that same effect and drag on the body to keep you from catching hypothermia.

Image from Saukvalley.comĀ 

We can see how thin those indoor pool whole-body suits are. Open water wetsuits are at least 3 times as thick. They insulate against the cold but also create more drag through the extra weight the body has to carry.

vitruvian-man-laLeonardo Da Vinci the Vitruvian Man comes to mind when I look at Michael Phelps’ position. Equally perfect in proportion, that is what swimming does for you.