Helping parents

There are actually a lot of parents who stay on in a sport whilst their children have dropped out of it.

Many sports clubs rely entirely on their volunteers to function and those dreaded but necessary officials often take years to acquire the necessary knowledge to do the job well.

No competition can take place without officials and it is done by volunteers, especially in swimming who do not get paid for doing that job.

We recently had several swimming competitions cancelled for lack of officials and who suffers from that, it is the young swimmers who cannot compete.

But that is due to the fact that not enough parents are helping and not enough parents are becoming officials.,

Well it does take years to do the job well and many kids only stay in the sport for a few years before they drop out and do something else. And if parents only help where their own children participate that then creates a skills gap in those officials that actually can do the job.

Helping youngsters do sports does a huge amount of good to our society as if we create the opportunity for kids to do a sport that will keep them out of crime and make them better people. The less crime we have going on, the better for all of us.

It is a good investment to help young people stay in sport and the great side-effect for the parent helpers is, that it also keeps us fit, we do not just sit and slouch on our couches on days off or sit in the gallery, stuffing our faces with chips, we stand there and we are alert and do something positive.

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.

 

Football girl

Looking forward to the first kick-test in the pool of the season on Thursday. If anything has improved it is the kick. Have done nothing but kicking since a couple of months.

Also during that last girl football match in school PE, scored 4 out of the 6 goals the team achieved. Well!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Need to dig out those shin pads.

Not much going on right now

At present not much is being posted because there is a break in competing. So for the many followers of this blog, it will pick up again at a later date. At the moment is mainly leg-training, spinning on bicycles and land work.

Missing out on all the best competitions at the moment and can’t wait to get stuck in again. Can help with competitions though, never losing interest in the sport.

Swim England nat. county champs

It’s next week on 7. October 2018 in Sheffield, Ponds Forge. And Hackney Aquatics has an entrant. Jude Costley is going to swim in the National County Champs team for Middlesex in the relay.

Madison won’t be going and I won’t be officiating there either. I’m going to do something much closer to home, I am going to help in the London Regional Disability Championships held at the London Aquatics Centre next Saturday, 6th. October 2018.

Nice and close to home and with little travel involved getting there and it is for a very good cause.

Had a lot of opportunity to speak to others about shoulder problems in swimmers and been given a lot of very hopeful feedback from other parents and swimmers.

So whilst Madison can’t compete at the moment, we help others where we can, whether its disability swimmers or at Arena League or our Club Championships soon to come.

Training still goes on  with a vengeance and kicking is what keeps the fitness alive at the moment.

 

 

The Cambridge Common

Whilst Madison had to miss out on the Cambridge Grand Prix, I made a parental contribution to the racing action going on in Cambridge over the weekend by acting as official.

Swimming competitions, which are licensed at a certain level, need a set number of qualified officials to meet the criteria.

The level of a nationalmeet is level 1 and Cambridge Grand Prix was licensed as level 2.

cambridge cows
Cows in Cambridge living in a public park

I stayed the night in a local bed and breakfast and whilst I walked from my hotel to the pool in the morning, walked through a park and could not believe my eyes seeing a herd of cows grazing on the Common.

It is almost unthinkable for a Londoner that cows should live so freely in a public park, that is used by joggers, cyclist and walkers as a through route in the city. Apparently the animals are docile and keep the grass short, no clue who picks up their cow pads, as I didn’t see any, apart from the residue on the cow I pictured.

An ingenious system of fencing, which doesn’t look particularly high or dense, keeps the cows within the common.

cambridge pool
Parkside Pools, Gonville Place, Cambridge, CB1 1LY

When I arrived at the pool on the second day of my stay, I looked forward to helping swimmers reach their dream of making qualifying times for the National Short Course championships.

The pool is nice and airy, fully surrounded by windows, it is light and appears spacey. The air quality in the pool area is also pretty good, so that working around the pool for a couple of days doesn’t make one feel too tired.

The best kick ever

Whilst the shoulder muscles are wasting away with inactivity. The legs are absolutely booming. The kick over 100 m has now gone to 1.31.

It shouldn’t take longer than 4 weeks to get the arms back up to scratch.

There is a big difference to be seen if only part of the body trains whilst another stays dormant.

barefoot beach blur break
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Cambridge Grand Prix

With Madison’s competition career on hold, we had to take her out of this competition. Everybody says, hurting shoulders need to rest Waiting for Godot, on a hospital appointment, will test our patience, in the truest sense of the word. Ahem patients.

Swimming is a sport for swimmers and swimmers usually are children and it is the children’s parents that keep the sport going, organise the meets, officiate at meets and keep the clubs running. All parents can train as

  • Time keepers
  • J1 or J2 judges
  • J2S starters
  • Referees

It is the biggest volunteering effort and the Big Society of Sport that parents do the work and the swimmers do the swimming. Yet the sport volunteering existed long before the term Big Society was invented very recently.

Even though Madison is not competing, I, as parent, can go and help  with the meet. Cambridge, the City of Cambridge Swimming Club have been marvellous in engaging people to help. Even the most placid of parents, suddenly jump up and want to help in this great occasion.

As it says Cambridge Grand Prix, an event easily associated with the City of Cambridge. Obviously another club that is run in conjunction with the City it is located in.

City_of_London_skyline_from_London_City_Hall_-_Sept_2015_-_Crop_Aligned
By © User:Colin and Kim Hansen / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48935921

Yes, we do have London Swimming events, but not as in a club run by the City of London, no, it is a loose conglomerate of independent swimming clubs strewn around the big town. London Swimming is more of a geographical marker and overhead organisation such as Swim England, London branch.

Look at the difference, the rural City of Cambridge at the top and the City of London just above, yet only the rural town can manage to support a Swimming club. London Swimming has no City of London sponsor message on their website.

I think if the City of London would throw their weight behind a swimming club and actively sponsor it, like obviously other towns or cities do, then perhaps the London Aquatic Centre could host a successful London club.

But as it is, the London Aquatic Centre, is again, organised to cater for host-boroughs that are geographically located around the venue. Nothing that says, yes it is our city, our pool, our swimming club, City of London Swimming Club.

British qualifying window shorter in 2020

We are now  in 2018 and British Swimming just announced that the Qualifying window for 2020 will be shorter to help lessen the cross-over with school examination periods. Great to know that as many parents plan their children’s lives well ahead of their GCSE periods.

2020 qualifying window is going to be:

Friday 13th March – Sunday 10th May 2020 inclusive.

In Madison’s case we need to think further ahead as the fitness situation is probably not going to get her fit by the 2019 Summer champs where the qualifying window will be

Friday 22nd March – Sunday 27th May 2019 inclusive.

The difference amounts to 59 days in 2020 – 67 days in 2019 = 8 days less to qualify. Of course the qualifying period also starts earlier in 2020.

 

The national team for 2019

It’s a whole new fresh approach. Some of the very trusted names like Aimee Wilmott and Hannah Miley are not among the chosen ones.

But the list published on British Swimming still shows some well-known, huge names like Adam Peaty, Tom Derbyshire, Luke Greenbank, both Lichfield brothers, James Guy, oops I am just quoting males here. Lets look at some females who are in: Freya Anderson and Imogen Clarke are well known from watching nationals and of course Freye Anderson made excellent performance in recent team medley events on an international level.

What impresses me most about the selection page is the part about the world-class sports science and medicine services attached to being selected.

No NHS queues for selected athletes then.

Most of the selected swimmers are already attached to a national training program like National Centre Bath or National Centre Loughborough. Very few local clubs have directly associated swimmers in the national program. That is a bit of a shame because it looses the local connection to big performance.

It’s either university/school run swim clubs or city run clubs apart from national centre swimmers, showing that independent clubs do not have a pool to perform in, rather than saying not a leg to stand on.

Local councils have to wake up to the fact that performance sport, swimming included, needs council or city funding. Here in London we have quite a few clubs but none of those have any swimmers in this national program. Why is it that London does not have a performance program? It may be due to the size of the city. London is a huge area, nothing compared to smaller cities, which have superb performance swimming clubs.

2018-common
Picture at the London Aquatics Centre of Jarvis Parkinson and Aimee Wilmott with Gold Cost Mascot for Team England

Yet all attempts to establish a performance program have been hampered perhaps by cost. The London Aquatics Performance Program was shelved after a couple of years. Both Aimee Wilmott and Jarvis Parkinson were part of it. Jarvis was a young newcomer at the beginning of it and now made it to Loughborough. Both former coaches of the LACPP now work for Chelsea and Westminster swimming club as coaches.

For example clubs like Barnet Copthall produced Olympic Swimmers but even they are not represented in the National team for 2019. The new club Natare, run by former Olympian Michal Jamieson, which produced many national swimmers, not in the game for 2019 either.

The London Beacon program has gone under.