I am still around

Still going to training regularly with the performance squad but haven’t been competing since the end of last season, e.g. August 2018.

Have already obtained 8 County times for this season during last season.

Don’t be put off by injury. Even though swimming is a very active sport with constant competitions, having an injury is no reason at all to drop out of the sport.

You can continue training and keep fit, even if you can’t enter every competition for a while.

Don’t let your coach tell you otherwise because if you love swimming you will want to stick with it.

Just thought, that swimming is the ideal sport for hyper active kids. Stick anybody into a swimming club and even the most lively kid will be tired by the end of the day, with little time left for being hyper-active.

Think about it if your child attends morning training before school, by the time they get into the benches, they will already have spent all excess energy during the AM session and if they get active again the after-school training session will take care of that.

Doctors should prescribe more sport less pills.

I think the key is to get parents involved as much as the children to develop the healthy life-style for the whole family.

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.

 

Are they really?

The first words Madison uttered when I came to collect her from MMSwiminspirations swim camp, under supervision from Mel Marshall were: “I swear they are trying to kill us with that land training!”

What does that tell you? What should it tell me?

Madison has had land-training regularly. Yoga, Pilates, and exercise. That has been going on since a year.  All soft training and still an injury of the shoulder. Perhaps the soft training is too soft to strengthen the muscles enough.

1 week at Mel Marshall’s swim camp and Madison’s feels totally overstretched.

But, who is winning the medals at top competitions? Those who work with Mel or those who work with Madison’s regular club?

I am just glad that Madison is going to train with the top squad in Hackney Aquatics from September with 2 gym sessions per week. It seems that all the soft options like Yoga and Pilates do not do too much for high performance athletes.

Our local Hackney Aquatics club is the only one we can attend, from where we live and school.

 

Use your loaf

Just to mention that when Madison had the Better sponsorship, during her membership with LACPP, Madison hardly had any time to go to the gym to top up the water-based club training. Madison never needed to see the physio. One felt invincible.

better=copper
Better membership card for the GLL training support

Then, the following year, I did not apply for the Better GLL sponsorship, which brings with it, free physio treatment. I thought we do not need it, Madison was never injured to a significant degree. I thought better let other athletes have the sponsorship, those who do need to supplement their training with extra gym sessions.

Now the injury has finally arrived. No, I have not been waiting for it but it has happened.

My GP told me that coming to the NHS for advice is a waste of time because the NHS has no resources to treat sporting injuries quickly enough. Perhaps the NHS should reconsider their treatment options. NHS constantly peaches to us about healthy life-styles, yet that brings with it more sporting activities with sporting related injuries. If the NHS wants to specialise in deteriorating illnesses, which are not sport related only, they should re-name themselves.

Now I have been told that the physio in my own club charges at least £50 for a consultation. Obviously like most average people I am not made of money.

I have to find ways of solving problems without spending even more than I already do on the swimming.

We have enormous cost because we not only need to pay the club membership, we also constantly got extra costs like:

  • Travel costs – to and from training and going to competitions
  • Accommodation cost – most further away competitions require hotel stays
  • Performance costumes – can cost around £300,–
  • Training equipment – quite a lot of stuff
  • Competition entry – At the LAC can cost up to £12,– per event.

Now having even more cost, would just about break the camels back.

I do not understand, that Swim England, doesn’t make Physios available for free. Just perhaps a physio per region. Or perhaps advertise for physios who want to help the sport on a voluntary basis.

I need to turn to the Internet for advice. There is quite a lot about. There are some useful pages, which are seriously useful. Search the Internet for Swimmer’s shoulder and some good pages with advice come up for free. Obviously it only needs a terra bad and a wall to do a couple of exercised.

Our club coaches are also pretty good and allow the continuation of training, just not using the injured shoulder. Yet active Physio intervention is not available, especially in the holidays. I am hoping that the Mel Marshall camp, that also cost quite a lot of money has gotten some solutions available.

A new chapter

Looking ahead to the new season 2019 and the challenges this bring. So many new things and routines are going to happen:

  • school GCSE studies begin
  • swimming, join the youth performance squad with more AM training and gym.

Till the end of this season, Madison diverted away from the usual pool competition focus and spent a lot of energy on the 3km open water races. That puts a lot of demand on the body and having all those pool competitions on top of tough long-distance meets puts any athlete to the test.

One reason why Madison’s shoulder gave way with the 400 IM in the Barking & Dagenham summer meet was the participation in a long-distance Open Water meet and we just shelved the rest of this B&D gala. 2 silver medals won this weekend.

It doesn’t matter if an athlete has to pull out of a meet. There are many more to come.

We are now focussing on more intellectual and athletic challenges for next season.

Pool training will soon stop but the summer swim camp is still to come.

School term is nearly complete and with the last week of school term an academic award is still waiting.

The summer holiday will be filled with regular gym sessions, some climbing, canoeing and biking and nature walks. It is very important to relax.

Obviously ultimately the challenge is to get national qualifying times but we don’t want to restrict the variety to just one or two events. The swimmers with the biggest longevity also have the most variety of stroke performance.

Whilst still in the pre-GCSE stage, there is no national training scheme available other than getting a place at a boarding school like Millfield for example. We keep in touch with national swimming by regularly attending the Melanie Marshall swim camps. At age 14 it is progress to keep on getting personal best times and achieving regional qualifying times.

 

Walking down

The 3km Open Water is equivalent to swimming the 1500 freestyle twice in one go. We forgot to look at the result but I assume Madison achieved around 50 minutes for the 3km.

I was proud she finished the course on her first attempt. There is no warm-up, there is no swim down. But I think it is important to keep going.

So Madison went for a 2km swim-down to the Hackney Lido.

Today she wanted to stay in bed but I still think it is important to keep moving so that the aching muscles don’t get stiff.

richmond2
walking through Richmond Park

We went for a walk to Richmond Park.

hamforest

For the first part we walked through some wooded area the Ham Nature reserve was very similar to Epping Forest, just without the traffic noise in the background.

Just when we arrived at the Richmond Park gate, the sun shone doubly hot directly upon us.

richmond

The sun was burning down on us on 30 degrees and it was absolutely parching hot. However the whole peaceful atmosphere with loud grasshopper choirs filling the air achieves an amazing peace of mind.

It is well worth to have a change of scenery and recover out of the pool in good air for a day.

Powerwalking Epping Forest

I don’t think it is good to just laze about suddenly, when the body is used to regular exercise, so I suggested a leisurely walk through Epping Forest.

into Epping Forest
enter Epping Forest at Snaresbrook

We started at Snaresbrook and walked along a fairly wet path, which turned out to be muddier further in and some rain drops still fell from the leaves of the trees, when we were greeted by a pair of friendly Mallards who wanted to show us the way.

Mallards Epping Forest
pair of Mallards showing the way

We came past a wonderful meadow with lovely yellow flowers, which was rather big.

Meadow Epping Forest
A wonderful meadow opened up and showed this wonderful clearing

then leave trees paraded on both sides of the path.

Trees Epping Forest
leaves on trees, very relaxing

There was a very interesting contrast between some old and dead trees and new growth, a little ghastly.

sunshine Epping Forest
A ghostly old tree

It gotten even spookier when we arrived near the old and dark swamp.

swamp Epping Forest
The murky Swamp

The creepy, dark swamp was actually filled with black water, which I think makes you sink if you fall into it.

On the way we crossed 2 motorways and went under 1 tunnel on another one.

motorway Epping Forest
Footbridge over motorway

When walking through Epping Forest you are never far away from traffic noise, which is sometimes the only evidence of civilisation around us.

We managed to walk for 2 hours till almost near Walthamstow and then found we are walking around in circles and whilst we left Snaresbrook at 8, we arrived at South Woodford at 10:30, which is only 1 station away from Snaresbrook.

Madison walked very fast, equivalent to a 2 hour kick-session in the pool I should imagine, at least my legs felt like it when we gotten home.

sounds good

“Success of a swimmer can be represented as a pyramid;

  • the bigger the base,
  • the higher the peak.

If a swimmer can fill their base with great understanding of skills, coachability and application, they’re giving themselves the best chance of becoming all they dream of in the pool”.

JAMES KIRTON

Why do you swim?

Just hate it when my club shuts down for the whole of the summer holidays, so I do not get 5 weeks worth of training.

Whilst I complete the consent form for the Melanie Marshall Swim Inspiration’s camp for the second time, I have one question which simply says: “Why do you swim?”

imageThis year I am attending the summer camp, (early August), last year I attended the Easter camp. Apparently Repton was an invasion point for the Vikings around 865 AD, how amazing.

The swim camp is going to be at Repton school in the wonderful Derbyshire countryside. I know I am not going to make it for the English or the British Nationals this year and so opt for some concentrated training with Grant Turner instead. Last year I gotten a lot of swim inspirations there.

So why do I swim? I suppose now I am doing it for fitness and stress relief. I think I’ll also want to be a coach later on. I am going to study sport science, triple science, maths and continue to do the intensive training. My brain works best with lots of swimming.

Hopefully next year I’ll get better still and will make the nationals.

Incidentally the polite attentiveness of both Grant Turner and Melanie Marshall is characteristic of fast and happy swimmers.

It’s going to be fun at Crystal Palace

The best part of the swimming meets is the planning and the journey and the taking part, making friends and enjoying the atmosphere.

Of course winning is nice too but it can’t always be. It is all part of growing up, forming character, getting into healthy habits and having fun.

I can almost always predict, according to the qualifying time, whether that time has been achieved on a long or short course meet and by looking at the other participants in the field, how my placing is going to be.

Hardly ever will anybody achieve a last-minute 30+ second PB because that is often the difference between the last and first place in a level 1 meet.

I could not expect to say I have to win or I am out, I say, lets take part and improve my performance and build on the experience.

As swimming is for life, having radical ideas of winning or never doing it again, are simply not acceptable. I expect to swim forever and could not say that I think not winning at a regional competition would put an end to my performance swimming career.