Everything to swim for

Suddenly, life’s become extremly exciting. Hackney Acquatics is a dream come true for us. There is a

  • great social life with Christmas parties and team meals
  • superb competitions
  • an even better varied training program
  • a swim camp in sunny Spain.

Madison is working hard to manifest her qualifying times for a level 1 meet in Derby in January, that is pre-County and will be held in the national pool in Sheffield.

 

Adam Peaty MBE

Adam’s receiving his MBE is probably one of the most shared and liked images on Twitter and across all swimming publication platforms.

peaty-mbe-medal

Because Adam is one of the cleanest athletes and that is what makes him so likeable.

The guy never moanes. He is seen working out, trying new moves, emphasizing training methods are the most important tool of a swimmer; so Adam is probably the most important influence on Madison today.

Madison met Adam briefly during her stay at Mel Marshall’s Easter swim camp; Adam held a lecture to camp attendants this year 2017. There will be another camp next Easter.

Even as a parent I can learn a lot from this swimmer because he proves that only hard training and concentrating on the pool can make a swimmer; I just used to moan at the coach that Madison didn’t get promoted quick enough when she was younger.

Moaning at coaches doesn’t make any swimmer faster, it just makes working together that little bit harder. I am now not getting involved any longer apart from bringing her to training and competitions. Trying to help out will make swimming competitions easier for everyone and is actually constructive as it provides a great platform for all who are keen to compete. Parents try getting onto officials courses that keeps you busy rather than wait around a pool for 2 days.

I have learned that parents really are most important as helpers and supporters rather than wanting to be critical friends.

And swimming is so rewarding. Because swimmers get fully occupied in the club activities parents can easily calculate their costs of the training and club membership because costs are easily predictable and spending is relatively steady.

Kids spend most of their spare time with the club and that makes swimming as a sport also a life-style and life-long good habit. Once a swimmer always a swimmer.

Even though I hear it that people complain that the cost of the swimming club is too high, in my experience the cost is easier to handle than having other impulse spending that usually happens when there is no proper plan in place to do things with the children after school and in holidays. Swimming club costs are fixed costs that can be calculated ahead for the season and there are few surprises that could break the bank. Even away swimming competitions can double up as family break away.

For Adam Peaty investing all his time in swimming worked out superbly and I suppose the sport is self-regulating because if the swimmer feels the success and that stimulates the swimmer to keep on swimming then that is a career path worth taking. Once swimmers get really good they get offered sponsorship and podium funding and I suppose commercial opportunities follow.

For others they fade out of the performance competition side of the sport and rather concentrate on education or work but the habit of going swimming will normally stay with all who once engaged with the sport.

If your child wants to swim and you think you want to support it, try and find a club for them.

 

Bright future

I am very happily excited today, when we get into the competition at the London Aquatic Centre. Things just couldn’t have worked out better.

New school, new club, better prospects. Now I’m not trying to look like a gold digger, saying this but with prospects I mean the prospects of a happy, fulfilled life are always important for a young person.

It’s great to go into a competition with all around good feelings about yourself, others you work and play with.

Apparently the Duke of Edinburgh Award is ideal for active sporting kids and positively embraces them. I have had such a positive phone call from the coordinator that all my fears went away just by listening to the totally positive approach the DofE has for children.

Madison can volunteer to help others, learn new life-skills and develop her sport, among other things.

Also Madison has been invited to an award evening with the Jack Petchey Foundation to receive her award medal there.

The new swimming club, Hackney Aquatics is top of the range with the latest equipment, gadgets and a head coach who is in charge of the Middlesex talent development program. Their training program is superb too.

I post later how the competition went today.

I avoided the rain but not the tears

This morning it was good-bye to training mates after the AM session and as swimmers are wet already and in the shower, the tears are hard to spot.

But the good-byes were heart wrenching and emotional.

Normally local swimming clubs hardly ever change but with the LACPP and its dissolving came a lot of dramas.

Coaches left, swimmers left and new club arrangements were made.

It was kind of sad to see the LACPP signs disappear both on the Web, Facebook and in the LAC. I never thought they would actually dissolve this scheme.

At least I now know that Lisa Bates can continue to enjoy her coaching career by moving to Chelsea & Westminster swimming club, Pixie, also a former LACPP swimmer went there too.

The older national swimmers went to Loughborough, Sterling, Angharad went to a residential school with swimming as main sport.

Madison is fast but not fast enough and too young to get into a national coaching scheme.

I predicted that most fast national swimmers would leave if they dissolve the LACPP and that is what happened.

Madison joins Hackney as this is the most improved club this year and also has some very good national swimmers and it is within our reach.

Swimmers of Madison’s age, need to concentrate on their education; we are just beginning the GCSE courses. I don’t think a competitive swimmer can succeed unless they are in an excellent local club or in a residential school like Millfield.

The LAC ACS is an excellent coaching scheme, yet it is geared more towards the younger swimmers who just begin their competitive careers. I am sure they will shine in competitions.

I think it is important for swimmers to get continuity with their sport and established local clubs deliver the best results.

It’s best to turn all that sadness into new energy and look forward to new endeavours. We have plenty to do in the future and look forward to seeing swimmers at competitions in the future.

Getting ready for the meet

On Sunday, Madison will swim for her first and last meet with Newham & UEL club.

Preparations centre around

  • how to get the home work done over that weekend
  • how many hours are needed for the meet
  • which foods are needed and how to nourish
  • travel time and arrangements
  • packing the bag for the meet
  • mental preparation
  • which races are swam
  • promoter’s conditions
  • study the accepted entries list

Luckily the BWF early county qualifier level 3 meet is in the London Aquatic Centre, which is one of our local pools. We can just take a local bus there and arrive within 20 minutes, we do not need to worry about parking either.

We see that entry in the LAC is now security screened, visitors are not allowed to bring drink or food in but swimmers are.

Swimmers always have their favourite snacks to use as pick-me-ups and preps before or between races. Most of the time in swimming meets, there is also not enough time between sessions to have a proper lunch. There are delays and if a meet goes on from 8AM till 5pm, swimmers need to find time to get useful nourishment.

This Sunday we’ll only have half a day, usually we stay the whole day. But if Madison swims longer distances we do less races altogether.

This Sunday it’s going to be 100 fly and 200 back.

The social aspect is also important beyond the just racing. Swimmers get to know each other over time and meet up at race meets. Swimmers who change clubs still see their friends at meets too. That is very enjoyable for the swimmers.

With the arrival of the LAC, local swimmers’ lives were quite affected. Before we had our local pool and suddenly that opportunity with the LAC arose.

New swimming arrangements were introduced and swimmers often commuted between their old club and the LAC Beacon schemes.

Luckily most local clubs are very sympathetic to swimmers and often allow seemless transitions between clubs, so that swimmers do not lose out on training times. Rules were changed that swimmers could be members in more than one club and have dual registrations, which is all very helpful.

From next week Madison will become a member at Hackney Aquatics. We already preparing for the week after this Sunday’s meet to train fully with the new club.

Swim England have this brilliant online system whereby swimmers best times get recorded on the data regardless of which club they swim for and that is very good. These days people move more often because of job or housing needs and also because the swimming club scene can change and have an impact on training needs too.

swimming with Hackney

We are very happy to announce, that Madison is now officially a member at Hackney Aquatics Club HAC. I am not stating that Hackney is the best club because all swimming clubs are good clubs but to give you an idea, the sheer happiness factor of the Hackney Swimming club can be seen on this picture from Going Swimmingly.

Currently Madison has dual membership with LAC ACS, Newham and Hackney. It is all possible and you can have as many clubs as you like as long as they’ll have you.

Madison is especially happy to join HAC because many of her “old”* swimming mates are there now and as they know each other, there is no need to get over this first hurdle of getting to know somebody as the ice is already melted. HAC seems to be a magnet for local swimmers who show longevity in swimming.

Madison tried many new things lately, the new LACPP, now the LAC ACS and Newham & UEL but the good old friends are always easiest to have around.

But in my mind also, I think that Hackney Aquatics have the BEST training schedule of any club I’ve seen.

* I don’t think any are older than 15.

onward forward

I have already had to quit the LAC ACS scheme because their training schedule has been altered in such a way, from what was originally agreed, that it is no longer suitable for Madison’s needs.

It is up to each club to produce a training package, that they can manage and afford and think it is most effective, but all training packages have time-restraints and travel needs. So unfortunately LAC ACS is no longer suitable for us.

I shall miss those wonderful shopping opportunities nearby, e.g. popping into Waitrose or John Lewis whilst Madison is swimming. Also it is very sad to say good-bye to a very well cleaned pool environment.

I believe we have found a club, which is not only the most improved but also has, in my opinion, the best training package in the area.

Luckily here in London we have quite a few clubs to choose from but for me it is always important

  • what the training times are
  • how easy I can travel there
  • what training package there is
  • COST.

I think that the LAC training is quite expensive for the actual training offered, I am very sorry to say that.

But because we have already signed up for competitions, we’ll need to wait a while before we can formally join another club and compete in their name.

I have found that once a swimmer becomes a swimming teenager, it becomes increasingly difficult to find quality training and a club that suits with timing especially.

Competitions schedules

Of course once you are in a competitive club, you sign up for competitions. Competitions are often signed up in advance of 3 months. Once you have signed up for a competition, you do so as a member of a particular club. Then you are prescribed to that club. The club knows you rely on them and you have to adhere to the club’s conditions, even if they change.

Some top swimmers, argue to become professional swimmers and participate as individual rather than for a club. For a young swimmer that is not so easy, younger swimmers like to feel part of a club or a crowd, that makes them more confident and gives more motivation.

To change club, requires long advance planning. You cannot get your money back for competitions entered if you decide you do not longer want to compete with the club you have entered with.

We are now in that position.

It is best to be with a club that has established, predictable routines. Unfortunately for us, with this new LAC ACS set-up, we have very many unknown factors to cope with.

Yes it is in a fancy and nice location like the LAC but it is very expensive and things constantly change and nothing seems to be certain.

I sometimes look at the scruffy stairs of York Hall when I go past there and then think of the shining new facilities at the LAC and wonder whether it is worth having all this shining new club if there are so many pitfalls in taking part or whether it is not better to stick with an established club that runs from less fanciful facilities but is stable.

unpredicted changes

Now that tuition fees at university are so high, becoming a swimmer seems a good career move, but just as I get friendly with the thought the government might cap tuition fees for students to a set cost of £7,500 per year.

Whatever happens with university fees, swimming fees are also quite expensive and need to be well-managed to be affordable.

Young people need a certain amount of consistency to be successful in whatever they do because too many changes cause unnecessary disruptions.

When I read those wonderful blogs like Swim Vortex, everything seems to easy, people swim, train and win medals. But when you are in the mix, you actually need to work hard to stay ahead of the game and succeed in sport and life challenges.

Already problems have emerged with the new LAC ACS setup and we might need to change club again.

I am not apportioning blame because pressures are on everybody these days and I am certain all do their utmost best. But young people do need regular and reliable routines to get on in education and in sport; that is really what we are looking for.

Swimming also needs to be affordable and manageable from the aspect of finance, travel, time and effort involved. We are currently looking for a new club.

I think those swimmers who swim in the well-established smooth running clubs do best in the long-run. The LAC ACS, formerly LACPP is a relatively new setup and it is quite hard to cope with the continuing changes.

It is much harder to form friendships, to organise home-work and it is actually getting really expensive as well when routines constantly change.

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.