Life’s good

On, what is going to be the hottest day of the year so far, we are settling back into the normal routine.

  • Back to school
  • Early morning before school
  • Early evening after school training.

 

stoke newingtonThere is no such thing as a morning or an evening person. It all depends on the up-bringing and routines we are getting used to from child hood.

I wasn’t raised as a morning person and getting used to AM training on a regular basis was a bit of a chore. But now, early mornings are getting better and better.

 

ClaptonEven the journey back after the training sessions help me  prepare for a busy school day.

The hazy sunshine on a hot morning is very calming and relaxing and I learned to appreciate the sensations I get when looking into the morning sky and I appreciate the changing nature of the trees and shrubs that make a significant part of the skyline.

 

Cambridge HeathThe more trees, the more bird song and the chirping and singing makes a great backdrop on the views. Well really, I just have my earphones in and listen to my favourite songs. Perhaps some birds manage to enhance the tunes I am listening to.

The bus chuckles along and I ponder whether I missed the Newham National qualifier at the LAC last week or whether looking back to the under-water sensation and the fantastic week of Spanish training was stimulating enough for me to smash those national times during the Regional competitions in May.

My year has been set up and I look forward to reaping the better times I am going to achieve this year.

 

Even kicking is better in the sun

Swimming must be the Best sport, looking at those pics, the week in Spain is at the half-way mark and swimmers are having a wonderful time training in the sunny pool of Torremolinos Sports Abroad.

The first Olympic swimming took place in 1896 in the Bay of Zea but was only available for women since 1912 in Stockholm Sweden.

Now we do start to recognise that swimming has a beneficial effect on health for all ages and school children learn better when swimming.

There are now many swimming competitions held all year round and our next big event will be the London Regional Championships held at the London Aquatics Centre and Crystal Palace.

wed-sun

The swim camp in Torremolinos is an extra special Easter break treat and prepares nicely for the competitions ahead, culminating in the British Summer champs, European Champs.

The day before Spain

Saturday morning training session at the LAC. The day before the flight to Torremolinos and Sports Abroad swim camp.

torremolinos-outdoor-pool-03-spain

This pool looks just like the Gold Coast pool, very clear, sunny and inviting. It seems to be a professional training experience with 2 swim sessions and 1 land session per day.

It will be a week of fun, a well spent term break from school.

 

Beckenham Easter International meet

This premium meet at the LAC was the crowning glory of my competition Easter weekend.

Very pleased to say, achieved a 1.2 second Personal Best in the 100 backstroke. See live results. 

Improved from 1:16:35 – 1:15:13. Not bad to get 8th place within the national swimmers window. Madison easily won her heat  this 10-lane pool.

The older and faster a performance swimmer gets the more precious do Personal Best times become. Madison was concerned that some younger swimmer gotten incredibly fast times but it has to be said that we only can hope that these young, very fast swimmers keep up the regular training to stay that fast for years to come.

What is important for every individual swimmer, is to measure personal progression against previous achievements but not to compare against others because development is different for each individual.

 

In Focus

Suddenly the national qualifying window becomes meaningful. Whilst we are totally in focus on the goals, it is important to make decisions that are in sync with aims. Today we break up from school at 12:20 and a few of my school mates go to Stratford Westfield window shopping. I decide to pass on this, I know I have got my second training session of the day tonight and have a full weekend of competition ahead of me.

I use this afternoon as a welcome rest period before the storm.

first dawn 540
First signs of dawn on 29. March 2018 at 5:40AM in East London

Performance athletes are definitely in the minority. It just helps me a lot to see determined early morning joggers on my way to AM practise, I then know that there are others who are also focussed on fitness and training. Of course when I arrive at the pool, that is the best feeling, being amongst like-minded friends then.

I am feeling more relaxed now by making decisions that fit in with my performance goals rather than with pleasing others who have different lifestyles. It seems rather trivial to find the trip to Spain more exciting than getting national qualifying times. I suppose national athletes who swim for Britain get many great training sessions abroad anyhow.

On the paper trail

Whilst waiting for the first train, to get to Stoke Newington for AM training at 6:45, we start to see some light in the sky night. It is a clear and crisp morning, just good to wake us up enough to want to get to our destination, the Clissold Pool.

Whilst I joined the BBC weatherwatch, I am tempted to take more weather photos to capture the moment of the day. I realise phone cameras don’t seem to be good enough to get a brilliant picture.

AM-church
Church Street in Stoke Newington at 6:25 AM

Apparently today, Hackney Aquatics has an article in the Hackney Gazette. I know the e-edition for 22. March is not online until the next day, after publication and so I trotted down Church Street, on the way to Stoke Newington Station to get a paper copy.

But there was not one shop open that sold papers at that time in the morning e.g. 6:15-6:30 AM. It is the same here in Tower Hamlets, paper shops just don’t seem to open early any longer.

Perhaps we are developing into a coffee-house culture, getting up late, going to bed late, which is entirely contrary to the life-style of a performance swimmer.

Whilst we were members at Bethnal Green Sharks we featured in many newspaper articles in the East London Advertiser as that club always submitted articles to the paper. After leaving Sharks to join London Aquatics Performance Program at the LAC, all newspaper reporting ceased because that program didn’t publish in the newspapers.

But now Hackney Aquatics will publish articles about the spoils of competition wins in the Hackney Gazette regularly. I shall make sure of it.

It’s just great to pose for a team-photo after a competition, especially if you won lots of medals. If you didn’t win any, you just think, well next time, I’ll have one as well.

At least I can add more newspaper cuttings to my personal development box in which I keep all the articles published about Madison.

 

 

Prospecting the swims

Our scene is changing, we are moving from the level 3 meets into the level 1 meets as our main focus.

This just shows that the Hackney Aquatics training is working, Madison has settled into her new club and is steaming ahead. If you can steam in a pool.

Probably after a 5k training session, some steam starts to emerge.

It is a big learning process. We need to know how the Nationals work and apparently they only accept times achieved in 50m pools. Of course that puts a major focus on taking part in 50m competitions all year round as a main source of competition times.

This learning curve reminds me of the learning we had to go through from the small pool to the big pool program. It is coupled with excitement and a new focus.

Big expectations with unrealistic dreams. You cannot dream anything realistic, a dream is always something that is in the clouds and gets into reach only by trying and trying again.

Eyeing up the Nationals

Somehow Madison made a great leap into the Regionals and now wants to get into the Nationals. There is not such a big margin. The Regionals are quite fast and it is just a matter of sheer determination to succeed. Of course by sheer determination, I mean training and more training and even more training.

But that is all so much fun. Enjoy the swims, enjoy the exercise. Think BIG.

British Swimming publishes Nationals performance lists of swimmers who are eligible. This is now the first preliminary version for this season. Up-dated rankings will be available every Wednesday, till the qualifying window closes on 28th. May 2018. This of course gives all those who take part in Regionals to get those qualifying times.

But just to clarify, of course the qualifying times can be obtained in any licensed meet.

For the 50 back for example, a time of 32:70 LC would still enable a listing. That is all within achievable reach now and we’ll surely try.

Once in Performance the Hunger for top competitions just comes automatically. It is very easy to be a performance swimmer because the vast majority of swimmers are very nice people with a lot of determination and very fair at the same time.

Basildon & Phoenix regional qualifier

Madison did 4 races and won Gold twice, obtained 3 regional qualifying times and achieved some very good Personal Best Times.

  • 400 freestyle – entry time 5:13:01 = result 5:05:97
  • 200 backstroke – entry time 2:46:16 = result 2:36:88
  • 50 backstroke – entry time 35:80 = result 32:55 Gold medal
  • 100 backstroke – entry time 1:15:87 = result 1:12:64* Gold medal

This time we came fully prepared. We started preparations the day before with good nourishment routines and this time didn’t get lost on the way to the Basildon Sporting Village.

There is a very easy walking route from the Basildon train station and with a little research, this time we made it without problems. We arrived early, had an early lunch at the Basildon Sporting Village cafe and then the event started.

And at last but not least, Madison finally now achieved regional qualifying times. The hard work and excellent training at Hackney Aquatics paid off. Madison has 2 guaranteed and 1 consideration time. Wow and well done.

*There was one faster swimmer on a time-trial.