Basildon weekend

It’s always nice to go to Basildon, it’s a well established club with great swimmers and officials who run it smoothly.

Anybody visiting can pick up a lot of good pointers to take home to our own clubs on how to do things.

They actually have porcelain cups for the tea and coffee, which I prefer instead of the throwaway paper or plastic ones. It’s all those little things that make a competition weekend.

Madison could not compete on that occasion and it is a huge miss not to be able to take part in competitions such as Basildon as the buzz of being an active part of a team makes the swimmer.

But being able to stick out problems and hang in there and hope for a better future in the sport is also important because the life of a swimmer is not just about winning the medals when you are 10 or 12 or 14, 16, 18, it is about making swimming a sport for life and using performance to overcome difficulties and stick to the goals.

In fact the life-style of being a swimmer, the daily routines of early morning AM training, then going to school, then off to the pool again, should become a life-style to carry on throughout the years when getting jobs and going swimming before or after work.

All sports would suffer if every athlete with a temporary problem would drop out. Many of our swimmers won medals yesterday and without a doubt will win them today and Madison can look at those medals she won in Basildon previously and savour the moment and the memory.

As a parent, I had my first practise as starter and I enjoyed it tremendously. Thanks to Basildon and the referees for giving me the chance.

 

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.

The shoulder injury

On the 30 June Madison took part in the 3km open water London Regional champs, swimming the 3km, then went straight on to the Hackney Lido for another 2km charity swim, on 14. July, at the Barking & Dagenham swimming meet, Madison’s shoulder popped during the 400 IM race.

Since then the shoulder has not gotten much better. Went to the GP, who kind of said that the NHS is not good for sporting injuries.

Eventually on 29. August, she got a shoulder scan at the hospital. The doctor said she could not see anything because there is a lot of inflammation. The doctor wants to do an MRI scan. Now we need to get back to the GP and wait for another appointment on the 18. September to get seen again.

In the meantime the inflammation in Madison’s shoulder is raging untreated. She takes part in training and does mostly kicking and leg exercise.

I am just wondering how a young person is supposed to get settled into any sport if it is so hard to get any treatment for sporting injuries?

All we ever read about is that the NHS can’t cope with treatment of degenerative illnesses but what about the fitness problems?

We are constantly told to lead a more healthy and active lifestyle but if we get any injury with this we cannot get the treatment fast.

For teeth braces now for example here in East London there is a 1 year waiting list to get even seen from the date of referral.

GLL funding offers sporting injury treatment but only very few athletes can get it, I did not apply for it this year, as we hardly used it last year when we had it. Otherwise we get offered treatment against payment. So how many of us can actually afford that?

Stereotypes

There is nothing more dangerous than talking about religion and food. On my Facebook account I have plenty of American friends who regularly boast about the amount of bacon they eat. It’s almost like a dare to many.

Generally everybody who doesn’t like bacon is labelled as a Muslim.

There are however food health research results advocating that eating bacon is dangerous for the health because the meat is cured with a lot of salt.

The Guardian was running a story on bacon and why it is killing us. Sausages are also not healthy if eaten in excess.

Also Madison doesn’t like her food over-brown, and literally browning and roasting food is also dangerous to an extent.

The Times reports that in California a court has ordered that sellers of coffee have to warn about cancer causing qualities. Apparently during the roasting “The chemical, acrylamide, is produced during the coffee bean roasting process, as well as when sugars and amino acids found in other foods are cooked at high temperatures.”

Our household is using very little salt. Madison was raised on eating little salt. So eating bacon is just being associated with a salty taste that Madison dislikes. Yet looking Asian and disliking bacon is almost always associated in being a Muslim who dislikes bacon .I think people should not associate looks of people with the health of some foods.

During our last holiday in Germany we were served chips that had a thick salt crust on them, my relative said that this is just what Germans eat. So Germany is not our favourite holiday spot any longer.

 

 

Massive

Just read this great post from @massivemel on Twitter and she is listing all the medals the Loughborough swimmers achieve at the 2018 European Championships, 5 Gold , 3 Silver, 2 Bronze.

Then yesterday, on Friday, 10th August 2018, the very day after Adam Peaty won his last Gold, she came to our MMSwiminspiration swim camp and oversaw our finale gala and gave a motivational talk at the end of it.

Keep calm and carry on
Keep calm and carry on

It was very up-lifting to hear her attitude to swimming and everything that comes with it. For Mel, everything is positive that is to do with swimming, the pain and the glory. That is very important because normally we only like what feels good but to learn and improve we need to accept that it does hurt a bit sometimes, that is muscle aches.

Madison’s shoulder sprain is still not gone away but as we’ve heard even Max Lichfield suffered from a sprained shoulder for about a year and now is back on full form. It takes a lot of persistence to deal with all sorts of sporting hurts over time.

Itching for next season

We were ecstatic yesterday to watch Kai Ogden (second from right) win a bronze in the English National Championships in Sheffield. Madison has been training with Kai since she was very small and apart from going to LACPP for a while and Kai changing to Hackney Aquatics earlier, when Madison still remained in Bethnal Green Sharks, they have spent almost their whole swimming careers within sight of each other, or within the same club.

Kai always struck as being Born to Swim, his dedication was always such an encouragement to us all.

I am pleased to say that Madison’s shoulder is now getting better, the exercises help and now she can at least stretch both her arms out again to do a proper starting jump and begin to do the arm strokes again.

It should be fine by Sunday, when we go to Melanie Marshall’s Swim inspirations camp.

But Madison is itching to join her fellow swimmers next season to make the podium on the premium events.

Even her friends who went to Welsh Nationals achieved very good placings in finals so far and Madison closely follows her long-standing training partner Kaia Cudmore on her success.

Somehow what Madison lost on training through injury before the end of the season will be made up through the mid-season swim camp. It is all working out fine but Madison really wanted to be part of the action, which is definitely going to happen next season.

We gotten our new training plan, and it provides the much-needed gym sessions, three sessions per week at the London Aquatic Centre. Most of Madison’s former friends from the LACPP, which was then taken over by Newham, have now also joined Hackney Aquatics. HAC is the club to be for us East Londoners.

Rother Valley Open Water Festival 2018

Brilliant! To all you parents, if you look for something refreshing, therapeutic and rejuvenating activity that doesn’t cost you any money and is extremely good for you, consider becoming an Open Water Swimming Official.

Rother Valley is near Sheffield but very rural. It’s like so many Open Water locations a lake or part of a managed inland water area in various locations around the country.

rotherswans
Swans near the lake where the British Open Water Championships 2018 are held

Wildlife occupy the wonderful lake, the water is very clear and the atmosphere is tranquil despite the fierce competing and swimmers racing around the 1km course as many times as they need to complete their distance. the birds are not phased in the slightest by the swimmers, I saw a group of ducks swimming through without any fear or stress.

All helpers are the friendliest people you can imagine and the team spirit and camaraderie is excellent. A thoroughly enjoyable weekend.

rotherareaEven the journey home is nice, through a wonderfully tranquil area in the middle of England.

You simply feel a totally wonderful new you after a weekend working in the great team with eager young people in the great English countryside.

 

Sharks

Just when I thought performance swimming can lead to injuries and weekends at the beach seemed a good alternative, I read this article that 2 children were bitten by Sharks near New York.

A child was killed by a bouncy castle.

It seems that every activity comes with risks. But looking at it overall, some muscle sprain injuries should be the least of our worries. That is relatively save and if managed correctly will not lead to lasting damage.