More silly comparisons

Just read this article in a German paper where the advertisements a Formula 1 driver can wear on his suit is compared to the fact that swimmers are not allowed to wear advertisements.

That is really the height of illogical arguments.

Compare the amount of space to advertise on from a F1 driver, who is actually covered in fabric, to that of a male swimmer, who wears a tiny bit of cloth around the loin.

How much advertising can go on such a trunk?

I think the swimming and commercialisation debate needs to find a useful consensus and not wildly speculate on the worst comparisons.

The article in Frankfurter Allgemeine compares a swimmer to an ice dancer. Again a useless comparison as an ice dancer can be seen for a prolonged period of time by a large amount of viewers. I remember having spent hours on a Saturday afternoon to watch the ice dance competitions, but swimming is not on for that amount of time and would not attract the same viewers, just like tennis, football or boxing.

I spend a large amount of time near the London Aquatic Centre, located right next to the West Ham stadium. The thousands of people going past the LAC to a football games, compares to a tiny number of people who come to visit a swimming competition.

There is little commercial viability in sponsoring swimmers as much as footballers.

Swimmers spend the most time, they are on-screen, under water. The only time they are able to carry advertisement on them, would be for most of them on the coat or dressing gown they wear prior to the swim or on their cap.

As even Adam Peaty rightly remarked, swimming doesn’t have such a large viewing audience that would make the advertising very viable for companies to pay large amounts for.

Of course some athletes do get sponsorship from companies, which is largely not visible but then there is little point in making it known other than by the sponsors themselves. There are swimmers who get free cars or other perks, which is not widely known.

Katinka Hosszu is one of the most quoted athletes causing grief to FINA over the inability to make money from performance swimming. Yet Katinka has a very viable company in her country, with a commercial website, has an enormous status and sells her own branded merchandise.

I am not sure about Michael Phelp’s reaction to the debate but he is another great example to show how the swimming can create a successful world-wide brand, that sells swimming equipment.

This sparring with FINA is not helping the sport, a sport that relies largely on voluntary involvement to make it happen in the first place.

How many free volunteers swimmers think they can get if the swimmers all earn money from the swims but the volunteers have to work for free?

 

The perils of volunteer run organisations

All swimming clubs rely on volunteers and the longer I am involved the more hair-raising incidences I come across that question my sanity.

Obviously for all of us the day-job comes first, we do need to earn a wage, to even be able to pay the swimming clubs for the membership.

Yet there are a lot of jobs in swimming clubs that are done purely by volunteers. There is someone who runs the website, someone who organises galas, the competition entries, the results processing, the officials and so on.

Quite often I see that swimming club info on the website is out of date and even clashes with e-mail information sent out. Even though many of us see websites as a blessing, if you can’t up-date yours it can be adding to the confusion.

What can one believe?

I think the most important thing to go by is the

  1. date of the event
  2. start time of the races
  3. start time of warm ups

As long as we know the date and that the event is happening we can always arrive on the day and get our swimmers into the pool. Our coaches will normally be there but in instances were they aren’t swimmers can still take part in the event and a parent will have to step in organising as good as possible.

We had been to plenty of events where no coach came, especially with our previous swimming club.

If you think about it, if somebody has the job of publishing on a club website and then things start happening, like computer breakdown, illness, just to name those, then obviously the websites cannot be up-dated.

keeping calm and getting our swimmers to the venue is obviously the most important issue, everything else will fall into place on the day.

The officials will always arrive early and have their equipment on them, so that the event can go ahead, as long as the organisers have booked the pool and have their technical equipment in place.

One cannot compare running swimming clubs with major blue chip companies. When a large website breaks down it makes front line news on all major publishers but swimming clubs are voluntarily run and can only do the best they can.

The case for scrutiny

Just overheard the commentators on the Euro channel Sports live stream for the European Champs in Glasgow and they questioned if the judges actually enforce the 15m rule.

They did not mention the strokes but said they talked to an official and that an official wanted to disqualify a swimmer for going under water beyond the 15m mark and that the official was overruled by most likely a referee and the request for a disqualification was rejected, what the commentators found horrifying because being under water beyond 15 is an advantage.

Well, strictly speaking officials should never discuss such matter with anybody and should always refer any enquiry to the referee.

Well, I looked if all the 15m mark lane ropes are lined up across the pool and they seem to are from my viewpoint.

The commentators did not say which stroke they were talking about because in the breaststroke the 15m rule does not apply.

However in such televised events, it becomes pretty obvious if strong failures to comply with the rules are not being noted by officials and everybody watching is horrified. Cameras can pick up such oversights but it often depends on the viewing angle.

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.

 

 

County press reporting

Since the government changed the rules on Council newspaper reporting, sports clubs increasingly rely on the FREE press to report about their achievements.

Apparently ARCHANT owns almost all big local papers in the region.

I want readers to compare the achievements reported in each paper to get a good idea about the quality of the club.

For Tower Hamlets we have the East London Advertiser, ELA reported very positively on 15. February 2018 about the relatively small achievements of Bethnal Green Sharks in a full press report. Yet Bethnal Green Sharks swimming club achieved the least medals out of the clubs mentioned here.

For Islington we have the Islington Gazette (Archant), they did not report at all about Camden Swiss Cottage swimming club. The club relied on the CamdenNewJournal to report about them online on 8. February 2018 and Ham&High on 7. February 2018.

Anaconda swimming club also from Islington mainly report on their own website about results.

Redbridge, an Essex County club, have the Ilford Recorder (Archant). I could not find any county report either on the Redbridge Swimming club website nor in the press.

Hackney Aquatics have the Hackney Gazette (Archant) where there is no press report in the paper but Hackney Aquatics have an excellent report about the County results on their website.

Even though newspapers are a bit old-fashioned in paper format, many read them online in E-editions. It helps clubs to get funding from sponsors if there is a good press coverage.

In this case the club with the least medals has been reported about the most by ARCHANT, perhaps a typical example of British behaviour to always support the Underdog.