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?

Live-streams

Currently watching the England National Champs on live-stream and from tomorrow the European Championships for Swimming will be streamed from Glasgow here.

Hackney Aquatics had some great results at the England National Champs with a bronze for Kai Ogden in 400 IM so far and today it’s Lily Girardet in the 50 backstroke. Eagerly awaiting this one.

Whilst for English national champs clubs send their own representatives and coaches for the Europeans swimmer get sponsored by British Swimming with national coaches in attendance.

What a time to nurse an injury. But swimmers never give up, missing one year, means you are doubly keen the next.

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.

Invincible

I suppose becoming invincible is the ultimate goal of any performance athlete, that nothing can get you down. But it will take years of hard graft to achieve that goal. Careful management of resources is required.

This year’s competition schedule, with the unexpected 3km Open Water thrown in, was simply too much for a young person like Madison. She already trains quite a lot, perhaps above average, compared to her peers, yet unexpected demand on strength just collapsed the shoulder muscles eventually when the 400 IM followed an 800 freestyle, which followed the 3km freestyle.

Just because somebody is young and fit obviously doesn’t mean they are also invincible.

We’ll learn from that for next season. Last season we did more than 1 competition per month. We’ll try a more targeted approach, carefully selecting meets and strokes to slowly develop a repertoire that is sustainable and promising.

Talking of sustainable, we noticed that some former swimming and training partners have dropped out of competitive swimming when goals were reached. That is a bit sad. We want to continue the swimming and make it a lifestyle that can be maintained forever. The drop-outs were  swimmers who specialise really early and the danger is that there is not enough to go along with once a certain goal is reached. Yet I cannot rule out that an injury stopped the sport for those who dropped out.

On the other hand, multi-discipline swimmers like Katinka Hosszu, Aimee Willmott or Michael Phelps are much more able to stick to the sport for more years.

George Corones
Swimming Australia Picture

Swimmers don’t have to reach their peak aged 14, there is plenty of lifetime to come. Swimmers need the self-confidence to develop their swimming styles regardless of constantly winning medals. Of course a swimmer wants to reach the regionals but winning medals is often the prerogative of specialist swimmers who decided quite early what to focus on.

I think too much pressure to reach very fast times too early can push swimmers over the edge and drive them to injury. Yet it is often the swimmers themselves who set themselves goals, which are too high.

Every swimmers who takes part in age-group competitions makes a positive contribution to the sport.

 

 

 

Pulled muscle

The Summer at Dagenham meet worked well as far as the 800 freestyle went on Friday evening. From then on things just went down-hill. #lastopenmeetoftheseason #swimfast

A muscle pull during the 400 IM put a firm stop to Madison’s racing weekend. the life guard said Madison should have ice packs every 20 minutes but only supplied one ice pack and refused to give more.

I was working as official and could not get away easily. Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea after all that I put Madison into races, she didn’t really enjoy doing. Perhaps swimmers need to be happy with their races to perform well.  Others say swimmers sometimes need to be taken out of their comfort zone.

Perhaps I should discuss this with the coaches about race selection. That is always a subject that can cause friction. Do you do the races that the swimmer likes, the races that the coach wants or the races that the parents want. They are not necessarily the same.

 

A real dilemma

Today’s appearance at the Dagenham Summer meet was cut short by a shoulder injury, requiring ice bags of which Madison received only one at the pool.

Went home as quickly as possible to make some more ice at home.

Madison was really brave to complete her 400 IM race with an injured shoulder.

74:30:16 energy distribution

This morning’s 90 minute training session in the 50m pool consisted of 74 length. That makes a total of 3.700 m. Just short of 4km.

A 800 m swim comprises of 16 length, a 1.500 m swim comprises of 30 length of the 50m pool.

Whenever I am confronted with fear, I am trying to rationalise and approach ‘problems’ mathematically. The fear I am most frequently confronted with is the 800 and 1500 m freestyle competition. Well that is equalled by the 200 butterfly and followed by the 400 IM.

Freestyle, I can work out that swimming 3.700 m in 90 minutes equals just over ~41m per minute. Madison’s PB for 800m freestyle is around 11 minutes. Equals ~73m per minute.

For the 1.500 freestyle 15 minutes is an excellent Olympic time, that makes 100m per minute.

For the 800 freestyle 8 minutes is an excellent Olympic time, that makes 100m per minute.

There is going to be also an evening training session today, which is over 2 hours, e.g. 120 minutes with even more length than in the morning session; most likely 5.000 meters.

So do swimmers really prefer to spend an evening swimming between 3.700 m  and 5.000 meters per session, a total of 8.700m per day instead of just swimming 800 or 1.500 m per session?

Perhaps this is just a case of learning energy distribution. Obviously a swimmer will spend all their energy by swimming fast for 8 – 15 minutes instead of swimming medium fast for 120 minutes.

Butterfly, when small Butterfly was Madison’s favourite stroke but at the first time-trial Madison ever attended, most other swimmers told her not to do the butterfly time-trial as it is too hard.

Equal fears are spread about the 400 IM.

Looking at how many length a swimmer swims casually in training without fears, why do they mount up as soon as a competition is announced?

 

 

Backstroke turn in the medley

I want each coach to query any disqualification for the backstroke turn in the medley and ask the following:

  1. who reported the infraction
  2. did the referee accept an infraction report from a stroke judge/official on the side of the pool?
  3. was there a turn judge on each lane?

It is very important that the quality of judging gets raised because there are strokes where the judging is so difficult to do that it is really very important that the person judging the action stands directly above the lane to see what’s actually going on.

It is literally up to the referee from whom they accept infraction reports and if they accept an infraction report from an official who is not directly on the lane then the angle of vision and ability to see detail is diminished.

To improve the chances of swimmers to develop stroke techniques to the utmost efficiency, they must be judged on the technique applied as it can be seen from the nearest possible angle rather than from further away.

For example, if a swimmer comes to the end of the backstroke and changes onto the breaststroke, the swimmer must finish the backstroke as if it was the end of a backstroke race. The swimmer must touch the wall whilst on his back with part of his body above the water.

The rules also state clearly that the body can be turned by up to 89 degrees to the side for the swimmer to be on the back. Also the position of the head is not important.

Only the stroke judge on the lane can see if the swimmer touched the wall whilst still on the back especially if that touch happens below the water line.

From further away a side judge cannot see the angle clearly, cannot see where the swimmer touched the wall in relation to the position of the shoulders, if the touch happened below the water line.

Clearly it is unacceptable that swimmers do a tumble turn from the backstroke to the breaststroke because with a tumble turn they do not touch the wall whilst still on their backs but swimmers can develop incredible effective turning techniques.

That is good because the aim of the sport is to swim #swimskilful #swimfast. It is the duty of officials to assist this aim. If there is a doubt it always must be for the swimmer. Judges must be alert and judge what they actually see and not expect the swimmers to do dramatic touches just because they are easier to see. Swimmers must to fast turns to help the sport develop faster swimming.

So if now a swimmer has been disqualified by a side official who is not directly above the lane the disqualification happened in, then I think that coaches should put in a complaint on the grounds that the official could not clearly see what was going on.

I think that all referees should ask the lane turning judge for an opinion before disqualifying a swimmer – especially on the backstroke turn – to get the best picture.

Unfortunately not all officials do have radios, if they had, then it would be easy to cross reference with all officials. I think that is something I would strongly support.

Also if a turn judge has more than 1 lane to watch, then they have to concentrate on one swimmer, which gives reason to query a disqualification on a lane.

So to improve the quality of swimming and to help swimmers to swim more fast and skilful I think it would be appropriate to query disqualifications on the grounds stated above.

Please do so only strictly within the rules, do not approach individual judges, only approach the referee and ask to see the disqualification report and put in a protest only in the most polite and disciplined manner.

The disqualification report shows at the bottom who submitted the report there are boxes, which must be ticked, it can either be the

  • turn
  • stroke
  • starter
  • referee

So if in the Medley, any other than a turn stroke has submitted an infraction report on the turn from backstroke to breaststroke then I think coaches should query that infraction and subsequent disqualification.

However if the disqualification happened because the swimmer was totally submerged, then of course stroke judges are in a better position to judge that as they can see the whole body. Turn judges and time-keepers cannot keep an eye on the whole body when they have to time when the hand/arm touches the wall, they need to look at that rather than whether the whole body is submerged or not.

 

 

 

 

 

A mix of strokes

Madison is very lucky to have been given the opportunity to swim in two long-course meets at the London Aquatics Centre, concentrating on sprint events and then also getting to grips with an ability to try out some more strength events in a short-course meet.

Up-coming are the London Open Summer meet at the end of July, the London Borough of Waltham Forest Swimming club meet and to round off the season, we’ll get into gear to work on some hard graft long-distance events hopefully at the Barking and Dagenham meet.

I think strength conditioning comes from long-distance like 800 free and events like 400 IM; since we didn’t get any national times and are not likely to get them this season, it is best to work on variety. I am looking at trying out the 200 fly again, I tried it once and gave up on it, better try again at some point.

But just to mention distance, we are going to have a sponsored swim and that gives plenty of scope to do a lot of length for charitable purposes.