Don’t get demoralised

madison-800-trio
Aoife, Kaia and Madison prior to an 800 Freestyle race at Barking and Dagenham, photo taken by Alexander McDonald (now coach at Chelsea & Westminster)

Any prolonged injury can easily lead to feeling demoralised.

  • Can’t take part in all the training
  • practise hurts
  • Can’t take part in competitions
  • people talk to you like you are no longer important

Being demoralised can have important consequences, which produce a creeping withdrawal from the sport.

That can have results like:

  • Making excuses why you can’t take part in gym sessions
  • Making excuses when late for school
  • Looking to break up sessions early

What every injured athlete needs are people who keep on giving encouragement. Saying things like

  • Keep on trying
  • Go to the session
  • Stay the whole session

Not being able to take part in competitions and bring home the medals is probably one of the worst things that can happen to a swimmer.

Madison always relished her medals and being shown on social media and in the club pages of Facebook or Twitter. Having photos taken with friends during competitions, photos that express the team spirit and excitement before or after a swim.

It also all depends how determined you are and it helps to research a problem and listen to a sympathetic coach(es) who give exercises that bridge the gap between the injury appearing and treatment being offered.

Having looked at various publications about the issue, I think that Madison probably needs an operation to resolve the problems.

Great results

Most useful to know the actual improvements of a swim in the results pages. Hackney Aquatics gives this superb overview on results in age group competitions and that is more useful than to know one has won a medal.

It is actually better to get a 15 second PB and second place in the 800 free rather than a gold medal with a time that is not a personal best.

Once a performance swimmer as a teenager, there is an aim to get better times most meets.

We did do a lot of meets though and the more meets one participates in the lower becomes the improvement ratio.

If you only compete 3 times per year than the improvement ratio becomes higher and more impressive.

 

3km in 53:10

Just found the Open Water London Championship results OW18 RESULTS and very pleased to see that Madison’s first attempt on Open Water swimming was a success.

Despite getting disoriented in places and forgot to turn corners quickly enough managed a respectable 6th place in the London Region. Yet qualified for s silver medal for Middlesex participants.

Unfortunately Madison missed the medal ceremony and her medal because we rushed off to support the Hackney Aquatics Swim the Thames day where Madison swam another 2km to raise funds for charity.

I contacted the organisers to ask whether she can still get her medal posthum.

Didn’t have any preparation and never even been swimming in Open Water at all.

Madison will try again in Chichester in July.

When I often hear swimmers lament how hard the 800 are, after swimming 3000 meters, I suppose the 800 seem quite easy.

It is easy to get results for pool based and licensed meets on the Personal Best swimming results website, but the Open Water results are not included. Perhaps they will add that in the future.

Make or break

There is now a lot of suspense in the air because Hackney Aquatics will shortly announce squad movements. It’s a very big deal for swimmers whether they get selected for the top Performance squad or the competition squad.

Makes a huge difference, some competitions can only be entered by performance squads. Madison has been in performance since several years now and doesn’t want anything else.

At the moment we are trying to get tougher. We are entering competitions mainly to increase stamina. Going to swim in

Some events we do not enter to win but just to condition.

We know where Madison can get good results but there are those events where the chances are not so good and those are the ones we will enter as well, e.g. 400 free, 400 IM. Winning medals is not always possible but taking part is.

Overall the consistently best swimmers in the long run are always the ones who have the best variety of strokes and distances.

As a special treat for after the summer break. during which Madison will keep busy by attending

  • The Melanie Marshall SwimInspiration summer camp
  • climbing and canoeing workshops
  • perhaps a Hackney Aquatics summer camp

then in September onto the level 2 Cambridge Grand Prix 

and also Redbridge which is always a nice weekend to get some more County and Regional Times for next season.

Overall there is an excellent variety of competitions that Hackney Aquatics attends, which really enriches the life of any swimmer.

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?

 

 

Qualifying window for 2019

Next year’s qualifying window for British and home nation nationals will run from

22nd March – 27th May 2019 (inclusive).

Will be trying now to get the qualifying times for next year’s county champs prior to breaking up for the summer.

Yet we need to consider that there are plans to close the qualifying window even earlier in 2020 to avoid the examination period in schools.

As age-group swimmers have to swim as the age they would be at the end of the calendar year, most swimmers must swim ahead of their age.

Only people who are born in January of the year can swim their actual age for counties (that is where counties are held in January.

This principle of age as at the end of the calendar year, applies to all nationally regulated competitions throughout the year; most regional are in March/May (here in London). The summer champs are in July.

Madison will need to put her mind onto next year’s nationals.

One way to increase stamina and general strength will be to swim more long-distance competitions. Open water doesn’t have any turns and requires constant swimming. Other long-distance meets are held for us in July.

person on elliptical trainer
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The dilemma for younger swimmers is the fact that they are not allowed into gyms and the apparatuses within.

Madison will swim 2x 800m competitions on two consecutive days. Gone are the days were anything over 200m is greeted with shrieks of horror. We need to embrace long-distance.

hard summer

Toughen up is the motto of this year.

There are 2 open 3km swimming meets, 2 long-distance meets.

In an interesting new development Chelsea & Westminster and Hackney Aquatics combine a new long-distance time trial on 12. July and on 13. July is the long distance part of the Barking and Dagenham meet.

But what about 800 m freestyle?

We swim in each training session several km and swimming 800 should just feel like a bit of training at the end of the day.

I just can’t understand why some people build up such a big wall of fear between themselves and the 800 freestyle.

Next week Madison is going to sharpen up the breaststroke, a stroke long neglected. We are going to work hard on developing all styles and then the IM will be easier.

 

Need to get away from the easy 50s and 100s as the main goal.

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.

Ethos + pressure = results

I heard somebody say yesterday that swimmers should not be put under pressure. Wow, what a statement. Looking at the London region age-groups medal table, there is

  1. Barnet Copthall with 21 Gold, 13 Silver, 6 Bronze

    ……………………….28. Hackney Aquatics 2 Bronze

that is the standing after the first half of the competition.

Who put up the rule for swimmers not to compare results or performance?

Looking that the Barnet Copthall head coach Rhys Gormley’s favourite saying is “Death before dishonour”, I think he just about puts pressure to win as his utmost priority.

That is what you would expect as a result, that swimmers actually bring home the medals for the amount of training they are putting in each day, that is exceptional value for investment.

Since I do not live anywhere near Barnet Copthall, again I am finding myself in the position of having to make the best of what we’ve got. But having great leadership and swimmers all being a positive influence onto each other will achieve exceptionally good results. Mark Foster is probably their best known swimmer for the younger generation.

I do not think that not being a swimmer for Barnet Copthall is an excuse not to do well, but it makes it much harder indeed.

The whole different ethos of clubs like Barnet Copthall sees many swimmers taking part in gruelling events like 1500, 800 free, 200 fly, 400 IM. I could not see many of Hackney’s swimmers take part.

I shall aim to participate more in those character building events in the future.