Are they really?

The first words Madison uttered when I came to collect her from MMSwiminspirations swim camp, under supervision from Mel Marshall were: “I swear they are trying to kill us with that land training!”

What does that tell you? What should it tell me?

Madison has had land-training regularly. Yoga, Pilates, and exercise. That has been going on since a year.  All soft training and still an injury of the shoulder. Perhaps the soft training is too soft to strengthen the muscles enough.

1 week at Mel Marshall’s swim camp and Madison’s feels totally overstretched.

But, who is winning the medals at top competitions? Those who work with Mel or those who work with Madison’s regular club?

I am just glad that Madison is going to train with the top squad in Hackney Aquatics from September with 2 gym sessions per week. It seems that all the soft options like Yoga and Pilates do not do too much for high performance athletes.

Our local Hackney Aquatics club is the only one we can attend, from where we live and school.

 

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.

The Holy Shrine of Swimming

It feels immensely empowering to be in the vicinity of Repton School swimming pool. Why? I don’t know, it’s just some kind of magic.

Perhaps is has to do with the extremely sturdy buildings in the area. I was going to take some pics of the buildings and walls that look like fortresses and castles rather than village houses but then the rain came down so hard that not even the best bus shelter ever made me take my camera from my bag.

 

Willington is between Derby and Loughborough and Mel Marshall holds her swim camps there. It doesn’t surprise me at all that such a vicinity produces such excellent coaches and swimmers like Adam Peaty.

You soak up the atmosphere and just feel good, almost invincible, wonderful, like everything is going to be alright and nothing can happen to you.

It just feel good and right to be there.

 

He is selling us the dream

As Adam Peaty just broke the 100m breaststroke World record again and is only 1/100 off his project 56, by swimming in exactly 57:00 seconds, I am officially on holiday.

mel-marshall-width-300
Melanie Marshall

Going to a swim camp with Adam Peaty’s coach, makes good dreaming. Madison is really looking forward to this. Off to Derbyshire we go.

That is a woman with great aspirations and that’s alright for us.

Madison will be in good hands in the Swiminspirations swim camp. A real Inspiration it is and always will be.

Madison now also wants to become a coach.

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.

Use your loaf

Just to mention that when Madison had the Better sponsorship, during her membership with LACPP, Madison hardly had any time to go to the gym to top up the water-based club training. Madison never needed to see the physio. One felt invincible.

better=copper
Better membership card for the GLL training support

Then, the following year, I did not apply for the Better GLL sponsorship, which brings with it, free physio treatment. I thought we do not need it, Madison was never injured to a significant degree. I thought better let other athletes have the sponsorship, those who do need to supplement their training with extra gym sessions.

Now the injury has finally arrived. No, I have not been waiting for it but it has happened.

My GP told me that coming to the NHS for advice is a waste of time because the NHS has no resources to treat sporting injuries quickly enough. Perhaps the NHS should reconsider their treatment options. NHS constantly peaches to us about healthy life-styles, yet that brings with it more sporting activities with sporting related injuries. If the NHS wants to specialise in deteriorating illnesses, which are not sport related only, they should re-name themselves.

Now I have been told that the physio in my own club charges at least £50 for a consultation. Obviously like most average people I am not made of money.

I have to find ways of solving problems without spending even more than I already do on the swimming.

We have enormous cost because we not only need to pay the club membership, we also constantly got extra costs like:

  • Travel costs – to and from training and going to competitions
  • Accommodation cost – most further away competitions require hotel stays
  • Performance costumes – can cost around £300,–
  • Training equipment – quite a lot of stuff
  • Competition entry – At the LAC can cost up to £12,– per event.

Now having even more cost, would just about break the camels back.

I do not understand, that Swim England, doesn’t make Physios available for free. Just perhaps a physio per region. Or perhaps advertise for physios who want to help the sport on a voluntary basis.

I need to turn to the Internet for advice. There is quite a lot about. There are some useful pages, which are seriously useful. Search the Internet for Swimmer’s shoulder and some good pages with advice come up for free. Obviously it only needs a terra bad and a wall to do a couple of exercised.

Our club coaches are also pretty good and allow the continuation of training, just not using the injured shoulder. Yet active Physio intervention is not available, especially in the holidays. I am hoping that the Mel Marshall camp, that also cost quite a lot of money has gotten some solutions available.

A new chapter

Looking ahead to the new season 2019 and the challenges this bring. So many new things and routines are going to happen:

  • school GCSE studies begin
  • swimming, join the youth performance squad with more AM training and gym.

Till the end of this season, Madison diverted away from the usual pool competition focus and spent a lot of energy on the 3km open water races. That puts a lot of demand on the body and having all those pool competitions on top of tough long-distance meets puts any athlete to the test.

One reason why Madison’s shoulder gave way with the 400 IM in the Barking & Dagenham summer meet was the participation in a long-distance Open Water meet and we just shelved the rest of this B&D gala. 2 silver medals won this weekend.

It doesn’t matter if an athlete has to pull out of a meet. There are many more to come.

We are now focussing on more intellectual and athletic challenges for next season.

Pool training will soon stop but the summer swim camp is still to come.

School term is nearly complete and with the last week of school term an academic award is still waiting.

The summer holiday will be filled with regular gym sessions, some climbing, canoeing and biking and nature walks. It is very important to relax.

Obviously ultimately the challenge is to get national qualifying times but we don’t want to restrict the variety to just one or two events. The swimmers with the biggest longevity also have the most variety of stroke performance.

Whilst still in the pre-GCSE stage, there is no national training scheme available other than getting a place at a boarding school like Millfield for example. We keep in touch with national swimming by regularly attending the Melanie Marshall swim camps. At age 14 it is progress to keep on getting personal best times and achieving regional qualifying times.

 

Going Nationals?

Madison qualified for various events in the Welsh Nationals 2018 but we have decided not to enter.

Reason, we need to pay for fares to get there, need to book into a hotel and that for several days because the events are spaced apart over several days.

We need to consider whether spending so much time and money actually furthers the swimming skills. Especially as the qualifying times are not higher than the London Region, which is just on our doorstep, it is not so exciting to go all out.

I can spend the same amount of money for a week’s works of training at the Melanie Marshall swimming camp the following week and get a lot of skills training for the money.

However had Madison qualified for the English or British Nationals, we wouldn’t mind spending money on going there because the qualifying times are faster and the demand on skills is higher.

Instead we will concentrate on getting faster for next season. It is never too late to get faster.

It is very important not to get demoralised when reading those publications whereby some swimmers win county and regional champs and go to British champs aged 14 and then thinking well I’m 14, and if I haven’t made it yet I never will. That is simply not so, everybody is different and as long as times improve there is a lot of hope.

Why do you swim?

Just hate it when my club shuts down for the whole of the summer holidays, so I do not get 5 weeks worth of training.

Whilst I complete the consent form for the Melanie Marshall Swim Inspiration’s camp for the second time, I have one question which simply says: “Why do you swim?”

imageThis year I am attending the summer camp, (early August), last year I attended the Easter camp. Apparently Repton was an invasion point for the Vikings around 865 AD, how amazing.

The swim camp is going to be at Repton school in the wonderful Derbyshire countryside. I know I am not going to make it for the English or the British Nationals this year and so opt for some concentrated training with Grant Turner instead. Last year I gotten a lot of swim inspirations there.

So why do I swim? I suppose now I am doing it for fitness and stress relief. I think I’ll also want to be a coach later on. I am going to study sport science, triple science, maths and continue to do the intensive training. My brain works best with lots of swimming.

Hopefully next year I’ll get better still and will make the nationals.

Incidentally the polite attentiveness of both Grant Turner and Melanie Marshall is characteristic of fast and happy swimmers.

Motivation

Good old Derby, here we go again. I found that Madison’s swimming spirits were fully activated after last year’s Mel Marshall Swiminspirations swimming camp in Derby.  Even though, I would have wanted to see more out-doors activities, since it is in the wonderful Derbyshire countryside, the after-effect was excellent.

IMG-20170415-WA0001Madison met some Olympians on her visit, including Adam Peaty and of course the wonderful Tim Shuttleworth and Luke Greenbank and came fully motivated.

When Madison attended the camp in 2017, Madison achieved 6 Regional times in 2018. I want to keep that momentum going and therefore we are going to go to Mel’s summer camp this year to refresh the motivation.

Swimmers must be strongly motivated to get national times and I think it’s the people around you that make you as you influence each other.