On, what is going to be the hottest day of the year so far, we are settling back into the normal routine.
Back to school
Early morning before school
Early evening after school training.
There is no such thing as a morning or an evening person. It all depends on the up-bringing and routines we are getting used to from child hood.
I wasn’t raised as a morning person and getting used to AM training on a regular basis was a bit of a chore. But now, early mornings are getting better and better.
Even the journey back after the training sessions help me prepare for a busy school day.
The hazy sunshine on a hot morning is very calming and relaxing and I learned to appreciate the sensations I get when looking into the morning sky and I appreciate the changing nature of the trees and shrubs that make a significant part of the skyline.
The more trees, the more bird song and the chirping and singing makes a great backdrop on the views. Well really, I just have my earphones in and listen to my favourite songs. Perhaps some birds manage to enhance the tunes I am listening to.
The bus chuckles along and I ponder whether I missed the Newham National qualifier at the LAC last week or whether looking back to the under-water sensation and the fantastic week of Spanish training was stimulating enough for me to smash those national times during the Regional competitions in May.
My year has been set up and I look forward to reaping the better times I am going to achieve this year.
Look and compare the two pictures, showing the weather in Spain and in London on the 9/10 April 2018.
Since swimmers are expected to get the British National Qualifying times in this narrow 4 months window, incorporating the British winter and often dreary spring, especially for us Londoners, I wonder whether the results of spending a week in Spain, prior to Regionals will push up the performance results.
Suddenly the national qualifying window becomes meaningful. Whilst we are totally in focus on the goals, it is important to make decisions that are in sync with aims. Today we break up from school at 12:20 and a few of my school mates go to Stratford Westfield window shopping. I decide to pass on this, I know I have got my second training session of the day tonight and have a full weekend of competition ahead of me.
I use this afternoon as a welcome rest period before the storm.
Performance athletes are definitely in the minority. It just helps me a lot to see determined early morning joggers on my way to AM practise, I then know that there are others who are also focussed on fitness and training. Of course when I arrive at the pool, that is the best feeling, being amongst like-minded friends then.
I am feeling more relaxed now by making decisions that fit in with my performance goals rather than with pleasing others who have different lifestyles. It seems rather trivial to find the trip to Spain more exciting than getting national qualifying times. I suppose national athletes who swim for Britain get many great training sessions abroad anyhow.
Madison’s school, Raine’s English Department, just published a lovely tweet @RainesEnglish and it says:
“The more you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go”. – Dr. Seuss
Certainly true for swimmers, the more you learn the more places you will go.
The better the skill, the better the swim. It is all about skill, without skill, there will be no fast swims.
It is always very uplifting to read about the successes for swimmers like Michael Phelps or Adam Peaty and others whose names stick in our heads because as swimmers and swimmers parents we just read more about what is happening in the swimming world.
Madison I think, like most swimmers need to learn the skills really well to make the most of the swimming opportunities that are out there.
So far we went to competitions within the London area and visited all sorts of clubs and pools, perhaps, with more skill we’ll be able to take part in competitions that are in other places. I needed to purchase a railcard to make train travel affordable because some competitions are outside of town. Soon, for the first time, Madison will go abroad for a swimming camp in Spain. That is a very exciting activity to look forward to.
Though I must say, the London region has a very good pool that attracts other swimmers to come and compete here. We are in a good place. In about 10 days time the Middlesex County Championships take place in the London Aquatics Centre and soon also an international open level 1 meet will be held there.
As a parent I am now fully involved in Madison’s swimming career and as there is little chance of Madison giving up swimming in the near future, I decided to go for qualifying further along the officials path.
On Saturday 19.11.17 I officiated at the ESSA Secondary School championships, a very worthwhile chore, as several records had been broken and thanks to Nick Gillingham Academy, here is one of them. I can be seen on lane 7.
I didn’t have a swimmer at this event as Madison’s school does not have any swimmers. But I very much want to support those who bring swimming to their school communities.
On Sunday, I officiated at the Hackney Aquatics championships, with an unbelievably good atmosphere and great community spirit, an occasion where mainly younger swimmers take their first steps into competition. Madison took part and won several medals and entered the finals.