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.

Life’s good

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.

 

stoke newingtonThere 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.

 

ClaptonEven 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.

 

Cambridge HeathThe 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.

 

Even kicking is better in the sun

Swimming must be the Best sport, looking at those pics, the week in Spain is at the half-way mark and swimmers are having a wonderful time training in the sunny pool of Torremolinos Sports Abroad.

The first Olympic swimming took place in 1896 in the Bay of Zea but was only available for women since 1912 in Stockholm Sweden.

Now we do start to recognise that swimming has a beneficial effect on health for all ages and school children learn better when swimming.

There are now many swimming competitions held all year round and our next big event will be the London Regional Championships held at the London Aquatics Centre and Crystal Palace.

wed-sun

The swim camp in Torremolinos is an extra special Easter break treat and prepares nicely for the competitions ahead, culminating in the British Summer champs, European Champs.

Comparison

Look and compare the two pictures, showing the weather in Spain and in London on the 9/10 April 2018.

spainland1weather 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.

Lets wait and see.

The day before Spain

Saturday morning training session at the LAC. The day before the flight to Torremolinos and Sports Abroad swim camp.

torremolinos-outdoor-pool-03-spain

This pool looks just like the Gold Coast pool, very clear, sunny and inviting. It seems to be a professional training experience with 2 swim sessions and 1 land session per day.

It will be a week of fun, a well spent term break from school.

 

In Focus

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.

first dawn 540
First signs of dawn on 29. March 2018 at 5:40AM in East London

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.

Oh, we’re going to Torremolinos

I forgot to mention in my last post, Yes, we are really going to Swimcamp in Malaga this Easter break with Hackney Aquatics, a camp run by Sports Abroad.

It’s like all birthdays and Christmases have come together here. We are counting down the days till this exciting swim camp.

Flights are booked, and now we are thinking about not much else. What a wonderful sweetener to complement all our competition chores and school exams.