Getting there

This year’s London Winter Champs were hugely inspiring to us. Even though Madison cannot compete herself at the moment, due to various issues, the fact that some of our club swimmers made it to the podium, gotten national times and overall did very well and swam so inspiringly, is very important.

Because not everybody is 100% well all the time but the team, will always support each other and draw strength from each other.

Please check the Hackney Aquatics Club posts on Twitter and Facebook to see what excellent results were achieved. And do not hesitate to visit the Hackney Aquatics Club website to follow the ongoing successes of our swimmers.

It is very important that your swimmers realise, that it is not always going swimmingly good for everyone and that we all have off-times, but that being part of the team and the will and strength to overcome problems is very inspiring and important for everyone.

Facilitating a world record

To my total surprise, on Saturday, Eleanor Simmonds, achieved a new world record in the 400 m freestyle in the lane I served as time-keeper, it was lane 7 of the London Aquatics Centre.

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Superb swim by Ellie Simmonds in the 400FR breaking her own Paraswimming Short-Course World Record (set in 2013) with a time of 5:26.76 – superb effort in Ellie’s return to . Congratutations!!!

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That is what make being an official worthwhile, it is the knowledge that we can facilitate and assist greatness in the pool.

 

Shame to miss the London Region

Is it not doubly annoying when you qualify for a regional championships but then can’t take your place in the lanes?

Worked so hard to get to the Regional Winter champs but unfortunately my shoulders have suffered the worst wear ever.

Well, can hope that all the County times for 2019 will at least come in handy. It will take a while to get back to peak fitness after this long break but never give up.

Nan will be an official and Madison can watch live results here.

I am still around

Still going to training regularly with the performance squad but haven’t been competing since the end of last season, e.g. August 2018.

Have already obtained 8 County times for this season during last season.

Don’t be put off by injury. Even though swimming is a very active sport with constant competitions, having an injury is no reason at all to drop out of the sport.

You can continue training and keep fit, even if you can’t enter every competition for a while.

Don’t let your coach tell you otherwise because if you love swimming you will want to stick with it.

Just thought, that swimming is the ideal sport for hyper active kids. Stick anybody into a swimming club and even the most lively kid will be tired by the end of the day, with little time left for being hyper-active.

Think about it if your child attends morning training before school, by the time they get into the benches, they will already have spent all excess energy during the AM session and if they get active again the after-school training session will take care of that.

Doctors should prescribe more sport less pills.

I think the key is to get parents involved as much as the children to develop the healthy life-style for the whole family.

The Cambridge Common

Whilst Madison had to miss out on the Cambridge Grand Prix, I made a parental contribution to the racing action going on in Cambridge over the weekend by acting as official.

Swimming competitions, which are licensed at a certain level, need a set number of qualified officials to meet the criteria.

The level of a nationalmeet is level 1 and Cambridge Grand Prix was licensed as level 2.

cambridge cows
Cows in Cambridge living in a public park

I stayed the night in a local bed and breakfast and whilst I walked from my hotel to the pool in the morning, walked through a park and could not believe my eyes seeing a herd of cows grazing on the Common.

It is almost unthinkable for a Londoner that cows should live so freely in a public park, that is used by joggers, cyclist and walkers as a through route in the city. Apparently the animals are docile and keep the grass short, no clue who picks up their cow pads, as I didn’t see any, apart from the residue on the cow I pictured.

An ingenious system of fencing, which doesn’t look particularly high or dense, keeps the cows within the common.

cambridge pool
Parkside Pools, Gonville Place, Cambridge, CB1 1LY

When I arrived at the pool on the second day of my stay, I looked forward to helping swimmers reach their dream of making qualifying times for the National Short Course championships.

The pool is nice and airy, fully surrounded by windows, it is light and appears spacey. The air quality in the pool area is also pretty good, so that working around the pool for a couple of days doesn’t make one feel too tired.

Cambridge Grand Prix

With Madison’s competition career on hold, we had to take her out of this competition. Everybody says, hurting shoulders need to rest Waiting for Godot, on a hospital appointment, will test our patience, in the truest sense of the word. Ahem patients.

Swimming is a sport for swimmers and swimmers usually are children and it is the children’s parents that keep the sport going, organise the meets, officiate at meets and keep the clubs running. All parents can train as

  • Time keepers
  • J1 or J2 judges
  • J2S starters
  • Referees

It is the biggest volunteering effort and the Big Society of Sport that parents do the work and the swimmers do the swimming. Yet the sport volunteering existed long before the term Big Society was invented very recently.

Even though Madison is not competing, I, as parent, can go and help  with the meet. Cambridge, the City of Cambridge Swimming Club have been marvellous in engaging people to help. Even the most placid of parents, suddenly jump up and want to help in this great occasion.

As it says Cambridge Grand Prix, an event easily associated with the City of Cambridge. Obviously another club that is run in conjunction with the City it is located in.

City_of_London_skyline_from_London_City_Hall_-_Sept_2015_-_Crop_Aligned
By © User:Colin and Kim Hansen / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48935921

Yes, we do have London Swimming events, but not as in a club run by the City of London, no, it is a loose conglomerate of independent swimming clubs strewn around the big town. London Swimming is more of a geographical marker and overhead organisation such as Swim England, London branch.

Look at the difference, the rural City of Cambridge at the top and the City of London just above, yet only the rural town can manage to support a Swimming club. London Swimming has no City of London sponsor message on their website.

I think if the City of London would throw their weight behind a swimming club and actively sponsor it, like obviously other towns or cities do, then perhaps the London Aquatic Centre could host a successful London club.

But as it is, the London Aquatic Centre, is again, organised to cater for host-boroughs that are geographically located around the venue. Nothing that says, yes it is our city, our pool, our swimming club, City of London Swimming Club.

British qualifying window shorter in 2020

We are now  in 2018 and British Swimming just announced that the Qualifying window for 2020 will be shorter to help lessen the cross-over with school examination periods. Great to know that as many parents plan their children’s lives well ahead of their GCSE periods.

2020 qualifying window is going to be:

Friday 13th March – Sunday 10th May 2020 inclusive.

In Madison’s case we need to think further ahead as the fitness situation is probably not going to get her fit by the 2019 Summer champs where the qualifying window will be

Friday 22nd March – Sunday 27th May 2019 inclusive.

The difference amounts to 59 days in 2020 – 67 days in 2019 = 8 days less to qualify. Of course the qualifying period also starts earlier in 2020.

 

City of London SC ???

Building on my last post, it makes only sense and is logical – how I love logic – to think hey, why is there not a City of London Swimming Club?

Looking at the National Selection page of British Swimming, the team base of most selected swimmers have a City name or University / School swim team attached.

We have gotten: 

  • Loughborough
  • Sterling
  • Sheffield 
  • Derby
  • Bath 
  • Swansea
  • Stockport
  • Millfield

amongst others

Yep, you ask, where is London? 

I get constantly requests from the Mayor of London to take part in surveys, none of which has anything to do with swimming.

Incidentally the London Secondary School Swim Team performance is non existent as well. The English School Swimming Association events, have few performers from London Schools. 

Yes, the London Youth Games bring in many swimmers, who are all related to local swimming clubs, yet, London has not managed to produce a London Swimming Club, despite London being the richest City in the country. 

Wonder, how do those other towns / cities manage to fund nationally successful swim teams?

Perhaps London should divide into Quadrants and have several London swimming clubs e.g. North, South, West and East. 

The national team for 2019

It’s a whole new fresh approach. Some of the very trusted names like Aimee Wilmott and Hannah Miley are not among the chosen ones.

But the list published on British Swimming still shows some well-known, huge names like Adam Peaty, Tom Derbyshire, Luke Greenbank, both Lichfield brothers, James Guy, oops I am just quoting males here. Lets look at some females who are in: Freya Anderson and Imogen Clarke are well known from watching nationals and of course Freye Anderson made excellent performance in recent team medley events on an international level.

What impresses me most about the selection page is the part about the world-class sports science and medicine services attached to being selected.

No NHS queues for selected athletes then.

Most of the selected swimmers are already attached to a national training program like National Centre Bath or National Centre Loughborough. Very few local clubs have directly associated swimmers in the national program. That is a bit of a shame because it looses the local connection to big performance.

It’s either university/school run swim clubs or city run clubs apart from national centre swimmers, showing that independent clubs do not have a pool to perform in, rather than saying not a leg to stand on.

Local councils have to wake up to the fact that performance sport, swimming included, needs council or city funding. Here in London we have quite a few clubs but none of those have any swimmers in this national program. Why is it that London does not have a performance program? It may be due to the size of the city. London is a huge area, nothing compared to smaller cities, which have superb performance swimming clubs.

2018-common
Picture at the London Aquatics Centre of Jarvis Parkinson and Aimee Wilmott with Gold Cost Mascot for Team England

Yet all attempts to establish a performance program have been hampered perhaps by cost. The London Aquatics Performance Program was shelved after a couple of years. Both Aimee Wilmott and Jarvis Parkinson were part of it. Jarvis was a young newcomer at the beginning of it and now made it to Loughborough. Both former coaches of the LACPP now work for Chelsea and Westminster swimming club as coaches.

For example clubs like Barnet Copthall produced Olympic Swimmers but even they are not represented in the National team for 2019. The new club Natare, run by former Olympian Michal Jamieson, which produced many national swimmers, not in the game for 2019 either.

The London Beacon program has gone under.

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?