The London Region Open Water Championship details have just been announced and Madison will be in the last event of the day, the 3km age-group female champs. The 3km waves start at 14:45 and there is a maximum swimming time of 1 hour and 15 minutes allowed.
It must be total freedom to be able to just swim, with no turns or pool restrictions to cope with, just swim from your own strength and develop a rhythm that doesn’t stop at turns.
A swimmer doesn’t even know what strength they can develop during unrestricted Open Water swimming until they did it.
It’s worth a try. Qualifying within the first 3 of an age-group qualifies for the National Open Water Age-group championships in Rother Valley Country Park. Though the distance there is only 2km for age-groups. It is also possible to qualify with appropriate 800/1500 m times.
We are just interested in trying this out, to see what happens with this type of swimming.
Interestingly though it is going to be a very tough day because Madison will swim the 3km of the London Open Water champs at 14:45 and then head straightaway to the London Fields Lido to take part in the Hackney Aquatics sponsored Swim the Thames event and is attempting to swim another 3.5km in the 50m pool there, e.g. 70 lengths.
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.
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.
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.
I am noticing lots of swimmers do over-dramatic touches at turns and at the finish to ensure they can show they touch with both hands. That is especially important for breaststroke and butterfly.
The touch should always be the natural conclusion of the stroke and not slow it down in any way.
A fast touch is very important.
In the breststroke a double-touch can happen above or below the water or on the water-line, as long as the hands are on the same horizontal plane and do not stack completely on top of each other and touch at the same time.
I see many swimmers touching and dramatising the simultaneous touch with both hands at the same level. I am under the impression they do that to avoid disqualification. But this slows down the swim.
Hesitation to touch or to emphasize the dramatic double touch slows down the swim and it is not in the best interest of the sport for this to happen.
I think swimmers should concentrate to perfect the stroke and touch as fast as possible and not worry too much about the swimming judge seeing the touch correctly.
If it happens that a disqualification occurs but the swimmer is certain that the double touch happened correctly, I think that the disqualification should be protested rather than slowing down the swim to get an over-emphasized clear touch.
If there are many protests the sport will have to move to instal cameras above each lane so that in case of query a judging team can monitor the camera footage to get an objective look at the swim. #swimfast #swimskilful
Other sports already introduced camera monitoring I think that swimming should invest in this technology.
Please note the picture is just to show breaststroke.
The only thing Madison has in common with Michael Phelps is the fact that she is playing catch up. I seem to remember Michael saying that in his early career, he always played catch-up to the fast swimmers.
These days we are wearing his goggles.
One perk of going to swimming competitions is the fantastic landscape, that we can enjoy regularly. Crystal Palace is set in wonderful mature trees. However the performance is steadily going down-hill this time.
Madison managed to set a new long-course PB in the 50 back but both the 100 back and 200 back were slower than previously achieved times.
We’ll see whether an improvement can be achieved next weekend at the London Swimming Open Summer Champs at the London Aquatics Centre, when Madison will be swimming in four events.
When going to Regionals is a new experience for a swimmer, I suppose the routine and the priming of getting the fitness and results at the right time is something that has to be programmed into the psyche of a swimmer, to peak at the correct moments. Where there is a will there is a swim.
This year is the second time I am participating in London Regional Championships. The first time ever was on 19. July 2015, when I raced in the 11/12-year-old 50 butterfly event at Crystal Palace with a time of 42:74. That was my first ever long-course time in that stroke. My current PB is 34:38 and that was not good enough for this year’s accepted entries.
This year, I have been accepted for all 3 Backstroke events. Just amazing how stroke performance changes. Fly used to be my favourite stroke and now I just love backstroke. Over all my aim is to get to regional level on all strokes.
There is always next year. But also the Regional Summer Open Championships give a last chance to get a National time this year.
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.