Adam Peaty MBE

Adam’s receiving his MBE is probably one of the most shared and liked images on Twitter and across all swimming publication platforms.

peaty-mbe-medal

Because Adam is one of the cleanest athletes and that is what makes him so likeable.

The guy never moanes. He is seen working out, trying new moves, emphasizing training methods are the most important tool of a swimmer; so Adam is probably the most important influence on Madison today.

Madison met Adam briefly during her stay at Mel Marshall’s Easter swim camp; Adam held a lecture to camp attendants this year 2017. There will be another camp next Easter.

Even as a parent I can learn a lot from this swimmer because he proves that only hard training and concentrating on the pool can make a swimmer; I just used to moan at the coach that Madison didn’t get promoted quick enough when she was younger.

Moaning at coaches doesn’t make any swimmer faster, it just makes working together that little bit harder. I am now not getting involved any longer apart from bringing her to training and competitions. Trying to help out will make swimming competitions easier for everyone and is actually constructive as it provides a great platform for all who are keen to compete. Parents try getting onto officials courses that keeps you busy rather than wait around a pool for 2 days.

I have learned that parents really are most important as helpers and supporters rather than wanting to be critical friends.

And swimming is so rewarding. Because swimmers get fully occupied in the club activities parents can easily calculate their costs of the training and club membership because costs are easily predictable and spending is relatively steady.

Kids spend most of their spare time with the club and that makes swimming as a sport also a life-style and life-long good habit. Once a swimmer always a swimmer.

Even though I hear it that people complain that the cost of the swimming club is too high, in my experience the cost is easier to handle than having other impulse spending that usually happens when there is no proper plan in place to do things with the children after school and in holidays. Swimming club costs are fixed costs that can be calculated ahead for the season and there are few surprises that could break the bank. Even away swimming competitions can double up as family break away.

For Adam Peaty investing all his time in swimming worked out superbly and I suppose the sport is self-regulating because if the swimmer feels the success and that stimulates the swimmer to keep on swimming then that is a career path worth taking. Once swimmers get really good they get offered sponsorship and podium funding and I suppose commercial opportunities follow.

For others they fade out of the performance competition side of the sport and rather concentrate on education or work but the habit of going swimming will normally stay with all who once engaged with the sport.

If your child wants to swim and you think you want to support it, try and find a club for them.

 

2018 selection policies

for a young swimmer the world is an oyster. All option and chances are available to be exploited and the release today of the 2018 British Swimming Selection policies for

  • 2018 Junior Champs in Helsinki 4. – 8. July
  • 2018 European Champs Glasgow 3. – 9. August

help us focus on the future of our sport, rather than dwell on sad spots in the past.

Though it is important to learn the skill of dealing with emotions, the focus on the season ahead always helps to take a deep breath and swim.

All sorted

changing club can sometimes be quite work intensive. The already planned competitions, the training schedules, the new club, the different competitions schedules there and all the coaches want the swimmers to do their best.

I must say Swim England or British Swimming is the best organisation I have ever had the pleasure to deal with. the vast majority of officials, coaches and swimmers are very friendly, polite, helpful and keen to get on and make things easy. There is even a friend service to help.

Swimming is a tough sport, training is very intense but Madison says she wants to work hard and toughen up. British swimming is always on the side of the hard-working swimmers who want to swim.

A lot of previous LACPP swimmers had to find other clubs. Whilst Madison was a junior performer, she still found that the LACPP was not a club as such and neither is the replacement LAC ACS. LAC ACS is now associated with Newham and that is well out of our geographical reach. LAC ACS offered to take over all previous LACPP swimmers but those who were national material went to other clubs.

Another swimmer not yet associated is the National, possible podium funded Jarvis Parkinson who is the only swimmer on the 2018 funding list without a club, Jarvis swam and trained with LACPP until the program had the plug pulled and swimmers dispersed in all directions. Jarvis is the proof that the LACPP delivered excellent results for swimmers. I just read that Jarvis joins the National Centre in Loughborough.

It shows that being part of a program has slight difficulties associated with getting into the club environment again. One has to live local to the club.

But all is well that ends well for Madison and she will compete in her last competition for Newham on Sunday 1st October at the LAC, early County qualifier and then storm into the Hackney training and competition environment; taking part in the ARENA league and a Middlesex development meet.

Hackney Aquatics, HAC for short, has a list of national classed swimmers who are up and coming.

BSC 2018 qual times out now

Madison has been training all summer,to avoid loosing the speed over the summer holidays with a focus on getting into the BSC qualifying times, as they have been released here.

The d.o.b. standard range for youth is

  • female 2001 – 2004
  • male 2000 – 2003.

Essex County qual times

Middlesex County qual times.

A sentimental journey

Learning to swim is a great milestone in every child’s life. The journey through the swimming stages are very important and a source of great excitement for the whole family. Getting those certificates and promotion to the next stage, coupled with a love of the pool and swimming, can lead to a career as competitive swimmer.

Madison learnt swimming at Sharks in Bethnal Green and I remember having spent years accompanying her to the small-pool sessions. They were staged, half hour each and you start at 6pm and the last session can end as late as 9pm. We were unlucky and had our last small pool sessions ending at 9pm in the middle of winter.

Perhaps that was one reason to want to promote to the large-pool sessions that would again start at 6pm. They were called Improvers at the time. With the Improvers came the promotion to the Talent lane, a session run by Tony Ansell, who learned talented swimmers from both Sharks and Better sessions to learn competitive tricks.

Again we spent a couple of years in Improvers until the promotion came to the Mini-Squad. The first Galas and the first competition at Redbridge followed shortly after.

madison-sharks-10
Madison at Sharks Championships with her friend

The most fun for Madison were always the Sharks club championships. Also great fun were the Canary Wharf Sprints held once a year.

After Mini-Squad came County-Squad. We had heard about the sessions being run at the LAC for elite swimmers, they were part-time sessions.

What I think in retrospective is, that once you start going to proper licensed competitions, you learn how achieved times are recorded and you just cannot help comparing to other swimmers as you get ranked. You want to achieve the County times and then of course you learn about the Regionals and the Nationals and so forth.

The Happiness of swimming with friends turns into eager anticipation to make it on the national scene.

For most swimmers that is an easy transition because they can achieve all that within their home club. Most very successful swimmers stayed with their home club until they reached the Olympic Squad or other squads run by British Swimming.

But unfortunately not so in Bethnal Green Sharks. Fact is, and that is a matter of public interest, is that most very successful swimmers left the Bethnal Green Sharks and joined other clubs.

Sam went to Chelsea & Westminster, Kai and his sister Mika went to Hackney Aquatics, Kai went on to swim in the nationals this year and also competed in the Europeans. Ilias competed this year in the Welsh nationals for Hackney Aquatics. Shawn competed in LACPP for County, winning important medals and then also joined Hackney, so did Tasso. Other swimmers joined Camden Swiss. Even the one swimmer of Bethnal Green Sharks that once won a bronze at the Olympics Dervis Konuralp* has now removed his child from Sharks to join Camden Swiss Cottage.

Madison joined LACPP and this year achieved 8 Middlesex County Times, which is an 800% improvement on last year. But Madison is one of these kids that are proud of their friends, that like to be part of their local club and Madison would not mind swimming for Sharks.

It is also bugging me a lot that we live just 5 minutes away from York Hall but cannot compete for Sharks any longer because we are too much trouble for them. Perhaps it is not only us that is too much trouble for them, perhaps all the other good swimmers were too much trouble.

I think it is a great shame that our local swimming club only exports great swimmers without raking in on the glory when they become national and international swimmers. Madison left Sharks last year in July 2016 and had since tried twice to re-join the club but without success.

We now have no choice but to either swim for the next nearest club, which is soon going to be a changed LACPP at the London Aquatics Centre or go to clubs like Hackney Aquatics or Chelsea etc. But for us, we just don’t want to spend hours and lots of money on public transport or on car journeys to clubs.

It takes away a lot of home-work time for a teenager to spend at least 2 hours travelling to and from 2 hour swimming sessions. Considering that school hours already comprise a full working day, e.g. 8 hours and teenagers need to do their GCSE’s and need more sleep than adults, it would make sense that swimmers can stay with their local clubs.

Yet the training provision seems better in other clubs, that is why swimmers leave the Sharks and go elsewhere. Training provision can involve many things including how sessions are staffed and how communications within the club work.

I looked at clubs’ constitutions and how they are set up and can see for example that in Redbridge and in Hackney, Gators, the parents of the most successful swimmers man the Committee, do central supportive roles in the club; but not so in Sharks.

I think there is demand for a high-quality swimming club in Bethnal Green and that improvements like getting equipment to turn the 33m pool into a 25m pool and getting proper timing equipment, so that licensed meets can be held is good. However, the club does not want to do it.

I even gained the J1 qualification, I would be willing to train others to become officials, because clubs need a certain number of officials to hold licensed meets, but all that is not wanted by the Sharks; for them everything is too much trouble. Yes, it would involve increasing the very low Sharks monthly membership fees but that is also not wanted by the club.

So Sharks train, and very successfully so, train young swimmers, but all the best competitors leave the club to join other clubs.

We now have to pay double what we would pay at Sharks, plus travel and competition costs. But we could also pay that to Sharks, have a local club that can deliver equal quality for the same price as other clubs and be happy locally.

What is so very important for swimmers, is the club atmosphere, Sharks definitely has that but to combine club atmosphere with great and continued competitiveness, is something the Sharks simply miss out on because their best swimmers always leave and I cannot see that the club would want to retain those swimmers, and indeed as we have experienced ourselves, they do not want those swimmers back.

* I am not certain whether this shift has to do with relocation or not.

Is tall really the best asset in swimmng

I am writing all those who are not the tallest to stick to swimming.

looking at boxing as a sport and we see different classes of boxers, according to their weight, they can fight an equal partner. But then in boxing, each fight accumulates significant revenues and it is therefore profitable.

Swimming is not such a money raker, though lately, the increasingly impressive bodies and nice personalities of top swimmers, especially Adam Peaty, attract more viewers, now that the healthy body image is on the top of the agenda for many

I think it is because of financial considerations that swimming is merely portioned into age-groups. A big breakthrough lately has been a further distinction into able and various ability groups. Though if swimming was further portioned into height, then the swimming competitors would take considerably longer to process and already there are shortages of officials as it is in the average level 3 age-group competitions.

Though, when looking at swimming results I now straightaway, go to the swimmer’s Wikipedia page and see how high they are. I am always very relieved when I see that the tallest didn’t win.

The latest victory of Pellegrini in the 200 free for example, see Swimmingworld article, shows her not to be the tallest out of Katie Ledecky and McKeon, she is however only very marginally shorter than both.

Interestingly the Wikipedia profile of Katie Ledecky makes her 180cm whilst the Google search brings her up to 183cm.

In the Google search Emma McKeon is also 180cm and also 180cm on Wikipedia.

Frederica Pellegrini is 177cm on Google search and on Wikipedia.

The most significant height difference could be seen in the German Frankziska Hentke who won the prelims heat and gotten the silver in the finals of the World Championships in Budapest 2017. See FINA review.

Franziska Hentke is 169cm according to Google and also 169cm on Wikipedia. Franziska won the prelims before Yilin Zhou (175cm) and Mireia Belmonte (168cm). All these ladies are very muscular.

I would say that it often depends on the kind of stroke, whether shorter physical height can achieve.

Katinka Hosszu who currently holds the most world records for women is a mere 175cm.

I’ve also come across Katie Matts who was considerably shorter than her fellow competitors but won the British Champs 2 times in a row. Picture here on a podium in a different race where she won bronze, just to show the relative height. I am unable to find an article with her body height in it.

Layla Black won an impressive victory in the 200 breast at the LEN in Netanya Israel. Pics from British Swimming.

Last year, using the typical height charts I calculated Madison’s ultimate body height to become 175-78 but now I am not so sure. I think that height might play a big factor in how much one invests into the sport because the more time you invest the less time you have to do anything else.

I feel that endurance and bodybuilding can out-swim height and sprint ability in especially the 200m races in Butterfly and Breaststroke.

There is no need to be obsessive about height because the ultimate power of decision-making is with the swimmer and if the swimmer thinks they can win, they will want to try their hardest. Especially if swimming as sport increases the happiness factor of a swimmer and aids with learning there is no question that every length spent in the pool is time well spent.

Especially when Madison was younger and she was put into a fast heat, despite being so young, she always complaint, that everybody else was much taller than her. I think a swimmer learns to overcome certain fears and deal with it in a positive way.

But Hannah Miley must be an inspiration to anybody who is not very tall, she is a very fierce swimmer and full of winning energy.

 

Nothing is easy

Nowadays I often define myself by well-known song-titles as they define emotional milestones in my life. Jethro Tull had been one of my all-time favourite bands.

This song has probably one of the cleanest lyrics of the time, so it’s save to show it here.

Things constantly change in the life of a young swimmer; with the publication of Madison’s latest end-of-year results I definitely want to concentrate more on school work next year, the year when pupils enter their GCSE paths.

But it is not just so easy as to say, well my swimmer is not too good in school so we concentrate on swimming. I think it’s best to try out a lot of different sports to find a ‘suits us best’ style. Swimming always assisted Madison’s learning rather than hindering it.

I am constantly pondering over how much time we spend travelling, how much time we have for homework and other hobbies. How happy my swimmer is in the club they are in and how much money it all costs me.

It is much harder than I thought it possible to come to conclusions because Madison is smart and good at a lot of things, it is really hard concentrate on one sport. Because even in swimming things never stay the same. Favourite strokes also change constantly.

If I look at those swimmers currently at the top, I always wonder how they made their decisions to concentrate on their swimming careers. Perhaps I start reading biographies of swimmers next.

I am going to want to watch some life streams of competitions online to get some inspiration.

British Summer champs start in 3 days.

FINA world championships in Budapest are in full swing.

Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas, 1 more day to go.

Fresh swimming

The recent listings for the British Summer Championships, as mentioned in my previous post, have strengthened my case for the LAC to become the third British Swim Centre.

Looking through the listings I noticed that a fellow swimmer, also of German origin (and I hope they do not mind me mentioning them), by the name of von Opel, listed with a freestyle qualifying time of 27:95 and that is a cracking time for somebody born in 2004, that girl is 12/13 years of age. Ciara swims for Chelsea & Westminster, who have a long history of producing national swimmers.

Chelsea & Westminster are a London club, but generally train in a 25 meter pool. There are other excellent London clubs who also mainly train in 25 meter pools. But to develop those swimmers to world record standards I think they need to train in a 50m pool permanently.

The 50m freestyle record, also held by a German lady, Britta Steffen, since 2009; the fastest listing time for the British Summer Champs is 25:42 by Lucy Hope from Edinburgh University, Lucy is born in 1997.

So we have gotten a 12? year old listing as 27:95 and the fastest older swimmer is 20? with 25:42. Edinburgh and Scotland in general has an excellent pool of superb swimmers also. They should also have a national swim centre in Scotland by the way, so that we get a total of four swim centres in Britain. The amount of people who take up swimming is thankfully on the rise.

But my point is that if a 12? year old can produce a 27 in 50 free than such an achievement needs careful nurturing in a great 50m pool.

So the case of the UEL to close down the Senior Program should be thoroughly rejected by Swim England and Sport England and the Senior Program should be advanced and incorporated into a National Swim Centre based at the LAC.

 

 

Supporting your swimmer

For all  parents who come from a non-swimming background, the amount of time spent around the pool slowly increases with training intensity; this becomes more the older the swimmer gets.

Non-swimming and swimming lifestyles are quite different. I could also differentiate and say that sporting and non-sporting lifestyles are quite different. Yet with swimmers, you do spend a lot of time around the pool, which is a quite special environment.

By supporting my swimmer I don’t mean interfere with the coaching, at least if it is fair, but try to understand the frame of mind my swimmer is in.

The time needed for swimming training is considerable and takes large chunks of time out of each day. When teenagers have to do their GCSE exams and preparations for those, trying to juggle time to fulfil schooling and swimming training, requires exact tuning of every useful minute of the day. Even the sleep time has to be calculated to fulfil minimum requirements for a young person, who need more sleep than older people.

It took us several months to get used to a twice daily training routine with getting up at 4:30 to 5:00 AM twice a week. Of course I do not want to send my swimmer for early morning training without any breakfast.

My swimmer’s days are non stop activity-laden days without stopping.

  • Getting up, having breakfast
  • early morning training
  • school
  • homework
  • afternoon training
  • homework
  • sleep

Of course my swimmer talks about what’s happening during training but I as a parent do not want to get involved unless it is really necessary. In a good club parents do not have to get involved a lot in the training side of things in the sense of discussing what the coach should be training. Parents always want to ensure their child is safe.

  • Parents should get involved in voluntary roles within the club and help at competitions.
  • Parents should ensure that the swimmer gets healthy nourishment and the right equipment.
  • Parents should help or organise travel to and from training and competitions.

It is very rewarding to help enable a swimmer to reach their sporting potential and also help others rather than just your own child to compete. Getting to know the rules and enforcing them, gives a sense of fair-play throughout the sport.

Swimming is not necessarily adverse to academic achievement, there are many sporting careers that stem from swimming. Children can take sport GCSE or study sporting related medicine and sporting discipline at university. There are many careers in swimming related sports.

Swimming is never a lost cause and never a waste of time. Yet I strongly suggest that parents do not force their children to do swimming but rather find a sport that children really like. If it is swimming the better but if it is not, look at what is out there.

 

The three B’s

I am very happy to have passed my final assessment and qualified as J1 judge. I joined as swimming club volunteer with Madison’s increased participation in swimming competitions and wanting to make myself useful and also wanting to pick up some good tips on how to swim better.

Like myself, many swimming parents are not from a competitive swimming background and as such getting through all the rules can take longer than if one has been into competitive swimming previously.

Competition promoters really do rely on volunteers to staff the officials required to run such competitions and the FINA rules are quite strict on the officials requirements needed. Keeping those rules means an event can be licensed and the times achieved by the swimmers are official and get listed in the Personal Best Times charts kept online for all to see.

Trying to memorize the swim order in Medley swimming for example, I noticed there are three B’s and one F.

The B’s are in a different order depending whether it’s Individual Medley

  • Butterfly
  • Backstroke
  • Breaststroke
  • Freestyle

but in the Medley relay events, which allows groups of swimmers to race the order is

  • Backstroke
  • Breaststroke
  • Butterfly
  • Freestyle

The easy way to remember this is that IM starts with Butterfly and Medley relay starts with Backstroke. I know the Breaststroke always follows the Backstroke and the Freestyle is always last.

Personally I do not like to interfere too much into the training that Madison gets, it is up to her coach to teach her the important tactics and stroke techniques. I just like to understand the racing events and so can assist the swimmers and ensure, as far as I can that the best swimmer always wins. All swimmers need to get the same chances.

It is a lenghty process to become a swimming official and lots of practise is best.