Getting ready for the meet

On Sunday, Madison will swim for her first and last meet with Newham & UEL club.

Preparations centre around

  • how to get the home work done over that weekend
  • how many hours are needed for the meet
  • which foods are needed and how to nourish
  • travel time and arrangements
  • packing the bag for the meet
  • mental preparation
  • which races are swam
  • promoter’s conditions
  • study the accepted entries list

Luckily the BWF early county qualifier level 3 meet is in the London Aquatic Centre, which is one of our local pools. We can just take a local bus there and arrive within 20 minutes, we do not need to worry about parking either.

We see that entry in the LAC is now security screened, visitors are not allowed to bring drink or food in but swimmers are.

Swimmers always have their favourite snacks to use as pick-me-ups and preps before or between races. Most of the time in swimming meets, there is also not enough time between sessions to have a proper lunch. There are delays and if a meet goes on from 8AM till 5pm, swimmers need to find time to get useful nourishment.

This Sunday we’ll only have half a day, usually we stay the whole day. But if Madison swims longer distances we do less races altogether.

This Sunday it’s going to be 100 fly and 200 back.

The social aspect is also important beyond the just racing. Swimmers get to know each other over time and meet up at race meets. Swimmers who change clubs still see their friends at meets too. That is very enjoyable for the swimmers.

With the arrival of the LAC, local swimmers’ lives were quite affected. Before we had our local pool and suddenly that opportunity with the LAC arose.

New swimming arrangements were introduced and swimmers often commuted between their old club and the LAC Beacon schemes.

Luckily most local clubs are very sympathetic to swimmers and often allow seemless transitions between clubs, so that swimmers do not lose out on training times. Rules were changed that swimmers could be members in more than one club and have dual registrations, which is all very helpful.

From next week Madison will become a member at Hackney Aquatics. We already preparing for the week after this Sunday’s meet to train fully with the new club.

Swim England have this brilliant online system whereby swimmers best times get recorded on the data regardless of which club they swim for and that is very good. These days people move more often because of job or housing needs and also because the swimming club scene can change and have an impact on training needs too.

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.

Just to reiterate

I do not want to be negative, I know everybody probably does their best. Previously we were advised not to join a club that isn’t part of the Advanced Coaching Scheme, I followed that advice but since I followed it and signed up for the club with the Advanced Coaching Scheme, I have suddenly been presented with unforseen changes in the training schedule that were not agreed prior to signing up.

Previously we were supposed to get training at the LAC exclusively, if we sign up to become members at the newly created LAC ACS. We had to sign up by 15. September; as soon as I had signed up and entered competitions, up to November 2017, I was given a new training schedule that requires me to be at East Ham Leisure Centre at 5:30 AM. I reside in Bethnal Green and whilst I find it easy to be at the LAC for 6 AM, as it usually started with LACPP and LAC ACS training, the new host club Newham UEL suddenly changes the routine against all agreements that were formed previously with Swim England.

Additionally the cost of being a member in LAC ACS has sharply risen and it is not even quite clear now, whether the Beacon Program is included in the price as it was last year.

In fact the whole Beacon program has so far not been agreed with the host boroughs.

I am not blaming anybody, I suppose it is very difficult to set up a club from scratch and cost this, but I know what I need, I need a regular routine for my swimmer, my swimmer needs to be able to attend school, learn and form relationships and that is only possible with a predictable regular routine. That is what the Advanced Coaching Scheme cannot offer us at present.

I am now looking to join an already established well running local club, even if they are not members in the Advanced Coaching Scheme because we need peace of mind, we need affordable club swimming and we need a good routine that we can rely on.

I have contacted the parties involved in this and await responses. It is the weekend and hopefully something will have changed for the Better by next week.

No Sharks for us now

As I discussed my plans for Madison to re-join Bethnal Green Sharks with the Swim England development coach I was made aware that the London Aquatics Advanced Coaching Program has an especially developed coaching plan, that is most scientifically selected and takes all matters like growth and heart rates, lactic acid production and other things into serious consideration.


Some swimmers train full-time at the LAC ACS and they are always fully able to take advantage of the latest training regime and some swimmers join the program on a part-time basis from other clubs.

However, I have been advised that a number of local clubs have subscribed to take part in the advanced coaching scheme, so that swimmers can seamlessly train with their own club and then part-time in the LAC. But if a club is not part of this advanced coaching scheme then the swimmer risks loosing a lot of progress by not training to the latest methods and for that reason Madison cannot join or swim for Bethnal Green Sharks at the moment.

Bethnal Green Sharks were offered by Swim England to participate in the Advanced Coaching Scheme but refused at this time. That means, Madison is unable for this reason to swim for this club. Sorry Bethnal Green.

Now even learner swimmers can take advantage of this scheme, if they train at the London Aquatics Centre. Swimming Lessons are run by Better, but they select talented swimmers and invite them to a Talent Lane program and then there is also the option to join the LAC ACS training program in the swimming club.

Currently learner swimmers have a better chance to develop properly if they start learning at the London Aquatics Centre or at any London Club that is part of the Advanced Coaching Scheme or has similar methods that succeed with national swimming programs.

Now we’re talking

The new club partnership is taking place. Yesterday a very comprehensive e-mail was sent to swimmers explaining the new club structure very well. It is the much-needed improvement the club set-up needed. Training-wise and communications-wise I am much happier now.

That’s what I want from a club, excellent training, superb prospects and wonderful communications. This is all coming together now and Nick is the fixer and developer that this London Aquatics competitive swimming environment needed. Congratulations to Swim England for chosing Nick for this job.

There is now sufficient substance in this new development that provides a set-up that is long-term sustainable and makes sense.

I have every confidence that the Newham & UEL swimming club is the right partner for this program. I was very impressed by them and think that Holly is also a superb club coach.


Excellent, good and not so good

As with all new schemes there are teething problems and we’ve heard that this new coaching scheme has been set up with very little time to actually do this.

Lisa Bates has left, people are wondering where she is because Lisa did not say good-bye; some kids were upset not to know what happened to Lisa and Alexander takes up a coaching the coaches post and promised to see us pool-side at some point, that is very good to know.

What I think is important to point out that the LAC Advanced Coaching Scheme is not a club in the classic sense but it is a coaching scheme. A training scheme directly supervised by Swim England.

The Coaching Scheme is administered by the UEL affiliated Newham Swimming club but Newham club members remain mainly Newham club members whilst swimmers have the option to join the LAC ACS full-time. Madison has become full-time last year, so the transition will just be that she changes membership from LACPP to LACACS.

I very much like the new training hours. PM training starts most days at 17:00 – 19:00, whilst there are now 4 weekly AM sessions. This choice of sessions is very important to any swimmer who has GCSE courses going on. There is also more sleeping hours between PM and AM sessions; important for the younger swimmers.

Of course the pool itself is a very good facility, very well cleaned and equipped with the latest technology; also there are now 2 days (Tuesdays and Thursdays) where the 50m lanes will be divided into 25m lanes with the same equipment that is used by Loughborough NTS.

There will be talent lanes, to discover all those talented swimmers who take Better swimming lessons and monthly sprint sessions to measure progress of swimmers in a fun setting.

The only negative point for us is a lack of competition schedule. At this moment in time, we have not been given any competitions to enter for next season. Thinking that most competitions are planned months in advance and entries usually have to be in at least 2 months prior to a competition, the LAC ACS must take this into consideration.

Really this cannot happen every year. The current scheme runs for 11 month, till the end of July 2018, I sincerely hope that next year, we will not have the same problem of a missing competition schedule again.

Obviously most national competitions are easy to enter as swimmers can enter them directly but all level 2, 3, 4 competitions have to be organised through the clubs. Since LAC ACS is not a club in the classical sense it has the weakness of not preparing competitions schedules on a continuous basis.

Hopefully the affiliation with Newham & NUEL swimming club will solve this problem. I was a great supporter of the LAC swimming club being run by a local club, it is after all located in the London Borough of Newham and it is most practical to run a club from an established well working local system.

LAC Advanced Coaching Scheme

LAC ASC will start training tomorrow at the Olympic Pool in Stratford. A very positive initial meeting today, which was attended by the Creme-de-la-Creme of British Swimming brought us the excellent news that Nick Sellwood, who is a member of the British Swimming Coaches Association and listed as one of the Olympic Coaches here, will be the interim coach at the LAC training pool the following week.

This program is getting better all the time and as I have heard this afternoon a new website will be open from tomorrow, Monday 4th. September 2017, through the NUEL swimming club website here. Apparently news just in say that a completely new website will open from tomorrow, 5th. September 2017.

However, at the time of editing this page 4/9/17, on the NUEL website, the training time-table is the old one. LAC ACS Revised timetable from 04.09.17 with training sessions starting at 17:00 on most days.

The club’s training program will be supervised by Swim England directly and it promises to be top quality performance coaching.

I understand that Holly Richards, NUEL’s current headchoach will be in charge until a new head coach for LACACS is appointed.

Excellent progress is being made, we can continue swimming swimmers.

LAC Advanced Coaching Scheme is administered by the Newham & NUEL swimming club, but the training schedule for swimmers being members of the LAC ACS runs from the LAC only.

There are swimmers that can be members of the host clubs only, including the Newham club whose training is based on their home borough, e.g. the pools in and around Newham or whichever borough they are from. Those clubs then have allocated sessions at the Olympic pool see the LAC ACS Revised timetable from 04.09.17. Those sessions are from 19:00 in the evenings and on Saturdays.

I understand that swimmers also can be members of a local club, and be part-time members of the LAC ACS, but that depends whether the club coach allows this part-time membership. I think a pro-rata payment for the swimming sessions is available on request.

Please contact your club’s coach if you are interested in this.

And I huff and I puff …..

and I blow your house down. The LACPP Facebook page has disappeared. I liked it, it was very well run and had many previous moments embedded in lovely pictures.

That is the nature of the Internet, it is a series of electronic commands that are placed on web servers and they can be turned off at any moment. It’s like a house of cards.

The LACPP website currently still exists. Tim Berners-Lee, the founder of the Internet once criticized it that websites get taken down at the spur of the moment, when they hold important markers and history. The first website was launched in 1990.  I started my first website in 1999; this also doesn’t exist anymore, it consisted of thousands of pages.

The best thing to do, when you are impressed by pics on the internet, save them straightaway or they might be gone the next time you look.

Running websites takes a lot of time and money. But Facebook actually allows content to stand as long as Facebook exists. Even though the LACPP ceases to exist, the Facebook page could remain with a note that the club no longer runs and that it is being replaced by a new one. But, as it goes, such Facebook groups, when they are commercial, somebody has to be responsible for maintaining them and that usually also is associated with cost.

The LACPP was written about in the Swimming Times and surely has impressed upon many people, not the least the swimmers and their families and of course the coaches that worked there.

Most images that were posted by LACPP can still be found online when using a search. I saved a few LACPP Facebook pictures but the other ones do not appear to have been kept at all by Facebook.

I think that the LAC itself is the most important historical marker of the club. People always remember history from the buildings.

For us swimmers, if we bought one, we still have the kit and that should have historical value rollapaluzaand a lot of sentimental value too.  All the swimmers that won medals at the one and only LACPP hosted age group on 13 October 2016 will have precious memories too.

Madison loves her LACPP kit and even wore it when entering a cycling competition.

I suppose when the new club is going to start, it will come with a new kit. The first meeting of the new club will be on 3rd September 2017. I almost forgot about that, I am such an Internet junkie, that unless it’s in e-mail or on the web, I don’t seem to realise.

The Internet is very important and good for sport, sports persons everywhere get inspiration from seeing others across the globe achieve and they want to do better.




All things new

I am a great supporter of local clubs and therefore trying to re-join Bethnal Green Sharks, where Madison was a member for 6 1/2 years and us being residents in Bethnal Green since 39 years, seemed logical. We still have many friends swimming there.

Yet we were not welcome with ‘open arms‘. Re-joining there has been made too difficult and unpleasant.

Just today, and by total accident, I found this invite from Swim England in my spam inbox, inviting Madison to join the new club, that is going to succeed the LACPP, which will not be run by the UEL but supposedly independent.

A meeting will be held at LAC in September.

I think that is very exciting, not only being member in the original LACPP but now in a newly configured club that shall train at the LAC.

I had a feeling that those medals that were given out at the first and only LACPP, Level 3, hosted meet at the LAC last year are going to have collector’s value.