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.

Swim England National Summer meet 2017

Just for my own reference I post here the link to the results page, which also includes a life-stream link, so I can watch this.

Girls’ age-groups start 12-13 and boys’ 13/14. Madison is not even near any of those qualification times. I am not certain whether we want to continue going for the very elite of swimming.

I think we are going to continue swimming but more to compliment the eduation and keep active rather than strive to be part of the top-elite swimming level.

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.

 

White Currants

Swimming, especially as school sport seems to be the white currant of sport. To explain, there are black currants, red currants and white currants, we all can buy the red currants, know the black currants from jam, cheese cake and juice but the white currants are hardly known. In the school sports world, here in London, swimming is hardly known to exist.

What really is important to introduce swimming as a sport to schools and having looked at the Sport England Website, they have some very good headlines like: “Swimming – Health benefits proven“, Core market – people who already play sport are hugely valuable”, “Local delivery“.

For school sport however, here in Greater London especially, there is no funding available for schools to make it a permanent feature as a school sport. Primary schools get funding for 2 years to take primary kids to swimming once per week for 45 minutes. It is actually enshrined in British law that school must teach children to swim.

Madison, who attends secondary at Bishop Challoner Girls now gotten taken swimming for one half term, that is around 6 sessions for 1 hour each per year. Madison’s PE teachers think she is not athletic enough to be put into the set 1 for PE ‘because she is only a swimmer and that is not a school sport’. [sic]. Though her school is very supportive of her swimming club lessons, starting at 6am on some mornings.

All the swimming that Madison does with her swimming club is privately funded. Parents have to pay for club membership, for ASA membership, competitions and travel there, costumes and equipment are also dear. Parents even need to volunteer to keep the clubs running, to man competition officials. For being an official parents even have to purchase their own stop watches and whites to wear and other equipment. often at competitions it is hard to get the core amount of officials needed to run the competitions.

I think that structurally swimming is chronically under-funded.

Perhaps this has to do with the fact that especially in London schools usually do not have pools inside the school compound.

Swimming has become a private sport that has to be financed with money that people earn and is manned with swimmers whose carers/family can afford to bring them to lessons, especially when they are younger.

As already mentioned in the previous post top coaches earn a good salary that an average club cannot afford. Swimming generally gets funded by lottery money or many athlets depends on GLL funding, clubs depend on the hugely important Jack Petchey foundation.

British swimming has established two British Swim Centres in Loughborough and Bath, four top coaches are employed to train there and coach Olympic teams but London, that actually has the Olympic pool has no such scheme; we merely have a Beacon program.

The Beacon program is a huge and very important step forward to get competitive swimming established and furthered in all regions of Britain. London’s Beacon program is delivered by the LACPP at the London Aquatics Centre. With the UEL running the LACPP and top coaches’ careers being at jeopardy at present because of a funding problem, we are really on edge about the future of our swimming club.

I do understand that UEL and Swim England are currently negotiating the situation and I have no complete insight how the funding works but obviously from the £100.000 Lottery funding that Sport England gives the UEL to run LACPP over 4 years, (according to the Minister for Sport), there is a doubt that the coach, who delivers the Beacon program and excellently so, can stay in post because of a lack of funding.

Swimming is chronically underfunded. In school sports’ teachers minds, swimmers are not atheltic and the ethos of swimming seems centred around those who are already famous and made it to the top. 84900739_84900738We all love Adam Peaty. But getting there literally needs years and years of almost daily training and when at the top often training twice per day. Adam is extremely athletic.

To get swimming more widely established, schools should get funding to make swimming a school sport as it would cut the health care costs that the NHS is so worried about. So the government should fund more  swimming in schools as they would save the money on NHS costs.

Parents are already investing a large part of their salaries into the swimming sport of their children, many parents simply do not have the money at all to allow their kids to swim as a sport. Recently, through cut-backs, some local councils stopped funding their local swimming clubs and that has a huge effect on clubs. Many club coaches have to work during the day and coach in the evenings to help kids into competitive swimming, they all do their utmost.

Swimming is probably the most undangerous sport that has the most health benefits and should make Britain a healthier nation, so the Sports Ministry should invest more into it.

I also think that swimming club membership keeps children off the streets and helps reduce crime.