Just swim

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.

 

 

Going Nationals?

Madison qualified for various events in the Welsh Nationals 2018 but we have decided not to enter.

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 the LAC be back on the menu??

Whilst former LACPP swimmers tearfully had to pack their bags and search for new clubs, I now read that Swim England now wishes to establish up to 4 new swim centres throughout England.

I remember the conversation well when I mentioned that the LACPP dissonance was in my mind a temporary thing and that not using the LAC as national swim centre is a sin.

I reckon somebody will apply for the LAC to be re-established as one of England’s swimming centres. Application forms have been made available on the Swim England website as we speak.

This program aims to link swimming clubs and universities to help talented swimmers with the transition to performance swimming whilst continuing their university education. My best guess is that UEL might be in with a shout on this one again.

See in the picture two former members of the LACPP training program, Aimee Willmott and Jarvis Parkinson, both now swimming for the Commonwealth games. Whilst Jarvis moved to Loughborough, Aimee went to Scotland.

Back to the future guys.

 

Incredibly exciting times ahead

My move to Hackney has proven to be the most important and best decision I have made in my young life, in sporting terms.

There are the best prospects ahead and I can work with swimmers on all performance levels.

From next weekend the club attends no less than 4 different competitions. There is lots of fun at:

There is something for everyone. Of course all competition swimmers (well most) want to be selected or the Premium selection meets like the Golden Tour but it is a very good feeling to be part of a great mix.

Madison will swim at the Regional Qualifier in Basildon.

Seeing that our head coach Rick Hall has gotten all these important letters after his name like Rick Hall (First Class BA HONS Sports Coaching, Level 3 Swimming Coach), and having experienced the club environment, I now think that the continuation of the former LACPP should have been transferred to Hackney Aquatics or a committee consisting of various clubs.

Hackney Aquatics has an amazing bunch of parent volunteers who run the club in great harmony and effectively and Hackney, out of all clubs we have had the pleasure to experience, has the most robust and effective financial system.

Hackney, like most local top clubs have now also signed up for Team Unify, a move that has not been made by Newham UEL, who promised exciting changes to their website last year but nothing has happened.

Rick Hall from Hackney Aquatics is also the most qualified coach to handle top swimmers as he is actually employed by Middlesex County as County Coach.

img_1181The competitive swimming club development within the LAC is still a precarious situation, which needs to be looked at further. Geographically located within the borders of Essex, LAC no less hosts all clubs within the area, who can be located within Essex County, Middlesex County or other counties.

Having trained there for over a year, whilst LACPP was a primary British swimming development, there is a certain flair attached for us and vivid memories connected with the LAC training environment.

I think all regional swimmers who trained with LACPP still miss the Saturday Beacon program and I think Swim England should again look at the situation and discuss this further.

 

Rejections

Time was not on our side with the Beckenham International meet as Madison gotten rejected for the majority of her entries. Apparently the Beckenham rejected list is extremely long with many competitors being rejected.

All the entry times weren’t actually Madison’s fastest times but the Beckenham meet entry system doesn’t automatically up-date the latest times available for her six individual entries and so Madison gotten accepted for only 1 entry and that is the 100 backstroke. Apparently it is not her stroke with currently the highest FINA points. It is however a great privilege to be able to compete with 1 race at the meet.

What a wonderful opportunity though for many clubs to send swimmers to the London Aquatics Centre, like a mini Olympics.

Here in Britain and with Swim England there are always plenty of meets to go to.

Easter meets are very popular now and so we just find another meet and go to different meets on different days of the long Easter weekend.

There is always an opportunity to race and get new Personal Best Times.

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 CoachingĀ 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.

LAC-Advanced-Coaching-Scheme-Presentation2-3-September-2017

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.