Itching for next season

We were ecstatic yesterday to watch Kai Ogden (second from right) win a bronze in the English National Championships in Sheffield. Madison has been training with Kai since she was very small and apart from going to LACPP for a while and Kai changing to Hackney Aquatics earlier, when Madison still remained in Bethnal Green Sharks, they have spent almost their whole swimming careers within sight of each other, or within the same club.

Kai always struck as being Born to Swim, his dedication was always such an encouragement to us all.

I am pleased to say that Madison’s shoulder is now getting better, the exercises help and now she can at least stretch both her arms out again to do a proper starting jump and begin to do the arm strokes again.

It should be fine by Sunday, when we go to Melanie Marshall’s Swim inspirations camp.

But Madison is itching to join her fellow swimmers next season to make the podium on the premium events.

Even her friends who went to Welsh Nationals achieved very good placings in finals so far and Madison closely follows her long-standing training partner Kaia Cudmore on her success.

Somehow what Madison lost on training through injury before the end of the season will be made up through the mid-season swim camp. It is all working out fine but Madison really wanted to be part of the action, which is definitely going to happen next season.

We gotten our new training plan, and it provides the much-needed gym sessions, three sessions per week at the London Aquatic Centre. Most of Madison’s former friends from the LACPP, which was then taken over by Newham, have now also joined Hackney Aquatics. HAC is the club to be for us East Londoners.

Rother Valley Open Water Festival 2018

Brilliant! To all you parents, if you look for something refreshing, therapeutic and rejuvenating activity that doesn’t cost you any money and is extremely good for you, consider becoming an Open Water Swimming Official.

Rother Valley is near Sheffield but very rural. It’s like so many Open Water locations a lake or part of a managed inland water area in various locations around the country.

rotherswans
Swans near the lake where the British Open Water Championships 2018 are held

Wildlife occupy the wonderful lake, the water is very clear and the atmosphere is tranquil despite the fierce competing and swimmers racing around the 1km course as many times as they need to complete their distance. the birds are not phased in the slightest by the swimmers, I saw a group of ducks swimming through without any fear or stress.

All helpers are the friendliest people you can imagine and the team spirit and camaraderie is excellent. A thoroughly enjoyable weekend.

rotherareaEven the journey home is nice, through a wonderfully tranquil area in the middle of England.

You simply feel a totally wonderful new you after a weekend working in the great team with eager young people in the great English countryside.

 

Use your loaf

Just to mention that when Madison had the Better sponsorship, during her membership with LACPP, Madison hardly had any time to go to the gym to top up the water-based club training. Madison never needed to see the physio. One felt invincible.

better=copper
Better membership card for the GLL training support

Then, the following year, I did not apply for the Better GLL sponsorship, which brings with it, free physio treatment. I thought we do not need it, Madison was never injured to a significant degree. I thought better let other athletes have the sponsorship, those who do need to supplement their training with extra gym sessions.

Now the injury has finally arrived. No, I have not been waiting for it but it has happened.

My GP told me that coming to the NHS for advice is a waste of time because the NHS has no resources to treat sporting injuries quickly enough. Perhaps the NHS should reconsider their treatment options. NHS constantly peaches to us about healthy life-styles, yet that brings with it more sporting activities with sporting related injuries. If the NHS wants to specialise in deteriorating illnesses, which are not sport related only, they should re-name themselves.

Now I have been told that the physio in my own club charges at least £50 for a consultation. Obviously like most average people I am not made of money.

I have to find ways of solving problems without spending even more than I already do on the swimming.

We have enormous cost because we not only need to pay the club membership, we also constantly got extra costs like:

  • Travel costs – to and from training and going to competitions
  • Accommodation cost – most further away competitions require hotel stays
  • Performance costumes – can cost around £300,–
  • Training equipment – quite a lot of stuff
  • Competition entry – At the LAC can cost up to £12,– per event.

Now having even more cost, would just about break the camels back.

I do not understand, that Swim England, doesn’t make Physios available for free. Just perhaps a physio per region. Or perhaps advertise for physios who want to help the sport on a voluntary basis.

I need to turn to the Internet for advice. There is quite a lot about. There are some useful pages, which are seriously useful. Search the Internet for Swimmer’s shoulder and some good pages with advice come up for free. Obviously it only needs a terra bad and a wall to do a couple of exercised.

Our club coaches are also pretty good and allow the continuation of training, just not using the injured shoulder. Yet active Physio intervention is not available, especially in the holidays. I am hoping that the Mel Marshall camp, that also cost quite a lot of money has gotten some solutions available.

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.