Masters records

From age 25 onwards Wikipedia lists Masters world records. The oldest age-group is 100 – 104. NO, I just found somebody who holds the world record for the age-group in 50 backstroke for ages 105-109 and that is Jaring Timmerman of Canada. Apparently he also held the world record for the preceding age-group of 100-104.

Aged 100-104 Jaring swam the 50 backstroke in 1:45:59 and aged 105-109 Jaring took 3:09:55 for the same distance.

The women’s world record for age 90-94 in 50m Freestyle is 52:09, for 50 breaststroke for the same age-group its 1:14:04.

George Corones
Swimming Australia Picture

Just to update this post on 2. March 2018, the 50 m Freestyle record for 100 – 104 year olds has just been smashed by 99 year old George Corones in Queensland Australia with 56:12.

Ideally every athlete and swimmer should try to maintain their fitness and keep the age group records with rising age.

I would be pleased if I could even make it to the pool aged 100 let alone swim 50 meters. But this is what the sport and keeping fit is all about, perform as long as you can and stay fit, set a good example to others and don’t  let yourself go.

For younger swimmers having the Olympic Games in their horizon, stay focussed on the long-term achievements and not only on performing till the Olympic games.

 

Putting a value on sporting achievement

One of my previous posts “Measuring sporting potential” has attracted considerable interest. I quite like it if people tell me their thoughts about my blog posts as it provides essential feed-back.

I think that spending care-free time is important for kids; like playing with friends, just enjoying days with family, swimming and racing with other swimmers.

Especially for younger children, care-free times are an essential part of growing up whether its playing with toys or counting ants in the garden, or whether its going to the pool and splashing about, it all helps to grow up and is very enjoyable indeed.

Yet children’s time is totally measured up by education strategies we have today. Every minute of the day gets measured and children have – by law now – have to spend a certain amount of time in education and by law now as well children have to follow an educational path until they are 18 years of age.

The freedom to drop out of education earlier has gone, the freedom to take a gap-year has also disappeared for most who cannot afford not to work or are at risk to lose all benefits if they do.

So the way young people these days spend the first 18 years of their lives is more or less strictly controlled by laws. In fact there is a value being put on this time of educational advancement. Children learn that time is money because they have to pay for university education and free education stops at age 18 with A-levels completion.

Those carefree early years disappear and in comes the harsh reality, the knowledge that time is money.

From that perspective it is, I think, totally acceptable to ensure that children get to learn that participating in a sport has value for them. Value can come in many guises:

  • Improvement to health
  • learning team work
  • becoming a professional sport star
  • feeling valued
  • positive memories

Children learn, that every minute they spend doing a sport, they cannot do anything else. So the time as they spend at it must have value for them and for their futures.

I read it on sports clubs Facebook pages that former members point out that the club time remains the best memory of their lives.

At some point paying for sporting activities can be quite expensive. Funders step in and offer assistance like GLL for instanceUK Sport or Sport England would support elite athletes for podium funding and some businesses provide extra support like free cars or the like.

I think that from a certain age parents need to communicate to their children that time is money and that sport can be a career as well as a great past time. The more time a child spends on doing a sport, the better they get, the more likely they are to get funding.

I think parents can reward their children for doing well at a sport as sports are a huge industry and even the GCSE curriculum offers sport as a qualification. Parents can reward children for doing well at their sport just as they can reward children for doing household chores.

Of course we should never entice children to do a sport for earning money but as it goes in today’s society money has to be earned and children need to learn that good performance leads to rewards.

Some parents give their children reward money for having good grades and good school reports so why not give them reward money for doing well at their sport as well?

Obviously businesses fall over themselves to use sports persons to promote their brands and naturally children soon catch onto the lucrative side of sporting activities.

Of course any reward schemes should never lead to hardship or suffering. Rewards can be hypothetical as well as real but measuring performance in monetary terms is a good lesson in evaluating performance.

For example I reward a regional qualification time with £50 but reduce the reward by £5 for missing a personal best time, that shows that making a gain but also loosing an advantage reduces an overall gain by a small amount. It is just another way of learning that there are setbacks as well as improvements. Any money actually awarded by a parent can be used for future education for example, e.g. if a child wants to study a sports related subject at university. That is only feasible if a child is very keen on sports and Madison is extremely keen.

Madison received GLL funding last year in the form of a membership that gives her free access to all GLL sports facilities for a year, that is worth a lot of money.

No one these days can afford to spend time idly or waste it as we just do not have that freedom any longer to do with our time as we please. Children are expected to be productive at all times; that might not be the best way but that is just the way it is.

 

Timing is everything

Of course in competition all that counts is time, for performance competitors in swimming that is. Since I have been lamenting since the last two posts of mine that it is not straightforward to determine swimmers’ performance potential by age, I have read this article about Ruta Meilutyte, that she had already broken 11 Lithuanian women’s’ records when she was only 15 years of age. At the age of 17 she became the first and the only swimmer in history to win all available junior and senior international swimming championships at least once. Now swims for a new elite program in the USA.

If a swimmer becomes successful so early, it is much easier to stick to the sport and continue the time-consuming training rather than if success comes later.

In Britain the exam schedules and legal requirements for pupils to attend school until age 18 often leaves parents little choice but to remove their children from swimming clubs to attend school and spend extra time studying.

But I think that it is important for youngsters who enjoy swimming a lot to allow them to continue in the sport, even if in a reduced capacity. Swimming can be important for people’s general happiness and how their brains function, especially when the love of swimming is in the DNA.

For just about any sport, training during the teenage years is the foundation for early adult sporting success but unfortunately our education system leaves pupils little choice but to surrender sport in favour of education.

I think our education should be more flexible and allow sporting activists to delay taking GCSE or A-levels at a later date.

Because those who develop slower into the sport and are not likely to continue in the face of educational pressures can develop within their own pace. Funders also tend to fund more willingly if sporting success comes early and if funding is given, then it is easier to stick to the sport but this continuation can only come in conjunction with remaining in education till the age of at least 18.

Swimmers are encouraged to attend universities with swimming clubs attached but that also requires early taking of GCSE and A-levels.

I think people should have more freedom to get educated at their own pace and be allowed to take exams later in life without losing entitlement to free education.

Why not give people education vouchers that they can exchange whenever they want. Of course a basic education is extremely important for youngsters, so that they can make informed decisions for themselves but anything further should be left for people to take at their own pace.

 

 

 

Pocket money

Recently I read a lot about how ‘sensible and responsible’ parents allocate pocket-money. That successful and well off parents often keep their children’s feet on the ground by only paying pocket-money if chores around the house are done well.

I thought about this quite seriously and came to the conclusion that it is after all a matter of time. Looking at Madison’s time-table she got barely enough time to do her home-work. Any child that is engaged in a sport at performance level spends a lot of time training.

Then being able to manage the most basic completion of home-work tasks to have enough time for training, wouldn’t allow any more time for chores around the house.

Sport and sport related activities are now a huge industry and there is always work for those committed to sport and suitable experienced and qualified to work within this field of employment.

It therefore think that it would make sense for a sporting parent to reward excellence in the sport instead of household chores.

Most importantly a child should make an informed decision whether they want to jeopardise their GCSE or A-level grades for the sport they are in. Perhaps a sporting youngster can concentrate on the sporting side of the curriculum.

Producing lower grades for lack of time must be a price worth paying for any athlete and in the case of Adam Peaty for example, who said he didn’t like school, it definitely did pay to concentrate on the swimming.

Yet the full-time training schedule Adam Peaty has is not feasible nor possible for a teenager. A young person, still in school has to juggle school and sport until such a time that it becomes possible to spend most of the time on training.

I think any young person can only develop a tendency to full-time sport with the full support of parents and supporters who encourage and are generally positive. Kids with parents who constantly concentrate on more elaborate home work, doing chores around the house, cannot turn into sporting heroes.

I think any child should have a right to want to become a sports person even in a sport that doesn’t pay huge amounts of money like tennis or football.

Aimee Willmott manages to combine university and swimming career and recently published a dissertation.

If a child is really keen on a sport and puts in 10+ hours training per week and competes in competitions regularly then why not reward them for getting target times and reduce rewards when underperformance takes place. So a child can learn that they can earn by doing well and loose when doing not so well. That is a better method to learn that excellent performance pays rather than just the medals they take home and the emotional high they get when standing on that podium.

The earning made from doing well needs to be great enough to put across the message that on a full-time basis there would be a chance to do well, but if the earning made from the sport slips into the minus because of under-performance then perhaps it is time to reduce training and concentrate more on school work.

Time has to be spend well and useful.

A win-win situation

Swimming is a sport where you cannot lose. You cannot lose because you always gain. You gain better health, better fitness, better feelings all around, better performance in school and you may win some medals.

The secret is to always swim for fun. Whether you have fun just paddling up and down the lane or swimming for performance, it’s entirely up to you.

Some swimmers enjoy competing, trying to get faster and performing at competitions and as long as that is the case, there are plenty of opportunities with the many swimming clubs we have in our local areas.

Don’t compare yourself to others because swimming is a hugely individual sport whereby many different swimmers have developed in totally different ways.

You can’t progress in this sport if you create yourself stress and try to imitate others. You always need to swim and compete because you enjoy it.

Thankfully swimming is an entirely amateur sport, that allows us to keep the fun in swimming and if we are good enough to get funding we’ll get it if not there are always reasons to enoy swimming anyway.

A busy weekend

As a parent I am now fully involved in Madison’s swimming career and as there is little chance of Madison giving up swimming in the near future, I decided to go for qualifying further along the officials path.

On Saturday 19.11.17 I officiated at the ESSA Secondary School championships, a very worthwhile chore, as several records had been broken and thanks to Nick Gillingham Academy, here is one of them. I can be seen on lane 7.

I didn’t have a swimmer at this event as Madison’s school does not have any swimmers. But I very much want to support those who bring swimming to their school communities.

On Sunday, I officiated at the Hackney Aquatics championships, with an unbelievably good atmosphere and great community spirit, an occasion where mainly younger swimmers take their first steps into competition. Madison took part and won several medals and entered the finals.

My Jack Petchey medal

Finally, yesterday, after a year of waiting, we went to celebrate the Jack Petchey award by collecting a wonderfully made medal and joined in a nicely made evening celebration with pics of all the winners and their groups. I won for the Girl Guides in my area.

jackpetchey1117

I missed the evening swim training but wanted to join in to celebrate the wonderful scheme that Jack Petchey provides for community and sports groups by awarding funding and celebrating dedication and achievement.

This program radiates a lot of positivity and inspiration to all.

Girl Guiding is my long-lasting hobby, I went to Rainbows, then Brownies and now Guides.

Helping the sport

If only those parents whose swimmers make it to the top would help with swimming duties or organising galas, club functions etc, we would have very few helpers.

The better the sport is organised the more possibilities there are for more swimmers to prosper and benefit in the sport.

I actually quite enjoy helping when my own swimmer isn’t competing, as I look at the sport as a whole and not just onto how my own swimmer performs. I need to be as impartial as possible and keep my mind on the smooth running of the meet rather than just my own swimmer.

But of course having my swimmer get into a high level meet is a special bonus. Most parents start off helping with the club, officiating because their own child swims. That is how it has to be as only volunteers run the sport events.

I have seen people demand for the employment of professional judges and referees but the sheer volume of swimming competitions would make that a very expensive option and not sustainable at all.

It’s all about facilitating options for swimmers to compete. My own swimmer just loves competitions, they are the culmination of weeks of swimming practise day after day and often twice a day.

But often as swimmers get older and do no longer need constant close supervision, I can sneak off and help out at competitions at the weekends. It is great to be able to help those succeed who have the dedication, skill and time to compete to the highest levels.

parent helpers

As a licensed swimming official I decided to officiate at the London Region Swimming Champs at the LAC, even though my swimmer didn’t qualify to compete.

Normally, whenever my swimmer doesn’t qualify we just sit at home and let time go by, but by my involvement in the meet, Madison gotten an interest in this and wants to be involved as swimmer in the future.

Parents helping at meets always helps swimmers and the sport of swimming. All our swimmers need the sport to evolve and continue to be organised and meets to happen and parents helping will enable swimmers to take part in competitions.

Not all parents can help, many have to work but if at all possible I think parents should consider helping even if their children do not swim at an occasion. Swimming is a great hobby and even ‘just’ officiating a superb fitness exercise.

Swimming for parents

I just wanted to do some free advertisement for our Better Pools. I have just signed up for the Better Swim deal and wow how this has improved.

That is definitely a new BEST in Better swim provision.

I reside in Tower Hamlets and when I started out I could only sign up for swimming within Tower Hamlets. Having fascinated by the Hackney Lido, I went there to ask how much it costs to swim and was told because I am not from Hackney and have no membership, the cost is around £12.

No, no, no was what sprung to my mind.

Later I was able to sign up for Queen Elizabeth Olympic Pool membership but that was again different from my Tower Hamlets membership.

Now finally and very welcome indeed, I gotten a Better Swim membership that opens all the doors to all Better pools for me.

It is just great to be able to have a dip into the pool whilst my child has swim practise or then being able to swim at all other times. And because we change training and competition venues quite a lot, I am now able to swim where and when I want.

That is superbly wonderful. I think it is an absolute bargain to be able to swim at any time of day and in any Better pool of my choice for £31,– per month.

We need our pools, as our kids train in them and getting fitter through swimming should be any swimming parent’s natural choice too.

Of course my swimming skills are well below those of my swimming child. Well, once, at the very beginning, I was actually faster but now, the table has firmly turned against me. I now have a job getting half-way down the pool whilst my swimmer is already on the way back.

Though I have noticed that will better since I have made use of BETTER pools. Try it for yourselves.