swimmers eat cake too

WP_20150618_17_53_52_ProI shall bake a celebration cake as soon as the new LAC swimming club gets announced. I only just realised that we are going to get a new club, new name, new kit.

The finalization should be done very soon. Stay tuned and get in touch with LACPP, which will still exist till the end of the month if you are interested in joining the new club. Though I must admit nobody has asked me to beat the drum for it, but I still want to.

The new club should be operational from September. It shall train at the LAC.

sourdough sooooo much energy

I am just one of those somewhat overweight, not very fit swimming parents. The LAC currently runs a drive to get parents into fitness; very good effort, I must say. But for that, I just don’t have the confidence just yet.

I was getting ready for another day of dieting with cabbage soup, when one of my flat mates left a loaf of sourdough bread on the kitchen counter for sharing. I looked at it and tried to sustain the temptation; but then the appetite overcame me.

Thorpe-3I just left all my energy the day before at Thorpe Park trodding around that venue all day.

I just kept on eating that sourdough bread, and had slice after slice. At the end of the day, I wasn’t even able to eat my greek yoghurt with blueberries. I left that for today’s breakfast.

But today, I was so full of energy. I stomped around the roads, with a spring in my step.

I come to believe that dieting on salads and cabbage does not give me any energy at all. I just sit around all day and hope to lose weight. To get the energy to do exercise I need to eat energy giving foods. It’s always a careful balancing act, how much to eat, how much to exercise, especially if the body has some problems that result in muscle cramping or joint problems.

I think we need to do what we can but the young swimmers just seem to have endless energy anyhow.

Image source: Bewithing Kitchen

New Beginnings

Local is Best, as it is near and plentiful. We reside almost next to York Hall and have Mile End Leisure Centre a short bus ride away. But during the last season Madison trained with London Aquatic Performance at the LAC solely. The schedule was very harsh. To show you Madison’s time-table last year:

Monday    :   07:35 – 15:05 school;     17:00 – 19:00 swim*or 19:00-20:30 Guides

Tuesday   :   06:00 – 07:30 swim*, 07:35-15:05 school; 18:30-20:30 swim*

Wednesday: 06:00-07:30 swim*, 07:35-15:05 school; 17:00-18:30 swim*

Thursday :   07:35 – 15:05 school; 17:00-19:00 swim*

Friday     : 08:35 – 15:05 school; 17:15-17:45 piano lessons

Saturday : 08:30 – 11:00 swim* or competition all day

Sunday   : church or competition all day

*  All swimming took place in London Aquatics Centre, all schooling in Shadwell.

This was an extremely tight schedule and because we had to take the few sessions that were available at the LACPP, Madison had hardly any rest during the previous year. It was very hard to fit in homework during the week and eating had to be done during travelling to and from venues, especially from school to swimming and back home. Because the early morning swim was straight after an evening session, that meant straight to bed when arriving home to get ready for an early start.

For a 13-year-old with GCSE exams coming up, this schedule is not manageable over a prolonged period of time. Teenagers need more sleep than older swimmers and that takes away a lot of time from doing stuff in the evenings.

As it is quite apparent to most who visit the swim club websites, the LACPP website has not been updated for quite a while, also the Facebook page is unchanged since a few months. People know about the stoppage of the senior performance program there.

The club is on summer shut-down for the whole of August and the remaining club swimmers were not given any competition schedule for the Autumn. At least Madison was not given any competition schedule.

We had such great improvements during the last year, that I think a whole month without training and then no competitions to prepare for the up-coming County and Regional competitions can’t be good.

So I needed to make a quick decision and approached our former club, the Bethnal Green Sharks for membership. They are local, easy to reach, there is hardly any travel time to get there. That all saves previous minutes to do course work or rest and eat.

Sharks also have competitions planned from September and Madison can slowly lead up her performance improvement to January 2018, when the County competitions start.

LACPP started off as support club for local elite swimmers and I think for Madison it is best to recommence part-time swimming with them in the autumn because of the time-schedule concerns I have to do with schooling.

Sharks train in the evenings almost every day and on Saturday and Sundays, there is a great variety of sessions to choose from whilst at LACPP the sessions available had been pressed into 5 days with 2 sessions on 2 days. There is no land-training and only 20 mins pre-pool available.

Currently we have no idea what the schedule is going to be at LACPP in the autumn and the lack of planning for us is quite difficult to manage. That’s why we chose to return to our local club as main club with the LACPP as support club. Of course the LAC facilities and the quality of training are superb.

Other successful swimmers have the LACPP as support club like Angharad Evans for example who won Gold at the British summer championships in her age-group. Her home club is West Sussex; I state this only to show that a local club is probably a better option for us too. Though at the moment Madison can only dream of the British Championships.

The flowers you see are a charming by-product of walking to the LAC via the scenic walkways; that is one big plus of going there. But the local happiness and umpf of the local club can only be found here.

 

Swimmers swim

Just had a very recent conversation with an ‘educator’ who asked Madison whether she hasn’t heard certain information as it is all over the TV.

Unfortunately many people do not understand that there are no TV’s at the bottom of a pool and that swimmers do not read the papers whilst they swim either. They do not understand that swimmers spend extensive hours either swimming, land-training or even travelling to and from swimming training. Swimmers often train even before school starts. Often there are competitions when other people go away for the weekend, e.g. Easter and Halloween for example.

Swimmers literally spend all their time either in school or at the pool. What little time is in between is used for home-work. Sometimes swimmers even need to eat on the go, whilst on the way to a training session. Often it is straight to bed to be ready for the next day’s morning session. There is little time to watch TV at home.

There is no time to do get involved in a lot of other things, have sleep-overs, spend the evening with peers from school.

In Madison’s case we manage to spend time with the Girl Guides 2-3 times per month and go camping a few times per year to break up the monotony.

Definitely I would say that swimming kids are less street-wise than their peers who spend more time freely mixing with other children. Therefore I think swimmers are more susceptible to social dangers. Especially in larger schools, where there is less personal knowledge of individuals, teachers and parents are less connected and kids are more likely to be less monitored.

I always thought that swimming keeps kids out of trouble but it can have an undesired effect in that swimming children have less time to choose social contacts and can get approached by others in schools who are not exactly the best friends to have. Swimming children often do not want confrontation and just want to get on with their routines.

It is therefore very important that swimmers’ parents carefully choose the school their swimmer attends and put it to the school to they need to be aware that their swimmer is not street-wise and not used to the usual street knowledge.

A way with words

Encouraging words, friendly gestures, smiles and favourite treats are often more effective than harsh shouting and commanding orders.

A helping of favourite fruit, nicely hand-cooked breakfast on a lovely plate brings a lot of cheer and can make the day.

I can shout at my child to get ready for school or say with a broad smile, that it is the start of a new day with many exciting things to learn and the way out of bed is much quicker and with a lot of expectation and wanting to participate in the day.

Sporting endeavours need a lot of support and patience and should always be encouraged with gentle and understanding encouragement rather than harsh and/or loud words that can bring a person over the edge and proof the needle that broke the camels back.

These are the things that pop into my head when I think about the bullying scandal in British Swimming.

Hoping for a reprieve on parking costs at the LAC

Whilst I am very much in favour to put in any pollution cutting measures possible, and I think making anything to do with driving cars will help that idea, at the same time I need to consider what is actually needed – currently – to enable people to function.

Ever since man invented the wheel, human society has developed more and more into a commuting mass of travellers.

People commute to work, commute to visit relatives, commute to do business, a lot of transport takes place to deliver goods and of course there is space travel.

Space travel interests me the least as there are definitely no swimming pools in space or on other planets.

Whilst I reside in close vicinity of the LAC and have easy local transport by bus and rail to the venue and have lots of time, as I am retired, I know many people who have to juggle work and kids’ sport, which is quite difficult.

For a start, swimmers need lots of equipment. My child cannot carry that equipment around with her all day, there are no lockers in her school. Whilst we do have a locker at the LAC, there is still a fresh towel and food needed. On land-training days, another lot of equipment needs to be taken.

image
The baggage we bring on a busy day.

Especially as school kids often need to be taken straight from school to swimming, they require to take in nourishment in good time prior to the swim. Working parents allow their kids to eat in the car, we have to do it on the train.

Working parents tend to work anywhere in London or even outside of it, they have to dash after work to collect the child from school, allow it some time to eat in the car, then travel to the LAC and bring the training equipment with them. Not even working parents can carry stuff around at work with them; often lockers that employers provide are quite small. Often work places are not near public transport that swiftly delivers parents near the place of their child’s school either.

So which ever way I look at it, I have to support free parking for working swimming club parents at the LAC because there is an infra-structure in place, that makes people commute to work and commute to sport and because people no longer work where they live and kids go to school and sport outside of their immediate living area, we need to travel.

We cannot now just quickly change the way society works and must allow parents to park their cars, because around the LAC area, there are no free parking spaces to be found. Of course around other pools, in less expensive areas, there are plenty of free parking spaces in roads or even near the venue, but the LAC area is very expensive and each inch of the land is valuable.

Perhaps the LAC can raise money by appealing to the government to give them some funding because those privately funded schemes do not always work because the common, working people who have to fund them eventually run out of money.

Parents already pay a lot of money for the sport and there is a tipping point for everyone. A recent initiative saw parents appeal directly to the LAC management.

Everyone is on edge about the result of that enquiry. The Newham Recorded also commented on the issue.

But obviously if the Lac DECIDES to keep those parking costs for all then the LACPP swimming club for younger members will stay affordable only for either very rich parents or for those lucky enough to live in close vicinity of the venue. This would be discriminating against other parents who cannot afford it any longer like police officer Dave Wardell, who will have to change club for his daughters, as the BBC reports.

The government was so proud to have produced an ‘affordable’ Olympic venue that is now successfully used in the aftermath of the 2012 Olympics yet, for many parents with children, the venue is still not a local neighbourhood, especially not for those with competitive swimmers who have trained for years already at other clubs to get fast enough to join the high-end competitive club LACPP.

Perhaps in the future younger local swimmers grow up in the local club but that is perhaps a decade down the line.

Happy and successfull 2017

  • stay positive
  • be punctual
  • attend as many sessions as possible.
  • don’t become a dictator. (1)
  • try for new Personal Best times. (2)
  • do not ignore your GCSE exams/school work (3)
  • use good nourishment routines.(4)
  • remember committment gets you further.
  • reduce empty times, keep busy. (5)
  • complete all tasks as set by your coach.

(1) I have heard that

  • some swimmers will only swim if their parents buy them certain costumes and/or goggles in certain colours. Make swimming your most important task not the colour of your costume.
  • some swimmers only want to swim if another specific person also swims. Remember you swim because it is your favourite sport.

(2) The older you get the harder is it to get new PBs. Perhaps extra land training and gym workouts or other types of muscle training will help.

(3) Use your time wisely and do homework between school and swimming and do not stay up too late to complete home work. Get at least 7 hours sleep per night.

(4) Eat at least 1 1/2 hours prior to swim practise with plenty of fluid. After practise have nourishing drinks and replenishing snacks/meals.

(5) if you sit and watch TV/films, try and exercise by using a hand weight.

Essential nutrition

A child is only as energetic and enthusiastic as it feels fit. As far as nourishment can help there are a few essentials a parent has to know.

Please refer to my Nutrition page for further tips or look up the basic information links below:

The NHS publishes calorie guidelines for children and teens, but, a child that swims more than 1 hour sessions, requires more calories than others. I add more calories to the daily intake if swimming sessions exceed 2 hours per day and sometimes we train twice per day.

The Canadian Paediatric Association publishes tables for sports active youngsters.

As a general rule, your swimmer is most likely to need more food than the parent.

It is not necessary to give your swimmer energy bars, normal food will do.

Though nowadays on poolside, during competitions, organisers do not allow food but energy gels are permitted. I suppose it makes sense to avoid food waste getting into the pool.