Everything to swim for

Suddenly, life’s become extremly exciting. Hackney Acquatics is a dream come true for us. There is a

  • great social life with Christmas parties and team meals
  • superb competitions
  • an even better varied training program
  • a swim camp in sunny Spain.

Madison is working hard to manifest her qualifying times for a level 1 meet in Derby in January, that is pre-County and will be held in the national pool in Sheffield.

 

Adam Peaty MBE

Adam’s receiving his MBE is probably one of the most shared and liked images on Twitter and across all swimming publication platforms.

peaty-mbe-medal

Because Adam is one of the cleanest athletes and that is what makes him so likeable.

The guy never moanes. He is seen working out, trying new moves, emphasizing training methods are the most important tool of a swimmer; so Adam is probably the most important influence on Madison today.

Madison met Adam briefly during her stay at Mel Marshall’s Easter swim camp; Adam held a lecture to camp attendants this year 2017. There will be another camp next Easter.

Even as a parent I can learn a lot from this swimmer because he proves that only hard training and concentrating on the pool can make a swimmer; I just used to moan at the coach that Madison didn’t get promoted quick enough when she was younger.

Moaning at coaches doesn’t make any swimmer faster, it just makes working together that little bit harder. I am now not getting involved any longer apart from bringing her to training and competitions. Trying to help out will make swimming competitions easier for everyone and is actually constructive as it provides a great platform for all who are keen to compete. Parents try getting onto officials courses that keeps you busy rather than wait around a pool for 2 days.

I have learned that parents really are most important as helpers and supporters rather than wanting to be critical friends.

And swimming is so rewarding. Because swimmers get fully occupied in the club activities parents can easily calculate their costs of the training and club membership because costs are easily predictable and spending is relatively steady.

Kids spend most of their spare time with the club and that makes swimming as a sport also a life-style and life-long good habit. Once a swimmer always a swimmer.

Even though I hear it that people complain that the cost of the swimming club is too high, in my experience the cost is easier to handle than having other impulse spending that usually happens when there is no proper plan in place to do things with the children after school and in holidays. Swimming club costs are fixed costs that can be calculated ahead for the season and there are few surprises that could break the bank. Even away swimming competitions can double up as family break away.

For Adam Peaty investing all his time in swimming worked out superbly and I suppose the sport is self-regulating because if the swimmer feels the success and that stimulates the swimmer to keep on swimming then that is a career path worth taking. Once swimmers get really good they get offered sponsorship and podium funding and I suppose commercial opportunities follow.

For others they fade out of the performance competition side of the sport and rather concentrate on education or work but the habit of going swimming will normally stay with all who once engaged with the sport.

If your child wants to swim and you think you want to support it, try and find a club for them.

 

onward forward

I have already had to quit the LAC ACS scheme because their training schedule has been altered in such a way, from what was originally agreed, that it is no longer suitable for Madison’s needs.

It is up to each club to produce a training package, that they can manage and afford and think it is most effective, but all training packages have time-restraints and travel needs. So unfortunately LAC ACS is no longer suitable for us.

I shall miss those wonderful shopping opportunities nearby, e.g. popping into Waitrose or John Lewis whilst Madison is swimming. Also it is very sad to say good-bye to a very well cleaned pool environment.

I believe we have found a club, which is not only the most improved but also has, in my opinion, the best training package in the area.

Luckily here in London we have quite a few clubs to choose from but for me it is always important

  • what the training times are
  • how easy I can travel there
  • what training package there is
  • COST.

I think that the LAC training is quite expensive for the actual training offered, I am very sorry to say that.

But because we have already signed up for competitions, we’ll need to wait a while before we can formally join another club and compete in their name.

I have found that once a swimmer becomes a swimming teenager, it becomes increasingly difficult to find quality training and a club that suits with timing especially.

It’s not a club after all

The LAC advanced coaching scheme lacks just one ingredient and that is being a club. In the classic sense clubs have club championships, club discos, club records and are run by local volunteers.

Technically the coaching is superb but most swimmers still have their local club as main club. We can no longer compete for the LAC ACS, we need to compete for a second club that we also register with.

So last year was pretty special is was the first and only year that the then LACPP held competitions and brought out a club kit. Now any swimmer that is only registered with the LAC has to compete for Newham.

I wrote about it before that I thought the Newham & UEL club service is excellent, there are no qualms about this at all.

But, as we live right next to Bethnal Green Sharks training ground and locals are used to Madison winning medals for the local school and the local club, we want to try and get back into Sharks as our main club. It’s where we live, where we compete.

Need a pool with a piano

It is very important to have a muse, all that constant talk of hard sport is not what I like too much. Performance must come easily and without stress.

Madison has now passed another piano exam and because she only has 1 lesson per week, makes slow progress and does a grade each year.

We used to see her piano teacher and joke that we are going to York Hall to see if they built an under-water piano yet.

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.

The calm waters of Fullwell Cross

with bright reflections of the glorious sunshine on the Saturday midday break were the calm before the storm; when swimmers set out to get those last-chance regional qualifying times. See full results LBRSC-17-Last-Chance-Regional-Qualifier-Results.

Despite the heavy cough last weekend Madison smashed her Personal Best times by quite a margin.

  • 20 seconds off the 400 freestyle
  • 2 seconds off the 50 back
  • 5 seconds off the 100 back
  • 3 seconds off the 200 back
  • 4 seconds off the 50 breast

and winning

redbridge-2017-madison

1 Gold (50back), 2 silvers (100 back, 50 fly), 1 bronze (200 back) and some place medals in an excellent field of swimmers. But unfortunately Madison is just a fraction outside of the regional qualifying times but edges nearer and nearer to them each year and in more strokes than one. That sounds promising. I think there will be a breakthrough on the regional times next year.

Just trying to find out at what stage other swimmers reached their regional status, whether they were all early or some later.

One has to measure progress in manageable steps and what is so very pleasing about this spring’s Redbridge result is the fact that

  • Madison won 4 top 3 finishes in an age 12-13 group, when she is not even 13 yet.
  • the 50 back gold won straight after the 400 free, which also produced a record 20 sec. improvement.

The friendships were renewed by swimmers across the club scene with many moments of happiness around the pool.

A weekend of camping

This weekend Madison put away her swimming costume and cap and went camping on dry land, to do some zip wiring, trampolining at Chigwill Row Girl Guiding camp site.

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Chigwell Row campside at Lambourne Road, Chigwell.

This is an invaluable resource to have for London’s young people who often spend their first weekend away from home with their sleeping bags.

There are log cabins and actual tent camping opportunities for young people and their guide or scouts leaders.

 

A cuddly 2018

Since Madison’s team mate Aimee Wilmott is the offical Commonwealth Games Team England Ambassador. The official Mascot is called Borobi and here is a pic, isn’t he adorable?

2018-common

Madison can show this pic to her school friends, to see how much fun her new club is. They are all at the TGI Fridays for a club dinner tonight. Apparently over 50 members.And as the 2018 Commonwealth Games are at the Gold Coast, who doesn’t want to be a swimmer? Borobi the official Gold Coast 2018 mascot. I reckon all the medal winners wi’ll get a mini version.

Holocaust Memorial Day

synagogue-2017
East London Central Synagogue speakers (Rev Alan Green not on photo)

Madison and I attended the 2017 Holocaust Memorial Day at the East London Central Synagogue, London Nelson Street. The theme was ‘Trauma and coming to terms with the past’.

I think young people need to understand the feelings and sentiments of the people in their community and express sympathy with their grief. We attended yesterday with a contingent of German worshippers from the German Catholic Church in Adler Street, St. Boniface.

Distinguished speakers at the event included Reverend Alan Green, for whom I briefly acted as Parish Secretary, until the duty of a swimming parent tore me away from this post; and Father Christian Dieckmann who was described as a great friend by Leon Silver.

It was a very moving ceremony and as unfortunate the cause for it was, it hopefully grew Madison’s character and spiritual maturity.

Swimmers do not just exist in pools, they live with the community around them and travel to foreign lands for competition and I think it is very important to create social harmony around our sports people.

The speaker from Tower Hamlets Council, Cllr Sirajul Islam, reminded me why the poem by Pastor Niemoller “First They Came“, which was also read by Barry Davis, that we really all have to speak up for each other and give support.

Feeling secure and happy is very important to sports men and women and social cohesion plays a great part in this.

Madison’s school, Bishop Challoner Federation school is also a Holocaust Beacon School.