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.

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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.

 

Dad’s officials army

As an immigrant to Great Britain and a converted German, from German to English, I always admired the sheer grit and determination the British as a whole showed during the wars of the last century.

The best and most popular reminder for us is the series Dad’s army. Amazing what the volunteers went through to help their country. The title implies there was more sexism in the days of the series and during the war, but we need to understand that. Nowadays women and men equally can help.

Whilst I can’t totally compare World Wars with swimming wars, the fact remains that Swimmers also rely on volunteers and that this nation’s swimmers need to train up to international competitions to equal or better performers from other nations.

In that sense a lot of national pride is involved.

Yet, the amount of parents wanting to become swimming officials seems to be dwindling.

There is no alternative to use paid officials as the sport would become too expensive. There is also no way to permanently replace highly trained volunteers with quickly drafted in volunteers who have no specific training.

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An official’s clip board

 

Because if your swimmers do not get disqualified for doing the strokes wrongly, they do not learn and will not find a reason to learn the correct stroke technique, hence they are wasting a lot of their time.

I hear a lot of reasons why parents can’t do the job of time-keeper, swimming judge or referee e.g.

  1. It is too hot
    1. looking at the fact that many people book summer holidays in hotter climates than Britain it seems odd that people complain the pool area is too hot. My son went on a holiday 2 years back and the temperatures rose to 42 degrees. The temperatures around pools are usually around 30 degrees.
  2. We are on a trip that weekend
    1. Obviously it is important to set priorities and they should rather support the sport their kids are involved in.
  3. Got to work
    1. Work is probably the most used excuse but then if we all just spend time earning money instead of helping out, we won’t have any helpers and have to stop the sport altogether.
  4. Have smaller children
    1. Very reasonable excuse but there are always relatives and friends who could help out as well.

People just need to make that extra effort. People need to find the grit and determination to help their swimmers, to help the sport and to help their national swimming development.

There was a time when clubs had more money and more sponsors and clubs could actually give officials chocolates or bottles of wine as a thank you but since clubs are not that well off at the moment, we just all have to pick ourselves up and do the job anyhow because it is important that our children can continue to develop their skills.

We do not need to have wars to see what our priorities should be. Our children are always the most important assets in our life and we need to support them in what they do.

In my view the best performing clubs are the ones with the most officials in the long run.

 

 

Fabulous fun day

Today was a great fun day, unforgettable, filled with ambition and eagerness to achieve, coupled with fun.

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In the early afternoon was the 3km swim for the London Region Open Water championships at Surrey Quay and following that was another 2km sponsored swim at the London Fields Lido.

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Madison, still with her number 60 on the skin from the London Open Water Championships 2018

It was really enjoyable seeing the coaches chip in and swim for fun too.

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Rick Hall, HAC head coach on his sponsored swim, go Rick

Everybody enjoyed themselves, superb.

I shall greatly miss Coach Naomi, who always encouraged me to join Hackney Aquatics.

 

Mental health

Is a big discussion going on and one of the questions that plague young people is: “Why do adults keep on talking?” Chas and Dave’s song “You won’t stop talking, why don’t you give it a rest?” also questions constant conversation along those lines.

My simple answer to this is, adults who do not engage in sport, fitness simply spend more time talking, constantly seeking emotional security by engaging in conversations. But there are 2 types of emotional problems, the destructive and constructive type.

Yesterday’s performance of Hamlet was a very good example how badly managed mental health ends in tragedy and death for everyone involved.

Hamlet didn’t like his mother’s re-marriage to his uncle and Hamlet became quite abusive and threatening towards his family and friends.  Hamlet listened to his dead father’s ghost. He killed Ophelia’s father, then fought with Ophelia’s brother, then his mother drank the poison that was meant for Hamlet; Hamlet then forced his step-father to also drink the poison and eventually drank the rest himself, leaving the stage full of dead bodies.

My motto is always, do not succumb to bad moods, avoid any moodiness and rather spend time on thinking about positive things. However talking doesn’t work for everyone. Engaging in fitness and sport can help reducing dark and destructive or self-destructive moods.

On the other hand we all heard about Michael Phelps’s problems with mental health but in his case, the outcome was very positive. He won a lot of medals and established a happy family life for himself and even helps others by opening up about his struggles.

There are different qualities to talking and conversing, the one which is constantly being negative and talking only to see the dark and problematic side of things and on the other hand there is the struggle to succeed and fulfill a goal or ambition, which involved bettering health and performance.

But seriously don’t be a slouch and spend all your time just talking to others, take some time out and do some fitness exercises and that doesn’t leave all that time for talking but clears the mind and helps the blood flow to the brain, which makes it work better. Perhaps politicians should go for a run or swim in between sessions instead of having drinks. Many employers now make gyms and fitness facilities part of the employment environment.

 

 

 

Hamlet

Tragedies of Shakespeare are an important educational stepping stone of any English 14-year old. Fulfilling the requirements of the English Curriculum, we went to see Hamlet at the Globe theatre today. We try to see at l east 1 Shakespeare play per year and so far we saw Romeo and Juliet and now Hamlet.

We always admire those ‘professional’ swimmers who write about nothing but their training and winning medals, and I hope I’ll get to this stage eventually, but at the moment life is a mix of school and sport.

st.paulsWe went along the picturesque London city, past St. Paul’s Cathedral, over the bridge, near the Tate Modern gallery and towards the Globe theatre. Admiring the sky-line, whilst waiting for the doors to open we had a nice lunch.

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We just can’t believe how lucky we are to be living in London, a town full of opportunities and superb facilities.

We are never far from my favourite element water here in London. Just reminds me that my first open water swim will be next weekend.

Keeping the mind focussed on achievement. Hamlets was a prime example of badly managed mental health.

 

Invite to swim the Thames

Our readers are cordially invited to participate in the Community Day of Hackney Aquatics that will be held at the London Fields Lido.

From 3pm till late on Saturday 30. June 2018

Roll up, roll up and come along and swim if you want. Anyone can swim for a £5 donation. It would be great if we could altogether beat the 7.000 length required to equal the Thames.

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Hackney Community Day on 30 June 2018, at the Hackney Lido from 3pm

There will be

  • Barbeque
  • Ice cream
  • Food stalls
  • Pilates in the Park
  • Outdoor Yoga
  • Football
  • Extreme Frisbee

Hackney Aquatics want to split the proceeds of the day between the North London Hospice and the Club Access Fund. The Club Access Fund helps swimmers who are keen to swim but have problems finding the cost.

A huge thanks to all my neighbours who already generously donated for Madison to swim 5km at the Lido but she will also in the morning swim 3km at the London Open Swimming Championships* at the Surrey Quays. A mammoth undertaking for the good of the club.

All sponsors are most welcome to check with Hackney Aquatics whether their generous donations actually arrived at the club after the 30. June. If you do not meet me before and want to help but cannot come on the day please try to donate online.

*Your donation will not fund this competition but only the sponsored swim at the Lido.

Swim the Thames at London Fields

How is it possible? It is, the length of the River Thames is 346km, equalling 7000 lengths of the Hackney Lido pool. To be on 30th June 2018 from 3pm till late.

With a combined effort, people are expected to swim those 7000 lengths within 4 hours. That is such a doddle. Inexperienced swimmers can swim as little as one length of the pool. Performance swimmers do much more.

This is couched within a splendid Hackney Aquatics Community Day at the park and the Lido with

  • Swim the Thames! Sponsored Swim at London Fields Lido from 4pm.
  • barbecue, ice cream and food stalls
  • Pilates in the Park
  • Outdoor Yoga
  • Various games and activities such as football and extreme frisbee!

Of course all activities will be expertly run and are supervised.

I understand anybody can take part in the sponsored swim. There is a fundraising page on GoFundMe but I am not sure whether paying into this will also enter people for the sponsored swim. I am awaiting further details. However contributing to the founds would not do any harm to anybody. I think the aim is to help low-income families to allow their kids to swim at the club.

Summer’s coming

What a wonderful club; to be part of Hackney Aquatics feels like being part of the action, the community and an exciting club concept that does not only make people jump into a pool but has a big palette of social events to offer as well.

I am looking forward to the summer fete and barbecue and cake stalls in June. Date to be confirmed.

Till then we have a host of exciting competitions to look forward to.

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.

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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.

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.