Muscular interaction

Have now decided to step down from the top performance squat because with parts of the body injured, the training level and demand on the whole body is simply too much.

Training exercises affect the whole body and if part of that body is not fully working than the result can be more pain and injury.

A shoulder operation may involve having to wear a plaster cast on the shoulder for 2 – 3 months and that will effectively squash any hope of being in the pool.

We will hear next week what the time-table for the treatment is going to be.

It’s always good to have other things to do. The GCSE and schooling are always there, it is possible to do gym work and land work and there is always the possibility to enter a career of coaching to pass on that enthusiasm and skills.

Stay positive, look forward, never give up.

grateful for what?

I am quite upset that some voices asking for remuneration for swimming are getting louder. I have also heard people complaining of getting exploited for being officials.

Lets just start at the beginning.

First of all we are not in China, in China, children get selected by the state and get forced into some sports in state sponsored schools. For them sports become a professional path, which is pre-determined by the state and the state benefits from the athlete. I do not know how they get rewarded in China.

Here in the UK, we do have a different system and I really do not want that Chinese system, even though some very prominent swimmers now want to force a professionalisation of the sport of swimming. But to make children into professionals they would have to start very young and be forced into the sport whether they want it or not.

Now I thank our democracy that we do have a choice.

Why do people swim? Mostly people start as children because parents decide it would be a good hobby for the child/ren.

Kids love the sport and go to training, get better and faster. It suits the family, the kids are happy, they are off the street and engaged in a healthy sport.

Now, contrary to China, here in the UK, we have to finance our sport ourselves. Yes, a whole industry has developed around it but that is in reaction to demand, because swimmers need equipment, they need pools, they need coaches.

Most of the finance for the sport comes from parents who pay

  • monthly squad membership, ‘
  • yearly club membership
  • equipment like costumes and training aids
  • competition costs
  • travel costs

Parents want the kids to swim and the kids want to swim and the finance of it all is borne by the parents. Parents even become officials so all swimmers have the chance to swim within the same rules and get a level playing field.

Now those who ask to get paid, I want them to ask themselves, why they are in the sport and if they are in the right sport.

Especially those who already get lots of sponsorship (the swimmers) should just shut up and swim or leave the sport, if they don’t like it and choose one that pays a lot, like boxing or tennis for example.

There are only very few swimmers who do not want to do anything else but swim. For those who have both feet on the ground and whose brain still functions (despite all the swimming), they do know that swimming will always only be a secondary activity besides having a day-job.

But some who never even had a day-job and only ever swam, they probably find it hard to accept reality.

I am really fed up with swimmers and officials alike who think the world owes them a special thanks; we are all in it because we like it and that is how we want to spend our time, if we wouldn’t like it we would be doing something else. Officials make their own choices, go to meets, where they want to help and go there as individuals with a license from British Swimming. Officials do not need to be chaperoned all the time, like they probably do it in countries where people generally have less choices.

No official is ever forced to officiate, they can all walk out and bring a competition to a halt, if they prefer. But most do it first because their own children swim and secondly some keep on doing it after their kids stopped because they like the sport.

People who are chosen to represent their country do get funding to cover living expenses and officials also get costs paid for helping but that is just fair.

For swimmers who literally just spend the whole day in the pool or the gym perhaps British Swimming could put those, at least once a week, into some kind of work placement or give them counselling on ‘life after swimming’ so that the swimmers do not suffer from delusions or mental problems.

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.

 

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.

official
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.

swimthames2

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.

swimthames3
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.

rickswimming
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.