London Youth Games 2018

This is the first year Madison has not been invited for the London Youth Games. She always was very keen to get points for her borough which is Tower Hamlets.

Apparently other parents from Tower Hamlets in the past were concerned their children didn’t get invited though they are proven to be very fast and performance swimmers.

This year it is Madison’s turn not to get invited. Madison was in the top 3 fastest female swimmers in Tower Hamlets.

Either a lot of national ranked swimmers have moved to Tower Hamlets this year or Madison has just been forgotten.

Apparently an athlete has no way of complaining if they have been left out, it is the sole discretion of the borough coordinator, who is usually a club coach.

It is in the best interest of the borough to get the fastest swimmers into the Youth Games, that will influence the performance tables and might generate funding.

So I just wonder why Tower Hamlets leaves a very fast swimmer such as Madison out of the selection. We have not been given any reason whatsoever. We contacted the Youth Sport Foundation months ago to say that Madison is keen to take part.

Added on 07/06/2018, I have heard that some athletes get invited by post, lets wait for the postal service then, with eager anticipation. We love the youth games. I now got invited after all

No turning back

Madison has now entered two Open Water competitions this season. The London Region Open Water in Surrey Quays and the South East Region in Chichester.

The main difference between Open Water and pool swimming is the fact that there are actually no turns. You swim continuously around some buoys in circles.

There are some videos on YouTube to start your own open water journey. We won’t be swimming by ourselves. A Wikipedia article gives some more overview over the possibilities.

We will be taking part in strictly organised competitions, whereby each swimmer gets numbers written on their body and hat, so that they are always under control and cannot get lost.

Salford Quays- Swim Start 5274.JPG
By Clem Rutter, Rochester, Kent. – I, the copyright holder of this work, hereby publish it under the following license:, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

We will also be swimming in unsalted water e.g. lakes. You do not need a full body suit if the water temperature doesn’t fall below 16 degrees. However I do think that a pre-pool warmup is going to help in any case. And as it is summer, the lakes shouldn’t be too cold, they are also not very deep compared to open sea swimming.

For younger swimmers the distance should not exceed 3km or three laps of a set course around some buoys, which are arranged in a circle or square.

However, the skill is to learn to do this without relying on the regular turns pool swimmers are used to in 25m or 50m pools. That is going to be the most beneficial skills learned from this I think. Looking at swimmers’ Best Time profiles, they mostly find it easiest to get faster times in 25m pools because there are the most turns but in open water there are no turns. This helps with endurance and strengthens the body.

Did you know that all swimmers have to have their toe and finger nails trimmed, apparently that helps prevent damaging each other. In pool swimming each swimmer has their own lane but in open water swimming, there is often a scramble and short nails help prevent scratching injuries.

Alpha (Beta) ahem Bravo

As a parent helper I have now chosen to branch out into Open Water officiating. Open Water competitions take place only in the summer months, well from June onwards.

There are plenty of Open (Open) Water competitions throughout England this year.

Anybody can join any meet as long as under-18’s are supervised by a club coach or designated club official. But read the conditions on each individual event to be sure.

One can make a great weekend out of it by booking into local B&B and attending the swim. Fresh air is often guaranteed in the country based locations.

I am learning the phonetic alphabet, pronunciation of the numbers for radio communication purposes.

 

 

The full list

The final list of national qualifiers to be published on the 8. June 2018 for the national swimmers on the Swimmingorg website.

Madison did not qualify for England or British events and Hackney does not have a relay team.

The best course of action is to drive forward training and get as much strength conditioning as possible.

We need to think about qualifying for next year’s counties and regionals. With the long summer break, Madison does not want to drop down in the performance levels over that 5 weeks rest period. Madison will go to a week-long swim camp.

Some clubs offer sponsored swims, which help train for distance, there are also several 800 and 1500 meter events. Then of course there are Open water swims, which span from 2km to 5km normally. Madison’s distance would be 3km. We entered an Open Water event, details to follow.

Any type of training is good training as long as it helps the progress of the swimmer. All activities like walking, running, climbing or other sports will help to preserve and enhance conditioning.

We purely choose our events and activities according to the benefit for training progress. The more we pay and the more we want to gain from the activity.

 

touches at the end and turns

I am noticing lots of swimmers do over-dramatic touches at turns and at the finish to ensure they can show they touch with both hands. That is especially important for breaststroke and butterfly.

The touch should always be the natural conclusion of the stroke and not slow it down in any way.

A fast touch is very important.

In the breststroke a double-touch can happen above or below the water or on the water-line, as long as the hands are on the same horizontal plane and do not stack completely on top of each other and touch at the same time.

I see many swimmers touching and dramatising the simultaneous touch with both hands at the same level. I am under the impression they do that to avoid disqualification. But this slows down the swim.

Hesitation to touch or to emphasize the dramatic double touch slows down the swim and it is not in the best interest of the sport for this to happen.

I think swimmers should concentrate to perfect the stroke and touch as fast as possible and not worry too much about the swimming judge seeing the touch correctly.

If it happens that a disqualification occurs but the swimmer is certain that the double touch happened correctly, I think that the disqualification should be protested rather than slowing down the swim to get an over-emphasized clear touch.

If there are many protests the sport will have to move to instal cameras above each lane so that in case of query a judging team can monitor the camera footage to get an objective look at the swim. #swimfast #swimskilful

Other sports already introduced camera monitoring I think that swimming should invest in this technology.

Please note the picture is just to show breaststroke.

 

Backstroke turn in the medley

I want each coach to query any disqualification for the backstroke turn in the medley and ask the following:

  1. who reported the infraction
  2. did the referee accept an infraction report from a stroke judge/official on the side of the pool?
  3. was there a turn judge on each lane?

It is very important that the quality of judging gets raised because there are strokes where the judging is so difficult to do that it is really very important that the person judging the action stands directly above the lane to see what’s actually going on.

It is literally up to the referee from whom they accept infraction reports and if they accept an infraction report from an official who is not directly on the lane then the angle of vision and ability to see detail is diminished.

To improve the chances of swimmers to develop stroke techniques to the utmost efficiency, they must be judged on the technique applied as it can be seen from the nearest possible angle rather than from further away.

For example, if a swimmer comes to the end of the backstroke and changes onto the breaststroke, the swimmer must finish the backstroke as if it was the end of a backstroke race. The swimmer must touch the wall whilst on his back with part of his body above the water.

The rules also state clearly that the body can be turned by up to 89 degrees to the side for the swimmer to be on the back. Also the position of the head is not important.

Only the stroke judge on the lane can see if the swimmer touched the wall whilst still on the back especially if that touch happens below the water line.

From further away a side judge cannot see the angle clearly, cannot see where the swimmer touched the wall in relation to the position of the shoulders, if the touch happened below the water line.

Clearly it is unacceptable that swimmers do a tumble turn from the backstroke to the breaststroke because with a tumble turn they do not touch the wall whilst still on their backs but swimmers can develop incredible effective turning techniques.

That is good because the aim of the sport is to swim #swimskilful #swimfast. It is the duty of officials to assist this aim. If there is a doubt it always must be for the swimmer. Judges must be alert and judge what they actually see and not expect the swimmers to do dramatic touches just because they are easier to see. Swimmers must to fast turns to help the sport develop faster swimming.

So if now a swimmer has been disqualified by a side official who is not directly above the lane the disqualification happened in, then I think that coaches should put in a complaint on the grounds that the official could not clearly see what was going on.

I think that all referees should ask the lane turning judge for an opinion before disqualifying a swimmer – especially on the backstroke turn – to get the best picture.

Unfortunately not all officials do have radios, if they had, then it would be easy to cross reference with all officials. I think that is something I would strongly support.

Also if a turn judge has more than 1 lane to watch, then they have to concentrate on one swimmer, which gives reason to query a disqualification on a lane.

So to improve the quality of swimming and to help swimmers to swim more fast and skilful I think it would be appropriate to query disqualifications on the grounds stated above.

Please do so only strictly within the rules, do not approach individual judges, only approach the referee and ask to see the disqualification report and put in a protest only in the most polite and disciplined manner.

The disqualification report shows at the bottom who submitted the report there are boxes, which must be ticked, it can either be the

  • turn
  • stroke
  • starter
  • referee

So if in the Medley, any other than a turn stroke has submitted an infraction report on the turn from backstroke to breaststroke then I think coaches should query that infraction and subsequent disqualification.

However if the disqualification happened because the swimmer was totally submerged, then of course stroke judges are in a better position to judge that as they can see the whole body. Turn judges and time-keepers cannot keep an eye on the whole body when they have to time when the hand/arm touches the wall, they need to look at that rather than whether the whole body is submerged or not.

 

 

 

 

 

Walking on Hampstead Heath

hampstead heath entranceIt was a grey day with just clouds hanging over us, which gave the foliage this dark green deeply lustrous glint.

All trees were shrouded, as we walked on with a fine rainy mist that spread all over and stopped all view over the crowns of the trees, which surrounded the horizon.

Where we could see through the foliage, the view was barely there.

Hampstead Heath view

When we arrived at the Henry Moore sculpture within the Kenwood estate, Henry Moore’s ‘Two place reclining figure’ nestled shyly under the trees, barely noticeable in the darkness under the sky.

Hampstead Heath Henry Moore
Henry Moore, two place reclining figure at Kenwood estate in Hampstead Heath

That’s when the rain started to fall harder and we couldn’t find a rain-free bench to eat our sandwiches.

Feeling some heavy rain coming on, we went for the nearest bus stop and when we were near Finsbury Park the thunder and lightning and the rain became so bad, sitting in the bus seemed the safest option.

This thunderous rain contrasted sharply with the deeply peaceful atmosphere amongst the trees of the park.

We love the forest and hope the weather allows us further explorations of the London Park this half-term.

Powerwalking Epping Forest

I don’t think it is good to just laze about suddenly, when the body is used to regular exercise, so I suggested a leisurely walk through Epping Forest.

into Epping Forest
enter Epping Forest at Snaresbrook

We started at Snaresbrook and walked along a fairly wet path, which turned out to be muddier further in and some rain drops still fell from the leaves of the trees, when we were greeted by a pair of friendly Mallards who wanted to show us the way.

Mallards Epping Forest
pair of Mallards showing the way

We came past a wonderful meadow with lovely yellow flowers, which was rather big.

Meadow Epping Forest
A wonderful meadow opened up and showed this wonderful clearing

then leave trees paraded on both sides of the path.

Trees Epping Forest
leaves on trees, very relaxing

There was a very interesting contrast between some old and dead trees and new growth, a little ghastly.

sunshine Epping Forest
A ghostly old tree

It gotten even spookier when we arrived near the old and dark swamp.

swamp Epping Forest
The murky Swamp

The creepy, dark swamp was actually filled with black water, which I think makes you sink if you fall into it.

On the way we crossed 2 motorways and went under 1 tunnel on another one.

motorway Epping Forest
Footbridge over motorway

When walking through Epping Forest you are never far away from traffic noise, which is sometimes the only evidence of civilisation around us.

We managed to walk for 2 hours till almost near Walthamstow and then found we are walking around in circles and whilst we left Snaresbrook at 8, we arrived at South Woodford at 10:30, which is only 1 station away from Snaresbrook.

Madison walked very fast, equivalent to a 2 hour kick-session in the pool I should imagine, at least my legs felt like it when we gotten home.

London Regional Summer Champs 2018

Madison cubed the Backstroke. Meaning, Madison came tenth place 3 x in 50, 100, 200 backstroke.

Not bad indeed for a first appearance at these open championships.

Of course all swimmers want to go and swim and win but gains have to be earned through training and better skills.

Madison also finally achieved a 30 second swim for the 50 freestyle, which earned a 21st place.

In the backstroke it’s good to have gotten a 3 second PB in the 200 backstroke. The Best times as published by Swimmingresults now show more and more level 1 meets from 50 m pools.

Qualifying with a fast 25m time that was converted is not easily matched in a 50m pool. We’re trying to set manageable goals, like matching a converted 25m time with an equally fast 50m time.

At present Madison is faster at the 50m freestyle in the 50m pool than in the 25m pool. The latest times will be published within the next couple of days.

It was amazing to see swimmers we normally only see on the streaming of the British Champs. Swimming amongst those great swimmers was an absolute privilege and even being put into ones place, was a great lesson. We witnessed 50 breast swum in 29 seconds and 1500 free in 16 minutes respectively.

Blogging about the sport

Yesterday on Twitter, I read some posts about people blogging in a derogatory way about swimmers and or coaches.

That is the way of the www. There are always mindless people who want to make everything look either bad, ridiculous or simply take the mickey.

There are laws like inciting racial hatred, unlawful discrimination, criminal and terrorist incitement, which are incidences where police will intervene and blogs will have to be shut down.

But when it comes to name-calling, ridicule, bullying, things are harder to control.

It is one of the benefits of the free society that we can freely express our feelings, thoughts and it enriches our lives tremendously.

I would be very concerned if I read nothing but good things about anybody. In fact it seems that only in very repressive and fascist countries nobody is allowed to say anything negative about certain religions, political leaders or countries.

What drives swimmers is the love of the sport and the vast majority of swimmers I know have the greatest respect for their coaches, their fellow swimmers and for the sport.

People who want to progress in the sport and achieve great results will always go to training and swim at every opportunity.

I think that people wanting to learn about the sport and seek inspiration will look around and feel better about reading in-depth stories that may or may not contain some critical words but that comes across very positively and gives readers something to think about and encourages them to take part rather than put them off.

I mean you could sit on your couch all day and do nothing, but who wants to do that?