Basildon Easter meet

What a wonderful relaxing walk on the way to the Basildon Sporting Village, through picturesque parkland and arriving at the Sporting Village at noon.

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Madison had the privilege to swim on the Saturday 31. March 2018 and the great organisation of the meet enabled her to get some very good result. Considering it was a level 1 meet, with national swimmers in attendance, it is superb that Madison achieved a bronze medal in the 50 Butterfly and achieved top 10 status within her age group in all events swam. All event result in the 13 year old girls.

There was a

  • 5th place  for 50 backstroke with a new PB of 35:29 LC
  • 7th place for 200 freestyle with a new PB of 2:29:43 LC
  • 3rd place for 50 butterfly with a new PB of 34:88 LC (bronze medal)
  • 6th place for 100 freestyle with a new PB of 1:07:54
  • 4th place for 200 backstroke missing the PB by 2 seconds.

But considering that the 200 backstroke came shortly after the 100 freestyle with no rest in between it is not surprising that a PB wasn’t achieved. 200 backstroke is hard.

This is the first level 1 meet that Madison has won a medal. Well done.

Contention

blossomI feel a spring in my step. A lot of performance happens in the mind. All that I need to make sure of is that what I put in my body is good stuff and that my life is without hassle, that I have plenty of supportive people around me and that I feel good.

It doesn matter whether you live in a castle or in a flat, whether you have a car or take the train, whether you are rich or poorish, what matters is that you want to do it and be the best. Regular attendance at training sessions is crucial. You learn all the techniques and speed during training.

The less problems you create in your mind, the more you can focus on the swims.

The competitions then become just a relaxing weekend away with a few enjoyable swims.

 

 

In Focus

Suddenly the national qualifying window becomes meaningful. Whilst we are totally in focus on the goals, it is important to make decisions that are in sync with aims. Today we break up from school at 12:20 and a few of my school mates go to Stratford Westfield window shopping. I decide to pass on this, I know I have got my second training session of the day tonight and have a full weekend of competition ahead of me.

I use this afternoon as a welcome rest period before the storm.

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First signs of dawn on 29. March 2018 at 5:40AM in East London

Performance athletes are definitely in the minority. It just helps me a lot to see determined early morning joggers on my way to AM practise, I then know that there are others who are also focussed on fitness and training. Of course when I arrive at the pool, that is the best feeling, being amongst like-minded friends then.

I am feeling more relaxed now by making decisions that fit in with my performance goals rather than with pleasing others who have different lifestyles. It seems rather trivial to find the trip to Spain more exciting than getting national qualifying times. I suppose national athletes who swim for Britain get many great training sessions abroad anyhow.

BB

not Bed and Breakfast, not Brigit Bardot but Basildon and Beckenham.

The Basildon and Beckenham meets run concurrently in Basildon Sporting Village and the London Aquatics Centre, both are long-course meets on 31. March and 1. April 2018.

We are splitting ourselves between the two. Saturday at Basildon and Sunday at the LAC. All long-course times achieved at licensed meets are acceptable for the national competitions.

We’ll leave the 25m competitions to catch up on weaker strokes, e.g. 200 fly or 200 breast.

 

 

On the paper trail

Whilst waiting for the first train, to get to Stoke Newington for AM training at 6:45, we start to see some light in the sky night. It is a clear and crisp morning, just good to wake us up enough to want to get to our destination, the Clissold Pool.

Whilst I joined the BBC weatherwatch, I am tempted to take more weather photos to capture the moment of the day. I realise phone cameras don’t seem to be good enough to get a brilliant picture.

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Church Street in Stoke Newington at 6:25 AM

Apparently today, Hackney Aquatics has an article in the Hackney Gazette. I know the e-edition for 22. March is not online until the next day, after publication and so I trotted down Church Street, on the way to Stoke Newington Station to get a paper copy.

But there was not one shop open that sold papers at that time in the morning e.g. 6:15-6:30 AM. It is the same here in Tower Hamlets, paper shops just don’t seem to open early any longer.

Perhaps we are developing into a coffee-house culture, getting up late, going to bed late, which is entirely contrary to the life-style of a performance swimmer.

Whilst we were members at Bethnal Green Sharks we featured in many newspaper articles in the East London Advertiser as that club always submitted articles to the paper. After leaving Sharks to join London Aquatics Performance Program at the LAC, all newspaper reporting ceased because that program didn’t publish in the newspapers.

But now Hackney Aquatics will publish articles about the spoils of competition wins in the Hackney Gazette regularly. I shall make sure of it.

It’s just great to pose for a team-photo after a competition, especially if you won lots of medals. If you didn’t win any, you just think, well next time, I’ll have one as well.

At least I can add more newspaper cuttings to my personal development box in which I keep all the articles published about Madison.

 

 

Prospecting the swims

Our scene is changing, we are moving from the level 3 meets into the level 1 meets as our main focus.

This just shows that the Hackney Aquatics training is working, Madison has settled into her new club and is steaming ahead. If you can steam in a pool.

Probably after a 5k training session, some steam starts to emerge.

It is a big learning process. We need to know how the Nationals work and apparently they only accept times achieved in 50m pools. Of course that puts a major focus on taking part in 50m competitions all year round as a main source of competition times.

This learning curve reminds me of the learning we had to go through from the small pool to the big pool program. It is coupled with excitement and a new focus.

Big expectations with unrealistic dreams. You cannot dream anything realistic, a dream is always something that is in the clouds and gets into reach only by trying and trying again.

Summer champs interim rankings

There are several categories and for England Madison has gotten the time but she is not listed.

For 50 back there are swimmers listed with as slow as 34:73 for 50 back.

Madison’s time is 33:16 LC converted from a 32:55 SC. Of course the ranking system only seems to take times from the speed achieved in long-course races, where Madison’s last PB was 35:38. Perhaps British Swimming can adapt the Team Unify system that automatically converts times to suit both disciplines.

In all other events they accept converted times, of course I think Madison will up-date her long-course time achieved in long course in the next competition but I’ll also have to contact the coach about this one.

Size matters

It does make a physical difference how tall a swimmer is.

Taking a 50 m pool and assuming that a 150cm tall swimmer achieves propelling forward by half the body length and assuming that in the 3 strokes of freestyle, backstroke or butterfly a swimmer reaches the water surface after 10 m during the start it takes the 150cm tall swimmer 17.78 strokes to reach the end of the pool.

Assuming that a 180cm tall swimmers swims in a 50m pool and assuming that this taller swimmer comes up at 15m after the starting jump it takes the 180 cm tall swimmer 12.97 strokes to reach the end of the pool.

That is assuming that both swimmers have the same stroke efficiency. Hence we see that in most sprint events at the major international competitions the taller swimmers seem to dominate at the short distances.

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Katinka Hosszu

I did not include breaststroke into the calculation because there is no rule that a swimmer has to surface after 15m neither at the start or after a turn, meaning that efficient kicking during the under-water phase can propel a swimmer half-way across the pool.

Yet it is quite interesting that in disciplines like the Individual Medley, we see it time and time again that those swimmers who are most proficient at the breaststroke also win the whole race that consists of a combination of all four strokes.

the ultimate drag race

How many of the swimmers wear drag shorts Finis Ultimate Drag Suitto do 50m sprints in training? It is quite hard in the beginning. You slow yourself down by wearing extra ballast and in a normal 25 or 50 training pool, you can be assured that you get a break after a little while.

But now London Swimming is holding the annual Regional Open Water event and the FINA conditions on open water swimming demand that swimmers wear a Wetsuit that covers the knee and the shoulders if the water temperature falls below 17.9 degrees. I suppose in June, in London, open water temperatures won’t go above that.

Open water events last for around 3km or more. I think it must be harder to swim for 3km with that whole body suit rather than without it. It definitely toughens you up if you take part. Though in pool events it is now against the rule to wear a full body suit but I suppose the material of those would be very thin and paper-like and improve performance.

full-body-suitOlympians used  to wear them for a while; but the open-water suits would not be of that same effect and drag on the body to keep you from catching hypothermia.

Image from Saukvalley.com 

We can see how thin those indoor pool whole-body suits are. Open water wetsuits are at least 3 times as thick. They insulate against the cold but also create more drag through the extra weight the body has to carry.

vitruvian-man-laLeonardo Da Vinci the Vitruvian Man comes to mind when I look at Michael Phelps’ position. Equally perfect in proportion, that is what swimming does for you.

Eyeing up the Nationals

Somehow Madison made a great leap into the Regionals and now wants to get into the Nationals. There is not such a big margin. The Regionals are quite fast and it is just a matter of sheer determination to succeed. Of course by sheer determination, I mean training and more training and even more training.

But that is all so much fun. Enjoy the swims, enjoy the exercise. Think BIG.

British Swimming publishes Nationals performance lists of swimmers who are eligible. This is now the first preliminary version for this season. Up-dated rankings will be available every Wednesday, till the qualifying window closes on 28th. May 2018. This of course gives all those who take part in Regionals to get those qualifying times.

But just to clarify, of course the qualifying times can be obtained in any licensed meet.

For the 50 back for example, a time of 32:70 LC would still enable a listing. That is all within achievable reach now and we’ll surely try.

Once in Performance the Hunger for top competitions just comes automatically. It is very easy to be a performance swimmer because the vast majority of swimmers are very nice people with a lot of determination and very fair at the same time.