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?

Full program for London Open 2018

Like looking at the program and listings of swimmers prior to the events, that gives me time to adjust and prepare mentally and physically.

If I know I’m in a later heat, I can calculate the time it gives me to get ready for the race. Knowing the time between warm-up and marching in is a valuable tool. Knowledge is always good.

This weekend is going to be very interesting with international swimmers and the good old friends from local meets.

Great it is at the LAC, loving it. I’m lucky, having 1 race per session. I’ll be able to manifest my long-course times. Very happy that I’ve been accepted for the 50 free.

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.

On the fast trail

cptreeThe only thing Madison has in common with Michael Phelps is the fact that she is playing catch up. I seem to remember Michael saying that in his early career, he always played catch-up to the fast swimmers.

These days we are wearing his goggles.

One perk of going to swimming competitions is the fantastic landscape, that we can enjoy regularly. Crystal Palace is set in wonderful mature trees. However the performance is steadily going down-hill this time.

Madison managed to set a new long-course PB in the 50 back but both the 100 back and 200 back were slower than previously achieved times.

We’ll see whether an improvement can be achieved next weekend at the London Swimming Open Summer Champs at the London Aquatics Centre, when Madison will be swimming in four events.

When going to Regionals is a new experience for a swimmer, I suppose the routine and the priming of getting the fitness and results at the right time is something that has to be programmed into the psyche of a swimmer, to peak at the correct moments. Where there is a will there is a swim.

 

sounds good

“Success of a swimmer can be represented as a pyramid;

  • the bigger the base,
  • the higher the peak.

If a swimmer can fill their base with great understanding of skills, coachability and application, they’re giving themselves the best chance of becoming all they dream of in the pool”.

JAMES KIRTON

It’s good to be busy

Since I qualified for regionals, I have not even gotten time to think. I am literally at the pool every spare minute of the day. I don’t even have time to get myself into any kind of trouble, I am too busy for that.

May is an exceptionally busy month. Well, lets say January is busy with County qualifiers, then from May onwards, it’s a mad rush. Literally each weekend in May is a competition weekend because London Regional competitions are stretched out over the whole month to accommodate all age groups and all swimming disciplines.

Since I am also a volunteer, I help sometimes at meets and also in the club. That is very enjoyable. In June come the club development and then other competitions, which I want to use to already qualify for next year’s Counties and Regionals.

It’s always good to plan ahead. I want to widen my repertoire, increase skills in my weakest stroke and get better in my strongest ones.

From September there will be the GCSE time-table and once I know that, I can plan my next season in detail as far as school is concerned but sports wise, we all wait for the County and Regional qualifying times for next year and because world records always get faster, we will need to get faster too at the bottom end of the sport to qualify for those stepping stone meets that allow us to qualify for the national competitions.

My definite goal will be to win some medals at next years County and Regionals because I won so many at the local swimming competitions but winning them at the higher level meets is tough indeed.

Why do you swim?

Just hate it when my club shuts down for the whole of the summer holidays, so I do not get 5 weeks worth of training.

Whilst I complete the consent form for the Melanie Marshall Swim Inspiration’s camp for the second time, I have one question which simply says: “Why do you swim?”

imageThis year I am attending the summer camp, (early August), last year I attended the Easter camp. Apparently Repton was an invasion point for the Vikings around 865 AD, how amazing.

The swim camp is going to be at Repton school in the wonderful Derbyshire countryside. I know I am not going to make it for the English or the British Nationals this year and so opt for some concentrated training with Grant Turner instead. Last year I gotten a lot of swim inspirations there.

So why do I swim? I suppose now I am doing it for fitness and stress relief. I think I’ll also want to be a coach later on. I am going to study sport science, triple science, maths and continue to do the intensive training. My brain works best with lots of swimming.

Hopefully next year I’ll get better still and will make the nationals.

Incidentally the polite attentiveness of both Grant Turner and Melanie Marshall is characteristic of fast and happy swimmers.

It’s going to be fun at Crystal Palace

The best part of the swimming meets is the planning and the journey and the taking part, making friends and enjoying the atmosphere.

Of course winning is nice too but it can’t always be. It is all part of growing up, forming character, getting into healthy habits and having fun.

I can almost always predict, according to the qualifying time, whether that time has been achieved on a long or short course meet and by looking at the other participants in the field, how my placing is going to be.

Hardly ever will anybody achieve a last-minute 30+ second PB because that is often the difference between the last and first place in a level 1 meet.

I could not expect to say I have to win or I am out, I say, lets take part and improve my performance and build on the experience.

As swimming is for life, having radical ideas of winning or never doing it again, are simply not acceptable. I expect to swim forever and could not say that I think not winning at a regional competition would put an end to my performance swimming career.

Smart water

Exercise increases the blood flow to the brain and the good news is that Madison achieved top marks in both her higher mathematics and history yearly assessment. Super cool. As I have read that a decrease in exercise will also reduce the blood flow to the brain and with it the stimuli I won’t be reducing Madison’s swimming schedule anytime soon.

As swimming can even repair damaged brain tissue in older people, it must have wonderful effects on young brains too.

I have heard from many parents who have kids in the GCSE-range-age, that they reduce swimming to 3 times per week but we won’t be doing this.

Madison spends literally most of her free time in the pool or volunteering or attending swimming meets and that has no detrimental effect on her school work at all.

Finding confidence

The fear of coming last gets worst the bigger the winning ceremonies are. Especially when there is medal or point counts, if you are not in the club with the most points or medals, it is very hard not to feel inferior.

Yet when it comes to results, really only the records are the ones that get the most publications. All world records get permanently published and all major competition wins.

But looking at the journey of a swimmer, there are many competitions and they do – at any stage of age, from 10 years upwards – measure success by the most and the best at each age. .

Nobody can stop growing and goes through the ages and goes through all the age-group competitions, yet winning at all stages of age groups is literally impossible.

Some clubs do better with the younger swimmers and some do better with the older swimmers.

But when one comes last or very near the bottom of the meet results it is very hard not to feel crushed and pick up the pieces and get onto the next competition with fresh confidence.

The swimmers belonging to the club with the most points or medals, they always feel best, even if an individual comes last. As long as one belongs to the club with the best overall results the feelings of loss can be easier consolidated.

But then having to come to terms with a loss if one is in a club that is at the bottom of the ratings is very difficult. I think people have to just not feel too bad about it and feel some pride in their club and continue with training there because it is important for the sport that locally there is a club that caters for swimmers.

We can’t just all run off to the biggest, most winning club. It’s just a bit like football, do you support your local club or do you support the always winning Manchester United?

At some meets my club comes on top and that is the best feeling but when it doesn’t I just feel crushed and remember the good times.