No more excuses

Whilst I was sitting around, being a bit bored, a link from British Swimming to the ‘progressive age-group records‘ came up.

I saw, to my total amazement that Francesca Halsall actually achieved her first recorded British age-group record on this list aged 13 in the 50 free, on 7 April  2004 in 26:43. Born on 12 April 1990, this happened just 5 days before her 14. birthday.

I find this completely amazing because Fran is relatively short, she even joked about  her height in one of her recent interviews saying it would help her being a bit taller. The current Wikipedia profile list Francesca as 1.71m height.

This just puts fire into the flames of those who argue they could never win against all those tall people who turn up at age-groups.

I think Francesca should become a real trend-setter for swimmers because she achieves and swims with longevity and now aged 27 has again been nominated to the British Olympic team.

Apparently I show YouTube videos of Fran’s sprints to Madison to show her the technique; recommend this to all who want to be good at freestyle sprint.

ECASA 2017, 50m sprints

Madison was very happy to compete at this event on 4th. February 2017 at the London Aquatic Centre. As stated in the previous post, it was a tremendously well organised event that managed to allow many swimmers to compete during the day.

This competition was very important for Madison as it was an important goal setter for her future aspirations in swimming.

I am awaiting the official results but believe Madison came 30th. out of 99 swimmers in the 13 years age category in the 50 freestyle, 14th in the backstroke out of 75 swimmers  (winning her heat) and 28th in the fly out of 55 participants. Madison achieved Personal Best times in all her swims since entering competitions as LACPP swimmer.

I am adding to this as the results get published.

We are extremely pleased that the entry times were suitable to catch brilliant level 3 swimmers like Madison and elevate them into this category 1 environment. It has opened our eyes by experiencing how fast others in her age-category are and how much faster Madison has to swim to compete at the top ten level.

I am now no longer disheartened, as I was after the 800 freestyle 2 weeks ago, but gotten fresh inspirations from today.

Seeing Mark Foster at towards the end of the day, make me feel that we are in the right place to achieve more.


The ASA website has this wonderful tool, that allows swimmers to compare themselves to others within a chosen region. Also one can ascertain the ranking within the last 12 months or all time for various nationalities.

It’s a little bit hard sometimes to see one doesn’t come within the top 10 on a search; Today Madison ranks joint 16th on the 50 meter freestyle in Essex County. Tomorrow comes the big test, swimmers from 29 clubs will try to get into the top-ten, to make the finals. They swim in age-groups and anybody is aged as they would be on 31st. December 2017, even if they are born in January.

Last year Madison was ranked 20th in the same category, she has improved 4 places since joining LACPP.

I am taking some solace from stories I heard that Adam Peaty ranked 38? when he was younger and that Michael Phelps always was in the B-squad as a youngsters and tried his best to catch up.

I suppose in swimming success comes with endurance and longevity; swimmers train for years each day of the week, sometimes twice per day with gym training in between to be at the peak performance in a competition.

Swimming skills build over time, hang in there and train hard. A personal best is always good.

800 freestyle

I suppose you need to like a stroke and the distance you swim to be successful with it. Whilst competitive swimmers churn through amazing amounts of mileage in training, the 800 free competition was always some kind of red cloak for Madison.

Only after years of persuasion it was finally attempted this year, a county time achieved but only 19th in the 13 year old category with 11:14:65.

In this year’s Essex county results the 13-year young category saw the second fastest age-group result with 9:28:19 by Sophie Freeman and in the 15 year olds Emily Milton got 9:24:0. All other winners in younger and older age-groups were slower than this.

The fastest 18-year old was 9:36:40. The fastest 12-year old was 10:14:07.

Congratulations to all those brilliant swimmers. See all 800 results essex-17-800

Fastest age-groups:

  1. 15 years 9:24:40
  2. 13 years 9:28:19
  3. 18 years 9:36:40
  4. 14 years 9:39:16
  5. 17 years 9:40:61
  6. 16 years 9:40:75
  7. 12 years 10:14:07

Seeing that the regional qualifying time for a 15 year old is 9:43:4 and seeing that the swimmers in the 13/14/15 age-group already got that time, I certainly won’t allow Madison time off school again to attempt an 800 competition.

County qualifying times

They vary wildly across Britain. I give some examples:

50 Free Girls age 13

Middlesex = 32:50
Essex         = 35:20
Devon        = 34:35 (includes Plymouth Leander, Mount Kelly)
Derbys      = 37.20 (2016)
Staffs         = 32:00
Kent           = 31:00
Hamps       = 31:20
Berks          = 32:40
Yorks         = 32:80

Middlesex includes parts of West London whilst Essex spreads towards the East. Middlesex includes clubs like Barnet, Westminster & Chelsea from where a few participants in the British nationals sprung.

Out of those areas listed above Plymouth Leander (Devon) and Sheffield (Yorkshire) supply more swimmers at national level than the other counties and yet they have slower county qualifying times in the 50 freestyle for example than the faster Middlesex and Staffordshire.

I have witnessed it myself, if the county times are too fast for at least 2 swimmers per club to qualify, the local clubs loose momentum and turn into leisure swim clubs and don’t become more competitive. Clubs need to be able to connect to the competitive events.

Hence even at the Olympics they now allow the fastest swimmers from developing countries to swim in the heats, even if that time is slow compared to our standards to bridge a connection.

From what I observed, talented swimmers can be very fast aged 9/10 if they start swimming early enough but then when swimmers turn 12 upwards it becomes a matter of regular training and eventual muscle-building, which is only allowed in British gyms from age 13. I think all County Associations should put on times that allow a wide participation even if it means that they struggle to engage enough officials to cover the events.

See the lists of all teams in the 2 divisions here.

LBWF meeting 25/9/16, 4 medals but mixed feelings

Madison won 1 Gold, 1 Silver and 2 Bronze medals but did not get all PB times with those medals won.

Whilst I have mixed feelings about the statistics of the times achieved, Madison and her friends enjoyed themselves tremendously at the meet. Swimmers have great comradeship and enjoy the competitions.

Here are the facts, all medals won in age group 12 in 50 meter pool, all times stated 50 m times. See the published results here for

  1.  1 Gold 100 back 01:24:61 (previous best 01:23:21)
  2. 1 Silver 50 free 33:34 (previous best 32:27)
  3. 2 Bronze 200 free 02:46:08 (new PB) and 200 back in 03:00:41 (previous best 2:57:90)
  4. 5th place 200 free 01:16:12 (previous best 1:14:83
  5. 6th place 200 IM 03:06:64 (New PB)

It was the first meet of the season and swimmers have to warm up after the long summer break. Obviously I would love to see new PBs with all races entered and medals won.

Madison raised awareness for her new club LACPP, due to circumstances, she was the only swimmer for her new club and many swimmers enquired what LACPP is, as they never heard of it. They have heard about it now.