I avoided the rain but not the tears

This morning it was good-bye to training mates after the AM session and as swimmers are wet already and in the shower, the tears are hard to spot.

But the good-byes were heart wrenching and emotional.

Normally local swimming clubs hardly ever change but with the LACPP and its dissolving came a lot of dramas.

Coaches left, swimmers left and new club arrangements were made.

It was kind of sad to see the LACPP signs disappear both on the Web, Facebook and in the LAC. I never thought they would actually dissolve this scheme.

At least I now know that Lisa Bates can continue to enjoy her coaching career by moving to Chelsea & Westminster swimming club, Pixie, also a former LACPP swimmer went there too.

The older national swimmers went to Loughborough, Sterling, Angharad went to a residential school with swimming as main sport.

Madison is fast but not fast enough and too young to get into a national coaching scheme.

I predicted that most fast national swimmers would leave if they dissolve the LACPP and that is what happened.

Madison joins Hackney as this is the most improved club this year and also has some very good national swimmers and it is within our reach.

Swimmers of Madison’s age, need to concentrate on their education; we are just beginning the GCSE courses. I don’t think a competitive swimmer can succeed unless they are in an excellent local club or in a residential school like Millfield.

The LAC ACS is an excellent coaching scheme, yet it is geared more towards the younger swimmers who just begin their competitive careers. I am sure they will shine in competitions.

I think it is important for swimmers to get continuity with their sport and established local clubs deliver the best results.

It’s best to turn all that sadness into new energy and look forward to new endeavours. We have plenty to do in the future and look forward to seeing swimmers at competitions in the future.

More award schemes

Madison came home with a letter stating that she has to take part, COMPULSORY, in a Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.

For a performance swimmer life centres around the pool and there is little time to do something else.

Of course 8 hours per day are already dedicated to school work, Madison managed to participate in Girl Guides also and takes piano lessons; but now to be told, she HAS TO take part in the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze award scheme, just about takes my senses to new heights.

I am just thinking, children are to take part in volunteering for the space of six months, must go on camping trips and meet weekly after school to plan those trips; that is on top of any GCSE course meetings of course.

I think this Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme is a brilliant activity for people who are not already otherwise engaged in focused sports but for people like Madison who trains daily, it is not suitable. I am negotiating with the school about this.

 

Just to reiterate

I do not want to be negative, I know everybody probably does their best. Previously we were advised not to join a club that isn’t part of the Advanced Coaching Scheme, I followed that advice but since I followed it and signed up for the club with the Advanced CoachingĀ Scheme, I have suddenly been presented with unforseen changes in the training schedule that were not agreed prior to signing up.

Previously we were supposed to get training at the LAC exclusively, if we sign up to become members at the newly created LAC ACS. We had to sign up by 15. September; as soon as I had signed up and entered competitions, up to November 2017, I was given a new training schedule that requires me to be at East Ham Leisure Centre at 5:30 AM. I reside in Bethnal Green and whilst I find it easy to be at the LAC for 6 AM, as it usually started with LACPP and LAC ACS training, the new host club Newham UEL suddenly changes the routine against all agreements that were formed previously with Swim England.

Additionally the cost of being a member in LAC ACS has sharply risen and it is not even quite clear now, whether the Beacon Program is included in the price as it was last year.

In fact the whole Beacon program has so far not been agreed with the host boroughs.

I am not blaming anybody, I suppose it is very difficult to set up a club from scratch and cost this, but I know what I need, I need a regular routine for my swimmer, my swimmer needs to be able to attend school, learn and form relationships and that is only possible with a predictable regular routine. That is what the Advanced Coaching Scheme cannot offer us at present.

I am now looking to join an already established well running local club, even if they are not members in the Advanced Coaching Scheme because we need peace of mind, we need affordable club swimming and we need a good routine that we can rely on.

I have contacted the parties involved in this and await responses. It is the weekend and hopefully something will have changed for the Better by next week.

The three B’s

I am very happy to have passed my final assessment and qualified as J1 judge. I joined as swimming club volunteer with Madison’s increased participation in swimming competitions and wanting to make myself useful and also wanting to pick up some good tips on how to swim better.

Like myself, many swimming parents are not from a competitive swimming background and as such getting through all the rules can take longer than if one has been into competitive swimming previously.

Competition promoters really do rely on volunteers to staff the officials required to run such competitions and the FINA rules are quite strict on the officials requirements needed. Keeping those rules means an event can be licensed and the times achieved by the swimmers are official and get listed in the Personal Best Times charts kept online for all to see.

Trying to memorize the swim order in Medley swimming for example, I noticed there are three B’s and one F.

The B’s are in a different order depending whether it’s Individual Medley

  • Butterfly
  • Backstroke
  • Breaststroke
  • Freestyle

but in the Medley relay events, which allows groups of swimmers to race the order is

  • Backstroke
  • Breaststroke
  • Butterfly
  • Freestyle

The easy way to remember this is that IM starts with Butterfly and Medley relay starts with Backstroke. I know the Breaststroke always follows the Backstroke and the Freestyle is always last.

Personally I do not like to interfere too much into the training that Madison gets, it is up to her coach to teach her the important tactics and stroke techniques. I just like to understand the racing events and so can assist the swimmers and ensure, as far as I can that the best swimmer always wins. All swimmers need to get the same chances.

It is a lenghty process to become a swimming official and lots of practise is best.

 

My conscience is clear

As a parent, I have been called all kinds of things for bringing my child to a lot of swimming sessions, starting at 6am on some days. The worst one was slave-driver. It hit me hard. I suppose some like the word couch potato more?

Having an active life should be the norm and not the exception and the concept of always keeping busy, I suppose has become alien to many.

Yet I had some doubts as to whether it is justifiable to allow Madison to spend so many hours per week at the pool, that is prolonged by travel-time to and from the LAC.

Yet so far Madison always had 100% school attendance through from Primary School. Madison never missed a day since she started Secondary school and has no late marks either.

Madison had the highest marks on the SATS exams in year 6 of Primary and now still is 2 grades ahead of target in 70% of her subjects and does not fall below target in any subjects taught at school.

I just received her interim report from school and again can only recommend swimming as sport for youngsters, as it definitely does not dim the intellect. However, having said that, I must emphasize that high quality coaching is essential. The coaches at the LACPP use the latest methods in a pleasantly professional manner, which aids a child’s development and doesn’t cloud the mind.

 

Swims can only get Better

Madison’s previous club did not have early morning training for quite a while. Some years ago Madison went to morning training twice a week. Now it takes a little getting used to again. Especially on those cold winter-mornings, when it is really dark and frosty outside. Even for me as parent, I occasionally find myself moaning and not being exactly the best role-model there is.

But, overcoming the initial hick-ups, we are getting there. The hope that it will soon be spring and we can see the sun-rise again in the morning, cheers us up. (A picture will follow as soon as we can see a sun-rise again).

Obviously after changing club there can be no sudden jump in performance, especially as it takes around 9 month to get out of bad stroke-practise.

The best effect of changing clubs to LACPP is that Madison has found the will for swimming again. Madison can see hope that her swimming performance now stands a chance of achieving something in the long-term. If I had not changed club for Madison, she would have dropped out of swimming completely this year.

We do follow the County champs results of Madison’s previous club mates who also changed clubs to various other clubs closely. Some are doing extremely well.

OK, so the 800 free didn’t go too well, but then not everyone is an 800-meter swimmer. This weekend we have the 50 sprints to come and that is going to be very exciting. As it takes place in Madison’s home-pool the LAC, she hopes to do well. I am sure she will do her best. So far we had PBs in every race Madison entered, which is a good result. What more could we want?

Video analysis

As Youth squat members of the LACPP, swimmers are very privileged to get regular video analysis of their stroke technique. This happens more than once a month. Prior to becoming a member in this squad Madison had only a couple of video analysis done, once at her previous club and once when taking part in a Maximum Performances swim camp. Regular video analysis with the coach, helps to stop stroke errors regularly so that a swimmer doesn’t get stuck in bad habits. Alexander, Madison’s LACPP coach uses all the latest gadgets.

It takes around 9 month to re-learn a stroke once a swimmer has gotten into a habit of swimming it in the not most efficient manner.

Happy and successfull 2017

  • stay positive
  • be punctual
  • attend as many sessions as possible.
  • don’t become a dictator. (1)
  • try for new Personal Best times. (2)
  • do not ignore your GCSE exams/school work (3)
  • use good nourishment routines.(4)
  • remember committment gets you further.
  • reduce empty times, keep busy. (5)
  • complete all tasks as set by your coach.

(1) I have heard that

  • some swimmers will only swim if their parents buy them certain costumes and/or goggles in certain colours. Make swimming your most important task not the colour of your costume.
  • some swimmers only want to swim if another specific person also swims. Remember you swim because it is your favourite sport.

(2) The older you get the harder is it to get new PBs. Perhaps extra land training and gym workouts or other types of muscle training will help.

(3) Use your time wisely and do homework between school and swimming and do not stay up too late to complete home work. Get at least 7 hours sleep per night.

(4) Eat at least 1 1/2 hours prior to swim practise with plenty of fluid. After practise have nourishing drinks and replenishing snacks/meals.

(5) if you sit and watch TV/films, try and exercise by using a hand weight.

Swimming inspirations coming

Madison just booked into the 2017 Easter swim camp run by Melanie Marshall, the 3-times swimming coach of the year winner and personal coach to Adam Peaty.

During the swim camp week, visits by swimming stars are promised and I really hope that Madison gets the chance to meet with Adam Peaty.

*Picture from British Swimming website

Jack Petchey award winner

Just received this unusual letter, addressed to Madison and upon opening it, was very surprised to see that Madison has won the November 2016 Jack Petchey award for Girl Guiding London North East County.

Madison was chosen as

  • being kind
  • funny and caring
  • getting on with everyone
  • always having a smile on her face and
  • positive attitude.

And also Madison sets a fantastic example to all the guides. Well done!!

Maybe this is a good place to mention that Madison was also awarded the pupil of the year 7 group in Bishop Challoner School for last year.