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.

My dream coach is Mel Marshall

Having been in swimming really all my life, as it is a family trait and now intensely with Madison since 7 years, I start to think there is more to swimming then just swimming. There is a lot of attitude, correct approach, good coaching and hard work and life-style changes.

Mel Marshall has in my view the perfect approach, I just looked up on her page on the British Swimming website and it says: “Marshall is a firm believer in the romance of sport….”.

Yes quite I totally agree, a swimmer must be in love with swimming to be driven by the sport and change their lifestyle to suit it and get the best results.

It is also very good that Mel was a competitive swimmer herself and knows all the pitfalls of too much and not enough.

I firmly believe that only those swimmers who really love the sport will do best at it.


You can’t get better than a world record

For many swimmers the fun starts in the small pool. Having fun with friends. This pool in Wuerzburg’s Dallenbergbad has a very long slide and provides hours of fun.

The next stage is the swimming club. When Madison gotten to the big pool it was like a mile stone. That was the big goal we had at the time, to get into the big pool with all the big swimmers.

But then nobody thought of any records or Galas or Age-groups. I didn’t even know about those and the club didn’t tell me about it either. I only ever realised that someone went around talking to parents and I thought why do they never talk to me?

Then other swimmers started to ask me, isn’t Madison allowed to come to Galas? I was astounded as I didn’t even know anything about Galas at all.

I started to enquire and found out that the club takes swimmers to Galas. Of course we wanted to take part. Galas are the first step to competition.

Then I saw how parents handed form to the swimming coach and I wondered, where do they get these forms from. Nobody told me about age-groups. I had to find out for myself.

Eventually I gotten Madison into a gala and then also into an age-group. The first Age-group we took part in was Redbridge. I never forget it. We didn’t know about starts or fast turns and when Madison was in the lead of the first 25 meters, after the turn she was last. What a downer. And it went on from there.

But nobody ever encouraged us to watch any other competitions, e.g. British Championships or follow others. So all big achievements were another world. And when I see suddenly those new swimming stars in the media. I think, how do they do that? It seems to far away, those times they get.

When Madison was 10, she had the 9th fasted time in the 50 fly in London; I found that out by looking up the ASA Individual best times tables. Again nobody told me about those, it’s just that I have years of experience as webmaster and know how to source things.

The best any swimmer can get is to be World Record Holder and that seems a far, far and long, long way away. I watched the last Olympics and realised that swimmers from some countries are not faster than Madison is now but we are not in those countries, we are expected to be the Best and only the Best is good enough.