Trying again

cropped-madison-aquathlon-16-1.jpgAfter over a year of no swimming Madison is back in the pool. Not properly of course, so far not able to go to normal training sessions, the taster sessions at the moment will have to suffice.

People can under-estimate the muscle power needed to swim lots of length in a pool. It is not only the stamina but also the strength. Hence you see those performance swimmers having bodies as they do.

Just to be able to swim more than one length can be an achievement for all beginners and starting from scratch can be hard but it is worth it.



performance goes on and on

Whilst this weekend Brexit makes the headlines with demonstrations and parliamentary debate high on the agenda, I shall help with the Regional Disability Swimming champs 2019 at the London Aquatics Centre.


Nationals 2020

Can’t resist the temptation of officiating at the 2020 British nationals to be held at the London Aquatics Centre.

It is not more than half hour away from where I live and as soon as the email came in, I, almost like on auto-pilot tried to apply.

However the British Swimmingresults website, where you need to log on to apply online, only results in an error message. Applications are impossible, at least for me.

I contacted the administrator directly and wait to see what happens.

It is addictive

After so many years of officiating, it is quite difficult to not want to help the sport. Sport is one of the most important positive activities we can do in life today.

I think it helps crime prevention and it is one of the most important international tools to bring people and nations together.

Whatever the problem is, sport has a healthy effect on people.

Officials qualifications

During my years of following social media and various swimming blogs I have come across criticism of officials and the lack of qualification or professionalism.

Being an official myself, I cannot dunk anybody into the mire but would like to scale back on my defense of the qualification.

There is a severe lack of proper assessment and an even greater lack of noting – a proper measurement of ability.

With the exception of the J2 qualification and the referee, other qualifications are often left to the discretion of the assessors. Often remarks are couched around psychological things like confidence but those remarks may not even be hinged on concrete examples. It really depends whether the candidate is supposed to be passed or not.

In J2 the ability to do finish is exactly measured by comparing how a candidate actually writes down the finish and that can be compared exactly against official results or the marks of other officials around the pool.

A referee has to sit a written exam and a practical one. The written exam has a high impact on the result.

With other assessments, the discretion of the assesssors is prevalent. Seeing that many local officials’ offices are staffed with very long-standing volunteers, who are often of quite advanced age, it seems that at least those who already have achieved the highest accolade of referee get re-assessed in all abilities in regular intervals instead of just leaving them in place.

I have seen referees not being able to concentrate on J1 jobs, unable to turn numbers in 1500 meter races, a sign often of age-related deterioration but the referee qualification remains intact. It may be a sign of Dyscalculia or Dementia. Others are very unfit, though I do not want to engage with fat-shaming, but being in a sport, suggests that everybody should make an effort.

Seeing then that the lower qualifications are not properly measured, it seems rather hit and miss and unsatisfactory. It doesn’t surprise me that complaints about qualifications arise and that in many instances officials cannot be found to run regional or similar events, perhaps due to some being disaffected by the treatment they received.

I would expect a points based system, setting tasks and awarding points per task achieved and deducting points for tasks failed.

However this is not how it works for swimming officials. There is a simply written grid with a few tasks, judged on the impression made on the assessor without precise numbers, results or definite reasons given.

Unfortunately those tested are also unable to appeal upon the result, which is so out of the context of modern society that this really needs looking at. Especially those being assessed for J1, J2 or J2S cannot appeal a refusal. Completely unsatisfactory.

For J1 qualifications much will be moved online from next year, that will help but the assessment itself is still the same.

I don’t want to imply that age is a sign of fitness but that obvious signs should be investigated, regardless how senior the position of the official is.

Set your goals

Personally I am not a club swimmer. I rekindled my love of swimming purely because of the stimuli I gotten through Madison’s swimming, the officiating and – as I am a rational person – the health benefits of swimming.

I don’t swim all four strokes and mainly do breaststroke with a little bit of backstroke but the latter only if the lane is empty. As I mainly swim in the LAC, I need a lot more experience how to navigate the lanes on my back without having clear lines on the ceiling to navigate on. That is of course because lanes can be busy and it is in the best interest of all swimmers if we keep to our side of the lane.

I swim currently against the clock and doing lane counting. There is no coach to guide me, nor do I use fitness aps or trackers. I simply set myself goals and keep to them. I see how long it takes me to do a certain amount and I keep on doing that until I see an improvement in my time and then I decide whether I swim the same amount of lengths in a faster time or add lengths so that I swim the same amount of time.

The benefits are great, my leg muscles have improved, my shoulders feel stronger and because I swim a lot of breaststroke of course my hands get stronger too. I see my stomach fat melting away.

There are few competitions that allow for my style of swimming to be measured and so I just swim to complement my health regime rather than competitive.

It takes some confidence to do that rather than just join a group of people but that is entirely up to the individual.

I am very rational in my regimes e.g.

  • Eat less sugar
  • drink very little alcohol
  • keep to a sensible diet
  • get enough and regular sleep
  • Socialise┬áby helping in schools or community projects.

The results speak for themselves, I am very healthy and need no medication.

For older persons out there, do not listen to people who try to talk you down, you can improve in older age, just keep on going



Fresh salad

salad1This contains a vinegarette made from

  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 dessert spoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 serving spoon of light olive oil
  • 2 table spoons of white whine vinegar.

And the following salad ingredients

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 large slice of melon
  • 2 large on the vine tomatoes
  • 1 large white chicory

You can vary ingredients and add fresh Mango for extra sweetness, black olives to make it pungent or Mozzarella for extra energy.

The best recovery food for after a medium long swim.