On the positive side

The benefits of performance swimming for youngsters are undeniable. Healthy bodies, healthy minds, is a well-known phrase.

Well, of course in Madison’s case, there is the shoulder injury but that is not life-changing or threatens any kind of academic career.

After now 9 years of permanent swimming and often performance training – and many of you can see from the blog, how many times I wrote about those early morning sunrises – the mind has benefitted from the swimming.

Getting into year 11 of schooling, Madison has been accepted into the High Attainment program. This program is for students expected to get grades 7-9 at GCSE. A very interesting package of support is provided by schools for academic achievers. Great to know she will be able to visit a top UK university as part of the support package.

They even go to the Emirates stadium or a workshop day in October, for pupils participating in the STEM program.

I really believe that keeping fit, staying active whilst in Secondary school is the best recipe for success.

We are still waiting for progress after the shoulder operation and Madison still can’t swim strokes at the moment but kicking is possible and coaching certainly is possible. So it’s all good.

Young people have restless minds and keeping the mind active at all times is certainly rewarding.




For the future

Session 2 1905041525 – ASA London Region London Regional Summer Championships 2019 2019 on May 04, 2019 at London Aquatics Centre, Olympic Park, London, E20 2ZQ, London. Photo: Ben Davidson, http://www.bendavidsonphotography.com

The shoulder injury is not healing up any time soon. The shoulder operation takes much longer to work the wonders we expected than thought. Yet swimming is an important part of Madison’s life. The best solution, whilst Madison wants to stay with swimming, is to allow Madison to pass on her enormous knowledge to the younger swimmers.

Madison’s style has always been very clean, I think she didn’t get disqualified more than twice in 5 years of competitions. It is more than important that all swimmers learn to swim according to the rules and learn to get fast with all the rules in play.

It can become a drag on a swimmer’s career when you suddenly realise that you had been doing something wrong all these years and it only becomes apparent at a top level meet.

Madison will be coaching next season and train as much as possible for herself.

I’ll be going to Glasgow and Sheffield for both the summer meets. Our club sends a fair amount of swimmers to both the British Swimming champs and the English summer champs, so its only fair that we should send at least one official, which happens to be me.

It will all be visible on the life-streams.

A good workout

Apart from helping our athletes to perform to their best ability, officiating is also a good workout. As a stroke judge on a 50m pool, I clocked 11.000 steps and 6km distance over the duration of 3 1/2 hours.

But its not just a physical workout, it also helps with fairness and equality for all.

Yet as a stroke judge my most difficult task is to judge Butterfly from the side of the pool. It helps though to even work out the brain because one can think about how efficient it is to report possible infractions from various locations around the pool.

butterflyLooking at butterfly swimmers from a 45 degree angle makes it almost impossible to spot subtle differences in arm movement. I had this problem, when working as a time-keeper; I just couln’d understand why a stroke judge would not report an infraction for uneven arm movements when I, as standing at the starting block, could clearly see it, when the swimmer came down the lane.

Obviously I looked at the swimmer straight on, whilst a stroke judge stands on the side with an angle.

So that is something to keep the grey cells moving.

Shoulder worries

Expectations have been destroyed by simply ‘it takes time to heal’.

When we started on the surgical procedures, we thought, that not long afterwards everything will be back to normal but that is not so.

I had to go today and ask for reassurance because it’s hard for an athlete to stay dormant.

Especially as the shoulder still cannot be used, that affects the training routine. Resignation starts to settle in.

But today we have been given new hope. The consultant told me that the shoulder will become functional again once the screws have been removed.

Screws were inserted into the shoulder to fuse the joint together

So far Madison still cannot lift her arm higher than 45 degrees and cannot turn the arm around fully. That means still no proper swim training.

But Madison is very keen to stay within swimming as a sport and as a profession. The club is very keen to retain Madison as future coach and whilst the athletic swim training is on hold the voluntary coaching can continue.

Concrete factory planned near London Aquatics Centre

Currently school children in Tower Hamlets already suffer 10% less lung capacity due to air quality in the borough. Please sign a petition against a concrete factory.

This factory proposal will affect users of the Olympic Park and the London Aquatic Centre profoundly. That affects all swimmers and those coming for swimming competitions to London.

A recent application to built a concrete and asphalt factory in Bow Common had been refused after extensive protests but now there is a very similar application to try again.


Everybody commuting in the area will have suffered from severe traffic delays, due to concrete lorries coming out of the current concrete distributor in Wick Lane, they are near the Bow Flyover. A Conrete Factory will cause more delays and severely reduce air quality in the area.

Therefore please support a petition

Step the Concrete Factories next to the Olympic Park and rezone the site from being SIL has been launched by the Tower Hamlets Extinction Rebellion. Please sign.


Went to see the consultant yesterday, and unfortunately there is no improvement with the arm movements. That means no proper training still and just kicking and leg based training.

It’s a huge disappointment but the doctor assured us that it will get better. Madison’s swimmers, whom she coaches have made a huge improvement and we have more swimmers in summer nationals than ever before.

For Madison though it’s Mock Exam week, starting today with Biology. We’ll need to return to the hospital in 3 months time and get another scan done to see why the shoulder is still not doing what it is supposed to do.

Move towards coaching

So far the shoulder operation had little impact on Madison’s ability to return to performance swimming.

We are currently awaiting further x-ray and doctor’s appointments for more up-dates on the progress.

Madison will step down from the main competition squads as swimmer and become a Junior Masters swimmer instead. That also leaves the option of becoming a swim teacher and or coach in the future.

Madison loves coaching and helps out at the club at least twice per week. That is good for swimmers because Madison knows everything about preparing for and competing at events.

Club swimmers are doing very well. The club has swimmers at both British Summer Nationals in Glasgow and English Summer Nationals in Sheffield this year.

I will be helping out as Judge at both competitions, so we are involved in the competitions.

But, formally to be able to train as coach or teacher, Madison must have reached 16 years of age, until then all helping is purely voluntary. It should make an interesting addition to the GCSE schedule next year to also fit in coaching or swimming teacher training.

But, should Madison’s shoulder recover next season there would be nothing holding her back from getting back into performance swimming.

There is this very good ethos at Hackney Aquatics, who have a club for life ethos, that allows swimmers to switch squads and stay with the sport in whatever capacity.