Things are happening

Today is the pen-ultimate day of the Para-champs #London2019 and I just cannot help admiring the many teams that came from far and wide to take part. The dedication of the swimmers, coaches and supporters are #ExperiencetheExtraordinary.

Being in the middle of such a big competition is very worthwhile experiencing. Just to be able to help with the achievement of so many new world and other regional records is worth every second spending there. History is being made.

I can’t show any pics as volunteers are not allowed to take any inside the venue but please watch on Channel 4 or view the British Swimming website and Facebook pages as well as Twitter.

It’s a superb start of the new season. And best of all my local pool, the London Aquatics Centre is hosting this fantastic swim competition.

Swimming truly brings swimmers and nations together.


Para champs in good order

The Aquatics Centre ready for the opening ceremony and finals.

Having had the pleasure of helping during the first day of competition and the opening ceremony of the world para champs at the London Aquatics Centre, I was really enjoying the day.

Seeing a town cryer and real brass band playing tunes before speeches and every medal ceremony brought the typical British Glory to the event.

Watch it all live on Channel 4 for the best views.

Whilst I am waiting for my afternoon shift to start, I watch all the mayhem that happened in parliament yesterday and I am just grateful that we managed to run that event without disruption. Everyone was happy.

I am sure the world looks on.

Enjoying athlete services

It’s the first time I helped around the pool in preparation of a competition and it’s an eye opener how much work and effort goes into hosting an international event.

lac-duskI arrived on Thursday evening for my induction.

For many, helping at the Aquatic Centre was a first time experience, but since I am there at least twice a week and we used to train there almost daily, I felt relaxed about the vicinity. Some people were amazed to learn that I am not officiating but I do not have the para swimming specific qualification yet.

para-prepThe place looked like a building site. But it must be emphasized how genius the preparations for the event are. Many Better members were quite annoyed for the pool being closed for so long and I can confirm that my local pool is over-filled with swimmers who are normally at the LAC. You can see the 50 and 150 m start end and medal presentation area being prepared.


para-prep-2Our team leader Nicole held an inducation talk on the spectator seats.

All prep and competition volunteers at and listened and were amazed by the atmosphere.

The Para World Championships will be an extraordinary event.


para-kitYesterday was my first shift, I got the kit. This is me after the shift. I supplied various athlete preparation areas with bottled water, which is really necessary. I carried numerous packs of 12 bottles around the vicinity. Great, exercise that definitely has superb fitness potential.

I cleaned up around the pool and helped athletes who were new to the pool find their way around. I saw athletes from Russia, Sweden Myammar, Spain, Japan, China, Great Britain, just to name a few.

It is extremely useful, for me as official also to experience the preparation of an event. Just having the knowledge of the official and sporting side of things helped immensely to be able to comprehend situation.

madison-coachesWhilst we are a sporting family Madison is off to the London Region Aquatic conference today, held in Hammersmith.

Madison just loves swimming and helping her fellow swimmers excel in the sport.

She’ll take part in workshops and talks held by fantastic coaches from the sport of swimming.

The fourth dimension

After my morning swim at the event entrance

Whilst I have now three experienes with swimming

  1. I love swimming myself
  2. parent of a performance swimmer
  3. technical official

4. I will now be able to experience the other side of the competition pool and act as Athlete Service person during the #London2019#ParaSwimming#ExperienceExtraordinary event in the first week of September. British Swimming as always put together a great organisation to make to work for all of us helpers, swimmers, spectators, not to forget the excellent London Aquatics Centre where it will all be happening from 9. – 15. September 2019.

I am keeping up to the fitness level required to even help out at this Para event and have increased my usual swimming routine by 50%.

I just wish they would open a pool for helpers to use before or after their shift.

ISL roars in London

I am quite amazed that the ISL competition was advertised on British Swimming on Facebook and is under the wings of British Swimming. Some big relief went around my body as at the beginning I felt stressed what format the competition would take.

Even better is that I probably can officiate as I just love officiating for competitions at the London Aquatics Centre, which has become my second home.

Calling it the London roar is very appropriate as Adam Peaty swims there and he is a big lion fan. It wouldn’t surprise me if Adam asked the organisers to name the competition London Roar.

As I’ve learned British Swimming will also recruit the officials for this, something I didn’t think would be possible. Announcements will be short notice but people are alerted to stand by.  The big event will be 23. and 24. November 2019.

It’s just great that Melanie Marshall, Adam Peaty’s coach is head coach, so everything is just like normal.

The non holiday

Living in an iconic holiday location, namely London, and near the London Aquatics Centre, we do not see much need to go away on holiday this year.

revision-booksMadison’s received a pile of revision books and spends at least 3 hours per day revising for the forthcoming GCSE results.

This year a student needed only to get just 14% of the exam questions right to pass the Maths A-level. But that is something Madison wants to achieve at a better grade. No better place to start than getting a better than good GCSE in Maths.

Today, when our local Raine’s Foundation pupils will be able to collect their A-level results from school, we’ll be there to hand out leaflets and memorabilia. #300moreyears.

Just as we’ve received an invite to join Melanie Marshall for her exclusive Swim Clinic on 29. December 2019 at Repton Pool, we find that due to the screws in Madison’s shoulder, she cannot even rotate her left arm around for training. It is the best Swim Clinic of the season, held by an actual Olympic swimming coach. Melanie is in the process of preparing Adam Peaty for next year’s Olympic games.

IMG-20170415-WA0003The swimming for Madison is in the dog house right now. Because it is not a permanent disability, Madison cannot train as para swimmer but we do not know what will happen next. Our next appointment to see the doctors is in September and the last time Madison went they told her that nothing has healed yet since the operation this spring.

Yet Madison is cheering herself up by wearing the Melanie Marshall hoodie around the house whilst she is revising for ther GCSE exams next year.

It is an exciting time to think that Madison can at least continue her performance based swimming career by helping to coach younger club members as she already teaches her younger cousing to get ready for racing.



Tricks of the mind

Whilst Madison is still not able to swim with both arms, her training has collapsed but Madison feels she can get back into performance swimming pretty quickly, once the shoulder is fixed. Madison thinks that her youth will help her to get back to top performance quickly.

I wait for it and see what happens. As we’ll have to wait till September now because the shoulder has still not healed and doctors may need to try something else.

In the meantime, I get up extra early in the morning to improve my own fitness and swimming. Since the Aquatics Centre hosts Ultra Aquasplash daily, the competition pool closes at 9am. Because I prefer the 50m pool, I make sure I get there in time to do my daily 1000m.

And hurray, today I managed to improve my best time by 5 minutes. Yet I felt like a rock in the water but the clock never lies.

Swim England National Summer Meet 2019I think those 2 weeks officiating at nationals have magically improved my fitness. Lets continue that and I will be helping at the World Para Swimming Allianz Championships 2019 at the Aquatics Centre.

The Aquatics Centre has become my favourite place for swimming and officiating. But the team work and discipline at the nationals is so far the best experience ever.