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.

British swim champs 2020 in London

I am very happy that next year’s main British Swimming Championships will come to the Aquatics Centre in London.

Poolside helpers at the Allianz Para World Champs in 2019. Not all helpers were present. I am in the front row.

I have just had the pleasure of helping with the World Para Championships and will definitely endeavour to help with the British Champs next year. It is literally just up my street.


Qualifying times for the 2020 British Champs have been announced. The dates will be 14 – 19. April 2020, with further details to come soon.

Coaching unlocks potential

Passing on knowledge, passing on the feeling for the sport. Sir John Whitmore is a British racing driver, not a swimmer but the knowledge is the same for all the sports. Sir John thinks it is more imporant to set actionable goals rather than just to give advice.

Madison, the second swimmer visible on the left

Madison knows very well which goals can be managed and how swimmers feel at various stages of their career and is very popular with the younger swimmers. It is important that swimmers like their coach.

MedalsWhen Madison was still competing she was a trendsetter in the local clubs and won many medals at local meets.

As the more senior swimmers train with Rick, who is of course the bee’s knees of coaching, there are now some goals becoming apparent as the club in a first of its short history has achieved 3 relay and medley relay races entries.

Considering that not all members of the relay teams have achieved single entries for the British Summer champs 2019, it is quite remarkable that this young club – Hackney Aquatics – has now achieved entries into the British nationals for the first time in all three male team events.

Since Madison cannot train or compete at the moment it is very important that she can pass on her knowledge to younger swimmers and help them set goals as she has been through the stages of development.

The atmosphere in East London clubs is changing for the better and we give each other strength and encouragement.

Madison is now waiting for another appointment to see whether her shoulder gets better as the screws that were inserted do not seem to do the trick.

This is my best smile, I am very happy to help at the Glasgow Summer Champs. This event is superbly organised and the discipline is exemplary. A real pleasure.

But I might as well help with officiating of the British and English champs this year so we keep the good swimming competition feeling in the centre of our hearts.


Style is everything

I have not observed a more wonderful start and turn in the breaststroke than Adam Peaty’s. I want to ask all you novices to please observe Adam Peaty’s swimming style to learn how to do it.

His style is immaculately clean. A good starting jump, then the legs totally level composed to do the butterfly kick and then the arms with a sharp movement to the side of the hips before the head appears for the first breaststroke move.

Adam Peaty after achieving the new world record in 100m breaststroke in 56.88, source

I have never seen, in all my time as official, any swimmer who did not have a good clean start or turn win a race in breaststroke.

The speed comes with the first butterfly kick and the strokes. That is why a swimmer trains the whole body to have the overall muscular structure to get those amazing times.

Whilst I get ready to help in Glasgow this week and in Sheffield the week after; I look forward to some great swimming and even better times from British and English summer champs.


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,

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.

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.