Just learned that the reason for my problems currently is a condition called Plantar Fasciitis and apparently one of the world’s strongest men Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson suffers from this during the current World’s Strongest Men competition.

I am putting my feet up and have been missing quite a few competitions but will do my best to get over this by April 2020.

It affects the sole of your feet and you can’t walk properly and its like an inflammation of the tendons in the foot, what an awkward place to have a problem.

I suppose all those 30.000 steps per day, the carrying weights have finally caught up with me. That’s just when I thought I was invincible.

Oh Spoty

Very much enjoyed watching the BBC sports personality of the year 2019 award this year. The show had something for everybody, acknowleging and persuading excellent and perseverance.

Talking of perseverance, Madison is now back in the pool, finding that the former fitness has gone and yesterday’s 100 butterfly was the hardest ever.

It is amazing how quickly the fitness goes and now hard it is to get it back. Watch this space.

gender neutrality and sport

You know when you go to swimming competitions, there is a female and a male category. Yet somebody wants Britain to offer gender neutral passports. What would that mean for swimming competitions or other sports competitions?

Apparently in Holland there are already gender neutral passports. The Dutch seem to be one step aside or ahead, whichever way you look at it. The Dutch also allow euthanasia of – what we would classify as healthy youth – if they do want to end their life, and they also have a strong animal rights movement.

Babies can get born without a clear sexuality. I understand doctors then usually assign a sexuality to an Intersex baby and either take away or add on to clarify the sex of a child.

The argument raging says that it is against a person’s human rights, if they get denied the ablity to be gender fluid.

There are animals who exist without clear gender and they can change and even self-produce or self-fertilise.

So back to sport, if there are gender neutral passports, sport would have to adapt and offer competitions which are gender neutral.

Sports could also completely do away with gender classification and allow access to sports competitions according to specific measures, which classify people into categories of attributes. E.g.

  • height
  • length of arms
  • size of hands
  • circumference of biceps
  • hormones?
  • ability to use body

Incidentally the Conservative Party now want to introduce DNA profiling for every baby born in the UK. Seems short of getting chipped at birth soon.

There are women with more Testosterone, usually privvy to males.

Sport is already split into able and Para categories but within the male, female classification remains. If now sport will have to add a gender neutral category, it’s going to be much more expensive to run competitions.


GCSE mocks

adult blur business close up
Photo by Nguyen Nguyen on

Madison achieved a grade 9 in her pre-mock Maths GCSE test and the outlook is promising. I think any performance swimmer who has a chance to get excellent grades should put school grades first. You never get the chance of superb GCSE grades again but you can catch up on swimming practise.

Next week start our GCSE mocks, which last 2 weeks. The outcome will be very important for offers in 6th. Form colleges we desire.

I am a bit puzzled why Extinction Rebellion called for a youth strike this Friday, when it is either in the middle or just before pupil’s mock exams.

Whilst Madison is now starting to swim again, getting back into the strides of performance swimming, having GCSE mock exams for the next two weeks and helping as a coach over the long weekend is a lot for a young person.

We try to combine all the good activities by moderation. It is however always good to have at least 2 good swims per week, it keeps up the bloodflow to the brain and increases brain power.


ISL London Roar

Just noticed that the BBC actually streams this live and wonderful how nicely and exciting the whole set-up and choreography of the event is. There is even a DJ.

Some of the Hackney parents and swimmers are there, so this makes it easier to connect with the top swimmers.

Previously the top performers were so far away, only accessible at very expensive international competitions like the Olympics.

The seats are full. Tickets were very affordable.

ISL seems to be the professional, international version of the Arena League and the skins are desirably crowd pleasers. Our swimmers love that.

Madison was coaching our younger swimmers today, somebody has to teach the up and coming young swimmers whilst the elite battle it out.

Missed the London Roar

Looked at the pics on Twitter from the #Londonroar, looks very impressive, electrifying and totally different to what we’ve experienced so far.

No wonder the Aquatics Centre looks sold out, when normally it is very difficult to fill the seats, with exception of very major events from British Swimming of course.

The atmosphere is priceless, no wonder so many officials wanted to work there completely free without the usual travel expenses. All those normal competitions, and then this, must be worth it.

The normal age-group competitions in comparison look boring and are kept alive only by the will of the young people to swim as fast as they can and by the parents who want to see their youngsters do well.

Madison is doing her GCSE this and next year and helps as coach over the weekend, so helping our younger swimmers comes first. I think it is very commendable that Madison works hard at school every day – and has some excellent grades – and then helps over the weekend at the club.

Well, she is starting to train again and surprised how hard it has become to keep up with the fast swimmers after over 1 year of break.

I am nursing a sore leg, it has been playing up, off and on over the years but now I am also having a sore foot and wait for medical treatment.

Did 30.000 steps almost every day, swam 1500 several times a week and I am just not so fit as to keep up with the elite in sport.

Throw away your books

Today I’ve gotten some advice from somebody from a Swim England Officials Coordinator. I will not name any names but will simply copy and paste the part of the email that is most disparaging: “……You can throw away the workbook if you wish……”.

Great to have this freedom of choice. I think about it.

I am just concerned that prior to that I had been asked to email the signed Mentor practise sessions to somebody. Whilst those signed pages still exist somewhere in the pipeline I wonder whether they can be used by somebody else. It is not exactly strictly secure to email signed pages and then throw away the book.

Interestingly the signed pages do not show who actually did the sessions, so they are pretty much usable by anyone who has access to them. How much does British Swimming or Swim England ensure that signed and emailed mentor session pages cannot be abused by anyone?

I’ve heard that for example Employment Agencies often ask people to provide photocopies of passports and that then led to identities being stolen.

Does anybody know how much the assessors actually compare the signed mentor sessions with the actual competition paperwork, which shows which trainees where at which competition?

If you see a page full of signed mentor sessions, they mention the name of the mentor by membership number, the competition and the referee by membership number but not the name of the trainee. I find that really worrying. This system is prone to abuse.

It is particularly concerning if you start a course and don’t finish it because those signed pages float around without any trainee name on, on most of them.

J1 training soon moves online, that will be more secure from the admin point of view but all those pages in training books – when they get emailed – are not secure.

The process of training is not transparent. To compare this with schools, at least pupils get pupil numbers and those numbers are used to log grades, to apply for further education, so that the pupil number is always associated with results.

Not so with officials training, you can get, as stated above, pages of mentoring signed off without neither your name, nor your number appearing on any of them. It is easy to email individual pages without evidence of the owner of the book as the owners name and number only appears on one page, whilst the mentoring slots do not show the name.

I really do not know whether licensing officials actually compare the mentoring pages with the competition paperwork that is produced with every competition. The paperwork during competitions contains the names of officials and trainees, I am not certain whether during licensing this data gets verified.