Inside August 2016 Swimming Times

Swimming Times is the only magazine for British aquatics. Read about the latest issue below. Click on the buttons to reveal the story.

News round-up

  • More adults are swimming regularly, according to Sport England’s latest Active People Survey, suggesting that the ASA’s participation strategy is producing results. The latest six-monthly survey shows a rise in the number of adults aged 26 and over swimming weekly and monthly and a six per cent increase in participation in the 55-plus age group. The statistics represent a reversal of the declining numbers which led to the participation strategy. The ASA is working with pool operators on ways to encourage people into the pool
  • The number of children and young people learning to swim in Leicester City Council-run pools is set to double over the next five years, following a revamp of the council’s teaching programme. The new-look programme, called Swim Leicester, was launched at the Big Splash event at Braunstone Leisure Centre with the help of GB Olympic swimmer Joe Roebuck and new mascot Snappy
  • Tom Daley and Becky Adlington have joined forces and are encouraging children to ‘just keep moving’ this summer, as they launch nationwide interactive family swim sessions and a brand new 10 Minute Shake Up campaign – all inspired by the new Disney•Pixar blockbuster, Finding Dory.

To read more of this month’s news stories, click here to buy the August 2016 issue of Swimming Times. 

Road to Rio

Yorkshire rising stars Max Litchfield and Georgia Coates will be among 15 British swimmers making their Olympic debuts in Rio. They told Swimming Times about their swimming backgrounds, Olympic hopes and future plans.

Max Litchfield

You’ve been one of this year’s breakthrough swimmers. Did you see yourself on the Olympic team before the trials?

I believed I could be on it. Whether that happened was up to the work I put in leading up to the trials and what I did on the day. I knew I had that sort of swim in me from the Commonwealths and World Uni Games. I had swum 4:15 or 4:16 and I knew I could go faster in the finals. But I was getting in a race and not quite putting the race together – putting in a good heat swim but not pushing that on in the final. That’s what I did at the trials – I managed to knock that time down and luckily just scraped underneath that qualifying time in the 400 IM.

Georgia Coates

Although it was the 200m freestyle that got you on the Olympic team, you’ve done a lot of IM swimming so you’re obviously versatile. What would you say is your best event? IM or 200 freestyle?

I’m not really sure at the moment. My 200 free is going really well and my freestyle has come on a lot this year. But I would always say I’m IM-based because that’s what I train. But it means I can also have individual strokes that I get good at. The 400 IM is probably my best event but breaststroke and freestyle are my strongest strokes. I do 2:26 for 200 breast.

To learn more from Max and Georgia, click here to subscribe to Swimming Times magazine.

Electric Eels

Established specifically for youngsters and adults with Down syndrome, Windsor-based Electric Eels Swimming Club has proved a big hit in its first eight years. Now the Eels have expanded their activities to immerse themselves in synchronised swimming too.

The founding principle behind Electric Eels Swimming Club was that they would take anyone over the age of eight from non-swimmers all the way through to competitive level. Having been involved in disability swimming for 25 years, founder Pauline Walker had long known that if she was going to start a club, it would be for people living with Down syndrome. 

‘I am passionate about teaching people with Down syndrome,’ explained Pauline, the club’s director of swimming. And, she thinks much of the secret to the club’s popularity is the commitment and eagerness of their volunteers.

‘They’re particularly effective because they can turn all of their attention to learning as much as possible about Down syndrome, rather than needing to learn a little about a lot of conditions. It means they’re able to specialise. As far as I’m aware, we are the only swimming and synchro club of this type in the country.’

To read the full article and discover more about this unique club, click here to buy the August 2016 issue.  

Stroke skills

Not everyone is born a breaststroker but many can raise their game by improving their skills, says former GB head coach Ian Turner.

Breaststroke is the least efficient of the four strokes and, as a result, it takes a great deal of technical skill with efficient co-ordination and timing. It takes time to perform and practise the stroke well. 

I have chosen a number of tips that I feel may help coaches and their swimmers to perhaps have a better understanding of the stroke and to therefore play a small role in assisting with its development.

Each swimmer will adapt to the stroke in different ways, but we must insist on certain stroke principles. Remember, not every swimmer is born to be a breaststroker. However, many will develop into the stroke if given the opportunity.

To read more of Ian’s in-depth analysis of the stroke, click here to buy the August 2016 issue.  

Bob Bowman


Michael Phelps’ coach Bob Bowman talks to Swimming Times about his relationship with the greatest swimmer in history, his new book and his 10 ‘golden rules’ for success.

The great Michael Phelps was warming up for his last race at London 2012 when the man who had coached him from the age of 11 walked over to him. At the time, they and everyone else expected this to be Michael’s last-ever Olympic race. Amid the din of the London Aquatics Centre warm-up pool, Phelps whispered to Bob Bowman: ‘Bob, I wanted to be like Michael Jordan in basketball and change the sport. Bob, I wanted people to know about swimming. We’ve done that, Bob. We’ve become the best-ever, but we got here together. Bob, thanks. Thank you so much.’

The words of the most successful athlete in Olympic history caught his coach off guard.

‘That’s not fair,’ said Bowman.

‘I know,’ said Phelps. ‘You can’t see my tears, but yours are streaming down your face.’

The tale is one of many insights into the remarkable Bowman-Phelps relationship that are revealed in the coach’s first book, written with journalist Charles Butler.

To read the full article and learn more about this unique relationship, click here to buy a copy of August's Swimming Times.  

Rebecca Redfern

Rebecca Redfern had no idea her visual impairment made her eligible for the Paralympics until her coach suggested a Vision for Rio assessment. Two years later, she’s on her way to Rio, says Izabel Grindal.

In 2014, British Swimming, the English Institute of Sport and UK Sport launched a campaign to identify swimmers with the potential to compete at the Paralympics. While the idea of a talent ID programme wasn’t new, this one caught people’s attention and won media coverage because it was targeted at a very particular group of athletes.

Vision for Rio was aimed at young swimmers who were already competing at county or regional level but had a visual impairment. ‘Our analysis of the world stage [in Paralympic swimming] showed that we didn’t have big enough representation among visually impaired swimmers,’ recalls Craig Nicholson, performance pathway manager for para-swimming. ‘We concluded that there were people in our sport who might have a visual impairment who could be eligible for a Paralympic pathway.’

Nicholson and his colleagues didn’t expect the campaign to flush out a significant number of swimmers, and were satisfied when their appeal to clubs and coaches resulted in about a dozen swimmers being invited to an assessment. They were even happier when the assessments showed that one of those swimmers was both potentially eligible for para-swimming and was ready to move onto a home country pathway.

Rebecca Redfern is that swimmer and to read more of her story, you can buy a copy of the August Swimming Times here.  

Never forgotten

Fifty years after the 1966 Jamaica Commonwealth Games, Jimmy Rogers shares his memories of the trip.

It was hot in Jamaica. I’d like to say that I went to bed on July 30, 1966, with my Team England bath robe complete with English rose motif draped over my headboard in a demonstration of patriotic pride. I’d like to say it but actually it wouldn’t be true.

Much closer to the truth, I’d just heard the news that England had won the football World Cup and I fell asleep imagining Bobby Moore and Geoff Hurst chasing Pickles the dog round Wembley Stadium trying to retrieve the Jules Rimet Trophy from the gnashers of the heroic collie, who had recovered it from thieves four months earlier.

As you can tell, I wasn’t much into football at that time but, in all seriousness, it was hard not to be inspired by the news of England’s World Cup win that reached Team England via a handheld transistor radio that day. We might have been 4,500 miles away in Jamaica when Kenneth Wolstenholme famously and heart-warmingly declared, ‘They think it’s all over…’ but it was his rider ‘It is now’ that challenged us to do something memorable at these British Empire and Commonwealth Games to add to England’s famous World Cup win.

You can read more of Jimmy’s memories from Jamaica 1966 in August’s Swimming Times

Honesty Box

Alan Bartlett, the former ASA vice-president, Harold Fern Award winner and MBE, reveals his love of fell walking and why his grandparents and Alfred Wainwright would be his ideal dinner party guests.

The last time I cried was… a few weeks ago. I had a secret cry of joy when I helped two of my grandchildren, four-year-old twins Jessica and William, to build sandcastles on the beach at Bournemouth. I first did same thing myself on the same beach 67 years ago. 

Before I die, I want to… I’m content with my life. I don’t want to do anything other than what I am doing. I enjoy the companionship and love of my family and I get pleasure from seeing them continue to flourish. I still enjoy doing what I can to help swimming and I want to continue with that.

You can read more from Alan in the August issue of Swimming Times.  

Fast lane   

‘Dad, can I have a new racing suit?’ The question is often asked but what should be the answer? University of Bath sports performance graduate and former national medallist James Clark investigates.

‘Dad, can I have a new racing suit?’ This is a question that is asked by a frontier of developing swimming athletes across the country. They have the desire to look and compete like the growing race of super-swimmers chasing international medals. A one-way trip to the hall of fame could not be stronger in their minds.  

In a sport in which you are tested on your ability to ‘hold water’ and compete in a daily staring contest with the bottom of the pool, the challenge could not be greater. It would be rude not to utilise every aspect of legal performance enhancers that, through media and advertisements, claim to ‘deliver’ that dream. Right?

The ability to enhance performance through a new racing suit has been forced on the eyes of young swimmers for generations, and the belief of a faster time held over the head of a believing swimmer is too good to ignore. The question must be asked, though: does a racing suit put in the hands of a young county-level swimmer produce the Olympic gold medallist?

To read more of James’ analysis of the topic, click here to buy the August 2016 issue.  

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