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This month’s Swimming Times

Swimming Times is the official magazine of the ASA and British Swimming. Read about the latest issue below. Click on the buttons to reveal the story.

News Round-up

  • Mixed gender events in both diving and synchronised swimming are to be introduced following a decision at the FINA Extraordinary Congress in Doha. The diving programme will include mixed synchronised events from the 10m platform and 3m springboard, and the synchronised swimming events will include technical and freestyle mixed duets. Tom Daley described the introduction of mixed diving as “really exciting”. “What a great way to develop the sport and have something new to add to the competition schedule,” he said. 
  • Two magical creatures, inspired by Brazil’s fauna and flora, have been unveiled as the official mascots for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The mascots, who will be named by a public poll which was due to end on December 14th, feature various pop culture influences along with elements of animation and computer game characters. “The Rio 2016 mascots represent the diversity of our culture, of our people,” said Rio 2016 brand director Beth Lula. “They represent our joy, our way of being. Both are magical creatures with super powers and relate naturally with the young audience, whom we want to engage with our event so much.”  
  • A PE student has been praised by the RLSS after helping to save the lives of his family – just three weeks after completing a lifesaving course. Twenty-year-old Ashley Matthews kept his head and helped to get his parents and girlfriend to safety after their hired boat capsized 800m off the coast of Majorca during a sudden squall. Ashley, who completed RLSS UK’s national pool lifeguard qualification three weeks before the holiday, said: “I never dreamed I’d need the skills so soon or that they’d help my own family. Doing the course made a huge difference. You never know when you might need the skills you learn. As we found out, things can happen in the blink of an eye. One minute we were plodding along in the boat and the next we were in the water.”

To get the full story and read more of this month’s news stories, click here to purchase the January 2015 issue of Swimming Times


This Life


It’s been a year of change for Tom Daley and his new coach, Jane Figueiredo – and in the coming months they plan to unveil a new dive in the Olympic diver’s native city. They told Swimming Times about their progress, hopes, plans – and new team-mates. 

Tell us about your training schedule with Tom.

Since I started coaching Tom, I have always given him a pretty tough schedule. I didn’t want to let up. I think we have a lot of work to do. I feel like we need to be doing the work now. And then, as we get closer to the Olympics, we will work a bit more on quality and those kind of things. He knows he’s got to work a lot so we’re training six days a week – twice a day except Saturday and he’s off on Sundays. All of those are water days and three are also weight days. We’ve been doing a lot of dry-land work – preparation for this new dive and getting his strength. 

We are also making sure we stay away from injuries so continuing the really great strength-and-conditioning that we’ve been doing. So far, so good. 

Remaining injury-free is key for him. That 10m board can be hard on your body. I have to pace him and make sure we’re not doing too much but that we are doing enough. 

How do you think Tom has settled in?  He’s had to relocate, away from his family, and he made that courageous revelation.

He’s extremely happy. And I am extremely happy with him. I’m proud of him. I’m proud of his courage. 

He’s a very confident person and I love that he pursued what he felt was right for him. A lot of kids and adults today like to sit in that comfort zone. 

When he asked me to come and be his coach, he also helped me to come out of my comfort zone. I couldn’t have picked a better opportunity, a better environment, a better group of kids to coach. And on top of that, a great group of federation people to work with, who have embraced everything that I have brought to the table and supported everything I have done, especially Alexei Evangulov [national performance director], who believes in me and brought me all the way from America.

How would you sum up the state of play?

I’m really happy. Everything has come together. The pressure is on us to perform. Getting up every day and really enjoying doing what you do is a pleasure. 

Tom, Emily and Georgia make my days awesome and I couldn’t be happier.

To read more from Jane as well as Tom’s thoughts on the past year and preparations for his new dive, you can click here to purchase a copy of the January 2015 issue of Swimming Times. 

Honesty Box

Nick Gillingham, the Olympic silver and bronze medal-winning 200m breaststroker, reveals his obsession with water, his passion for adventure, his love affair with horses – and how a nervous pony called Maverick broke his heart. 

I often dream about… having my own horse. A lot of kids might say that but I’m 47. I rode before I joined the swimming club, I went to the local stables. I loved the sense of freedom it gave. My youngest boy knows this is one thing I dream about and a few months ago he said, “Daddy, I’ll buy you that horse.”
My parents couldn’t afford riding lessons or my own horse so I undertook voluntary work at the local stables in Walsall. At the end of the day, I could ride for free. It was like having my own horse. I was there from about the age of eight for three years.

The last concert or gig I went to was… Take That. Don’t laugh! I like them. It was when Robbie Williams joined them again. It was at the Sunderland Stadium of Light and it was a brilliant night.

My favourite way to relax is… feet up, slippers on, sitting down with the family, watching a great family film. Get the wood-burning stove on. We live in a very rural area: I get the old chainsaw, cut my logs, dry them up, chuck them on the stove and get them going.

To read more from Nick you can click here to buy the January 2015 issue of Swimming Times. 

Swimming Mum

As the rest of us prepare to ring out the old and ring in the new, Mum battles to adjust to her own changes – including life as an e.swimming mum

I recently received a concerned email from the editor. Now that I’m ‘home alone’, he wondered whether I’d be able to keep writing. Indeed, would I have anything swimming-related to write about? Interested though the readers are in my house sale and the antics of Shelly the ferret, they’re not really the stuff of which swimming magazines are made.

I reflected on this (I have much time for reflection these days). It’s certainly not the end of Swimming Mum but perhaps the end of Mum as we know her.

To be honest, it’s taking some adjustment – and a lot of the time I seem to be ‘e.swimming’. I’ve just acquired an iPhone (to the amusement of the children as it’s a wilful gadget and never seems to do what I want it to do) which means Swimming Daughter Junior can instant-message me at any time. 

Here’s a taste of my new life as a swimming mum:
‘....missing you already’
‘...the set today was really tough but I made the turnarounds LOL’
‘...really cold and the pool heater broke today so we had to do extra gym – aaarrgghh my legs ache’
‘...I am sooooo tired’
‘...goggles broken – I need new ones – can you get them here by tomorrow gf?’
‘...OMG had an honesty set today – well hard’
‘...the coach is pregnant! I think Junior’s a good name’
‘...please send money and cereal bars’

And here’s my favourite:
‘....this guy says everyone reads your article and it’s the best part of Swimming Times’

With this daily stream of information, I try to build up a mental picture of what’s she’s doing. Fortunately, this e.existence is interspersed with bursts of ‘the real thing’. 

To read more from Swimming Mum you can click here to purchase the January 2015 issue of Swimming Times.

New kids on the podium

Guildford City ended City of Leeds’ four-year reign as England’s junior league champions as the Surrey club won the inter-league title at the first attempt. 

Junior league newcomers Guildford City ended City of Leeds’ four-year reign as the Arena National Inter-League champions with victory at the first attempt in the Corby International Pool. While Leeds, who have won all four of their previous national inter-league finals, slipped to sixth place, the Surrey club recorded 15 wins and 11 second places as they built a victory margin of 35 points over runners-up Stockport Metro.

Guildford have now won eight galas out of eight since they entered the Milton Keynes Junior League for the first time in 2013.

“Two years ago, we made a decision that we should try to do something for the juniors,” said the club’s county squad coach, Sally Williamson. “We knew we needed to go in at the bottom and follow each step of the way. We won that and were promoted and this year we won Division One and beat Hillingdon.”

This victory denied last year’s national runners-up a place in the southern final and national semi-final, which Guildford also won to qualify for the Corby showdown at the earliest opportunity.

“Coming to the final was an unknown,” said Williamson. “We hadn’t been here before and, although we had beaten the southern teams, we had not swum against the northern clubs so we didn’t know. 

“We are delighted with the result. It’s absolutely amazing – an amazing day, an amazing atmosphere and an amazing result. And it was all about the team – a fantastic team effort.”

To read the rest of this article, including a look at some of the outstanding swims of the meet, click here to purchase the January 2015 issue of Swimming Times

Deaf-friendly swimming

Swimming lessons for deaf youngsters can be hard to find – but a three-year project aims to change all that, says Jane Greene Pettersson

When Daisy Williams was five-and-a-half months old, she was diagnosed as severely deaf. Daisy is Wendy and Fred Williams’ second child. They also have a son, Kris, and when the new baby did not seem to react to loud clapping or musical instruments, her parents, both musicians, had their suspicions that she may not be able to hear properly. 

They did not want to admit their fears to one another and they found the diagnosis very tough. 

However, Daisy was fitted with hearing aids and her parents gradually stopped worrying about what she would not be able to do. “When she was fitted with hearing aids at five-and-a-half months, it was like switching on a light bulb,” says Fred. Daisy quickly learned to sign and her parents hoped that she would be able to take part in all of the activities that her older brother enjoyed, including swimming. 

There is no reason why deaf children and young people should not be able to learn to swim but for many deaf children and young people, swimming lessons can be difficult to access. The acoustics of a swimming pool make it more difficult to hear, the teacher is usually on the poolside quite far from the children and although waterproof hearing aids are being developed, conventional hearing aids and cochlear implants have to be removed in water. 

Added to this, many swimming providers simply don’t know how to meet the needs of deaf children. 

This means that the children are doubly disadvantaged because not only is swimming a lifesaving skill and great fun but the ability to swim opens up a whole world of other water-based activities such as scuba diving, rowing, surfing and sailing. 

To read more of this article and learn: simple dos and don’ts for working with deaf young people; details of the National Deaf Children’s Society’s Deaf-Friendly Swimming Project as well as information on relevant workshops available to support teachers and coaches, click here to buy a copy of the January 2015 issue of Swimming Times.

Night swimming

Jo Mitchinson describes her first experience of night-time swimming at Bray Lake in Berkshire

Picture the scene: it’s July, tropical and the water is a balmy 21 degrees C. It’s still light at 10pm, the season’s going well and I decide I’m up for one last challenge. I bounce my idea off of Stuart Hacker – a fellow club member, who seems to have the same warped idea of fun as I do and, before I know it, we’re both going to a night swim in October. Then the promotion (guilt trip) to our club-mates starts. In a Facebook thread that reached nearly 300 comments, we managed to field very close to our entire race team. Nobody had done anything like this before.

Suddenly it’s September, the evenings are starting to draw in, it’s dark by 8pm, the water temperature is dropping. Then it’s October and there’s no denying it –it’s now pitch black by 7pm and the water temperature... I wouldn’t know. I stopped swimming outside weeks ago because it was too cold.

The day arrives. I pack my bag. My Hula Hoops and spare goggles are fast becoming the stuff of legend, but I knew I’d need to be better prepared for this one. Unfortunately, as I later discover, the one extra bag of crisps and the addition of a hugely hideous onesie that I packed aren’t quite enough. I should have thought through the goggle situation a little more. 

Arriving at the venue nice and early, I sit with my back to the lake, trying to ignore the group of swimmers who arrived and are insisting on peering into the water playing a game of ‘who can spot the biggest pike?’ This game grates on me – I hate fish, whether they are in the sea, lake, battered, tinned or on fish counters, where they insist on leaving the heads on in case you want to see how ugly it was when it was alive. I don’t eat them. I know they live in the water that I will swim in, but pointing them out makes me feel physically sick. The ‘spot the monster living in the lake’ game goes on for ages – so I go to register.

This is the only race I’ve ever done where I’ve collected the goody-bag at registration. This is a strange, unnerving experience, which doesn’t fill me with much confidence.

To read more from Jo and her battle with her goggles, glow-sticks and her over-eagerness to get in the water, click here to buy the January 2015 issue of Swimming Times. 


New Year, New You!

Making small but sustainable changes will help you to reach your healthy eating and weight management goals, says performance nutritionist Debbie Smith

Over the last year, we may have overindulged a little more than often or not done as much exercise as planned. For many of us, the New Year is the time to make a new start or try a little harder. Among popular New Year resolutions is the vow to lose weight and improve fitness. However, with the best intentions at this time, not many of us manage to keep up the good work throughout the year. 

Making small changes which are gradually incorporated into our lifestyle, rather than unrealistic promises all at once, means we should be able to sustain these as part of a healthy lifestyle – and not just for a few weeks. Research shows that people who diet tend to gain more weight in the long-term. 

Fad diets are usually ideal for a quick fix, often involving cutting out food groups, fasting or even supplementing meals. However, for most people this is not sustainable and will limit important nutrients that our body needs to function.  

Do you ever feel like you crave sugary foods? Need an energy boost so drink more caffeine? Can’t be bothered to cook so go for the easy, unhealthy option?

Our poor nutrition habits are often a result of fatigue. Although the quick solutions, such as drinking caffeine or having a sugary snack, may have short-term benefits, this can negatively impact on our long-term goals. The National Sleep Foundation suggests as a rule of thumb that adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep. 

We should try to improve our sleep hygiene to improve sleep quality and not just sleep duration, since this can have a big impact on our daily performance and nutrition habits, and ultimately your weight management.

You can find out more about the benefits of cutting sugar out of your diet and how planning and preparation plays a key part in sticking to a healthy diet by purchasing a copy of the January 2015 issue of Swimming Times

Memory lane

Former champion diver Anne Green Jessel recalls her eventful life in the pool and on the boards

I was born into a swimming family, the last girl to arrive, my older sisters eight, 14 and 16 years away from me. Poor Dad was hoping for a boy but it wasn’t to be. 

Mum and Dad were busy members of West Bromwich SC, sitting on committees and officiating at galas and eventually becoming life members. My sisters were already Midland and club swimmers and champions. Dad had an ambition that one of my sisters would swim the Channel but, by desire or design, this never happened.

One day, when I was toddling around, I was scooped up into the car and driven to the West Bromwich Gala Baths. I remember being carried into this big building and suddenly faced with a huge bath of blue water. From that day on, after my first introduction in the arms of my big teaching Sis, I was taken frequently and got used to the idea. I couldn’t stand up to paddle nor could I swim so I had to rely on my teaching Sis and her boyfriend carrying me around, dousing me up and down. 

After a while, I found myself in a harness being carried up and down the bath by someone who, to me, was a very old lady with a loud mouth. I didn’t like it.
At the galas, I watched my sisters swimming to victory and picking up trophies, their beaux playing water polo, Mum and Dad at opposite ends of the pool with stop watches. Between the galas I was taken to another big pool, but this time it was under a blue sky – the Kingfisher Lido near Kingswinford. I remember those lovely weekends, playing in the fountains during what seemed to be persistently lovely summers. 

It had a higher-up camping field and my soon-to-be brother-in-law took his youth squad on camping trips for treats. My sisters and I joined them. It was wonderful.

They apparently thought nothing of me wandering into the shallow end of the pool, where I could stand up and tried – oh so tried – to get my feet off the bottom. The old lady hadn’t been a great success with me over the last year. I was about five then.

Eventually, I could swim a little and retrieve myself after jumping in. It became the practice to move me slowly into the deeper water. with assistance, the goal being that they could plant me on the pooldeck midway down the length of the bath, stand on the opposite side and beckon me to jump in and swim across.

I didn’t like the idea much and they often had to patiently await my effort, offering bribes of lovely milkshakes on the way home. That usually did the trick and, with a struggle, I made it to the other side. However, on one occasion, I vividly remember almost reaching the other side but then starting to sink. 

Down I went, waiting to touch the bottom when I could give a good push up, but as I was making these plans, a body splashed down to my side, and my sister hoisted me up.

Amazingly, I hadn’t panicked, and surprisingly wanted to do it again straight after – then perhaps I’d get two milkshakes. And I did.

To read more about Anne’s swimming and diving achievements as she grew up, click here to buy the January 2015 issue of Swimming Times.

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