Inside July 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

  • In less than five hours of swimming at the Invictus Games in Orlando, Florida, Team UK won a total of 44 medals - 18 gold, 16 silver and 10 bronze
  • Water polo teams from the North West of England had the upper hand at the 2016 British Championships, which took place at GL1 Leisure Centre in Gloucester. All of the finals were hotly contested, with Manchester and Liverpool Lizards claiming eventual victory in the men’s and women’s competitions respectively
  • The British para-swimming team finished the IPC Swimming European Championships in Madeira with 46 medals including 22 golds.

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

Mission accomplished 

The timing of a home European Championships a few weeks after the Olympic trials posed some unusual challenges for Britain’s swimmers and coaches – and 22 medals was a healthy return for a team focused on Rio.

It could hardly have started less auspiciously as one of Britain’s two individual world champions stuttered to ninth place in his 400m freestyle heat, 27th overall and fourth even among the four GB contenders. Seven-and-a-half days later it could hardly have ended more gloriously as Britain’s women’s and men’s medley relay teams – the latter featuring that same world champion and the other one – delivered a golden double finale to the home crowd in London. Such is the rollercoaster of sport, such were the inevitable vagaries of 
a European Championships featuring teams and individuals at various stages of training and tapering – some nations using it as their Olympic trials, some in heavy training, some at other points in the cycle.

The British team – especially the Olympic squad – were firmly in the ‘training through’ category, as they constantly reminded journalists in their mixed zone interviews.

Head coach Bill Furniss explained their thinking. ‘Most of our guys had at least a two-week tapering to the trials,’ he said. ‘Then there was a week at the trials and a three-week space to here and then these championships. There is no way you can 
do it all. You’re talking seven weeks of compromised training. The choice for me was how could we use this productively and still treat the meet with respect.’

To read the full article and discover the highs and lows of the event, click here to buy the July 2016 issue.  

Top of the table

Eleven diving medals was Britain’s best-ever return from a European championships by some distance and it took them to the top of the medals table.

The British team will be – and should be – extremely pleased with their superb performance in London after topping the table with 11 medals from 13 events (three gold, five silver and three bronze). Their best ever European championships by far, and for which they were awarded the champions trophy.

Tom Daley was again at the forefront after individual gold from the 10m, gold with Grace Reid in the mixed 3m and silver with Dan Goodfellow in the 10m synchro. He also received the LEN Trophy for best European diver of 2015.

Jack Laugher took silver in the 3m individual and gold with partner Chris Mears in the 3m synchro. Tonia Couch grabbed silver in the 10m with team-mate Georgia Ward taking bronze, as she did with partner Matty Lee in the team event and also silver with Matty in the 10m team.
Rebecca Gallantree and Alicia Blagg secured silver in the 3m synchro while Grace Reid also took bronze in the 3m.

What more could be asked from Tom and our other divers? Just that they now need to replicate that form in Rio.

To see the full article and results, click here to buy the July 2016 issue.  

Russian gold

There were good improvements from the British synchro girls in the European Championships but the Russians dominated every event they entered.

If you think of the best in diving, you think China. In synchro, you think Russia – best in the world in all events – and so it proved against European opposition in London.

They won all eight events they entered and only chose not to swim in the free team finale, almost as a gift to near neighbours the Ukraine, who had until then taken six silvers out of eight events. And with that last gold, they (somewhat misleadingly) managed to overtake Russia in the team tally to clinch the overall team trophy.

More information can be found in the July issue of Swimming Times

All in it together 

Ten thousand swimmers from 48 countries converged on the London Aquatics Centre for a European Masters Championships that broke records in more ways than one.

It was always going to be huge. You take an already proven event, place it in the premier swimming venue in the world, the iconic London Aquatics Centre; in one of the most accessible capitals in the world; and a must-visit destination; and then to ramp up demand even further, the major international masters events for the two preceding years are held first in a relatively expensive place for Europeans to travel to (Montreal) and second in an unheard-of and difficult-to-visit venue (Kazan) and you have created the perfect conditions for a successful event.

The 10,000-plus swimmers scheduled to compete in 28,000 swims over the five-day meet provided a logistical nightmare and what should have been a fabulous event was blighted by having to deal with the sheer numbers in a venue with a maximum capacity of 4,000.

I could easily fill my next 12 months’ columns with the issues and problems which beset London 2016. Social media was awash with photographic evidence of the chaos, the queues and the occasional spot of downright confusion but, actually, the Local Organising Committee (LOC), under the direction of Tom Chambers, worked hard to deal with all of the issues and, by day three, there were some dramatic improvements.

Trying to give a balanced assessment of the week, it just about worked. The fact that the event was deemed successful is a tribute to the hard work and absolute dedication of the officials and volunteers who put in some very long shifts and the beleaguered LOC, who went over and above the call of duty to ensure that the meet worked in a fashion.

To read more from the masters you can click here to buy a copy of July's Swimming Times 

Golden hat-tricks 

British divers Michael Barnes, Jennifer Cluskey and Dennis Rowe each achieved a hat-trick of gold medals as they dominated their age groups in the diving events at the European Masters Championships.

Their winnings contributed to a tally of 22 gold, 12 silver and 14 bronze medals for British divers.

Between them, Rowe from Highgate DC and Southend’s Cluskey had the 65-69 age group sewn up, Rowe winning the 1m and 3m springboard and 10m platform, Cluskey the equivalent women’s events.

Barnes also won all three available titles in the 35-39 age group. He secured the platform gold with a controlled final dive that edged him ahead of Denmark’s Jimmi Andersen, who scored 285.00 to the City of Leeds diver’s 287.90.

To read the full feauture, click here to buy a copy of the July 2016 issue of Swimming Times.

Road to Rio 

Ben Proud, Britain’s Plymouth-based freestyle and butterfly sprint specialist, discusses his Malaysian upbringing, how he got into swimming, the importance of nutrition and his approach to training

What’s a typical day in the life of Ben Proud like?

Up at 6am, in the water at 7am. It tends to be quite speed-focused. Then I go home and have breakfast, then go to the gym.

In the gym, it tends to be a lot of heavy lifting, trying to get as much muscle mass as possible. At about 4 o’clock we come back to the pool for a second swim session. This is six hours a day, six days a week with Sunday as a rest day.

What do you think about when you’re swimming?

Anything and everything. You can be swimming and thinking about completely random stuff but a lot of the time when we’re training we’re just thinking about what we’re doing in the water. Obviously being a sprinter, everything’s about technique, so you’re just focusing on what you’re doing and trying to finesse the stroke. 

You can hear more from Ben in the July issue of Swimming Times

Rosie Morris 

Honesty box with Rosie Morris, the former Great Britain water polo captain. 

If I could bring about change, I would… flip round the working week and weekends so that everyone has five-day weekends, followed by just two days of work. Loads more time to have fun, see friends and be active!

My ultimate indulgence is…cake! Unfortunately I’ve got the world’s sweetest tooth, so I like to tuck into cake a bit too often. I try and save my ‘cake fests’ for weekends and I’ve sussed out the best places around for the ultimate pieces of cake.

My ideal dinner party guests would be… my old GB water polo team-mates. We’re the closest group of friends imaginable, but unfortunately don’t all live near each other any more, with some of the girls scattered as far as Australia, New Zealand and Spain. During the time we trained together we formed such strong friendships, going through every emotion possible together as a team, from elation in victory, devastation in defeat, to do everything we could to push each other to the limits.

Whenever we’re back together we have most unbelievably good times, with ridiculous amounts of laughter reminiscing over stories from the many years we trained and played together, so no doubt the dinner party would be a blast!

You can read more from Rosie in the July issue of Swimming Time, click here to buy your copy.

Fast lane   

Whether it’s 200mph in a racing car, 47mph on a bike or 5mph in a swimming pool, speed is exciting to watch as well as to experience, says former England swimmer Jimmy Rogers.

I went for a ride on my bike recently. The aim was to cycle locally at a comfortable, leisurely pace and take in the views that surround the town where I live. The hill that wound gently down to the playing fields changed all that. I’d forgotten just how exciting a hill can be. 

Checking no-one was watching, I set off. What a rush! Wind blasting into my face at breakneck speed and my little hairy legs going 10 to the dozen, it was fantastic. I was 13 again. I suspect that going fast under our own power excites most of us and probably goes back to our childhood. Descending a 1:10 gradient on our track or chopper bikes or being unable to outpace our legs as we ran down the steepest grass verge evokes great memories. Gravel imbedded scorch marks were invariably, but valiantly, conferred on our elbows and knees.

It’s no wonder we marvel at the likes of sprinter Usain Bolt. His 9.58 for 100 metres world record equates to a staggering 23.35mph. French track cyclist Francois Pervis’ legs must have been going like the clappers to have recorded 47.9mph while diver Tom Daley free falls at around 37mph. Surprisingly, even top race walkers get up a serious head of steam at around 9.5mph. Then, of course, there is Brazil’s Cesar Cielo Filho, the fastest swimmer in the world at 5.35mph. Say that again: 5.35mph. Clearly no chance of a friction burn occurring at that speed, and especially not by us mere mortals.

Read more from Jimmy in July's Swimming Times

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