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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

  • Marathon swimmer Ed Williams has joined the so-called ‘Four-hour Club’ after swimming from Europe to Africa in the impressive time of 3hr 51min. He survived a near-miss with a giant tanker and enjoyed an equally close encounter with dolphins before joining a select group of swimmers who have swum the 8.8 miles of the Gibraltar Strait in less than four hours. The swim, which forms part of 28-year-old Ed’s attempt at the Oceans Seven Challenge, is expected to raise thousands of pounds for the international water charity Wateraid.

  • Australian distance legend Grant Hackett will be heading for this summer’s world championships in Kazan, Russia, following a dramatic comeback in the national trials. The 2000 and 2004 Olympic 1500m freestyle champion swam his way back into the Aussie team with fourth place in the 200m freestyle, which secured a place in the 4x200m freestyle relay squad. At 35, he will be the oldest member of the 38-strong team by almost seven years. Hackett, who retired six years ago and has battled personal problems including an addiction to sleeping pills, recorded a time of 1:46.84 on the back of just six months’ training.

  • Mount Kelly swimmer Ollie Taverner set a British 13yrs age group record when he recorded a long-course time of 1:07.98 for the 100m breaststroke at Portsmouth. The time lowered a record held for seven years by Craig Benson, who went on to swim the event in the London Olympic Games. Taverner, from Hertfordshire, set the record just three weeks before his 14th birthday. He and his family are currently seeking sponsorship to help him stay at the Devon school, formerly known as Kelly College.

To read more of the latest news stories, click here to purchase the July 2015 issue of Swimming Times.  

Aiming High

Swimming Times assesses British prospects for the IPC World Championships in Glasgow, where Bethany Firth will be one to watch following her nationality switch from Ireland to Britain.

Bethany Firth broke three world records the last time she swam in Glasgow so expectations of what she might achieve at the IPC World Championships at Tollcross International Pool in July are pretty high. The 19-year-old isn’t fazed however.

‘There are always people expecting you to do well when you step into the pool,’ she says. ‘I’m trying not to think about it, but just get on with my training and work hard on the things that need to go well on the day.’

Firth will be making her debut for the British Para-swimming team, having switched nationality last year. Born in Seaforde, County Down, Firth won gold for Ireland at the London Paralympic Games when she was only 16, in the S14 100m backstroke. The fact that five years earlier she had been terrified of water and had to be coaxed gradually into swimming by her school teachers made the Paralympic win all the more impressive.

To view the full preview to the IPC World Champs, click here to purchase a copy of the July 2015 issue of Swimming Times.  

This Life 

Buoyant response to Thames pool plan

Diving into the clean, warm waters of the capital’s river for your regular swim is a step closer to becoming a reality after the movement to bring swimming back to the Thames raised cash, support and hopes during the first phase of its public campaign.

The plans for a floating freshwater lido attracted more than £142,000 from 1,273 backers worldwide during the 30-day crowd-funding campaign on the website kickstarter.com.

This exceeded the target set by the creators Thames Baths, the community interest company behind the proposal, whose goal of reaching £125,000 was realised four days early. Contributors, eager for the opportunity to swim in filtered, clean river water, gave between £2 and £5,000 in exchange for rewards ranging from a free swim to lifetime membership.

To find out more about plans to create a floating lido in the River Thames click here to buy the July 2015 issue of Swimming Times. 

Honesty Box

Kevin Renshaw, head coach of the National Centre at Loughborough, reveals his family’s sporting connections and explains why he’s an admirer of Genghis Khan.

I wouldn’t be where I am now without… my dad. He got me into swimming. He influenced me massively – he influenced me by hard work – work hard to get what you want. I’m from a long line of coal-mining (in the families) and my dad was the first one who didn’t go into the coal mines but he worked really hard to the point where I hardly ever saw him because he had three jobs. He instilled a massive work ethic in me and has always supported me in anything I wanted to do. Funnily enough, he was [Bath NC coach] Dave McNulty’s coach as well. So my dad coached me but it’s not the coaching bit really that has influenced how I coach – it has influenced how I am. Huge work ethic and all that.

The last time I cried was… when my gorgeous little girl Maisie was born on June 30, 2014. The day she was born, I had a right good cry. Or even a few days after just looking at her. Just sitting watching her in her cot.

I just appreciate it more. I think, as a younger guy, I was probably a bit more blasé and thought I could just live my life the way I had always lived it after the boys were born. But, with Maisie, it’s not that I have to, it’s that I want to – I want to be there at all the special times and all the special moments. I don’t want to miss things. Little things that she does make me incredibly happy and give me a massive emotional response.

To read more from Kevin you can click here to buy a copy of the July 2015 issue of Swimming Times.

Good Neighbours

A North Yorkshire trust has embraced its community to ensure its sports facilities appeal to the public – and attendances are growing, as Swimming Times reports.

A leisure trust in North Yorkshire has taken a neighbourly approach to get more people in the pool more often. The Richmondshire-based provider has embraced its local community to make sure its multi-sport facilities appeal to the needs of the people it serves. As a result, the number of casual swimming attendances increased by 15 per cent last year and next year, they plan to mark the 40th anniversary of the pool by encouraging even more people to take to the water.

Richmondshire Leisure Trust (RLT) is a charitable leisure management organisation operating on a not-for-profit basis. It has the freedom to reinvest any surplus income directly into its own activities. The trust is made up of three facilities: Richmond Swimming Pool, the only public pool in the district; Colburn Leisure Centre; and Liberty Health Club.

Richmondshire is one of the most sparsely populated areas in the country, with a total population of just 55,000 over 509 square miles. Much of the district is rural with a large part located within the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It is also home to the largest military establishment in the country, Catterick Garrison.

To read more about this determined leisure trust and their plans click here to buy a copy of the July 2015 issue.  

Bristol Synchro  

Following the City of Bristol’s excellent showing in the ASA National Synchronised Swimming Championships, Swimming Times caught up with their head coach Maria Shortman. 

Why do you think you managed such success at the nationals and how would you describe the events from your club’s perspective?

‘This was an amazing competition for City of Bristol. The three team events are now separate competitions in their own right.

‘Last year, we won two out of the three team events so to win the technical, free and combination teams this year was particularly special. To build a strong senior team is the culmination of six or seven years or more of work.

‘Some of these swimmers swam their first novice team when they were about eight. It is a whole team effort and there have been many excellent club coaches – including Tricia Maggs and Georgie Coombs – involved along the way in the development of these swimmers.’

Is your club the top club in the country now and who are your main rivals?

‘We are strong across a number of age groups right now. We are working hard to be competitive across all the age groups – but so is everyone else. These things move in cycles and it is sure to be another club’s turn soon. Our main rivals are different in each age group but our strongest competitors are still Rushmoor, Reading and Leeds.’

To hear more of Maria’s thoughts on the world of synchro, click here to purchase the July 2015 issue of Swimming Times. 

Struggle for Success 

Sedgefield head coach George Carpenter reflects on his club’s recent victory in the ASA national age group boys’ u17 water polo champs.

You were one of only two clubs to beat Manchester in all the age group finals. Why do you think you managed that and how would you describe the final?

‘We seem to have a very good record against Manchester in ASA competitions. Since we started out in 1997, we have won seven and drawn one against them. In general, though, we have a very good record against most of the big city clubs. There is no magic formula except the hard work from our great committee, the talented coaching team and, of course, the players and parents.

‘The final went to plan by all accounts from Richard Cousins the coach (Richard and Rudolf Reichel are my right hand men), till halfway through the final period, when a Manchester fightback reduced our four-goal lead to one. To be fair, we were not that happy with our performances in the competition, as we conceded too many goals and usually had twice as many majors as the team we were playing. We also managed to lose two qualifying games.

‘We certainly were not favourites to win or even make the final but we challenged the players to really perform at their very best and show their bottle when it really mattered and they certainly did.

To read the full interview click here to purchase the July 2015 issue of Swimming Times.  

Diving Family

Swimming Times meets brother and sisters William, Abigail, Poppy and Maisie Bond, all competitive divers with City of Sheffield DC.

There have been many sporting siblings down the years. Think Venus and Serena Williams in tennis. Gary and Phil Neville in football. Boxing has had the two Klitschko brothers, Vitaliy and Vladimir, cricket Mark and Steve Waugh while three Trufant brothers have competed in the NFL. But they pale in comparison with the scene at Ponds Forge, where four members of the Bond family are to be found competing for City of Sheffield Diving Club, the same club who, until recently, were represented by three Fowler sisters.

Twelve-year-old twins William and Abigail were first to tread the boards followed by Poppy, now 10, and eight-year-old Maisie.

Mother Anita is a former gymnast and county runner but had no background in diving. Instead, she wanted to ensure that her children were strong and safe in the water to which they were all introduced at weeks old. Diving then beckoned five years ago, when the twins’ PE teacher recommended they try diving taster sessions, which led to lessons where they were spotted by coach Nigel Mills.

To read more about this unique diving family click here to purchase a copy of the July 2015 issue of Swimming Times.  

Quick Interview... Matthew Hoggard

Former England bowler Matthew Hoggard is hoping to raise £10,000 for charity by taking the plunge in the Great Swims series. He describes his training, his swimming background and his life after cricket to Swimming Times.

Tell us about your swimming background.

‘I learned to swim as a child but my favourite stroke was breaststroke so I used to swim that rather than freestyle. I liked messing about in water and diving off platforms and surfing but it was a holiday thing really. I didn’t swim up-and-down lengths very often.

‘When I was about 17, I started playing cricket fairly seriously. We did a lot of stretching and cool-down work in the pool, and water polo. Water polo was good. You didn’t have to do much swimming – you just tried to drown the opposition. I loved it. This was part of the England training, especially in hot countries – going to the pool after nets and training, when you are hot and sweaty.’

How do you come to be taking part in the Great Swims?

Dominic McMullan of Ganadores Sports Marketing asked me if I liked swimming, and getting into lakes appeals to me much more than swimming in a pool. And the charity Cricket Without Boundaries does some great work. So I thought it would be a great thing to do and it would also help me to lose some weight, hopefully. I’m hoping to raise £10,000. I have done a few dinners for charity and a few companies will be putting money into it. I’m planning to do four of the five Great Swims, starting with the Great North Swim in Windermere in mid-June. The only one of the five I can’t do is the Great London Swim, which is a shame, but I will be working at the Ashes test match at Lords, looking after commercial clients.’

To read the full interview and discover how Matthew’s preparing for the Great Swims click here to purchase a copy of the July 2015 issue of Swimming Times.  

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