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.
- Georgia Davies posted a warning to her Commonwealth Games rivals when she toppled one of Gemma Spofforth’s British records at the Flanders Speedo Cup in Antwerp. But no-one was more surprised than the Welsh backstroker when she clocked a long-course time of 27.80 in a 50m final dominated by British swimmers.
- The British Water Polo League season ended with new names on the men’s and women’s trophies following the super fives showdown at Guildford. In the women’s competition, both Manchester and Otter won their penultimate matches, respectively beating Coventry 11-5 and Caledonia 16-8.
- Work on the University of Birmingham’s new £55m sports centre is set to begin in April – and the complex will give England’s second city its first 50m pool after a wait spanning decades and several false starts. The sports centre, which will be open to students, staff and the wider community, will also include an arena sports hall with seating for up to 900 spectators, six squash courts, six activity rooms for a wide range of sports and fitness classes, a 225-station gym and various other facilities.
- John Harrison has become the first British masters swimmer to compete in the 100-104yrs age group – and he gave a share of the credit for his record-breaking feats to Swimming Times. John, who will be 100 on July 21, set four world records and one European mark in short-course and long-course meets at Godalming, Surrey, and Crawley, Sussex. And he revealed that much of his motivation came from an article by Swimming Times editor Peter Hassall.
Amy Marren - After winning six medals at last year’s IPC World Championships, the 15-year-old from Essex is fast becoming the S9 swimmer everyone wants to beat.
It’s tempting to make comparisons between Amy Marren and the mighty Natalie du Toit. The 15-year-old competes in the same S9 classification that the South African Paralympian dominated for 10 years. Amy races in all strokes but rates breaststroke as her least favourite event, just like du Toit. And with a tally of two individual golds, two silvers and two relay golds from last summer’s IPC World Championships, she is fast becoming the S9 swimmer that everyone else wants to beat.
However, the similarities end there. Physically, the two could not be more different. The powerfully-built du Toit was an international able-bodied swimmer before she lost the lower half of her left leg in a road traffic accident when she was 17. Amy was born with no hand below her right wrist and retains a slender frame despite a punishing regime of 11 swims and two gym sessions a week.
'London was an absolutely fantastic experience for me. I just went there with the ambition to do well, enjoy myself and make the most of it because it was my first Games.’
Katie Dawkins - The new head coach of Reading SSC and former GB synchro swimmer reveals that her dad was a Commonwealth Games weightlifter.
"My dad was a massive role model, as he went to the Commonwealth Games for weightlifting and won two gold medals and a silver
"I love dancing and would love to learn how to do all the different styles on Strictly Come Dancing
"I often dream about…synchronised swimming and doing it completely wrong at a competition!"
Taking the Plunge
Deborah Yule took a big gamble to open her swim school but it’s already paying off
It’s too obvious a pun for a swimming magazine but one that could not be more apt. Tucked next to Mick’s Autos and the Al-Murad DIY store in the heart of post-industrial England is a plush private swim school built by a passionate entrepreneur who has staked her house on its success. Such is the school’s prestige that Tom Daley, Ellie Simmonds and even Mark Spitz apparently have parking spaces reserved, and such is its popularity that within months of opening last April it had reached capacity.
On a poolside gallery inside, mums ooze enthusiasm and flushed youngsters, buoyed by lessons, boast of their latest swimming feats. Radiant too is school owner, Deborah Yule, who took a costly and ambitious gamble in building the pool from scratch. Despite the risks, Deborah took the plunge. Her confidence is paying off.
They smashed it for Mags!Lewis Coleman’s star-studded team annihilated the 100x100m relay world record – but it’s the goodwill and emotion that the Sheffield event will be most remembered for.
The tears flowed at an emotional Ponds Forge as a star-studded squad set a new 100x100m world record as part of Lewis Coleman’s fund-raising campaign following his mother’s ongoing fight against leukaemia. Lewis had organised the event himself, starting from scratch, and by the time it came around, the City of Sheffield athlete had recruited a spectrum of participants from Olympic champions to club swimmers and past and present Great Britain internationals. It was the Coleman brothers, though, who commanded the spotlight with 10-year-old Oliver starting off the record bid and Lewis, 21, bringing it home to set a new record of 1 hour 29 minutes 3.78 seconds.
‘I was crying down the third and fourth lengths. It was overwhelming to have everyone cheering. It was such a great feeling. The pain, the ups and downs of these last 18 months – it’s just made it all great’
All points North
When a doctor told Channel swimmer Ed Williams he was obese, it was time for a new challenge…
'My name is Ed Williams. I’m a swimming teacher based in Cambridge but I also class myself as an extreme marathon swimmer. On August 14, 2006, aged 19, I completed my lifelong dream to swim solo across the English Channel. This 22-mile swim, considered by many as the hardest in the world, was what I dedicated my life to training for and suddenly all of that hard work had paid off. I remember saying to myself, ‘Never again!’ I got out of the water at Calais completely physically and mentally broken but with a huge sense of personal accomplishment.
“What does scare me is the marine life, in particular the dreaded lion’s mane jellyfish that can grow bigger in diameter than I am tall. That’s a huge animal to bump into and my understanding is that its sting packs quite a punch”’
Quick InterviewLarger-than-life TV chef Tom Kerridge discusses his love of swimming, how he lost five-and-a-half stone in weight and his brief career as a teenage actor.
"I worked up to swimming 1800m. I started doing 30 lengths, which I found very difficult. Then I did 60 lengths about five times in a week. By the end of that week I was absolutely exhausted and went back to doing a 30-length swim.
"Apart from a couple of celebrations, such as my 40th birthday, I have been completely teetotal for a year and still am. I can’t do things by halves. I find it hard to do things a little bit.
"I went to a youth theatre when I was young with my mate, Mark Neil, so we weren’t hanging around with the naughty boys. I got a part in Miss Marple as a borstal boy. I was a bully on children’s TV. In London’s Burning."
To wear or not to wear? That is the question as Zoe Cheale considers local education authority bans on the use of goggles in school swimming lessons.
‘My local education authority has instructed schools that unless there is a written medical note to the contrary, pupils are not allowed to wear goggles in their school swimming lessons. As an experienced PE teacher, I’ve been aware of the ’goggle/no goggle’ debate for some time and, in the past, I would probably have accepted that they had their reasons and would have been happy to go along with the stance taken. Now, however, after being trained as a specialist in helping people overcome their fear of water, I take quite a different view.
‘One of the key things we do in our ‘conquer fear’ lessons is introduce nervous new learners to goggles – and their reactions are wonderful! Many have never worn goggles before but they come up smiling and happy. Their attitude to being underwater is fundamentally transformed. It helps them to stay calm, not to panic, and it allows them to concentrate on other things, as it takes away one of their concerns.’
Leanne Shapton: Swimming Studies. From Olympic trials in Canada to naked swimming in Sweden… Peter Hassall reviews one woman’s eccentric account of her relationship with the sport.
I was pleased to be quickly drawn into this book. Descriptions of why people swim or what it means to them fascinate me and Leanne’s opening did just that: ‘Water is elemental, it’s what we’re made of, what we can’t live within or without. Trying to define what swimming means to me is like looking at a shell sitting in a few feet of clear, still water. There it is, in sharp focus, but once I reach for it, breaking the surface, the ripples refract the shell. It becomes five shells, twenty-five shells, some smaller, some larger, and I blindly feel for what I saw perfectly before trying to grasp it.’
Now you can win ‘Swimming Studies’ - We want to hear about your involvement in swimming, whether as a driven athlete or fitness or masters swimmer or occasional ‘dipper’ or parent. What drives you to swim? Or to take your children swimming? Why do you do it?.....