Inside January 2017 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

  • The ASA Aquatics Awards winners; ‘Ability not disability’ is the motto of Colchester Phoenix ASC, and Katie Yallop certainly lives up to that. Katie, who received the ASA Achievement Award for a Disabled Participant, has spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita leading to short stature and respiratory problems. Since she joined Phoenix, Katie’s swimming has gone from strength to strength.
  • Several of Britain’s leading swimming coaches are on the move in a post-Olympic reshuffle that includes changes to the format and structure of British Swimming’s national centres.
  • Forty-nine athletes have been selected for the British Para-Swimming Podium (13), Podium Potential (18) and Para-Academy (18) programmes as the sport enters the opening season of the 2020 Paralympic cycle.

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

Three in a row

Just three years after making their debut in the Arena Junior Inter-League final, Guildford City completed a hat-trick of wins at Corby – but the result was in doubt until the closing stages.

Guildford City became only the fourth team to win three consecutive titles in the national junior league final. Just three years after winning the Arena Junior Inter-League Competition at the first attempt, the Surrey club completed a hat-trick of wins at Corby International Pool. Only City of Liverpool (1992-96), Borough of Kirklees (2005-07) and City of Leeds (2010-13) have won three or more consecutive finals in the competition’s 38-year history.

But Guildford did not have it all their own way. A resurgent City of Leeds team – winners four years running until they slipped to sixth in 2014 – tracked them all the way while an improved Plymouth Leander team were never too far away. Leeds were only six points behind after 36 of the 49 events but six wins in the last nine relays helped Guildford to extend their lead to 21 points by the end.

After winning the National Arena League cup final in Cardiff by one point in April, Guildford remain the only team to hold both titles at the same time. Sally Williamson, the club’s county squad coach, said: ‘To win this title three years in a row is beyond our expectations.

‘We also broke four records and won the squadron relay for the first time. It shows we are continuing to produce good young swimmers. But really it’s all about being a team. You can’t do it on your own – you need your team-mates.’

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Top of the pile 

With eight titles out of the 12 competitive events, the outstanding club at the ASA national synchro age groups was Reading Royals but there were many other fine performances.

Reading’s head coach Kelly-Anne Russell was justifiably pleased with her club’s swimmers. ‘I’m so proud of our club for winning so many medals,’ she said, ’and so many individuals delivering their best results. In the competitive events, we took 8 out of the 12 available golds and all our teams were on the podium. This was a massive achievement for our club.

‘We have worked incredibly hard this year to try and raise our standard and our routines. Not only were the results outstanding but so were our performances, the swims were something I was immensely proud of.

‘It makes the many many hours of hard work and coaching worth it to see how delighted the swimmers were. One of my 12 and under’s told me: “Winning gold today has been the best day of my life!” Reading Royals went home from Nationals a tired and extremely happy club.’

It would be fair to say though that the outstanding swimmers were undoubtedly Kate Shortman and Isabelle Thorpe from the City of Bristol, who were instrumental in the solo and duet golds in their club’s three victories.

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All together now 

There was innovation and style with male and female athletes at the ASA Masters Synchronised Swimming Champs at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Centre in Rugby in November.

Now that both sexes can compete in synchro together, this was a championship where, for the first time, men also appeared on the podium. But there was no doubt about the dominant club: Seymour Synchro with six gold medals.

The first came in the 25-29yrs free solo, where Yixin Zeng improved on her tech routine score to take the top spot. She scored 141.702 overall, taking 71.867 in the free solo for her classically-inspired routine.

The next solo gold came from Natasha Rukazenkova-Cleverly, who won the 30-39yrs age group. Her free was not as strong as her tech, but her tango routine brought her score to 128.481.

Also securing solo gold was City of Preston’s Fiona Howarth who wore a blue swirl patterned costume for the free and caught the judges’ eyes, making an overall score of 132.715 in the 40-49yrs age group. ‘I’ve been swimming since I was 12,’ she said, ‘and coaching from 15. Synchronised swimming to me is absolute variety. It’s creative, it’s competitive, it’s fun, it works strength, flexibility, fitness. It just covers everything.’

To read more of this championship coverage click here to buy Swimming Times 

Jorja Brown

The Rushmoor and Great Britain synchronised swimmer describes her career highlights and her plans for the future and explains her recent decision to retire as an athlete.

Tell us about some of the challenges you faced as an athlete.

The biggest challenge I have faced is fighting injury. I have always had trouble with my left shoulder acting up during high intensity training causing me a lot of pain and, in some cases, I wouldn’t be able to do anything that involved putting pressure through it. I’ve had broken toes and fractured feet. It’s a brutal sport!

Towards the end of my career and leading up to my last competition (Europeans May 2016), I had to have endless physiotherapy and a cortisone injection in it to hide the pain so that I was able to compete as well as I needed to for my last competition.

Would you recommend synchro to youngsters?

I would 100 per cent recommend synchro to younger kids both girls and boys. Synchro is such a fun way of staying fit and healthy and you get to meet loads of new people and make lifelong friends.

You can do it for fun or competitively, and it’s just something a bit different to other sports. Not many people can say they can hold their breath for about two minutes! You learn something new every session.

To read the full article click here to buy Swimming Times.  

People who swim 

The founder and CEO of Cambridge-based charity Power2inspire, which promotes inclusion through sport, has been on his own Olympic journey over the last 12 months with a challenge that saw him take on all of the disciplines featured in Rio during the summer. 

John Willis, who was born without forearms and lower legs, completed his own Road2Rio when he pledged to take part in all 34 Olympic and Paralympic sports, from swimming, synchro,diving and water polo to judo and boccia and plenty more.

Through this challenge John increased awareness of inclusive sports and raised almost £10,000 towards delivering the PowerHouse Games, an inclusive sports events bringing together disabled and non-disabled children and young people.

To read more on this topic click here to buy Swimming Times magazine. 

Fast lane 

Jimmy Rogers celebrates swimming’s rarity value as one of the few sports that you can readily do throughout your life…

One-liners attributed to swimming or swimmers are quite common: ‘Masters swimmers don’t die, they just float away.’ ‘Home is where my pool is.’ ‘Keep calm and keep swimming.’ ‘Swimming is like riding a bike.’ (Except it isn’t. I never did understand that quote.)    

Most quotes are anonymous but multi-Olympian Dara Torres (USA) declared in her autobiography: ‘The water doesn’t know how old you are.’ Now that’s a comforting thought!

What strikes me about these quotes is that they all refer to swimming as a constant thing – something you can continue to do as a pastime even after retirement. This may seem obvious but, as regular swimmers, we know it to be true: armed with just a costume, towel and goggles, we can go to a local pool and simply swim. Even retired water polo players can swim with a ball if they’ve a mind to. But how many other sports are the same? It’s true that you never lose the ability to do a particular sport but actually being able to do it as a pastime is more difficult.

To read the full article click here to buy Swimming Times.  

Honesty Box

The ASA’s 2015-16 president reveals that he once advised the Home Secretary on the rehabilitation of young offenders and why he gets regular emails from NASA

I often dream about… travelling in the ISS (International Space Station). I get an email from NASA when the station is passing over Plymouth.

Very often when the sky is clear, I look out of our front door and just think what a wonderful view the astronauts must have of our planet. Such a pity that we are a bit slow in learning how to look after it.

If I could bring about change, I would… plead to government ministers to stop changing previous policies particularly in sport, education and health as soon as they change departments. Please listen to the to the professionals in these fields, make a decision and then stick with it or at least don’t go off on a completely different pathway. Please can we have some stability so everyone can just get on with it.

To read more click here to buy Swimming Times.  

Ben Cross 

The 11-year-old Yorkshire county age group champion describes his appearance on the Victoria Derbyshire Show, where he asked questions of swimmer Jazz Carlin and diver Jack Laugher

We understand that you have been interviewing the swimming stars.

Yes, first of all, I was asked to interview Fran Halsall before Rio. I wasn’t nervous or anything. I had met Fran several times while I’d been at Loughborough Uni pool and she had always spoken to me and answered any of my questions. I spent the afternoon with Fran and her dog Blu while she was being interviewed by different companies. I then went poolside with Fran and asked my questions. As always, she was open and honest with all her answers, even the odd tricky question I’d dropped in.

And then you were involved with the BBC and the homecoming parade?

Yes, I was really excited. Emails were pinging away between my dad and Elaine, from the Victoria Derbyshire Show, saying when the programme was and what would be happening and who was attending. When I saw that Jazz Carlin, Ellie Simmonds and Ellie Robinson were going, I was really up for it. I had to ask for permission to have the time off school, but my school fully supported it.

Were there many stars there?

Yes, the programme started and I was amazed at the number of Olympians and Paralympians in the room with me. It was making me nervous. The programme was funny and upbeat. I was then passed a mike and told to be ready for my question. Victoria introduced me and I stood up and asked Jazz my question. She couldn’t think of an answer, but luckily Jack Laugher could answer it. 

To read more Click here to buy Swimming Times.  

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