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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

  • World-famous endurance swimmer, Lewis Pugh, has set a new record for the most southerly swim in human history. The Briton completed a 350m swim in the Bay of Whales, which lies in the Ross Sea in the Antarctic Ocean. It lies 78.5 degrees south and is the most southerly point on the planet where it is possible to swim. Pugh completed the swim in conditions that were considered harsh even by Antarctic standards – a water temperature of minus 1C, an air temperature of minus 37C and a wind gusting at 40 knots (46mph).

  • Open water swimmers are hoping to raise £30,000 to buy their favourite lake and ‘preserve the true nature of the Lake District’. Their target is Stickle Tarn in Langdale which covers 24 acres and is up for sale. Pete Kelly, spokesman for the Lake District Open Water Swimmers, said that if each of its 4,000 members contributed between £50 and £100, the club could buy it from the national park. “It’s a great place for open water swimming and we’d love to play a part in protecting the Lake District,” he said.

  • Plans have been put forward to build a freshwater swimming pool complex just off the north bank of the River Thames in the centre of London. The lido, close to the Victoria Embankment, would include riverside changing rooms and a 130ft ramp leading to three pools – a 25m pool, a children’s paddling pool and a plunge pool. A 4ft glass balustrade would protect swimmers from the waves generated by river traffic. Reed beds would be used to filter water from the river. There would also be a secondary filtration system under the poolside decking.

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

This Life

Britain’s double Olympic freestyler Adam Brown tells Roger Guttridge about his recent decision to retire, his new family, his career highlights and his coaching influences. 

We were slightly surprised at news of your retirement, as various mixed zone interviews seemed to imply that you were in it at least through to Rio. So why now?

It was just the right time for me. It was a very tough decision, as swimming has been a big part of my life for so long. It came down to a couple of major factors. The first was being left off the Lottery funding. When you go from making enough money to pay your rent, food and other living expenses to absolutely nothing, it changes your mindset. All I was thinking about was how would I afford to live on a day-to-day basis.

The second thing was my family. As most people know, my wife, Mary, and I had a baby in July 2014, right before the Commonwealth Games. At that time, all I wanted to do was go home and be with my wife and new baby girl, but I chose to stick it out with the English team and compete in Glasgow. Now that I have retired, I can spend more time with my family, which is awesome – especially since I live about two-and-a-half hours away from my wife and baby at the moment.

To find out more about Adam’s family life, his future plans and his comments on the various coaches he has worked with, click here to purchase a copy of the April 2015 issue of Swimming Times.  

Honesty Box

Fran Williamson - multiple Paralympic medallist and former S3 world record-holder - reveals that her first novel is almost complete and how her heart was broken by a box of chocolates. 

My ideal dinner party guests would be… Nelson Mandela, Stephen King, Queen (the band) and Sesame Street’s Big Bird. A random selection, I know. The first three are amazing leaders in their fields, so the conversation would be awesome. As for Big Bird… Well, you need a bit of lightheartedness at every dinner party.

Before I die, I want to… I want to do lots of things before I die! Publish a book, see the world, change the lives of others (for the better, obviously), and maybe bring up an amazing child. Not much, really. I’ve been lucky enough to travel a lot of the world already. However, much of it was when I was young or swimming (so too busy to sightsee). So, I’d like to do it all again. A tour of Australia or New Zealand would be high on the list.

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

Cold Comfort

Chilblains, asthma and poor circulation hardly sound like the ideal qualifications for the UK Cold Water Swimming Championships. But Jo Mitchinson entered, swam – and survived to tell the tale.

I have appalling circulation in my hands and feet, which means I am always cold and get chilblains every winter. I am also a chronic asthmatic, who frequently needs medical support just to form a sentence when the weather turns cold quickly. In addition to this, I am 5ft 4in tall (on a good day) and weigh 56kgs. I am, putting it mildly, far too small to do any damage over a short sprint and have always struggled to compete with swimmers over anything less than 200m.

So entering the event can only be attributed to either total stupidity or complete curiosity to experience yet another form of this amazing sport. I entered the 30m freestyle ‘splash-and-dash’ and managed to find three like-minded team-mates to form a relay team, too.

Packing for this was like packing for a week in the Arctic – three pairs of ski socks, running tights, joggers, vest, long-sleeve tops, two hoodies, the horrific onesie that makes an appearance when I don’t know anyone (team-mates aside), a ski jacket, two woolly hats and a pair of gloves. I had to wear most of it on the train, as I simply couldn’t carry my bag with it all in.

To read on and find out how Jo survived the cold waters, click here to buy a copy of the April 2015 issue. 

Reflections 

Sharron Davies returned to her native Plymouth to talk about her life as an Olympic medallist and media personality to an audience of swimmers, divers and other athletes at the University of St Mark and St John. In part two, she recalls her international career and life after swimming.

The Olympic Games define me. They’ve been in my life since I was very young. I was 13 when I swam in Montreal in 1976. I’ve competed in three Olympic Games in three different decades and I’ve worked at seven.

London was the ultimate one, without a doubt – working on the bid and being part of the British Olympic Association and on the ambassador team as well. We had 550 athletes in London – our largest team in 100 years. We had 150 in Moscow in 1980.

Every Olympics has some sort of special thing about it. They all have a characteristic, a personality. Montreal was the last old-fashioned Olympic Games, which cost the city a lot of money and wasn’t very commercial. Moscow was behind the Iron Curtain and was very grey and then Los Angeles came along. LA changed the Olympics. The Americans decided to make it the commercial vehicle it is today and it has grown and grown and grown. 

Barcelona 1992 was fantastic – it regenerated the city and probably brought the Olympics back together after a number of years where politics were involved. I didn’t enjoy Beijing 2008 a great deal. It was all about China showing off what it wanted to be in the future and they lost a bit of the culture. London beat everybody else by far. I think we learnt from all the other Games.

To read more about Sharron’s favourite competition, her anecdotes from the Olympics in Moscow 1980 and working on the Olympic bid for 2012, click here to purchase the April 2015 issue of Swimming Times.

Jazz Carlin

Jazz Carlin’s rollercoaster career hit new heights in 2014 with gold in Glasgow and Berlin. But what now for the first Welshwoman to win a Commonwealth Games swimming final for 40 years, asks Swimming Times.

For Jazz Carlin, the past few years have presented myriad challenges, the Welshwoman buffeted by a series of blows seemingly aimed at her from all directions.

After being diagnosed with glandular fever in spring 2011, the freestyler still qualified for that year’s world championships, but her results in Shanghai were far from what she desired.

Worse was to come. Ongoing illness disrupted her preparations and she missed out on the London Olympics in 2012, a hammer blow.

After questioning her future, Jazz returned to the water and her prospects at the 2013 worlds in Barcelona looked bright. However, fourth in the 400m freestyle was followed by ninth in both the 800m and 1500m.

Away from the pool, the mother of her partner Lewis Coleman had been diagnosed with leukaemia in June 2012. 

Swimming had always been the Swindon-born athlete’s bolthole but she no longer had that after missing out on team selection to the Games in 2012. There seemed to be no respite for Carlin.

To read more about Jazz, click here to purchase the April 2015 issue of Swimming Times.  

Warrender

Warrender Baths Club has been winning laurels for 125 years – and now it has a Laurel with a capital L to lead it. Cath Harris reports on an Edinburgh club with class.

Taking over at Warrender Baths Club in Edinburgh must be a bit like assuming the mantle at Manchester United. Olympians, titles and trophies pepper the club’s long history and facilities at the city’s Royal Commonwealth Pool are among the best. Almost every one of Warrender’s head coaches – Frank Thomas, John Ashton and Ian McGregor among them – has been lauded for his achievements and, until Laurel Bailey, then 26, became head coach in 2009, no other woman had held the post. 

“At the time, we were already the top club in Scotland in age groups and open championships so it was quite a difficult position to be in,” Bailey says, six years on from her appointment. Undaunted, she has introduced fresh ideas and novel squad reforms and is now leading Warrender’s fevered charge towards Rio and beyond. 

Beijing Olympics 10k open water silver medallist, Keri-anne Payne is a relatively new recruit to the club and is among Warrender swimmers with their eyes on the 2016 Games. “After London, I wasn’t sure I wanted to carry on swimming but I hit it off with Laurel straight away,” Payne says. “I like her philosophy and the way she coaches. I’d say now that I am more excited about swimming than ever.”

With elite swimmers such as Payne settled in their training, and water polo and masters sections thriving, Warrender is turning its attention to matters behind the scenes. The club is keen to involve more non-competitive swimmers, draw in new volunteers and boost fundraising efforts to sustain its £500,000 annual turnover administration. 

To read the full interview and learn more about the club’s ambition, click here to purchase a copy of the April 2015 issue of Swimming Times.  

Nutrition

It is well known that good nutrition can impact on our health, but there are now increasing claims that certain foods can improve our health further. Large population studies have shown that individuals consuming a diet rich in fruit and vegetables are less likely to suffer from cancer or cardiovascular disease. It is suggested that the antioxidants and phytochemicals produced by plants offer protection from such diseases. Performance nutritionist Debbie Smith takes a look into some of the health claims.

Beetroot, also known as beta vulgaris or beet, is a root vegetable usually at its best during July and August. The main super-food health claim for beetroot suggests that it can lower blood pressure. It makes sense, since it is rich in inorganic nitrate, which increases nitric oxide in the body – this is involved in the dilation of arteries and resistance in vessels, and therefore results in a lower blood pressure.

Kale, belonging to the brassicaceae (cabbage) family, is a green leafy vegetable usually at its best during January. Claims suggest that kale can help fight cardiovascular disease, prevent some cancers and delay ageing of the skin. Rich in a number of essential nutrients, it is logical that these claims have been made.

To read the full article and learn what the evidence suggests along with how much kale we need to eat to gain from the benefits, click here to purchase a copy of the April 2015 issue of Swimming Times.  

Teaching Pool 

The assumption that children will learn to swim more quickly than adults is not necessarily correct, says Jane Greene Pettersson – and she believes that anyone can learn whatever their age or experience. 

I teach adults and children of all ages to swim. My oldest pupil to date was 87 and the youngest five months. I have worked with people who are complete non-swimmers, with those who want to improve their stroke or stamina and with many people, adults and children, who may be able to swim but are not relaxed or comfortable in the water. I have also worked with adults who have had traumatic experiences connected with water including several who have had to be resuscitated after falling into deep water. 

I am often asked what, if any, difference there is between teaching adults and children. People always assume that children will learn more quickly but, in my experience, this is not always the case. It also seems to be true that some people are more natural swimmers than others, but I am quite sure that anyone can learn to swim whatever their age or experience. 

In some ways, teaching people to swim sounds straightforward. On the whole, we only teach the four main strokes, most people are buoyant and float and the movements they need to learn in the water are relatively simple.

Any swimming teacher knows that to learn to swim – to really learn to swim properly and to be comfortable and competent in the water – takes a long time.

The full article offers advice, experience and tips on the common fear of putting the face in the water, learning to float and breathing. Click here to purchase a copy of the April 2015 issue of Swimming Times

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