Inside March 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

  • A group of synchronised swimmers proved that you could get involved in St Mungo’s Woolly Hat Day absolutely anywhere when they twisted and turned their way around Porchester Pool in bright orange bobble hats, offering their support for this year’s Woolly Hat Day. The day saw thousands of people wearing bobble hats, beanies, baseball caps and berets. Famous faces, community groups, school kids and companies all joined forces to support the charity’s mission to end homelessness and rebuild the lives of people with no roof over their head.
  • Names of all 2,568 Olympic and Paralympic athletes who earned medals at Rio 2016 have been inscribed on a ‘Wall of Champions’ unveiled in the main Olympic and Paralympic Park in Barra de Tijuca. The wall was unveiled as part of a ceremony officially transferring ownership of the Park to the Federal Government. 
  • After Ben Hooper’s failed attempt to swim the Atlantic, now we have news that IT engineer Michael Ventre is hoping to swim 3,800 miles from New York to London alongside a support vessel, where he will rest in the evenings. A GPS reading will be taken each time he leaves the water so he can pick up from the same location. Michael, who aims to raise millions for Oxfam, swam the English Channel in 2011 and plans to attempt the Atlantic in April this year. It is expected to take him between four and seven months and will present an incredible test of resilience as he navigates everything from orcas, sharks and jellyfish to hurricanes.

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

Out of the shadows

He was nowhere near as well known as his partner but Olympic bronze medallist Dan Goodfellow stepped up when it mattered. He tells Swimming Times about diving with Tom Daley, his plans for the future and that famous tweet by his mum.

They’re already Olympic bronze medallists and have never missed out on a podium place since they teamed up, but Dan Goodfellow is hoping his synchro partnership with Tom Daley has barely begun.

‘We have medalled in every competition we have done,’ he said. ‘We’d like to carry that on for the next year. That would be amazing. We are a really consistent pairing. I don’t think any pair except the Chinese have done that. We had only been together as a pairing for about 10 months before Rio.

‘All the other pairs had been there for the last Olympic cycle or two or three years before that. I had a year out before that due to a shoulder injury and for us to have 10 months of training and do what we did in Rio was amazing.

‘We didn’t really expect a better result. It also gives us a lot of promise going forward and if we have another year of training we’re going to be even better and will be challenging for those gold medals.’

To read more click here to subscribe to Swimming Times. 

Jemma Lowe

Butterfly specialist Jemma Lowe reflects on the highs and lows of her career from club swimmer to elite performer.

From swimming with armbands to swimming at the Olympic Games twice, I faced challenges, doubts, confusion, excitement, disappointments and many incredible experiences. This long, unexpected journey has given me so many memories that I now enjoy sharing with others.

At the age of eight, I joined Hartlepool SC and becoming an Olympian never crossed my mind. My parents wanted my older sister and I to learn how to swim for safety and life opportunities. At the same time, I also did a bit of diving and gymnastics for fun, fitness and making friends. Becoming a full-time athlete and training to be the best in the world was never thought of.

My parents always said I just seemed to float naturally in the pool and knew I had some kind of talent from when I was learning. However, my memories from the beginning are quite different. I got moved up squads in my club shortly after joining and I remember crying to my mum after my first session because it was hard. Clearly that wasn’t the end though and I went back for more.

To read more click here to buy the Swimming Times magazine.

People who swim

Just a few years ago, 26-year-old Ash Jenkins could barely swim a few metres but he set himself the challenge to learn and recently took to the pool to raise thousands of pounds for his two favourite charities. 

Ash has cerebral palsy and used his one-mile swimathon to raise £5,175 for Bristol-based charities Freeways and Cerebral Palsy Plus. As well as exceeding his original target five times over, Ash, of Keynsham in Somerset, also managed to complete the mile one hour faster than he expected. He allowed himself five hours to swim the 80 lengths of the 20m pool at the Hengrove Park Leisure Centre but only needed four of them.

Ash said: ‘I can’t believe how well the swim went and the number of people who came to cheer me on. I’m so glad that I smashed my target and managed to raise almost five times more than I thought I would. The people who sponsored me have been incredibly kind and generous.

‘Both these charities are close to my heart, they help me to remember that disability is only a state of mind. I’ve had hydrotherapy from Freeways which really helped with my swim training and the Cerebral Palsy Plus is just a great charity, running activities, events and providing information.

‘My mile swim gained so much interest and opened doors that I never thought possible.’

To read the full article click here to buy Swimming Times 

Silver service

When Denise Coduri won the 2016 ASA top teacher silver award, it was a world away from her experience as a child hoping to learn to swim at a holiday camp.

Rather than take the first tentative strokes in her swimming journey, however, she was told she would never learn to swim, that she couldn’t do it. It could have put her off for life but instead, in her own words: ‘I went away and proved them wrong by becoming an instructor.’

Not that her teaching career started early. Born and brought up in London, Denise – now 60 - was living in Abbey Wood with husband Steve, 64, and juggling work for BT with bringing up daughter Bobbie. In the mid-1990s redundancy was offered and they moved to Suffolk, an area they had grown to love on visits to friends living there, with four-year-old Bobbie in tow.

It was at this point and in her late thirties that Denise set her sights on what she really wanted to do. ‘I said to my husband, I would love to teach children to swim, they were my words, so we moved to Suffolk and I learned to teach children to swim,’ she said. ‘I think you know where you want to go, you think to yourself why am I doing this?’

Son Rory arrived a year later and Denise started working at Stradbroke Swim and Fitness Centre, initially teaching for an hour and a half a week.

She progressed on to lifeguard teaching before becoming the swimming co-ordinator and now works at least 36 hours a week, of which up to 17 hours are spent teaching children as well as lifeguarding and plenty of admin. 

To read more click here to buy Swimming Times.  

United they stand

It’s long been a divided city but City of Bristol Aquatics is changing that.

Bristol has long been ‘a city divided’ when it comes to aquatics. While the synchronised swimming and water polo teams have flourished for many years with countless success stories, their swimming clubs have struggled to compete with rival cities.

However, in 2012, the brand new Hengrove Park Leisure Centre opened in the south of the city. The centre offers an Olympic standard swimming pool, spectator seating and countless space for dryland activities. Then came £105,000 funding for Beacon programmes. Bristol Central were awarded funding for both water polo and synchronised swimming to drive performance aquatics forward and develop strong local networks of activity. It was this funding that triggered the change.

In October 2013, ASA club development officer, Emily Taylor, began working with both Beacon programmes and it was clear that something needed to happen.

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

Starts and turns

Improving starts and turns is key to British medals on the world stage, say GB head of elite development Tim Jones and performance solutions analyst Tom Shaw. 

The margins in swimming at an elite level have never been finer. At the Rio Olympics, in addition to our haul of six medals, Britain also achieved seven fourth places. Six of these combined to a total of just 0.76sec away from third place. As a percentage of the total race time, this equates to just a 0.11 per cent improvement required to convert these to medal-winning performances.

As far back as the debrief following the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona, a salutary moment for British Swimming after returning a single bronze medal, conversations have focused on anecdotal evidence that our swimmers were not leading the way with their starting and turning skills.

So when looking at the hard statistics from Rio, and the margins that would have turned Great Britain into a double-digit medal-winning nation, starts and turns were an obvious choice to focus our attention on to bring about improvements. The introduction of new technologies, such as the wedge block and the backstroke ledge, combined with recent amendments to the technical rules of the sport such as on the breaststroke transition, have helped to advance substantially the amount of time that can be gained in this area. The US has been seen as a world leader in this area, with athletes such as Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Natalie Coughlin developing the underwater dolphin kick into such a weapon that it has been termed the ‘fifth stroke’.

This article focuses on initiatives that we are implementing to analyse and correct this deficiency, the technical mechanics of a track start and our new ‘Off the Blocks’ resource which has further content on every start and turn.

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

Honesty Box

Jon Rudd

The Ireland national performance director and former Plymouth Leander head coach reveals how a schoolteacher’s error changed his destiny – and why we won’t be seeing him on Strictly.

I often dream about… times you can’t get back and friends you don’t see any more. I love Facebook in particular because nearly all of my weird and wonderful mates are on there and you can start a conversation sat on your sofa with people from all over the world who don’t know each other but you know them from different points in your life. It's like sitting in the pub with them and having a chat. And I have some quite bizarre friends and some of them are delighted to discover that I have another group of mates that are even more off the wall than they are. 

My hero is… Ruta Meilutyte. I can’t even begin to tell you all of the reasons as to why. But one day I’ll write the book and then everyone will go, ‘Ah, so that’s why.’ And Keith Richards, of course, for being the most resilient human being of all time.

To read more click here to buy Swimming Times.  

Unstoppable power

Building unstoppable power is about variety in your training. And understanding what that variety looks like is key to ensuring that you are progressing and seeing the gains in your training and competitions.

All of today’s top elite swimmers perform strength training to improve their whole bodies and become faster in the water.

Building unstoppable power is about developing whole-body strength and by challenging your body with a variety of exercises and workouts. We have worked with hundreds of swimmers and triathletes and know that to improve your whole-body strength, you must train the whole-body to get right the results.

If you can hold a tight streamline position more effectively, whip in and out of a turn with more speed and then power off the wall, and drive through the latter stages of a race without feeling that fatigue, then you have shown progression.

We have seen the positive impact of strength training with Exeter Swim Club and several other clubs that we have worked with. We started working with Exeter in May 2016 and went to retest them on December 5, 2016. All the age group swimmers that we tested are stronger on land and faster in the water as a result of the strength training programme they undertook.

To take a look at 5 whole-body exercises to build strength, click here to buy Swimming Times. 

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