Inside September 2016 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

  • Prince Charles gave the royal seal of approval to the open- air Jubilee Pool at Penzance, Cornwall, when he officially reopened it following major repairs. The repairs were needed after storms caused major structural damage to the historic pool in February 2014.
  • Crystal Palace Diving Club extended their record-breaking run as they became top club for the 10th time and the eighth consecutive year at
the ASA National Age Group Championships. The team retained the Dawdon Shield for best overall team performance after winning 18 medals in the four-day competition – eight gold, four silver and six bronze.
  • A swimming project for deaf children has reached the finals of the National Lottery Awards 2016 – beating off competition from 600 organisations in the search for the UK’s favourite Lottery-funded project. 

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Ellesmere College Titans had a look of the unsinkable as they topped the medal table for the first time at the British Summer Championships.

With an outstanding 21
 gold, 12 silver and 10 bronze medals, Ellesmere College Titans topped the overall medals table at the British Summer Championships at Sheffield ahead of City of Leeds and Loughborough University.

The Ellesmere performance was perhaps epitomised by their win in the girls’ 14-16yrs medley relay on the final afternoon, which they won by 0.01sec from Leeds. The Ellesmere girls claimed the majority of their club’s medals (15, 8 and 4) to top the women’s medal table from City of Leeds and Stockport Metro but Ellesmere’s (6, 4 and 6) tally on the male side of the medal table still saw them fourth behind Hatfield (9, 5, 1), Plymouth Leander (8, 2, 2) and Bath University (7, 3, 0).

Titans’ head coach Alan Bircher said: ‘I am very proud of the swimmers who have given their all every day for 48 weeks and have come here and produced the standard that they did.’

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Golden glow 

The rising stars of British swimming won 19 medals including five golds to place them third in the medals table at the European Junior Championships in Hungary.

Britain’s 19 medals (five gold, four silver and 10 bronze) earned
 the team third place on the medal table at the European Junior Swimming Championships in Hungary.

The challengingly named Hodmezovasarhely hosted the event with 742 young swimmers representing 48 nations, 23 of which made the overall medal table, equalling the record number from 2000.

Russia finished top of the medal table (11 gold, 5 silver,
6 bronze for 22), though their dominance was less than in the previous three championships. The Italians had their best champs ever with 9, 8, and 5 also for 22, while the home nation enjoyed a significant step forward with 12 medals.

The top British medal winner was 15-year-old Freya Andersen with five (one individual gold and one silver and three bronze in relays). Holly Hibbott won two silvers and a bronze, while there were three bronzes for Laura Stephens and Anna Maine.

Team manager Tim Jones said: ‘It was great to see a new group of British teenagers begin their journey towards future success.’

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Taking flight

It dates back to 1880 but 136 years on Norwich Swan SC is flying high, says head coach John Digby.

Norwich Swan Swimming Club
 was formed in 1880 when the Swan Laundry added an indoor, heated pool to its premises – giving swimmers the option to be indoors instead of in the local river.

Fast forward 136 years and Norwich Swan are back flourishing in the open water environment.

This year we held our second open water family weekend at Fritton Lake, with 21 swimmers and six younger swimmers 
trying out open water for the first time.
We held open water training sessions for
the older swimmers, introduction sessions for the younger children, and included fun watersports activities kayaking, canoeing and paddle-boarding.

For the past few years, we have had some good successes at regional and national level. In 2014, we won four gold medals and one bronze at the East Region Open Water Championships. Tilly Anema went on to win bronze in the 1.5k at the ASA National Open Water Championships.

In 2015, we won two golds at the East Region open water, and Harry Crisp went on to win gold in 1.5k and silver in 3k at the national open water.

This year, we had 19 swimmers enter the regional championships. We won two gold through Tilly Anema in the 3k and Christina Wilson in the 5k, three silver from Harry Crisp (5k), Sophie De Rieu (1.5k), and Katie Maloney (800m), and two bronze – Heather Mills (800m) and Jessica Munford (800m).

Tilly and Harry also swam at the ASA National Age Group Open Water Championships on July 24 with Tilly coming a creditable 10th in the 15yrs 3k and Harry winning gold in the masters 18-24yrs 1.5k in 20.22 and silver in the 3k and coming ninth in the 19+ 5k.

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Recipe for success 

ASA Beacon programmes are helping to fuel swimming, diving and water polo success in Sheffield.

Sheffield is host to three very successful but diverse Beacon programmes providing high quality training and support services to swimmers, divers and water polo players.

For the last three years, City of Sheffield Swimming Squad, City of Sheffield Water Polo Club and Sheffield Diving Club have hosted elite training programmes and support packages for athletes across their region or club network.

This includes pool-based training, strength-and-conditioning or dry-land training and sports science support, using funding secured through the ASA Beacon Programme.

These clubs have also provided training and mentoring opportunities for local club coaches and volunteers, the development of athlete pathways from grassroots through to elite level and have brought together local and regional clubs through club networks to provide good support for each other and to deliver local projects.

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Get on board 

Divers and clubs are invited to join a university research programme into the links between self-efficacy and performance.

Every time a parent comments on their child’s performance or a young athlete watches their favourite sports star on television, their self-efficacy beliefs are being affected.

Research currently being undertaken at the University of Winchester aims 
to investigate the effects of self- efficacy on diving performance in the hope of learning more about how psychology can help our up-and-coming diving stars by increasing divers’ wellbeing and performance and reducing drop-out from the sport.

Albert Bandura developed self-efficacy theory in 1977. It refers to a person’s perceptions about their ability to perform a task. It is these perceptions, which often do not relate to actual performance ability, that this new research is interested in. Higher self-efficacy has been linked with better performance in lots of different sports.

Wider research

The research team is currently looking for diving clubs of all levels from across the UK that would be interested in working with the university to trial a 
new psychological intervention designed to teach divers how to cope with their emotions and physical reactions during high stress diving situations, such as trying a new dive or competition. These interventions are designed to improve divers’ self-efficacy and hopefully improve their performance and wellbeing, and in turn reduce drop-out.

With more knowledge about the effects of self-efficacy, it’s hoped that not only psychologists but coaches, parents and divers will be able to ensure our young divers can have an enjoyable
 and successful diving experience regardless of their level.

If you or your diving club are interested in the research being undertaken at the University of Winchester and want to get involved or just get more information, please do not hesitate to contact the research team:

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Oceans Seven 

Oceans Seven swimmer Adam Walker tells Swimming Times about the movie that inspired him, the incredible hour-and-a-half when dolphins shielded him from a shark and the book on his adventures on the high seas.

Tell us about your book

The book is my journey from selling kettles and toasters to having an inspirational moment on a plane watching a movie called On A Clear Day about a fictional character called Frank, who loses his job, is looking for inspiration and goes on to swim the English Channel.

The movie resonated with me. One swim turned into the toughest seven ocean swims in the world. They are a metaphor for life and not the important part of the book – that’s the message that you can do whatever you want to in life if you just take that step across the line and see how capable you are.

Tell us about the group of dolphins that accompanied you for some of your swim across the Cook Strait.

What an incredible moment. I was three hours into the swim and had been sick several times. I started praying to the ocean gods and they sent me some dolphins and I looked down and there was a shark underneath me. The dolphins stayed with me for one-and-a-half hours and I lost sight of the shark in between.

Calories burned and what did you eat on the swims?

Between 900 and 1,100 calories an hour depending on speed. I took carbohydrate drinks in a drinks bottle that was thrown overboard attached to a piece of string. I was sick on most of my swims from motion sickness and physically burning my body. I actually preferred drinking homemade vegetable soup made by my girlfriend Gemma. A blend of chickpeas, tomato, carrots and onion, it tasted good and was also full
 of natural carbohydrate. In addition, I would have simple foods such as tinned peaches and the odd jelly baby – not a healthy option but it gave a positive mental boost at times when I was feeling low. I could never consume enough calories to replace the ones I had burnt.

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Honesty Box

Mark Partridge, Stroud Masters SC swimmer and coach,  reveals his love of open water swimming, dogs, travel, comedians, robins, Cheltenham lido and West Ham United

If I could bring about change, I would...

Give every boy and girl in the world access to an education. I’m a strong believer that education is a fundamental human right and that everyone should have the right to a quality education to offer more opportunities to them in life.

I think it’s common sense that education can reduce poverty, boost economic growth, increase a person’s chance of having a healthy life and promote gender equality and possibly peace among other things. If I could start with this one I’m sure it would have a knock-on effect of changing the world in a very positive way.

If I wasn’t doing this I’d be...

Swimming at Cheltenham lido in the summer. It’s my favourite pool and I just love doing a training session when the sun is on your back and the lanes are pretty empty and then afterwards having a coffee and ice cream in the café.

My heroes are...

Mark Spitz was my childhood hero as I grew up in the 1970s. I can remember watching Spitz win his seven golds at the Olympics and afterwards, and probably like most of the swimming kids of my generation, got my mum to fork out and buy a pair of Speedo stars and stripes swimming trunks. They didn’t last long, as I wore them to every training session and gala.

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Making Waves    

Four years on from London 2012, Peter Hassall revisits the Olympic site and has mixed feelings at the sights and sounds of the park in legacy mode – although it’s still a work in progress.

It may have been the weather – lurching from a humid 25 degrees to mist and rain in a couple of days – but I felt a tinge of sadness on returning to the Olympic Park at Stratford.

Yes, it was nearly four years since the Olympics (and I have been there in the meantime) but approaching for such a major event as the recent European Championships, I could not help but dwell on the glories of the past.

An air of desolation pervaded my thoughts as I considered the wonders from four years earlier…

The water polo stadium gone and in its place, bare ground occupied for this event by the ‘marquees’ of the media centre. In the far distance, the velodrome but no magic in between, no thronging crowds, no colour, no energy, no Olympiad.

Still there is the bowl of the Olympic stadium, in August to be the home of West Ham United FC, and then there will be thronging crowds and colour and energy, and in 2017, to be the host of the world athletics championships. Till then, there’s still the ArcelorMittal Orbit ‘structure’ the tallest sculpture in the UK, now a controversial giant slide; and there are boat trips along the River Lea, but no sign, for me, of the golden Royal Barge so prominent in 2012.

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