Inside May 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

  • City of Sheffield Diving
 Club, based at Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, recently became the first diving programme in the country to achieve swim21 performance accreditation. Swim21 performance environment provides a benchmark for clubs coaching high level athletes across all four disciplines. The kitemark is awarded to clubs who can demonstrate that their pathways, physical environment, coaching practices and support services are in place to ensure athletes reach the pinnacle of their sport and demonstrate that the club has historical evidence of athletes regularly achieving success via their performance programme. 
  • Jack Jones, the last person to captain a British water polo team in the Olympic Games before London 2012, has died a month before his 91st birthday. Jack – full name John Shaw Jones – was born into a water polo family and followed in his father’s footsteps as a member of the Cheltenham team. He was also a fast swimmer and made the 150yds backstroke final at the first post-war ASA Championships. He finished fifth but was proud to describe himself as the second fastest Englishman, as three of those ahead of him were Welsh or Scottish. 
  • British Swimming has welcomed the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s (CAS) decision to overturn FINA’s refusal to ratify two world records set by British swimmers at the 2014 European Championships in Berlin. The GB team of Chris Walker-Hebborn, Adam Peaty, Jemma Lowe and Fran Halsall set a world record in the 4x100m mixed medley relay and Peaty broke the 50m breaststroke mark. 

To read more of this month’s news stories, click here to buy the May 2016 issue of Swimming Times. 

Top of the world

With 913 swimmers making the trek to Sheffield
 for the British Masters Championships, the ‘European effect’ was in full flow. The weekend saw over 3,200 individual splashes and the event
 ran like clockwork to provide a perfect opportunity for swimmers to assess their fitness going into the European Championships in London.

The meet opened with the 
800m freestyle and provided 
a sensational swim for the standout swimmer of the meet, Kings Cormorants’ Jane Asher. Jane’s wholesale assault on the 85-89yrs record book continued apace. Picking up where she had left off in Swansea, Jane’s half- mile swim delivered records at every split. The first 50 produced a British record, progressing to a European record in the 100 free and world records at the 200, 400 and 800. Jane brought her world record tally for the meet to five when she added the 50m fly and the 50m back to her haul of titles.

Be inspired by the tally of eight World, 23 European and 81 British records by clicking here to buy the May 2016 issue.  

Medal prospects

Speaking before the Olympic trials, three of yesterday’s swimming greats, Becky Adlington, Steve Parry and Adam Whitehead, shared their thoughts about Britain’s prospects in Rio.

Rebecca Adlington: 400m and 800m freestyle gold medallist, 2008 Beijing Olympics; 400m and 800m freestyle bronze medallist, 2012 London Olympics.  

The Commonwealths in Glasgow were
 a massive buzz but there is still a lot 
of the world not there. Can we transfer this? The World Championships blew it out of the park and shut everyone up really. Especially after the result in 2013, when we came away with one medal, which was massively disappointing.

I still think it’s going to be a game-changer in Rio. Olympics always are. There are always people who come from nowhere. And the ones that are ranked number one don’t seem to do 
a massive amount. It happens at every single Olympics. So I’m sure there will be new shocks. But I think we are more prepared for it now. The atmosphere, the mentality of the team – everyone is aware that’s going to happen. I think they are prepared a bit more to handle it.

For more of Becky, Steve and Adam’s thoughts on Britain’s potential, click here to buy the May issue of Swimming Times. 

Team Game

Mansfield is not only Rebecca Adlington’s birthplace – it has also produced four Paralympic swimmers. Swimming Times talks to two of them – Ollie Hynd and Charlotte Henshaw – and their coach Glenn Smith.  

Twelve miles north of Nottingham, the market town of Mansfield lives in the shadow of the East Midlands city. The population of Nottingham and its suburbs is seven times greater than that of Mansfield.

Mansfield, however, shouldn’t be overlooked, particularly when it comes to sporting champions. Rebecca Adlington was born there and spent her early career competing for the county.

Mansfield is also one of three sites around which Nova Centurion is built. Both the town and the squad can boast of producing not just one or two Paralympians, but four – Ollie Hynd, his elder brother Sam Hynd, who has now retired, Charlotte Henshaw and Athens 2004 Paralympian Callum Lawson, who now applies his experience as a coach in Spalding in South Lincolnshire.

"You have to pinch yourself and ask what’s occurring and how has this small, provincial town produced so much swimming talent," says Glenn Smith, who runs the Mansfield squad and coaches Hynd and Henshaw. "It’s as if there is something in the water."

For insight into Ollie, Charlotte and Glenn’s paralympic preparations, read more in the May 2016 issue of Swimming Times.


Thanet Swim Club are preparing for their debut in the National Arena League Cup final – just 18 months after making the South final for the first time. Head coach Dan Cross tells Swimming Times about their meteoric rise, his team-building philosophy and his swimmers’ work ethic.

When the 10 cup finalists step out for the noisy and colourful parade in Cardiff on April 24, nine of them will be very familiar to followers of the National Arena Swimming League. And then there will be Thanet. Just 18 months after reaching the South League final for the first time and a year after their debut in the national B final, the club from the most easterly corner of Kent find themselves in 
the shoot-out to decide the top league club in England and Wales. It’s a meteoric rise by any standards – but it’s clear they will not be there to make up the numbers. 

Even Thanet’s dynamic young head coach Dan Cross admits that he was surprised
they finished quite so high in the rankings – although perhaps not quite as surprised as the rest of us. "Going into these finals gives us that bit of extra desire to compete," he says.

"We don’t have the riches and resources of some of those bigger clubs but we do have some very hungry and motivated swimmers who want to show that they can compete 
at the highest level. They like being the underdogs. They like being those kids who haven’t got a 50m pool but can still compete at that level. We are very content with what we have."

To read more about the spectacular rise of Thanet SC, you can buy a copy of the May Swimming Times here

Wild Things

Writer Nicci Gerrard and her family have a passion for wild swimming – in lakes, rivers, the sea, almost anywhere with water. She describes the sense of freedom to Swimming Times.  

"Wild swimming is literally just about being free to be in the water – wherever there is water, you can get into it. It is a very freeing thing: just that sinking into the water, it is like flying but it’s flying on the ground."

The words of journalist and author Nicci Gerrard convey a sense of magic, of surrender, of being transported to another world with immersion in the water.

Words have always played an important part in Nicci’s life. After studying English literature at Oxford University, she taught in Britain and the United States before moving on to publishing with the launch of the Women’s Review and the New Statesman and latterly with The Observer.

Writing fiction under her own name, she is also one half of Nicci French, a pseudonym of Gerrard and her husband, Sean French, the pair penning psychological thrillers together.

So too has wild swimming been a constant through Nicci’s life. As a child, the family would stop by lakes and lochs and they would jump in, her mother leading the way.

It is a passion that Nicci, now 57, has passed on to her four children – Edgar, Hadley, Anna and Molly, who are all in their 20s.

To discover the journey that has been led by this passion, click here to buy a copy of the May 2016 issue of Swimming Times.

People who swim 

When her children started swimming in the 1980s, Vicki Buck decided to take the plunge as well – and launched a family involvement in the sport that has embraced coaching, masters and administration. She tells their story.

When my children
 were young and doing swimming lessons in Dereham, Norfolk, they saw a swimming club there and asked to join. Little did I know how that moment would change the course of the whole family’s life right up
 to now.

My youngest son, Olly, was born with a heart problem so instead of wrapping him in cotton wool, I did the opposite and decided swimming would be great for him and his siblings.

I was 37 at the time and, when the children started training, I noticed some adults were training with the children. In
 my youth, I had never belonged to a club but I was a good swimmer and decided to try my luck.

It was hard work but the kids and I loved it.

Then I met Jane Asher, who held Jane’s Jets in Norwich every Friday for all Norfolk swimmers – age groups and masters. She encouraged me to compete and I entered the Norfolk Masters in 1988, won three medals, and, from that moment on, I was hooked.

The full story can be found in the May issue of Swimming Times. 

Honesty Box

Steve Franks, the managing director of Water Babies, reveals his love of surfing and the sporting life and why Elvis, JFK and Nelson Mandela would be among his ideal dinner party guests.

Nobody knows this but...

sport runs through the DNA
 in my family, my father was selected to represent India in
the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games. While I wasn’t quite as talented as my father, sport in all its forms has shaped and influenced my life, from my formative years playing schoolboy rugby and surfing in South Africa through to choosing to make a career in sport and leisure management that has taken me all over the world.

The meaning of life...

Life is for living: it’s a wonderful gift and you should never underestimate the power of a smile, as it costs nothing but can change someone’s life in an instant.

Hear more from Steve in May’s Swimming Times. 

Fast lane    

A pool closure forces ‘proper swimmer’ Jimmy Rogers to seek lane space in a public pool – along with all manner of head-up breaststrokers, double-arm backstrokers and escapees from aquafit.

The private club where I coached for 12 years and did most of my swimming was taken over recently and the pool closed. More worryingly though, the nearest alternative private club I and most other ex-members have transferred to is much busier, especially during the day when I most like to swim.

Every man, woman, child and dog in the locality has moved there it seems. Suddenly, I’m invariably sharing a pool with a brace of purple rinses, double-overarm backstrokers, random striders and any number
 of aquafit escapees practising leg raises in the designated ‘fast lane’. For any of my generation this will have a familiar ring to it. We grew up with this kind of interference in our training regime at a time when squads were unheard of and club sessions were at a premium.

The aquatic landscape might have changed but now, as then, it seems I have to be up to the challenge again. I need to call on that experience of 50-odd years ago. Is it really that long?

To find out about Jimmy’s technique for acquiring time and space in a busy public pool, get you hands on a copy of May’s Swimming Times

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