Saturday, 9 March 2013

Swimming along swimmingly

I am not, actually swimming very much at all at the moment, though it very much feels like I need to do a swimming related update.  My running is taking up a lot of my time and I am quite happy with this.  I have little motivation to get into the pool and I haven't yet entered any events for this year.  In fact, I am not sure yet that I will.  This realisation hit me this week.  And I feel OK with this!  Time to take a break from swimming, perhaps?

Not quite!  I am getting my swimming fix through other sources at the moment.  My eldest daughter was asked to join a local swimming development squad recently and she started this week.  She trains three times per week now with a very good coach and we have finished with lessons as far as she is concerned.  She went along to her first session last week and she did really really well.  She has gone from, swimming widths across a 25m pool, for half an hour per week, to swimming 25m lengths, for an hour at a time, for three times each week.  So that in itself will bring on her skills and her fitness.  But she is also being coached with the best coach I believe there is, on this side of Leeds and amongst other enthusiastic children of a similar age and who share her passion for swimming.  I took my Kindle to read during her first training session last week, but I didn't even get it out of my bag, because it was such a great session and I found I learnt a thing or two too!

The coach has warned us that she is at a disadvantage, because she is very petite and it is generally acknowledged that longer-limbed swimmers use less effort to get better result.  She is also on the older end of the scale when it comes to starting this kind of training (at the tender age of 8!)  However I think he means in terms of *making* something of herself as a swimmer.  We would be happy if she represented a club/county/etc as a swimmer, but the main reason she is doing this is because she loves to swim.  We are seeing this as an opportunity for her to get some really good coaching and hopefully the skills she picks up from this training, will stay with her for life.  She has indicated she would like to take part in triathlons when she is older, (like her Daddy!) and this will give her a great skill set to use for this purpose.  If she doesn't 'make it' there are plenty of other swimming opportunities nearby, including a local amateur swimming club, a synchronised swimming club and a diving club.  But for now, we are spending a LOT of time, poolside.  And she is developing into a great little swimmer!

My youngest daughter is very enthusiastic too and I went along to her swimming lesson today, which is a rare treat for me due to my working hours.  She passed her 'Stage 1' badge while I was there, and has moved up.  Last time I saw her swim (about September last year), she was still relying on flotation, hated to put her face in the water and refusing to jump in.  Today, she was without any flotation, and was practising her 'push and glide' and her front crawl legs, with her face in the water!  I was so happy to see she had progressed from a scared toddler to a someone who is capable of being a swimmer.  In fact she *is* a swimmer, and a pretty good one too!

And in case that wasn't enough, I had the opportunity to watch some Olympic, world class swimmers compete this week, when I was given tickets to the British Gas International Swim Meet, which was the first one of the year.  Dylan and I were lucky enough to watch many very talented swimmers, some of them very young and some of them Olympic medal winners, at the fantastic Aquatics Centre in Leeds.

We watched for two hours and saw Hannah Miley take gold, Kerri-Ann Payne take bronze and Ellie Simmonds take silver in various finals and the atmosphere was amazing.  Seeing so many very talented and experienced swimmers was a great experience and it mad me realise how very lucky Isla is, to have this opportunity to train.  Few pictures from the event:

And just in case you want a little bit more inspiration, just watch these elite swimmers go!  This is the women's 50m butterfly final.  Just amazing.