Liam Custer, who lives and trains in Florida with Sarasota Sharks but is also a member of SWSC, has recorded the fastest time in the USA this season in the 15/16 age group 400 IM in a 25 yard pool, recording a time of 3:48.81. Well done Liam!
That time converts to 4:13.97 for SCM, which is better than the current Junior (U 19) and Senior Irish records. He also recorded the ninth fastest 200 yards freestyle in the age group in the USA this season in a time that converts to 1:48 SCM. His 400 IM converted time is a great improvement on the 4:21.89 which he recorded in the 2019 Irish SC Nationals last December where he finished second in the Senior event. He might have competed with SWSC in the Irish Summer Nationals this July but these were cancelled due to the pandemic.
I visited Liam and his family in Sarasota last September. Liam trains outdoors in a pool that is 65m long and can be set up for ten 50m lanes or, as used for most training sessions, as twenty seven 25 yard lanes. That’s great, but the crucial things are he never misses a session and trains almost 50% more than we do in normal times. He also specialises in the longer events (400/ 800/ 1500 free; 200/400 IM, 200 back & fly).
With the present regulations governing the return to training, Swim Ireland following Government Health recommendations, mandated that Senior squads and Masters would be the first groups back. Currently training times are more time restricted than pre-covid. However, you are all being very good in complying with these restrictions and I am told you are going really well in training. Richard Cassidy tells me that you look as if you just missed three weeks rather than three months! Training for the Seniors will continue in Leisure World until August 7, then there will be a two week break while works proceed in that facility. This two week break coincides with that recommended by Ben Higson, Senior National Coach, for the elite Irish team preparing for the Olympics.
It’s very important to maximise your training time so if you have already qualified for the Munster Regional Squads make sure you attend each and every session. If you have yet to qualify, then qualification should be your short term aim (do you know the Munster and Irish squad qualifying times in your age group?).
In relation to the National squad, only Andrew Feenan is currently qualified from Cork. Since that squad returned to the pool Andrew has been training first at the NAC in Dublin and now in the University of Limerick (UL) pool, and tells us he is rapidly getting back his water fitness. As Richard told you he has been awarded a swimming scholarship by UL beginning in September. Well done Andrew!
Finally let me assure you that the Committee and coaches are actively working to restart activities (Senior, Intermediate and Junior squads; the Learn to Swim programme) in Douglas (of course, within Government health regulations). Watch this space for plans for August 24 onwards!
The Sundays Well Swimming Club Committee is working proactively to re-establish all club activities as quickly as possible in compliance with Government regulations and with the support and guidance of Swim Ireland.
I’m pleased to let you know that we have taken the first steps towards getting back in the water. Our senior competitive squad will start sessions in a specially constructed open water pool at Cork Powerboat and Waterski Club on Inniscarra Lake on 11 June, we expect to resume limited pool sessions on 29 June and this will continue over the summer. We expect to be able to offer pool access to our Masters swimmers from 6 July. We will continue the zoom based fitness and fun sessions with the intermediate and junior squads until late June and will then break for the summer returning to the pool in late August. And we are working towards resuming our learn to swim sessions in September.
All sessions will run in strict compliance with Government and Swim Ireland guidelines on social distancing and this will affect pool capacity, training routines, use of changing and shower facilities, entry to and exit from the pool and travel to and from the pool. And we will require extra support from parents to ensure the health and safety of swimmers and their families.
Further details will be communicated through coaches as they become available.
As you know the situation is evolving. The Club Committee is reviewing the situation daily and will make further decisions as necessary and communicate updates regularly on our Club Website and WhatsApp channels.
Swim Ireland have introduced a number of initiatives to support Clubs including a range of online courses and forums for committee members, coaches, volunteers, parents and swimmers. We’d encourage you to take advantage as relevant https://www.swimireland.ie/news/launch-online-training-schedule
And Swim Ireland publish regular updates on the Return to Water programme at https://www.swimireland.ie/ that are also very valuable.
Thanks to coaches for adapting so positively to the situation in recent months, to swimmers for engaging with such enthusiasm and fun and to parents for your support and patience.
We will no doubt face further challenges in the months ahead as we strive to support as many swimmers as possible with the constraints we face.
If you have any questions or can help in any way, feel free to contact your Coach, the Children’s Club Officer or Secretary as appropriate.
Stay safe and well.
It goes without saying that we are living in challenging times due to the COVID-19 virus and associated Government restrictions.
The Sundays Well Swimming Club Committee is actively working on the Club’s response with the support and guidance of Swim Ireland.
Sundays Well Swimming Club has a strong family and community ethos. First and foremost, it is our priority that all our members: swimmers, coaches, volunteers and parents, continue to stay connected to, to engage with and to be supported by the Club.
We are introducing online sessions to connect and engage our swimmers and coaches, we continue to monitor Government, HSE and Swim Ireland announcements and to adapt our activities as appropriate and we communicate updates regularly on our Club Website and WhatsApp channels.
Swim Ireland have introduced a number of initiatives to support Clubs including a range of online courses and forums for committee members, coaches, volunteers, parents and swimmers. We’d encourage you take advantage as relevant. (You can do so by clicking here)
And Swim Ireland publish regular news updates at swimireland.ie that are also very valuable.
The Club Committee will review the situation as it evolves, make decisions as necessary and communicate updates regularly.
And we look forward to quickly returning to full activity as restrictions are lifted.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact your Coach, the Children’s Club Officer or Club Secretary as appropriate.
Stay safe and well.
Your weakest link?
Biologists like me are taught to consider all of the factors influencing a system and then rank them in order of importance in terms of positive and negative influence. In the case of negative influence, this is like looking for the weakest link in a chain. This method can also be applied to swimming races. Having watched most of the SWSC competitors in action at the recent Dolphin Open I would identify turns as the weakest link of races for most of you. This is a general observation. There are a few who are very good at turns. As you all know there are few things more depressing in competitive swimming than going into a turn ahead and coming out behind.
Turns are supposed to speed you up! That is why short course (25m pool) records are faster than long course (50m) records. Look up the World or Irish SC and LC records and you will see what I mean (you can find them through the Swim Ireland website). Traditionally USA swimmers have very good turns. Several years ago the coaches to British Team realised that they were less good at turns and made a huge effort to improve. At top level they now turn much better. Turning well takes three things- knowing what to do, concentration and lots of practice.
Do you know exactly what you are trying to do in each turn? Assuming you do (and ask your coach if not), do you practice it in every turn you do. The senior squad cover more than 6000m in a two hour session. In a SC pool that’s nearly 200 turns so you’ll get plenty of practice provided you do each and every turn as well as possible, whether you’re doing short rest aerobic sets or sprints. Your coaches have talked with you about the specific mechanics of each kind turn (front or back tumbles, open turns in fly or breaststroke, the various IM turns) but there are certain factors common to all turns: go in fast, turn fast and get off the wall fast, and of course keep it legal. As Richard repeatedly tells you, kick hardest into and out of the wall. On the way in DO NOT look at the wall. Turns are timed off the T in free, fly and breaststroke, or off the flags on backstroke. Turn fast and tight. Plant your feet in the right position (too high will send you to the bottom and too low to the surface). Push as hard as possible (this is the fastest part of your race apart from the start) then really streamline from finger tips to toes. The idea is to maintain the speed into the surface swim. Do you know what’s best underwater for you? How many fly kicks should you do on anything except breaststroke (where the rules say-one). Is your breakout to the surface smooth and fast? Younger swimmers often mess up the breakout and nearly stop. That’s a lot to think about! Then you have to practice and practice so you can turn smoothly and effectively without having to think about it.
You are obviously not able to practice in the pool at present but at least four other things are involved-agility, flexibility, core strength and leg power. All of these can be greatly improved on land. So work hard on your land conditioning then you can go back into the pool ready to turn much better. How about SWSC being known for having the best turns in the country?
Plan your time
These are strange times. Everything including swimming has stopped to protect the more vulnerable people in the community. Normally your time is very organised with school or college, and for most older swimmers in SWSC, at least one two-hour session each day. Your schools or colleges are doing a lot of online teaching and assessment, but what about the missing swimming? I would urge that you plan your days and weeks. You must take over the organisation of your time. With a plan in place you’ll find you feel a lot better! The first thing to list is when you’ll get up, your mealtimes and when you’ll go to bed. Try to keep these constant from day to day. Next-how many hours each weekday you are going to devote to academic activities. Read the stuff you were going to get in lessons or lectures. Paradoxically, you may make better progress than when you are actually in school or college.
In terms of swimming- what can you do? Here I’m going to talk in general. Richard and his coaching team, with help from some of the senior swimmers, will be sending you the details of exercise regimes. While obviously you will be missing out on developing specific pool fitness, you can keep up general aerobic fitness by running or cycling for about 30minutes a day. Cycling is particularly good for breast strokers. The Russians insist that their top breast strokers cycle everywhere. You may have access to exercise bikes or threadmills, and these can also be built into fitness training and substitute for outside activities when it’s pouring with rain.
Also don’t forget to walk in the open air. You’ll sleep much better. While you not in the pool you will also need less food, probably about 30% less (and resist the urge to snack!). In this way you will have retained some basic aerobic fitness during this layoff and be quickly able to regain water fitness when you are able to get back to training. So far we have been talking about minimising losses but there are certain things that you can improve on compared with normal times. These relate to power (fast strength or explosiveness) and flexibility, and these can be improved with good land programmes. You never have enough time for these you’re in the water, so now is your chance.
Increased power means better starts and turns! Assess the equipment available to you-barbels, dumbells, weight machines, rubber pulleys, Mini Gyms, even swim benches. Most modern S & C coaches feel that pulleys and swim benches are redundant if you’re doing enough water work (not sure I agree) but they are ideal in the present circumstances because you can accurately mimic swimming actions. If none of these aids are available to you, you can use body weight as Richard and his team will demonstrate, and as you will see from Paul Talty of Swim Ireland and many other web sources. There are also many effective flexibility exercises that you can do. Your aim should be to finish this lockdown period more powerful and flexible than ever. Do a series of exercises every day and be patient. You will see the results in a few weeks. And remember, if you go too hard you will end up sore and disillusioned, so build up gradually.
So much for your swimming body. You can also work on your swimming mind! Watch the daily GoSwim videos (you also have free access to all the previous videos at present). Don’t necessarily accept all you see. Be analytical. Ask-“would that work for me”? Also have a think about the various aspects of your technique on all strokes-starts, turns, finishes, UW and surface swimming. Do you know exactly what you are trying to do? How might you improve? This is called mind modelling. Finally, did you know that you are probably addicted to swimming because of all the training, and feel less good when you are out of the water. I know I still love swimming a few times each week and miss it. Just be aware of this and try to counter it by organising to fill your days!
Tom Cross, SWSC President
The SWSC Committee held a meeting by teleconference on 14 Mar 2020 to discuss the Club’s response to COVID-19. As you are aware, the Gus Healy Pool, Douglas and Leisureworld Pool, Bishopstown are closed until 29 March. As a consequence, and in accordance with Government, HSE and Swim Ireland guidelines, all Club activities are suspended. We will review the situation again in two weeks time or earlier as appropriate. Further updates will be communicated on the Clubs website and appropriate WhatsApp groups. Please mind yourselves and looks after family, friends and neighbours where you can.
SWSC travelled to the Munster Development 2 Meet in Mallow on March 1st with a total of 13 swimmers.
All the hard work in training Paid off as PB after pb was achieved and some lucky enough to achieve Regional Qualifying times to swim in the upcoming Regional Qualifying Meet which will be held in UL in April.
A total of 12 medals, 5 Gold, 2 Silver, and 2 Bronze were won overall.
Impressive performances on the day came from Mia Dowling O Mahony who out of 4 events won Gold( 100 Fly) Silver( 100 free) and Bronze( 200 free)
Jenna Mc Ardle also impressed in the pool achieving a Silver (200 free) and Bronze(100 IM)
Helen McCarthy took 2 Gold medals in the( 100 IM) and the( 100 breaststroke)
Conor Moynihan not to be out done by the girls had good swims and won 2 Bronze in the( 100 Fly) and the( 200 IM)
Other medal winners on the day were Dylan Gunn Gold (100 IM) Beth McKnight Bronze (100 back) and Conal Gillard Gold (200 free)
Well done to all the swimmers and thanks as always to the parents who were officials and team managers on the day.
Great job everyone
Coach Kelly Gallagher