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?