Blog

Here, on this new page, I aim to update regular blogs of how my training is going, my season ahead & up coming events. Stay tuned!

Thursday 3rd March 2016

Well there’s two days until my first race in Swansea and I’m really looking forward to the Championships. It’s been a tough week of training which I’m enjoying, but I’m certainly feeling the effects of it all. Competing at the moment is really a test of mental strength as much as anything else, it’s hard when you’re swimming slower than you know you’re capable of but you just have to remember it’s all about the bigger picture at the end of the season. When all the hard training is over & I’m rested, any in season disappointing swim will be made all worth it with a hopeful PB. Hopefully a couple nights of solid sleep will leave me feeling fresh come race time on Saturday. I’m in 6 races but I’ll be focusing on my usual two; the 50m & 100m freestyle.

It’s been almost a month since I last raced so I hope to see some progress in my times, whatever happens this weekend it’ll pale in contrast in the importance of London & the Europeans.

#Time2Sleep!

Monday 18th January 2016

I hope everybody had a great festive period & a happy new year. Apologies for not getting something up sooner, been a busy & challenging time of late, one where you need to remain focussed, remember your long term goals & firmly keep the faith.

Training was going phenomenally well in mid December & since then it’s been a bit fragmented unfortunately. The pool where I train held the ASA Winter National Championships so that was three days were I couldn’t get in the pool as it was closed for the conpetition, the following week another two days were made unavailable due to maintenance, I had a week back home with family over Christmas & suddenly were are in 2016 off the back of three weeks of broken training which isn’t ideal but this is a time, as I mentioned, this is where I need to remain focussed because as quickly as things can change one way, they can easily change back with a bit of patience and application. I know in three weeks time or so I’ll be back where I was in the middle of December & that should leave me with 4 clear months of solid training leading into the European Masters Championships in London which is the main aim for my season. There I want to medal and the following year at the World Championships I aim to win gold.

After 6 months out last year I know it will take time to get to where I want to be. Coaches don’t plan 4 year training cycles for no reason; to peak for that special Olympic window of opportunity coaches plan in great detail all four years running up to that date. I know I am not at the same level as that but it gives some perspective when looking at my circumstances. I got back into the pool in early June of last year so it will take time to get to where I want to be.

The last two weekends I have been competing. Shrewsbury the weekend before last at a Masters meet and a Level 1 meet this weekend at the City of Derby Open. Both served their own purpose & gave me some encouragement along the way.

Shrewsbury was an experience, swam in a very old school pool with blocks you won’t find anywhere in a pool build in the last 25+ years probably, a slippery wall & a boom part way up the 33 yard pool gave us the short course (25m pool) facilities. In the 50m freestyle, to swim 23.9 in this pool was pretty decent given the environment it was swam in, so I was chuffed with this time straight after Christmas.

The City of Derby Open Meet held at Ponds Forge International Pool was a different story. A long course meet (50m pool) allowed me to get geared up for London. It’s important, I feel, to race as often as possible in a long course pool, something I haven’t done in the past. Not having a actual team to compete for I am dedicated to racing as often as possible at open meets to ensure I am as fully prepared for London as possible. The 50m free went really well I feel, a solid 24.3 is already faster than I went all of last season but given the circumstances that is probably to be expected. The 100m free wasn’t so great. A 55.13 was slightly disappointing for me when my PB is 52.7. It’s a marker though and I WILL go faster at the Burns Open Meet in two weeks time. Given the broken training since before Christmas I wasn’t expecting anything great. Since the new year I’ve been able to keep up my 50m specialist training & due to time constraints my 100m pace training has suffered & this showed at the weekend. However I believe firmly that come March, hopefully the Welsh Masters National Championships, I should be going a lot quicker. A solid block of 7 weeks of training should see me going a lot quicker that I did this past weekend – you have my word on that.

Anyway, that’s me all up to date. Take care everyone. #London2016 #SwimFast

Monday 30th November 2015

It’s been a week since the disappointment of not qualifying for the ASA Winter National Championships in Sheffield. After a tough year it would’ve been a massive turn around for me to qualify & I’m buoyed by coming so close.

Although I’m naturally disappointed, I am far from being down. The last week of training has really picked up & improved. My performances in the pool are on their way up & my confidence of “not if but when” things click is building by the training session & by the day. I’m just about to start a new training cycle in the gym this evening, this is something I’m really enjoying & I’m looking forward to getting stronger. The only thing down about me is where my times will be heading!

I have a long break before my next race in January, so plenty of training to be had….and sadly wet cold wintery mornings. Training on my own as I have done since last May is tough, but it helps when I imagine my friends “motivation” & “passion” pushing me all the way! #determined

Saturday 21st November 2015

I am off to Stockport today to compete at the Stockport Metro Open Meet. Apparently this is a fast pool so I am hoping to post a decent time. Training has been going OK since Masters Nationals about 3 weeks ago. I’m certainly feeling more confident about my 50m race as I am about my 100m race, but we will see what this weekend brings. I feel confident I can get a time that’ll qualify me for the ASA Winter National Championships which for me, after this past year or so, would be massive achievement to qualify for an elite national event. This meet in Stockport has been attended by some big swimmers historically, so I could well be up against some Team GB swimmers!

As I mentioned training has been going OK. The gym has been going really well, I’m really happy with how I’m progressing there, I just want to feel a bit fitter so my confidence is there for my 100m freestyle race. I’ll be looking to correct that over the next block of training. It’s all about London in May. Lots of early wintery mornings await me!

Tuesday 27th October 2015

Since its been a while since my last post I have made up for it with this below addition.

It’s been a few days or recovery & rest since the Masters Nationals in Sheffield, tomorrow I am back in the pool following what was for me a really successful championships. Although I didn’t come away with any individual gold, for once I came away without a shred of negativity upon myself. To have spent January 2015 – May 2015, inclusive, out of the pool & to then medal at this years Nationals is an achievement in itself. It was about 21 weeks ago that I got back in the pool and three of those weeks were out of the pool, so in 18 weeks I have gone from square one to the 2nd fastest masters swimmer, in my age group, in the country.
 

4 weeks ago at the NER Championships, embarrassingly I went 55.0 for my 100m free and 24.5 for my 50m free. In the space of four weeks I have taken nearly 2.5 seconds off my 100m freestyle and almost a second off my 50m freestyle. That is massive progress in a short amount of time and this is why I am so happy with how I done at this years Nationals, despite not winning as I’d naturally want to.

 
My coach, Jez Birds, has been fantastic & I’ve happily, by his own admission, surpassed his expectations.  All he is wanting from me at present is consistent progression, to get faster in each race that I swim. I have no right to be back at my previous times in a matter of weeks, after 5 months out, it will take time & patience. Even before those 5 months, prior to that (between the end of September & the end of December) I only had about 6 weeks of solid & structured training, so it has been over a year since I have had any real sustained training under my belt. I do not expect any half decent times until early next year. Although my times this past weekend were good, given my circumstances, they weren’t anything to write home about, but hopefully by the early part of next year I’ll be knocking on the door of something of note.
 

In about 4 weeks I am at an open meet in Stockport to see if I can qualify for the ASA Winter Championships, an elite national level event, so again I just want to go quicker; if I qualify – great, if not, then I keep training & focus on 2016. I’d just like to congratulate Alistair Crawford on his wins at the Nationals, some great times swam by him this past weekend and I look forward to next year where I’ll be completely prepared & ready to go for my age groups British Short Course Records in the 100m & 50m freestyle, something both my coach & I think that I am fully capable of. Exciting times ahead!

Wednesday 7th October 2015

Well it’s been a few days since France & plenty has gone on. I am proud & delighted to announce that Jones & Co have kindly agreed to renew their sponsorship agreement with me. I am extremely lucky to have such supportive sponsors & I will put my all into making this year even more successful than previous years and making them proud.

I spoke with my coach yesterday in order to establish our best approach to Nationals at the end of the month. Naturally my goal is to win, however I know that this competition will not define me as a swimmer, certainly after so long out of the pool this past year. What will be will be, win or lose I will get faster, no matter what happens in just over two weeks. This competition is usually my F.A. Cup final but given everything that’s gone on, this year the Masters Nationals will merely be the beginning.

I owe a huge debt of thanks to Jez Birds, my coach. He has invested so much time & effort in helping me & being my coach. He is a massively talented coach & he has put together a great plan in order to get me as fit as possible ahead of the Masters National Championships. Needless to say I won’t go into details but he’s certainly given me a fighting chance of glory at the end of the month. Top coach, top bloke.

Friday 25th September 2015

I just wanted to take this opportunity to outline my plans for at least the winter season. This weekend I travel to Harrogate to swim at the NER Masters Championships this coming weekend & then the following week I am in Nice, France, at the European Masters Games. As soon as I am back on home soil it will be back to the grind to prepare for the Nationals Masters Championships at the end of October. Really this will be the start…..a starting point from where I aim to get faster & faster. From that point the European Masters Championships will be 7 months away & I will strive to medal at the Olympic pool in London. In the meantime there’s the Welsh & Scottish National Masters Championships that I hope to compete at, but as important as these are to me personally, they’re merely stepping stones onto something much bigger.

Later this calendar year I will compete in Stockport in order to qualify for the mainstream ASA Winter Championships in Sheffield. I did hope to compete at the Lincoln Vulcans Open Meet in mid-October, but it was fully subscribed & I was unable to enter, so I had to re-gig my plans & race in November in Stockport instead.  There will be other races & competitions to think about & prepare for but this is my current plan as it stands. I can’t wait to make this journey. I wouldn’t be doing so if it wasn’t for the wonderful support of Jones & Co and the great mentorship of Jez Birds. Massive appreciation to you both. Onwards & upwards. #FastSwimming

Thursday 24th September 2015.

It’s a week today until I fly out to France to the European Masters Games in Nice, France. This competition will be my first European Games after previously swimming at two World Championships, two European Championships & one World Masters Games. It’ll be a new experience for me in a country I am yet to compete in. I’m really looking forward to racing & hope I can come home with gold in my main events; 100m & 50m freestyle. I’ll also be competing in the 200m freestyle as well as 100m & 50m backstroke. I’m anticipating some tough races, especially if my rival from the last World Masters Games in Turin, Italy, is competing. Gil Panchoo is from France & we had some good races in Italy back in 2013, so I would expect for us to cross paths again if he competes.