Sadly, I have to bring up some basic training rules. Things have got a little slack around our pools in recent months and it’s time to stop the slide.
You must be on time for your session. We expect all swimmers to be poolside by the allotted start time. It is very disruptive when swimmers arrive 10 minutes after others have started their warmup, and it is dangerous for latecomers to start a front crawl warmup in a lane where others are doing backstroke or breaststroke. If we let you in late, we have to curtail your warmup to what everyone else has left, for the sake of safety. And if we curtail your warmup because you are late, you are at greater risk of injury later in the set. What’s a coach to do?
We understand that traffic to training can be a problem on occasion. On the other hand, there is no excuse for being in the changing room and chatting well into your allotted session time, then coming out without hat/goggles/shorts/other equipment in place, which happens regularly with some of our swimmers. Please be respectful of the coaches and the other swimmers, and treat them as you would wish to be treated. Older swimmers must also be aware that their conduct sets an example to the younger ones.
The coaches will no longer let you into the session if you are late without a very good excuse – you have been warned. Parents, the coaches appreciate your support in enforcing this.
You must please shower before you get in the pool, in order to reduce the risk of illnesses and infections for all pool users. Not convinced? Have a look at this post from Canada that details exactly what you’re putting in the pool if you don’t shower. Tasty!
The warm-up is a warm-up. It’s a slow, gentle wake-up for your muscles that protects you from injury when you work hard later. It isn’t a race. Don’t use all your energy on the first 4 lengths of crawl and try to beat the guy/girl ahead of you, as you will only make them cross and suffer yourself later on in the session when the hard work comes. Sadly it’s not just the younger ones that need to learn this! Also, don’t stop in the warmup – keep going from one stroke to the next seamlessly, using your turns as appropriate. This is the best way to prepare your body for the session ahead.
Be flexible about your lane/position in your lane. If someone is having a great training session, put your ego aside and let them go ahead of you. Be aware of who is faster or slower than you at different strokes and behave accordingly. The coaches will move you about for many reasons, including the number of swimmers swimming, your performance, and the relative performance of other swimmers. Respect your fellow swimmers and help them get the best out of their sessions, as you get the best out of yours. Train at training sessions, compete at competitions.
Turn properly. Starts and turns are where races are won and lost. Those of you not tumbling at the ends of lanes or doing the two-handed touch are missing a vital opportunity to ingrain the habit of excellent turns during training. Sloppy practice makes for mistakes when it counts – don’t regret a turn DQ when you have the opportunity to practise your turns every time you get in the pool. The same goes for your starts.
Do not stop in the middle of the lane. It is dangerous for you and other swimmers! If your goggles are leaking, swim to the end – don’t hang off the lane ropes and make yourself a hazard.
Count your lengths. Coaches occasionally get allegations from swimmers that other swimmers are ‘cheating’ or skipping parts of sets. This happens, but often it’s because they fail to count properly, rather than because they deliberately miss out parts of the set. Come on, people! 1, 2, 3, 4…. you know how to do it…. The coaches know the (few) kids who deliberately miss out parts of sets – don’t be one of them, and don’t look like one of them by failing to count your lengths.
Leave a gap of 5 seconds after the swimmer before you has gone. It’s the counting thing again.
Have a spare pair of goggles with you. Goggles are essential equipment and sadly prone to breaking. Ask everyone you know to buy them for you as a birthday present/instead of an easter egg etc and you’ll soon be well-stocked.
Bring enough water with you for the whole session. Go large!
Parents, if you get this post and your children don’t, please forward it to them or discuss it with them before the next training session. Thank you for your understanding.