Club Champs and FINA rules update

Club Championships

Please note that that the next round of Club Championships will now take place on Tuesday 17 September, and not on the 24th as previously advertised.

FINA Rules update for all officials

Cambs ASA are holding a FINA Rules update CPD on Sunday 29 September at the Ivo Centre, St Ives from at 11.00 until 13.00. This is an important course for all officials to attend, and it is also a compulsory CPD if you intend to re-licence.

The Black Line

The final fling – now it’s about R and R. That is ranting and racing, as well as news on opens and summer swim time clarifications.


Let me start with a few reminders please, as result of a few things happening that need a few words on.

  1. Please wear hats for training unless you have very short, cropped hair
  2. Always bring a drink to training, the air at our pool is about 36 and the kids are working VARY hard at times
  3. Please don’t coach your kids from the balcony. It upsets kids and it upsets coaches. If you are a qualified coach, please volunteer we can always put you to use
  4. Please remind your swimmers not to leave the deck EVER without telling us where they are. We have a responsibility for them and we need to know where they are. Going to the loo or to find parents on the balcony without permission is unacceptable. And if you think that’s harsh compared to most clubs we are very relaxed, I promise.

Rant over!


This weekend saw our last two events of the racing season on Saturday and Sunday, and what a weekend it was! Sunny and warm doesn’t come close and for those poolside it was a constant battle with dehydration.

You’d think it wouldn’t have suited fast racing – kids wanting to be outside, distracted by end of term parties, family barbecues and things, but we had great turn outs and raced hard.

Saturday night was Junior Fenland League, which we hosted at Whittlesey (as we needed five lanes). Another tough draw against CoPS A and B, Boston and March, fourth was looking likely and third would have been awesome. I’ve got to hand it to our team – they were great, with 8 race wins showing our team can cut it with anyone’s when it matters. Out of 44 individual races, 26 were PB’s showing that the best was saved for almost the last!

Sadly our younger boys team was depleted and for the first time ever we threw away four points for having no swimmers, but that’s life. In the end we came fourth by one measly point, which on any other day we’d have got and come third. Overall we still lie 8th, fifty points clear of ninth and if we can get one more good round in mid September (team to be put up tomorrow) we’ll be lying well for the B final!

Sunday was (in my view) even better. It was a twelve hour day poolside for us and the swimmers at the Cambridge Summer Open or what from now on will be called the Cambridge slow cooker event! Hot – that’s not even close – I’ve been cooler in a sauna!

If Saturday was surprisingly good then Sunday was spectacularly good, this Level 3 Licenced meet attracted a lot of swimmers form Hertfordshire and London – unfamiliar competitors but if I’m honest a familiar theme. Being an open meeting those for who the event was relevant had picked their events but the organisers rejected loads of our entries. At one stage we were 90 minutes without a swimmer (yeah, that was hard to keep the swimmers focused, I’ll be honest) but when they stepped up they stepped in style.

Another 27 PB’s were set (some doubled from the night before) and 18 medals were won. Ten gold, 2 silver and 6 bronze – nine breast, 5 free, 4 fly and 1 back! It seems that Mr John Richards, esteemed breast stroke coach to the stars, has done it again in season 2012/13!

Naming the medallists is always a pleasure but on a trying day everyone did really well and I think those close to medals, Daniel ‘The bridesmaid’ Riches with a bunch of 4th places and others put on a great show. Emily Harman chose her last race of the season to put the hammer down in 100 breast, Livvy Pearce went hypoxic after an all out 200IM in 40 degree heat and Bea Pauley stayed strong all day. Charlotte’s Elson and Riches had busy programmes with good PB’s and excellent on-pace swims. Chloe Phillips, Ava Lessing-Caller, Connor Thacker, Emma and Amy Leslie all swam well, showing how resilient they are when the going got (by any account) very tough in the hot house.

Medallists take a bow!

Henry Pearce – 3 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze

Jess Mansfield – 3 gold

Mia Leech – 2 gold, 1 silver

Will Steel – 2 gold, 1 bronze

Livvy Pearce – 2 bronze

Millie Steel – 1 bronze

Tom Blenkiron – 1 bronze (surely now he’s going to start believing his won ability???)

Club Operations

Opens next season will still be important to us and we try to go to events at all levels to make them relevant to all competitive swimmers. At the Committee we talked at length about sharing the load and I’m delighted to announce two pieces of work being shared.

Firstly Gavin Lessing-Caller will work with me on Team Management taking particular responsibility for Fenland League events for next season – which is a great relief as my girls don’t swim those events. Could I be in danger of not being at a pool seven days a week?

Secondly Sue Pearce and Lou Steel will take Open Meeting entries and coordination off John’s plate.

Piranhas enter a number of open meets each year. Open meets are competitions that are usually organised by one club and held as a single event on one day or over a weekend. They aren’t part of a league, they sometimes have qualifying times and some may have upper limits. These events usually have medals awarded for each event, generally for the top three. The main difference from a gala is that the swimmer is swimming as an individual representing their club. Open meets are good fun and give swimmers great competitive experience.

From now Louise Steel and Sue Pearce will be taking over responsibility for our entries into open meets. Some of the meets are invite only, depending on the level, whilst others are open to all. Between Sue and Louise they are at the pool for every training session each week so will be easily accessible. They will do their best to keep you informed of up coming events and will distribute entry forms for you to complete on behalf of your swimmer (please feel free to ask advice from John should you be unsure which individual events to enter). There will be a return deadline for each meet and only entries returned by that date complete with payment will be entered. Please be supportive to Louise and Sue as they find their feet.

We will be inviting selected swimmers to race at Coventry at the long course sprint meet in September and we will need to gather entries as soon as possible. Sue and Lou will be on to that this week.

Training Times

Finally, my last communication on training times was as clear as mud. Next Tuesday 23rd is a normal training night, and Thursday 25th is the first holiday session.

That’s it now – no more comms, a few more swims and the summer is ours to be as free as a swim parent can be! Enjoy, relax and don’t push them too hard on holiday.

The Black Line

News from this weekend was all good and not all pool related. There were three events on all of them gave Piranhas success!

First up was Senior Fenland League over at Whittlesey where we swam against many of the great and good across the east. We’d picked a strong team to rack up the points with the aim of getting enough points (of all teams swimming in both heats) to get in to the top six and therefore the A final. Mission accomplished when we got third in our heat, which proved to be the tougher draw by a country mile and fourth overall. It was a great all round team performance, which for me was exemplified by everyone stepping up when it mattered.

Our junior girls team, Emma Leslie, Mia Leech, Ava Lessing-Caller and Jess Mansfield was superb – as would be expected – winning both their races. Standout performances came from Jess, Mia, Henry Pearce and Emma for their race wins and as far as I’m concerned swim of the night was Ben Hassall’s 58.27 for 100 free – what a natural athlete that young man is!

Sunday morning for most of us was a quiet affair, wondering if the TV would work outside so that Andy Murray’s exploits could be enjoyed in the blazing sun. Not so for all Piranhas as four intrepid swimmers packed their kit bags again but this time put their trainers in too.

It was the BRJ Biathlon (swim/run) at Hinchingbrooke School where four of our girls proudly wore their club kit to compete at the event. Livvy Pearce, Havana Miller, Beatrice Pauley and Ava Lessing-Caller all proved they are dual sport super stars by not just competing but bringing home the prizes.

I’m told the official results are still not ready to be published but what we do know is that our girls swamped the pool, lapping others on the way and causing the organisers to question their decision that no swimmer could take thirty seconds out of a another swimmer on a 200m freestyle. It is evident that they can because our girls did!

Fast swims set them up for great overall times but little did their competitors know that these kids are dual clubbed with cycling clubs, tri clubs and athletics clubs! The legs did the talking bringing Livvy in as overall top girls, Ava as age group winner and Bea and Havana a few seconds behind. We look forward to celebrating the full results when we can. Thanks for competing as Piranhas and well done all of you!

Finally on Sunday afternoon Jess was in the Cambs team for the intercounty event at Luton where our county performed exceptionally well for second place behind Essex – another superb result. Jess is back to her best and seems to be PBing every time she steps up to race.

Summer training times were agreed at the Committee Meeting on Monday and we have managed to secure more pool time, which is great news.

Starting on Tuesday 23rd July and finishing on Tuesday 3rd September we have a schedule as follows;

Tuesday night 1930 to 2030 is for all those who normally train Tuesday’s at 1900

Tuesday night 2030 to 2130 and Thursday night 2000 to 2130 is for all other swimmers

Normal training resumes on Wednesday 4th September at 2000.

If I’m honest what I see right now is weary swimmers, who are looking forward to a break. The summer schedule is always light, on purpose, because young swimmers need to let themselves rest and because of that every swimming club I’ve ever come across reduces hours to break one season from another in the summer.

We often get asked two questions about this, which I will attempt to clarify;

Should my child keep working hard through the summer when we are on holiday? No, let them have a break/reduced hours and enjoy other things so they come back refreshed and raring to go. If they love the pool and you have one where you are holidaying let them play, mess around and enjoy being in the water. Maintaining a feel for the water (as bizarre as it might sound) is really good for them – training day in, day out is not necessary!

Why do I have to pay the same fees during the summer? Because we operate standing orders we maintain the same level all year. Your total costs including term and holiday are averaged out to get to your monthly fees. A few years ago we tried doing it differently and it was so difficult to administer (and several parents tried to cheat the system) so we had to move to this method. It helps you with cash flow and it helps us with workload – we are all volunteers after all and most importantly we don’t want to have to ban kids from training because the fees are four months in arrears.

I guess the last Blackline of the year will come after JFL on Saturday and the Cambs Open on Sunday when we hope to end the season with our winning ways.