Let’s begin as is traditional at this time of year. On behalf of everyone at Cranleigh Swimming Club, I’d like to wish you a very Happy New Year.
And now, let’s pause.
January 2021. It seems like it’s been a long time coming. A new beginning. A chance to mark the end of 2020. A year that for many of us has been a difficult time, full of uncertainty and anxiety. So, beyond the all-too-easy words, I genuinely hope that this next year is a more joyful and positive one for all of you.
Because of the cadence of publishing, I write these articles almost a month before you read them. As I’ve found out in 2020, a lot can happen in a month. But, in some months in 2020, from a swimming perspective, not much happened at all. In those months of lockdown and pool closures, our swimmers were not able to do what they love best. Instead, they had to wait patiently to be back in the water.
The month before I write today has been one of the “closed” months. The fantastic news is that at I write, the leisure centre is open again and training has resumed. That might not be exciting enough to generate much news for a magazine article. But for us as a club, it is everything.
Looking back at my article from this time last year, there was plenty to write about. November, December, and the run-up to the end of the year was always a busy time. During this period in a normal year, swimmers are competing almost weekly. Often they are chasing qualification times for Surrey County Championships. County Championships that happen like clockwork every January. This time last year, I was busy reporting that regular calendar. Proudly sharing swimmer successes.
Little did I know what was coming. Did anyone? Without the bias of hindsight, 2020 looks like a year from science fiction. We can safely say that 2020 was a very different kind of year. And those differences will continue into 2021. Just as there have been no swimming competitions since March, so there will be no County Championships in January.
But perspectives changes. And so do the things we celebrate. Instead of club records, county times and personal bests, we are grateful for good health. Grateful for the sacrifices of the community, to keep Cranleigh a safe area. We celebrate that our swimmers are in the water. The resilience and independence of our children in difficult times. We’re thankful for the huge contributions of our coaches, committee and volunteers to help our swimmers do what they love.
We also celebrate the lessons we’ve learned. And I’m confident that everyone will have learned something about themselves during 2020. Amongst the biggest lessons is not to take things for granted. The time spent in the gallery at the leisure centre, watching our swimmers during training sessions. Something so simple, that so many parents at the club are missing so much.
Like so many other things, the plan is that competition will resume later in 2021. I hope that is the case because it will be a sign that wider life will be returning to normal. I’ve also learned, that it is a fool’s game to make predictions. But I am positive, drawing hope from the amazing work of scientists, providing us with a vaccine in record time. I’m not sure exactly what 2021 will bring, but I am confident that for many of us, it will be a better year.
Happy New Year!