So, Autumn arrived! And with it, the new Cranleigh Amateur Swimming Club season. The drawing-in of the evenings and the inevitable return to the pool signal that change is afoot.
Well-rested from a month away from the pool, our swimmers have returned with a vengeance. Training has begun ahead of a very busy competition period up until Christmas. Our swimmers will be taking part in three weekends of Club Championships, our own club-hosted open meet and three external open meets.
First up is the Littlehampton Open Meet on 22nd September. Competing so soon after returning to training provides great motivation for our swimmers. To achieve their goals and perform to their potential they must train hard. They work hard with the coaches on their technique and perform the reps. The correlation is straightforward: the harder they work, the better the results.
While many of our swimmers enjoy the challenge and competition, they also swim for many other reasons. In the absence of any galas to report on, I thought it would be nice to illustrate this by sampling a handful of the swimmers. I asked them to tell us what they most enjoyed about swimming for the club.
One of the main things they identified was keeping fit. It is hard to overemphasise how fit our swimmers are. The hours of training they do, the training sets and the laps in the pool all translate into very fit athletes. This fitness becomes a huge asset for other sports. And because of this, many of our swimmers are very successful out of the pool. Our club has many good athletes, gymnasts, football, rugby or hockey players.
While fitness and competition were important, the clear number-one motivation was the social side. Every single swimmer said that building friendships was key to their enjoyment. These friendships come through shared experiences and feeling part of a team. As one swimmer put it: “it’s like a big family…when someone new starts they are welcomed [into our] strong friendships”.
David Whorlow, swimming coach
I also asked what they thought made a good swimmer.
Many of the answers were unsurprising. “Technique”, “hard work” and “commitment” featured highly. Our swimmers have a lot of fun swimming for the club but it also takes great discipline. Being part of this club teaches so many more valuable life skills than how to swim well. Some of the other skills noted were “practice”, “concentration”, “perseverance” and “a positive mindset”.
Another thing I observed was that our swimmers recognised how others helped them. It was clear that they thought that to be a good swimmer they had to listen to the advice of their coaches. It is great to know that the hard work of our fantastic coaching team is recognised.
The coaching team is led by David Whorlow, a coach with considerable experience. David has been coaching at a high level for over 20 years, including at much bigger clubs. He has been Head Coach for Herne Bay, RTW Monson and Thanet, with swimmers winning many regional and national titles. He has also been a coach mentor for the West Midlands region.
But of course, a team is not just one person. David is supported by an experienced coaching team that includes Carrie Shayler and Pete Baldrey. Both Carrie and Pete have a long association with the club and contribute hugely to the development of the swimmers. Many of our other coaches have come through the ranks of the club, some still part of the senior squad. This is another indicator of the strong community within the club.
For the half-a-dozen or so new swimmers joining the club, they have much to look forward to. And for everyone returning it should be another great experience. If you would like to join us, we are always looking for new members.
We look forward to reporting the season’s first results next time around.
If you are interested in joining Cranleigh ASC, do come down and see us on a Sunday evening at Cranleigh Leisure Centre from 4.30pm onwards or visit our website www.cranleighsc.org
We offer two free taster trial sessions, for children to see if they’d enjoy it.