I felt I should mention that I’m going to Swansea this weekend. A holiday, you might ask. No, it’s so that my daughter can swim in a competition at the Wales National Pool.
My place will be poolside, wearing white, and keeping in mind the stern admonitions of the chairperson of our swimming club that I can show no interest in my daughter’s swimming.
We are completely impartial, he said. Speaking to your child looks like favouritism and can’t be allowed. This is ok in principle, but I’m a volunteer and if you want professionalism then pay me!
The whole Swim England set-up is based on the voluntary service of people who have, for the most part, a vested interest in facilitating the meets. People who have children taking part, that is. So it may be a bit too much to ask them to stand for hours poolside and not take an interest in the way their child swims. Obviously, no one would allow it to go further and, if they were judging on the lane that their child was swimming in, deliberately allow an infraction of the many FINA rules to slip by them, but to pretend that they don’t care how their kid does in a race would be too much to ask.
But I will try to achieve that state this weekend. It is a warm-up event for the Regional Championships which happen in a few months time, so it is really just a marker for how things are progressing. I emphasise this to my daughter, she doesn’t have to win everything by huge margins, just swim and see how it feels. I know that she can’t actually do this, the competitive spark is too strong and she will try very hard to beat everyone, as usual. She swims through the pain like a true champion.
Maybe I haven’t mentioned this before, but I am in awe of my eldest daughter.