ESC Blog

A Fantastic County Champs 2022

In 2020 ESC secured one silver medal and saw swimmers representing the club in 7 finals at the Worcestershire County Championships. In the previous year (2019) we came home with three silver medals but we only reached 4 finals. In 2020 we had 28 swimmers representing the club with a couple of events shy of entering 100 swims. Skip to 2022 and we can really put the club’s progress into perspective.

This year we saw 54 ESC swimmers qualify counties with 48 swimmers entering the 2022 County Championships (unfortunately one swimmer was unable to attend at all due to Covid). The club entered 232 events and swam 217 (the majority of the 15 events were not swum due to Covid)

72% of the swims were PBs with 155 Personal Best times achieved. This is amazing progress for all of our swimmers.

Further to this we achieved:

11 Bronze Medals, 4 Silver and 5 Gold

A Junior County Champion & Senior Runner up

Impressively, we had swimmers represent the club 43 times in Finals and this was achieved impressively by 19 different swimmers making finals.

Medals were won by 10 different swimmers (shown above) – Daniel Krywicki (3), Ed Rice (2), Molly Houghton (5), Leo Begley, Jack Fallon-Williams, Val Pique, George Milner(2), Jess Griffiths, Bella Williams (2), Daisy Gregg (2).

We currently have 6 Regional Qualifiers – Ed Rice (6 events), Abby Tustin (1), Daisy Gregg (2), Bella Williams (2), Chloe Honeywell (1) and Annabelle Blackbird (2).

At ESC, everyone plays a part in this success. Every swimmer, parent, coach, poolside helper and volunteer all support the success together and we achieve it together. We had swimmers celebrating other swimmers’ successes because they know that is what is important for the club. Well done everyone. I am so proud of what we have achieved – but, as always in swimming, we must continue to work hard for continued future success.

Daisy Gregg 15 – Junior Champion (16 and under) & Senior Runner-up (17+)
(50 Breast)
ESC Blog

Anxiety within our Swimmers

Graham Begley (ESC Head Coach) 21st October, 2021

What an incredible sport swimming is. What an incredible athlete every swimmers is. I think this on many occasions when I nervously watch every swimmer compete; I think the swimmers do not realise how brave and courageous they are. They have learnt and are developing great skills to rise to new challenges, take risks and perform skills they have learnt in front of everyone they know as well as strangers. I know the feelings every swimmer needs to embrace building up to an event, stepping up on the block, entering the water and the mental strength needed during each swim.

Anxiety in sport is everywhere; amateur level, professional level, at training, pre-training, at a competition, before a competition. I remember (and I still do it now to a degree) visualising races for weeks before I swam them. Thinking through turns, underwater work, how I may feel at different points of the race.

Hopefully this document will help our swimmers identify that they are not the only one having these feelings and it is completely normal (Swim England, no date). The feelings they have can ultimately be used positively and create the foundations to becoming a resilient and strong character, not just in a swimming environment. Hopefully this document will also highlight strategies to help everyone overcome the anxiety feelings that they experience and use them in a positive way. Some may call it their nerves. Swim England (no date) express;

 “Anxiety is a state consisting of psychological and physical symptoms brought about by a sense of apprehension of a perceived threat. The threat will differ according to the situation and the individual.

First of all, MySwimPro (no date) highlights that there are many benefits of swimming; It improves coordination, it is joint friendly, burns major calories, improves breathing efficiency, it’s optimal for cross training, it makes you smarter, it lengthens muscles but ultimately it improves your ability to stay calm making swimming a great sport to assist with anxiety.

“Swimming is meditative. Swimming boosts endorphins that increase feelings of wellbeing. Plus the rhythmic strokes and sound of water make swimming much more relaxing. It’s been shown that swimming produces the same relaxation responses as yoga, and the stretching and contracting of muscles can heighten this experience.”

That being said, we all know that being a competitive swimmer can create added pressures and can become the catalyst for anxiety.

There is no doubt that swimming is one of the world’s most mentally challenging sports. Swimmers are put into a single lane, day in and day out, to swim countless amounts of laps, only to be put into a race to drop a few tenths of a second. Even if you are a swimmer that is not at an Olympic level, the pressure of performing in a swim set, or meet, can be daunting. Swimmers are constantly battling the pressures of time, approval from coaches, self-approval, so it is no wonder that many swimmers struggle with anxiety (Padington, T. 2016).

Padington further explains that swimmers can face negative anxieties or positive anxieties. Negative anxieties will be caused from swimmers being unprepared, not ready, are uncertain or feel incapable. On the flip side a swimmer may develop positive anxieties because they have an excitement and anticipation to engage in a training session or race. They are fully prepared. I take this back to how I recall visualising a race situation. If my thoughts are about how good my turn is going to be and how I’m going to really kick hard on my underwater work and finish the race fast I will develop an eagerness to show this off and will be prepared for the race. It’s a bit like going into an exam and knowing you have revised really well and want to prove you know lots about the subject. On the flip side, if through my visualisation, I think about what I’ll do if my goggles come off or if I swallow some water or if I miss the wall on my turn I’m going to go into the race feeling negative and unprepared.

“Use imagery to help guide you where you want to go. Before even jumping into the pool, or starting a race, visualize what you want to happen. If you are visualizing a race, imagine the pool: the sounds that you will hear, and the way your body will feel in the water. The same goes for a practice: imagine the times you want to be hitting on your pace. Using visualization only needs to take a few minutes, but it can be extremely effective since you are taking your body and mind through the motions that it is about to go through. A key component to visualizing is making sure that all the imagery you are creating is positive, that way your mind is more at ease come practice or race day.”

There needs to be a bit of a balance to help prepare for changing situations but we also need to see how vital the positive thoughts are for our anxiety levels becoming positive for our performance. Furthermore, Swim England (no date) recognise it is very important for swimmers to focus on the positives that they can do and not what their competitors can do. Just by standing tall before an event, smiling and being encouraged to enjoy the swim will give a swimmer greater confidence going into a race. Adding pressure of swimming a certain time or winning will only ignite further anxiety. Swimmers should avoid making these targets the ‘be all’ of everything and parents should avoid placing that pressure on swimmers.

Poirier-Leroy (no date) also refers to trying to suppress anxiety will only ignite it further and becomes impossible to reduce anxiety levels. Through such things as breathing exercises we can calm our heart rate but unlikely to remove anxiety. Poirier-Leroy also expresses that turning anxiety into exited anxiety is the best answer.

“Excitement makes sense to us, whereas anxiety is confusing as heck….Going from stressed to excited is easier than trying to go from stressed to calmed”

As coaches we incorporate activities during sessions to help swimmers build their mental strength and will talk about strategies to get through a set mentally which can be applied during races. On a personal level I can excite levels of anxiety within myself when I swim. If I have an event coming up and I’m doing a hard set in training, thinking about the event is not the right time during the set. My anxiety intensifies. I can recognise this and I purposely bring myself back to focusing on the set. These are management systems that I have needed to develop on my own. In a time of stress it makes the anxiety implode. A lot of anxiety can occur during training sessions. As coaches we are here to help nurture the swimmers and help them to deal with the anxieties they experience in the pool. When I swim in a training session I certainly experience anxiety through a set, especially if I’m swimming with others who are pushing me hard. I certainly question, ‘How am I going to do more of these reps?’ We talk a lot about focussing on the swim in hand, if you talk yourself out of the session before you’ve started you will never succeed.

After the event a lot can be learnt or added to future anxiety. If swimmers are given time to evaluate their own performance and discuss what went well and things that didn’t go so well it can give them ownership and give them positive insight for future performances. Affection from parents/carers after a performance is vital to ensure that they do not become fearful of performing badly in the future.

A previous paper ‘Supporting Our Swimmers through Competition: A Parents’ Guide’ touched on the anxieties that can manifest from the worries and anxieties of the parent. Kohli, S (2015) expresses that there are two forms of outcomes that an anxious household can manifest. Firstly, children will replicate anxieties.

”Children might observe their parents’ fear or worries in their actions or overhearing words, and then adopt those same worries.”

Furthermore, Kohli, S (2015) additionally suggests,

“Another cause could be what the study calls ‘negative parenting behaviours’ – unnecessarily shielding a child from something that a parent fears. Or on the flip side, parents might perpetuate the problem by allowing a child’s existing anxieties, like fear of heights or pain at the dentist, to dictate their parenting choices and allow their child to avoid those experiences”

When avoidance happens, Young, K (no date) suggests this will become the default actions in responding to the world. It teaches children to steer away from difficult situations and become less willing to give things a go or overcome past failures. Giving children the opportunities to embrace challenges and ultimately learning to cope with new situations will be supporting our children to reduce the anxieties that they experience.

Young, K (no date) further explains how providing reassurance to a child to support them through an anxious situation must be carefully managed. Providing too much support and reassurances can ultimately make the anxiety heighten.

Excessive reassurance can unintentionally undermine the capacity for children to grow their own confidence and self-support. If you are the one who always provides the scaffold between an anxious thought and a brave response, it will be even more difficult for an anxious child to find their own.

To conclude I think it is really important to remember that anxiety is evident in everyone throughout life. We are not looking to remove anxiety completely. If managed effectively we can use anxiety to positively approach new challenges and focus our minds on positivity. By supporting the child and not the anxiety we can begin to allow our swimmers to embrace new challenges and learn their own personal skills to combat and manage their anxieties effectively. We can feed them the independence and they will grow resilient. I will return to my earlier observations; what incredible athletes every swimmer is to stand on the block to compete, to dedicate their passion and skills to hours of training in the pool.

 Don’t let numbers get in the way of your love of the sport. If, mentally, swimming ever makes you think negatively of yourself, re-evaluate…… If I had just swam because I loved it instead of swimming for a time, I would have been not only happier, but faster…. Everyday I try to acknowledge the fact that I am a dedicated athlete and that is something, in itself, I should be immensely proud of. (Cielo, 2015).


Cielo, B. (2015). Conquering anxiety in swimming. [online] SwimSwam. Available at: Conquering Anxiety In Swimming ( [Accessed 9th October 2021]

Kohli, S. (2015). Study: Kids who grow up with anxious parents take on their anxiety. [online] Quartz. Available at: Study: Kids who grow up with anxious parents take on their anxiety — Quartz ( [Accessed 13th October 2021].

MySwimPro. (no date). 8 Benefits of swimming you probably didn’t know. [online] MySwimPro. Available at:  8 Benefits of Swimming You Probably Didn’t Know – MySwimPro [Accessed 7th October 2021].

Padington, T. (2016). Swimming with axiety: 3 helpful coping mechanisms. [online] Swimming World. Available at: Swimming With Anxiety: 3 Helpful Coping Mechanisms – Swimming World News ( [Accessed 7th October 2021].

Poirier-Leroy, O. (no date). This one trick can make anxiety work for you in the pool for a change. [online] Available at: This One Trick Can Make Anxiety Work for You in the Pool for a Change ( [Accessed 8th October 2021].

Swim England. (no date). Tips for dealing with anxiety in young competitive swimmers. [online] Swim England Swimming. Available at: Dealing with anxiety | Tips for parents to help young swimmers ( [Accessed 11th October 2021].

Young, K. (no date). The things loving parents do that might unintentionally feed anxiety in children – and what to do instead. [online] Hey Sigmund. Available at: [accessed 13th October 2021].

ESC Blog

The Return of the Evesham Modern Biathlon

On Sunday 18th July 2021, Evesham Swimming Club hosted the return of the Evesham Modern Biathlon event. The biathlon consisted of a 100 or 200m swim in the pool at Rivers Leisure Centre followed by a 1 or 2 km run around the Corporation Meadows. Over 100 athletes from the counties Evesham, Worcester and Pershore swimming clubs competed in the glorious sunshine for the first time in nearly 20 years. The event was an annual hit back in the 1980’s and 90’s and so it was fantastic to see it return with a number of ex-Evesham club members compete. Some notable inclusions were club President and ex Head Coach Jean Deakins and Evesham’s Mayor, Sue Amor, who was Chairperson at Evesham Swimming club when the event originally existed.

Some notable swim times recorded were Paul Redgewell (1:03.85) and Daisy Gregg (1:09.57) for the 100m and Patrick Heeks (2:03.69) and Scarlett Begley (2.31.63) for the 200m. Fastest run times were recorded by Andrew Shipton (3:26.00)  and Elizabeth Annis and Emily Byrd both recorded a 3:56.00 for the females in the 1000m run. In the 2000m run Daniel Jones recorded an impressive 7:01 and Scarlett Begley in a time of 10.03.

Overall winners for each Class were; Ed Norton and Masie Sandalls in the 17-34 age group; Dan Jones and Scarlett Begley in the 15/16 age group, Jack Porter and Emily Byrd in the 13/14 age group; Archie Day and Elizabeth Annis in the  11/12 age group; Harry Porter and Jessica Griffiths in the 9/10 age group; Andrew Shipton and Magdalaina Pique in the 35 and over age group.

Speaking at the award ceremony held after the event, Evesham Swimming Club Chairman, Rob Harrison, thanked everyone for their efforts in getting this historical competition back after so many years and hoped that we can make this a successful annual event in the future. 

Also speaking at the award ceremony Head Coach, Graham Begley, said “It was fantastic to see everyone competing again from various swim clubs across Worcestershire. Everyone took part with a smile on their face and the support created a fantastic atmosphere. As a club we have certainly missed being together at events, and hope this is a positive sign of things to come”.

Evesham Swimming Club Members with some Ex-Club Members
Overall Female Winner – Elizabeth Annis.
Overall Male Winner – Andrew Shipton
Best 8 and under winner – Harry Holme.
Off The Blocks – Action from the pool
Head Coach, Graham Begley, with the Evesham Mayor, Sue Amor.
Jean Deakins (Club President) in the 1000m Run

ESC Blog

PGL Round Two – 7th March 2020

On Saturday 7th March 2020, 39 swimmers travelled to Tipton to compete in the 2nd Round of PGL. Following our successful Round 1 result the team were keen to emulate the performances seen in the previous gala and they certainly didn’t disappoint.

The team recorded a massive 30 PBs from a possible 42 individual races, recording just one speeding Ticket. The team were in fine form from start to finish and clocked up a massive 37 first place finishes over the 60 events. The points tally for Evesham at a PGL Gala, in the League stages, was certainly a club record and it would be interesting to know if any team has ever recorded such a points tally in the history of the competition….

The final points for the gala were as follows:

Evesham 206, Oldbury 144, Haden Hill 125, Stourbridge 118.

For the next round the team travel to Wombourne Leisure Centre, going into the gala sitting at the top of the table.

ESC Blog

John Neale Trophy Gala Success

Last night (Saturday 29th February 2020) Evesham Swimming Club took 51 swimmers, across two teams, to Abbey Stadium in Redditch . Team ‘X’ and Team ‘Y’ competed in The John Neale B Grade Trophy Gala against another two teams from Redditch (Reds and Blacks) and a team from Pershore.

Out of the 51 swimmers, 24 were swimming for ESC in a team gala for the very first time and a further 7 were swimming for only the second time. The 20 swimmers with slightly more experience were spread amongst the two teams and generally swam in events that they normally wouldn’t be their most favoured! 

The gala was extremely useful to challenge our swimmers and it was amazing to see the support and team togetherness through the gala with swimmers cheering each other on regardless of the ESC team they were representing. During the gala our swimmers recorded a massive 39 PBs.

As the club has grown in strength, so have our numbers. We are continually committed to developing all swimmers at Evesham Swimming Club. We now have 105 CAT 2 registered swimmers out of 132. More swimmers will upgrade to CAT 2 when they turn 9 years of age and every CAT 2 swimmer will have hopefully represented the club by the end of the team competition season for 2020. We view our swimmers swimming in external events as a vital ingredient to inspire and enthuse the hunger for their development.

The gala results finished as follows:

Pershore 250, Redditch Black 199, Evesham Y 186, Evesham X 166, Redditch Red 159.

ESC Blog

PGL Captains 2020

2020 PGL Captains: Grace Elias & Jack Gregory

For our 2020 PGL Campaign Grace Elias and Jack Gregory have been selected as Captains, taking over the baton from Bryony Tustin and Sam Parker who are no longer eligible to compete at PGL due to their age . This role is extremely important in bringing our team together at each round of the competition and supporting our younger swimmers. Jack broke into the PGL team last year and played a key role in his preferred stroke, breaststroke. Jack will play an important role this year as he is too fast to swim Breaststroke so will be a major team player in filling the gaps where required. Grace was also a key member last year but on occasions missed out on selection due to the strength of our age group squad. Grace will play a key role this year and has been rewarded with captaincy for placing herself in a strong position for the 2020 campaign.

Good Luck to the team who are competing on Saturday (11th Jan) at West Bromwich.

ESC Blog

Missed County Times BUT we must take the positives from the progress

I just wanted to say a massive well done to Will Green and Maisie Sandalls for their final attempt to secure a County Qualification this weekend. Although both just fell short of gaining the times needed for the 2020 Champs, it is a credit to both swimmers for their determination to achieve their goal. At the start of the year Will was 11.4% off county and Maisie 13.8%. To reduce it to 0.1% and 0.44% respectively is a huge achievement. William also brought home a Bronze medal for his efforts at the Wyre Forest Meet. This kind of progression will make qualification much easier next year.

There were similar success stories for all of our swimmers who finished close to County times this year. Rhys Tombs went from being 19.2% from county to 0.68%, Oliver Miller 30% down to 1.84%, Elif Aptula 6.8% to 0.05%, Louis Clifford 20.3% to 0.78%, Szymon Zwierz 17.2% to 0.54%, Wilf Harrison 15.4% to 1.81%, Olivier Matuszak 12% to 4.2% and Chloe Coumbe 6.4% to 3.42%. Finn Warren also reduced a 14.3% from county and qualified at an unlicensed event (it just needed to be achieved at a L4 meet or higher). Although the qualifying times move up a band for these swimmers next year I am confident that with the same hard work all stand a good chance for the 2021 Championships.

Jack Fallon-Williams and Thomas Shakespeare also reduced the gap. Jack moved from 31.1% to 2.34% and Thomas 13.8% to 2.69%. Both these swimmers have another year to achieve the same qualifying times in the 10/11 age group.

These stats just show how hard work and focus can considerably close the gap and highlights the importance for swimmers to focus on their own goals and break down the challenge into small chunks.

ESC Blog

Wychavon Meet 2019

On the 23rd and 24th November the club took over 80 swimmers to compete at the 3rd Wychavon Invitational Meet held at Perdiswell Leisure Centre. A massive 97 medals were won, just under 300 PBs recorded and lots of young swimmers making their competitive debut at an open meet. The medal count compared to last year multiplied by over three times.

We really enjoy entering this Open Meet because it gives our youngest swimmers in the club the first taster of competing against swimmers externally to the club. In the 8 Years and under and 9 years and under category it was great to see ESC dominate the medals table. George Milner took a Gold in the 25m Backstroke and Bronze in the 25m Fly and 25m Free for the 8 years and under Boys. In the same age group Ethan Jeffries took Gold in the 25m Breaststroke and Bronze in the 25m Backstroke, Harley McMinn won Silver in both the 25m Fly and 25m Free and Matt Byrd won Bronze in the 25m Breaststroke. In the Girls 8 years and under Leah O’Laughlin won Gold in the 25m Backstroke, Molly Houghton won Gold in the 25m Free, Silver in the 25m Backstroke and Breaststroke and Bronze in the 25m Fly. Ella-Rae Black took an impressive silver in the 25m Fly and Bronze in the 25m Breaststroke. Jessica Griffiths also impressed in the 50m Backstroke winning Silver.


In the 9 year old age group we saw an impressive overhaul on the podium in the 50m Fly with Sophie Walters taking Gold, Bella Williams Silver and Lara Jones finishing with Bronze. Bella Williams has an extremely successful weekend taking Gold in the 100m Free, 50m Breaststroke, 200m Breaststroke and 100 Individual Medley. Sophie Walters added to her 50m Fly Gold with further poll positions in the 50 Backstroke and 50 Free and won two Silver medals in the 200 Individual Medley and 100m Backstroke. Further medals in the 9 years old age group came from Hebe Gregg (Gold in the 25m Breaststroke), Evie Woodburn (Bronze in the 50m Free), Martha Green (Bronze in the 50m Backstroke), Izzie Newrick (Bronze in the 25m Fly and 25m Free), Courtney Onens (Bronze in the 25m Breaststroke) and Katy Smith (Bronze in the 25m Back).

The boys, in the 9 year age group, were just as impressive. Ed Rice won Gold in the 100m Breaststroke, 50m Backstroke, 200 Free and 200m Breaststroke and took Silver in the 25m Fly. Thomas Shakespeare won Gold in the 25m Fly, 25m Free and 50m Fly and finished in Silver for the 50m Free and took Bronze in the 200m Free and 100m Individual Medley. Jack Fallon-Williams took an impressive sweep of Silver medals in the 100m Breaststroke, 100m Free, 50 Backstroke and 50m Breaststroke. Jack won a further Bronze in the 50m Free.

In the 10 years age group Chloe Honeywell took Gold in the 50m Free and Silver in the 100 Free and 200 Free. Olivia Voss won Gold in the 50 Back, Silver in the 100m Back and 50 Free and won Bronze in the 100m Free. For the boys, Monty McMinn took an impressive Bronze in the 100m Fly and Syd Byrd won Gold in a gruelling 200m Fly.

In the Girls 11 year age group Athen Cochrane won Gold in the 100m Breaststroke, Silver in the 200m Breaststroke and Bronze in the 100m Free and 50m Backstroke. For the boys Szymon Zwiertz won Bronze in the 50m Backstroke and Henry Jackson won Silver in the 50m Free, 100m Free, 200m Breaststroke and Bronze in the 50m Breaststroke.

In the 12 Year age group Daisy Gregg won Gold in the 200m Breaststroke and 50m Breaststroke and Silver in the 100m Breaststroke. Daisy took a further Bronze in the 100m Individual Medley.

In the 13 year age group Scarlett Begley won Silver in the 200m Fly and a further five Bronze medals in the 50 Free, 100 Free, 200 and 100 Individual Medley and 50 Backstroke. For the boys Josh Hennessy won Silver in the 50m Free, 200m Free, 50 Fly, 100 Fly and Bronze in the 100m Individual Medley.

In the 14 year age group Bryony Tustin won a Silver in the 200m Free, Jack Gregory won Silver in the 200m Breaststroke and Bronze in the 50m and 100m Breaststroke.

In the 15 year old age group Nathan Gilbert won Gold in the 50m Backstroke and 100m Free, Silver in the 50 Breaststroke and 50 Free and Bronze in the 100m Individual Medley. Sam Parker won Silver in the 100 Individual Medley and Bronze in the 50m Backstroke.

Abby Tustin won Gold in the 100m and 200m Breaststroke and Bronze in the 100m Individual Medley for the Girls 16 year old age group.

The club now have 28 swimmers who have qualified for the County Championships in 2020. These take place in the new year; 16 more swimmers than in the previous year. This is for 95 swims currently. Every swimmer should be extremely proud of themselves; whether a county time has been achieved, a medal has been won or a new Personal Best time recorded. It was so lovely to see the swimmers enjoying their time as a team at the competition, celebrating their successes together and developing as competitive swimmers. Every single swimmer impressed the coaches over the weekend of events. A particular highlight for me was seeing Emily Fawcett smash her PB in the 200 Free and 100 Free without her goggles from the dive! Work needs to be done to keep those goggles in place but this was a very mature and controlled swim to also PB in such a manner that she did. Well done Emily. This was just one of many highlights.

Keep up the good work swimmers!



ESC Blog

ESC – Supporting Our Swimmers through Competition: A Parents’ Guide

1. Your stress is contagious
As a parent it is so important to not feel anxious about how your child may deal with a training session or competing at a meet. Let the swimmer develop their managing skills to overcome tricky situations. Of course, support them with guidance and advice but it is so important not to express your worries or anxieties that you are feeling. Providing your child with an insight to these, you are fuelling them with additional concerns and generating possible negative outcomes.

“the stress and anxiety we feel about our swimmer’s performance trickles down into how stressed and anxious they are.” (Poitier-Leroy, 2019 a)

2. Your expectations are contagious
Placing emphasis on winning rather than focussing on achieving small goals, like obtaining PBs, is not healthy. Shioemaker (2015) recognised through research that:-

“Athletes who were the most stressed out and anxious (with anxiety measured in terms of worry, physical symptoms-tense muscles, and concentration disruption) had parents who really wanted their kid to beat the competition, or ‘to not lose to others’”.

“The age groupers experienced concentration disruption the most when their parents were more interested in seeing the athlete out-perform the competition compared to achieving a personal best.”

You may have heard a lot of focus by coaches on swimmers comparing their swims against their personal best times. This must be re-enforced throughout – small personal goals. It is also the best measure of progress. But, remember, swimmers cannot obtain a PB every time they swim. If we did, there would be no end to our success! We also need to support them positively when they do not PB. Avoid comparing times to other swimmers. Additional to the above points raised, each swimmer is different. They all have different strengths/weaknesses, differing dates of birth, differing peaks and troughs in performance etc.
3. Look beyond the medals
The monthly club fees, the meet fees, expensive swim costumes, early morning training, forever being poolside watching your child swim up and down….. the list goes on to the lengths you go to as a parent to support your child’s love of swimming. This is fantastic but Poitier-Leroy (2019 a) recognises that parents sometimes feel this investment requires a return on their efforts and financial input:

“As a result you might feel yourself putting more emphasis on winning in order to see a return.”

Remember, if your child is enjoying their swimming, they will make progress. Do not place a level of expectation on them or put pressure on the child to give something back through their performances or achievements. Their experience and life skills they are developing, by being a part of the club will seriously outweigh the gold medals. This is your return for the copious hours that you dedicate to your child’s love of swimming!

“But if you want the best for your child, the research continues to show that a relaxed, hands-off, let-the-kid-own-the-sport is best for creating an environment where they will not only have more fun, but also excel both in the short and long term.” (Poitier-Leroy, 2019 a)

4. Avoid over-analysing their performance and let them own the sport
In addition to the quote by Poitier-Leroy (2019 b) above, he also recognises that by encouraging accountability, the swimmers will generate their own understanding and ways to develop further. By providing excuses for failure it will not allow them to truly reflect on their swimming and evaluation will be limited. Furthermore, let them develop their own goals to achieve. Of course, provide encouragement along the way to help them achieve their goals but do not intensify it for them. By generating their own goals they will be more motivated to achieve them in the long run and are likely to be more honest when evaluating any experiences of disappointment.

“How they swim isn’t a reflection of you. Don’t fall down the over-identification trap where your child’s swim performance is a reflection of you, leading you to ignore how they feel about the sport and focusing on your feelings. Taking the burden for their swimming also removes accountability on your swimmer’s part. The more likely it’s their thing, the more likely they are to be successful.” (Poitier-Leroy, 2019 b)

5. Set the standard to how they should react
As a parent it is your responsibility to set the example of how to react in times of disappointment and during times of success. You will be the biggest role model to your child so set the tone. Also be conscious and considerate to the situation and other swimmers and parents. You may be over the moon about your child’s achievement, selections for a team gala or squad move (for example) but consider the negative impact this may have on other children and parents if it is exuberant or inappropriate. On the flip side, hold your cool if you are disappointed with your child’s swim or news regarding team selections, squad moves etc. I would return to the above note – let your child evaluate their swim or reflect on news about selections themselves. They may react very differently to how you expect or how you initially did.

“It is contradictory and confusing for children to be told to have self-control, to stay calm and focused in moments of high pressure when their parent is screaming at the coach and losing their chlorinated mind from the stands.” (Poitier-Leroy, 2019 b)

6. Do not punish swimmers for bad swims
I’m confident that this does not happen at ESC. When researching, I read stories of parents refusing to feed their children or shouting at them when they witnessed a disappointing swim. Totally unacceptable!

On the flip side though, if we analyse further guidance from Swim England Competitive Swimming Hub (2019) that states we should not ‘dangle carrots’ to reward a better outcome are we ultimately punishing our children for not achieving the desired goal? Additionally, we are then making our job in supporting a disappointed child that hasn’t achieved a PB much harder. The advice would be to consider what you are putting on the table for your child prior to a swim. I am just as guilty of such stigma around the need to reward my children at a meet making references to PBs but focus really should be placed on “what they did well rather than the outcome achieved” (Swim England Competitive Swimming Hub, 2019).
7. Do not treat volunteers poorly
I think at ESC the respect and appreciation of our volunteers is supported by our parents. We have come a long way as a club and we have high levels of support and commitment from parents to help the club progress.

This being said, there will always be some concerns and issues that people have with things that are happening at different times within the club but it is that person’s responsibility to approach any issue in a respectful manner. I am not naïve to think everyone is always happy and content with everything but I do expect any issues to be raised in the correct manner. If you think you can add something to the team to improve a concern you have and help the development of the club there is always a voluntary role for all parents at ESC.

“Honestly if people spent as much time helping as they do sending strongly worded emails or gossiping about those that do the actual work, things would probably go a lot more smoothly.” (, 2017)

This ethos also follows through to officials. If your child has received a disqualification at an event, approach the coach to seek clarification from the organisers for the reasons. I read issues online about parents having arguments with officials at open meets, this would certainly not be acceptable at ESC!

8. Gain a good balance: encourage attendance at training sessions but do not force your child to swim
There needs to be a balance of swimmers regularly attending training sessions to gain the opportunity to make the necessary progress but there also needs to be time given to swimmers for down time. Give your child time to remove themselves from swimming when they are not at the pool and maybe consider times when attending a training session would not benefit the child. You know your child best and know when they need to miss a session. That being said, do not fall into the trap of letting them slack! Children are very clever and can manipulate a past situation to suit their demands. On the flip side, do not force your child to swim. If it is becoming an increasing battle to get them to the pool, maybe being part of a club is not for them:

“Honestly, if your kid doesn’t love the sport, spend your time and money helping them explore other activities they may love more rather than bribing them or guilting them into another season. Trust me you all will be happier in the long run.” (, 2017)

9. The facilities do not make the athlete
We are extremely lucky at ESC. We have a modern, new Leisure Centre and Chipping Campden is a good facility for our swimmers. For some swimmer though there may be things that they do not enjoy about some of our facilities or swimmers may take a disliking to certain venues for competitions. To experience these is still important though. If we remove obstacles then they will not develop the skills to deal with adverse or difficult situations. As a parent, let them embrace these difficulties to make them stronger and they will also be more equipped to deal with future obstacles. This links through to winning and losing; being part of a club that wins everything makes defeat more difficult when it happens!
10. Take time to understand the structure of swimming at the club
Swimming is not the most straight forward sport. There are so many things to consider – different strokes, race distances, swim meets, external club galas, internal club galas, different squads, different skills, different categories of insurance etc. It can be quite stressful to a parent.

We have committee members in place to support parents in understanding the structure of the club but ultimately they are all volunteers. As parents, take the time to read club emails, log into Swim Club Manager, pay fees on time, make notes of meets and the events that you have entered for your child, attend squad and parent meetings etc. It may seem un-related to your child’s swimming but if you are more organised, knowledgeable and well informed, your child will feel more confident and supported. I would say that nine out of ten emails that you receive as a parent, there will be something relevant. Ensure they are not going into your junk also!

If anything seems confusing speak to committee members at sessions or arrange a meeting to speak to someone who can help. The more information you can gain, the best you can support your child.
11. Be there for your child and club
The theme running through the stages all lead back to just being there for your child. Ultimately, they just want you to be there for them both. They will need you in times of disappointment and will certainly want to share their successful times with you.

“Win or lose, all they really want to know is that their swimming, and by extension their identity, isn’t a prerequisite for you being there for them. Don’t make your love conditional on how they swim. All they want to know and feel is that first or last, whether they are world record holder or local sharks-and-minnows champ, that you will love ’em.” (Poirier-Leroy, O. (2019 b)

“Where possible emphasise the importance of being a team player. Swimmers that motivate others are often the happiest and gain the greatest benefit out of training and competition. This goes for swimming parents also. Cheer for your own child but cheer for their teammates too. This will help to create a positive atmosphere amongst the swimmers and their supporters.” (Swim England Competitive Swimming Hub, 2019)


Poitier-Leroy, O. (2019 a). Swim Parents: Your Stress and Expectations Are Contagious. [online] SwimSwam. Available at: [Accessed 27 Oct. 2019].

Poirier-Leroy, O. (2019 b). How to Be an Awesome Swim Parent. [online] Available at: [Accessed 27 Oct. 2019].

Shoemaker, S. (2015). Pre-Game Jitters: Research Suggests Student Athletes and Parents Both Contribute to Anxious Feelings Before Competition – IC News – Ithaca College. [online] Available at: [Accessed 27 Oct. 2019].

Swim England Competitive Swimming Hub. (2019). Swimming parents: 10 dos & don’ts to help performance. [online] Available at: [Accessed 27 Oct. 2019]. (2017). 10 mistakes swim parents make. [online] Available at: [Accessed 27 Oct. 2019].

ESC Blog

Evesham reach the PGL Final for the first time since 2015

On Saturday 4th May our swimmers travelled to Redditch Abbey Stadium to compete in the 4th Round of PGL. Potentially, just turning up to compete would secure the club its first appearance in the PGL final for 4 years but our swimmers excelled themselves once again against tough opposition.

On the evening our swimmers recorded 16 first place swims over 62 events and one Speeding Ticket recorded by Elif Aptula in the 50m Backstroke. There were a further 7 swims that were very close to recording a ‘speeding ticket’ (Sophie Walters 25m Fly, Jack Fallon-Williams 25m Back, Susie Gillett 25m Back, Scarlett Begley 50 Free, Joshua Hennessy 50m Fly, Matt James 50 Fly and Daniel Jones 100 IM.) Remember, although we do not score points for speeding tickets, swimmers should celebrate these achievements as a sign of the progress they are making. It has been a difficult year selecting a team for PGL because everyone is making such fantastic progress.

The final results for the gala were Pershore 172, Evesham 159, Haden Hill 139, Bromsgrove 122. We now qualify for the final on Saturday 8th June 2019 in 4th Place which is a fantastic achievement. The gala will be held at Gloucester GL1 and warm up starts at 1.30pm (not the usual 6pm). 52 swimmers that have competed over the 4 rounds are now eligible to swim in the final. Unfortunately, only 40 swimmers can be selected and this squad will be announced over the next week or so. The final standings in the table, for qualification, is as follows:

Position/Team       Cumulative Gala Points      League Points
1 Pershore              693                                          16
2 Redditch              671                                          14
3 Worcester           628                                          12
4 Evesham             617                                          12
5 Oldbury               657                                          11
6 Bromsgrove        610                                          11
7 Stourbridge        640                                          10
8 Haden Hill          544                                            9
9 Northgate            575                                           8
10 Cheltenham      524                                           7
11 Warley Wasps  494                                           6