Monday, 29 April 2013

12. 100m Backstroke

Event: Women's 100m Backstroke
Date: 25th April 2013
Location: Basildon Sports Park
Cost: £3.45
Rules:  Swimmers start in the water and hold on the side or top bars of the diving platform awaiting the start. On the whistle, swimmers launch backwards and dolphin kick underwater until the arms break the surface. Backstroke is swum with alternating arm strokes and fast up-and-down kicks. When swimmers reach the end of the pool, they may turn onto their stomach for one arm pull and then perform a tumble-turn. They then swim to the other end of the pool. At the end of the race, swimmers stay on their backs until they touch the wall with one hand.

The Event:


Olympic Gold Medal London 2012: 0.58.33, Missy Franklin, USA.
Sarah: 2.43.61
Ellie: 2.57.49

Sarah: It turns out that our nearest 50m Olympic sized pool is in Basildon; an hour away from where we live. Our commitment to the challenge was clear as we set our alarms for 5.30am on a day off work and made the drive. It was more than worth it, as the pool and the facilities are brilliant. It was time to put our swimming lessons with Colchester Swimming Club to the test. We've been practicing a lot- especially on our tumble-turns, and although we've both swam in pools 50m+ before, the 50m is hard when you're swimming flat out! We had to judge our timed attempts to avoid as many people in our lane as possible, but both found that we ended up hitting our arms into the lane dividers on the return leg. We each did three timed attempts, with our best times posted above.       
Ellie: It’s 7am. We’ve been driving for an hour. Well, Sarah’s been driving… I’ve been ‘entertaining’, DJ’ing and navigating (badly). I’m not sure what Basildon did to get such an amazing facility as the Sports Park but it is beautiful. There is a climbing wall at the front of the building with a glass surround so that people can see in. It has a massive athletics track with stands and lights. And it has a 50m pool. The only 50m pool in Essex.

50m is much, much further than 25m. It felt epic… as I swam along on my back I kept thinking ‘I’m nearly at the flags; they’re coming up; keep focused - those flags will be here any second…’ but they never seemed to arrive! The other thing that struck me as I pushed and pulled myself up and down the lane is how difficult it is to stay in a straight line. I swerved around, caught my hands in the lane dividers, nearly clattered other swimmers and generally got in a big, exhausted muddle!
I’m pleased that my fastest swim was under the 3 minute mark and although I felt properly sick when I finished, I think I could keep practicing and decrease that time. I guess that is another interesting thing about this project – we can repeat events and track our improvement.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

11. Women's Trampoline

Event: Women's Trampoline
Date: 2nd April 2013
Location: Brentwood School Sports Centre
Cost: £6.50 per session (three sessions)
Rules: Gymnasts perform a series of ten skill routines, with a variety of single, double and triple somersaults with and without twists. Precise technique and perfect body control are vital for success, with judges delivering marks for difficulty, execution and time of flight, minus penalties. Athletes are judged against a strict set of criteria where every part of the routine must be as near to perfection as possible. The angle of limbs, the position of the feet, the moves and finish must all be of the highest standard.

The Routines:

Sarah: Seat Drop, Half Turn, Star, Tuck, Straddle, Seat Drop, Half Turn, Star, Tuck, Straddle

Ellie: Tuck, Pike, Straddle, Seat Drop, Half Turn, Swivel Hips, Tuck, Front Drop.  

London 2012 Winner: Rosannagh MacLennan, Canada.

Sarah: My first time on a trampoline was quite nerve wracking and it took me a little while to get the hang of the seat drops (as you can probably tell from my simple routine!). I eventually got there via quite a few grazed elbows and some aching shoulders, and with the help of the coaches decided on my ten 'skill' routine. We were in awe of the others at the club when we were practicing; their effortless routines and moves were so impressive. We didn't manage quite the same grace, but had loads of fun mastering our skill sets.       

Ellie: Trampolining was one of the events I was most looking forward to. I'd been a member of a club as a youngster (I have a certificate to prove it) and always really enjoyed it. The idea of bouncing again really pleased me and designing my own 10 skill routine sounded fun too... In reality, of course, it was really hard. All of it. To say the least, we could barely get on the trampoline. Seriously. 
Thankfully, the coaches at Brentwood were really supportive and it was a pleasure to join their club for a few sessions. To see the young gymnasts throwing themselves around and performing amazing twists and turns was an incredible sight. 
All in all, I think this was a great way to start our challenge in 2013. It was an event that took planning, memory and multiple attempts to get 'right'.

Trampolining only became an Olympic sport in 2000 and long may it reign as one of the most strenuous and spirited events. 

Thank you to Brentwood Trampoline for all your help!