Tuesday, 28 April 2015

74. Synchronised Swimming - Team

Event: Synchronised Swimming - Duet
Date: 12 April 2015
Location: Clacton Synchro Club, Clacton Leisure Centre
Cost: £4 per session (8 sessions)
Rules: Synchronised swimming is one of the three disciplines in which only women compete. The sport tests strength, flexibility, grace, artistry and long underwater endurance. Competitions consist of a technical routine and a free routine. The technical routine sees a team of eight swimmers perform specific moves with a time limit of 2:50. The free routine has no restrictions on the moves or music, and has a time limit of 4:00. The results of the two routines are combined to produce a final score.

The Event:

Olympic Gold Medal London 2012: Russia

Sarah: We'd had a few weeks break after our duo routine, so the dry walk-through was really useful to refresh our memory and adapt the routine for the team. We had a change of music too, so it ended up feeling like a completely different routine, which was great. It was really fun being back in the pool and working with so many others; being surrounded by more people meant it was a bit easier to get a quick glimpse of someone else's arm or leg to make sure I was in time.
Ellie: New music, new team mates, completely new experience. It was great to reinvent our routine with a new soundtrack and with some new moves. I definitely found this routine more satisfying - it was far more spectacular with more people and it felt more sparkly and skilled with swimmers who know what they were doing - it was very impressive how quickly they could pick the routine that had taken us 3 months to devise! 
Synchronised swimming has been a wonderful experience and I would encourage anyone of any age to find a taster course and have a go. The level of concentration, control and poise that is needed is astonishing.
Huge thanks to our team and all at Clacton Synchro Club!

Friday, 17 April 2015

73. 400m Hurdles

Event: 400m Hurdles
Date: 12th April 2015
Location: Colchester Harriers, Arena Sports and Leisure Centre, Colchester 
Cost: Free
Rules: Competitors sprint over 400m, whilst jumping over 10 hurdles evenly placed along the track. The fastest wins. Each athlete must stay in their allocated lane. They are allowed to knock the hurdles, but will be disqualified if they hit the hurdle with their hand.

The Event:

Sarah: 2:10.75
Ellie:   3:47.93 
London 2012 Olympic Gold Medal: 0:52.70 - Natalya Antyukh, Russia

Sarah: The last time we did hurdles I twisted my knee when landing and it's only recently felt normal again, so I was a bit apprehensive about returning to the event. We refreshed our hurdling memory with a few practices, before setting off. I found the 400m much more enjoyable than the 100m; with a bigger distance between the hurdles it gave me more time to sort my stride out and prepare myself for the jump over. My legs were definitely tiring around halfway and my hurdling turned into clambering.

Ellie: If you look back you will see that I claimed, after the 100m Hurdles, to be looking forward to the 400m's. Well, I'm a fool. 400m is the whole way round the track and that's a really long way for a rubbish runner. I enjoyed the 'jumping' over the hurdles bit but none of the rest of it. To get an idea of my discomfort I videoed my attempt and here it is... enjoy! 

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

72. 400m

Event: 400m
Date: 12th April 2015
Location: Colchester Athletics Track 
Cost: Free
Rules:  Runners sprint once around a 400m track. They start from blocks and run in lanes. A reaction time of less than 0.1 is deemed a false start and runners will be recalled, with the responsible athlete disqualified. A runner can also be disqualified if they step out of their designated lane.

The Event: 

Olympic Gold Medal London 2012: 49.55, Sanya Richards-Ross, USA.
Sarah: 1:57.80
Ellie: 3:31.82

Sarah: It was a pleasure to be back at the track after our winter break (we're not as hardy as the Harriers, who are up there training in all weathers), and the sun was shining for our morning of 400m events. We started with the 400m sprint; pretty simple rules here- just run as fast as possible around the track, making sure to stay in your lane. Simple on the surface; but as ever, there is much more to it than appears, and Chris patiently showed us techniques to lengthen our stride and run as close to the line as possible. I really enjoyed this event, though it was knackering; it's a long way to run flat-out!   
Ellie: I knew I had to endure this event to get it over and done with but with Chris' extra drills this morning and his insider knowledge I had some practical steps on my mind to make the most of an event that makes me feel slow, stupid and thoroughly unfit. Lengthening my stride and remembering to take the inside line so that you don't run further than necessary - these are ideal tips for getting the best from your gruelling 400ms!