Oven Cleaning For NDCASA

We’re into the final phase of funding for our brand new swimming pool and we’re looking for one last push from our fundraisers to push us over the finish line.

For the last year or so we’ve been diligently pinching pennies, holding fundraising events and raising awareness for our cause so that we can move forward with our plans to build our own dedicated swimming pool. Our community-focused pool would put swim education first and seek to get more people from the local community active and (most importantly) in the water! There’s nothing we love more than sharing our passion for swimming with new people, young and old, and we believe that a purpose-built swimming pool is the best way to achieve this.

Recently, we were able to get our designs confirmed and approved for the new building from the local council, however we are still very much in need of funds if we can hope to buy the land that we have our eye on. Thanks to a team of local oven cleaners we’ve struck upon a new way to raise some money and it involves our swim instructors getting their hands dirty!

The oven is one part of the house that rarely gets much attention from home-makers. It gets used pretty much every day, but we’re often quick to shut the door as soon as we’re done using it, not wanting to see how messy it has become over the years. The grime and grease from years of use can easily accumulate until the spaces that we cook our food in becomes much dirtier than any of us are willing to admit! We’ve teamed up with our local oven cleaners to organise a sponsored oven-cleaning drive that should motivate folks to take a look inside their ovens and (hopefully) give us the opportunity to pile up a few more pennies.

All of our swim instructors will be lending a hand and pitching in for the next couple of weekends. They’ll be working in conjunction with the best oven cleaners in the area to scrub, soak and clean as many ovens as possible and our partners have kindly offered to donate half the proceeds from all their takings to our cause. Each oven cleaning takes around 1-2 hours to complete, but we’re hoping that with our swimming instructors on hand, the process will be much quicker and we’ll be able to reap the rewards of many clean ovens!

After the next few weekends we’re hoping to be within spitting distance of our target and we should be in a good position to put an offer in for the land. Once we’ve purchased the land we’ll be able to move forward with the logistics of getting the building constructed. The build itself will likely take at least a year to complete, so we’re not expecting to have our inaugural swim until late 2021 at the earliest.

At this vital stage we have to thank all of the people that have contributed to the cause, as well as all our wonderful swimmers who have been with NDCASA from the very beginning!  

Plans For New Pool Are Submitted!

Planning office here we come!

After a successful period of funding we’ve managed to take our swimming pool to the next phase of development.

It’s been a long time coming but we’re proud to announce that, with the aid of our dedicated swimmers, supporters, and various funders we’ve been able to pull together enough money to get our swimming pool project the next phase of development. Although swimming is not the most talked about sport in the country, we’ve been overwhelmed by how much cooperation we’ve been able to get from the local community.

Whether it’s been the much appreciated contributions taken from the bake sale or the sponsored Swimathon held in July, the continued support for our association has ensured that our project has maintained momentum and has led to us being where we are today – we are truly thankful to all those who have helped us so far.

Thanks to the recent surveys undertaken by friends of the Association, Jean and Andy, we’ve been able to draw up a professional planning document showing how our proposed pool will be constructed and how it will fit into the surrounding area. We really wanted to stress how much this pool would be able to give to the local community besides simply providing us with a better place to teach our students. Swimming pools are fantastic meeting places for families and youngsters alike, we’re hoping that our proposed pool will serve as a hub for people in the towns nearby and be a place for those people to hone their swimming skills, so they can get some exercise and improve!

Now that we’re moving closer to our goal we can start to talk to building suppliers and construction experts about costs, that means taking a real look at where we’re going to source every single piece of what will be the home of NDCASA for the foreseeable future. Although it might sound counter-intuitive we’re looking to source many of the key parts of our building from outside of the local community. Thanks to our large network of contacts through the UK we’ve been able to call in a number of favours so that we can get many of the components for this new build for a relatively small sum.

An ex-coach from over ten years ago was quick to contact us when we distributed news about the planned pool, he’s been fitting windows in Liverpool for the last 10 years and has been kind enough to offer us a great deal on double glazing which should go a long way to bring lots light into the pool area offering spectators from the outside a chance to see what we’re all about. Tiles for our changing rooms are going to be sourced from Germany and we’re getting a diving board in from friends in America which we’re all very excited to see our diving coach Kennedy Howarth test out.

We’ve still got a long way to wait until our pool is completed but we’re all much more optimistic now that we’re moving forward.

July’s Swimming Update: Swimathon Special

Congratulations to all who took part!

Our 2018 Swimathon has gone without a hitch once more…

Each year we hold a Swimathon to celebrate the successes of our students and appreciate just how far the last year of training has taken them. Our Swimming Association is only small but we’re incredibly proud of the work that is achieved by our students who work tirelessly to improve their form. Like any other sport, improvement in swimming doesn’t just happen over night. Although our instructors might notice minor improvements over the course of a few months it’s much easier to see how far a student has come when we compare their performance on a year to year basis.

As always we kicked things off with the youngest of our students competing against each other. Every year we take a handful of youngsters on and it’s often these 5-6 year olds that make the most visible signs of improvement. It might be hard for us old ones to remember but we make the speediest improvement when we’re at this stage of infancy. Our bodies are getting stronger by the day, they’re also at their most supple and our minds (although easily distracted!) are much better at taking on new concepts.

The youngsters’ mixed freestyle class was a real competition this year with each participant giving their all and showing how much they’d improved this year. The race started with Abbie leading the charge, her favourite style is the butterfly and she showed how well she’s nailed the coordination of that particular movement. She held the lead for the first length whilst the other racers held back. After a successful flip turn it was Abdul’s turn to impress showing his competitors and the onlooking crowd just how far he’s improved over the last year, his breast stroke saw him take the lead but he wasn’t to take the top spot. Little Jamie, who struggled so much at the start of this academic year, came through at the end to best them all with a flurry of a front crawl making it a real showstopper of a victory!

After our students had finished competing it was time for the traditional teacher showdown! For years the top prize has gone to Kennedy Howarth, but with the arrival of Edan Stark it was anyone’s guess who would grab victory. Despite a shaky start, it was Abdallah Lowry who eventually took first place after successfully utilising his trademark corkscrew swimming style to best his fellow teachers.

This year we managed to raise a record £221.11 to go towards the construction of our new pool – an ongoing fundraising project that we are aiming to have completed by 2020. A dedicated pool for our students to train in would be a real boon to the association, giving our staff the freedom to be able to coach individuals as well as groups. At the moment we have a deal with a variety of local pools which provides us with just enough lanes to keep our classes going but we would be much less limited with access to our own pool.

This year’s Swimathon brings us another vital step closer to reaching our goal.

New Pool Cover Installed and Diving Returns!

In this month’s news:

We tighten up our safety protocols, add another diving class to our schedule and Nimrah talks us through getting past the fear of water.

Nimrah’s tips for parents of water-shy kids

Swimming can be a real challenge for some kids. Whether they’ve been traumatised whilst in the water as a youngster or they’ve simply developed a dislike to getting in the pool, it can be hard to motivate kids to get past their misgivings. For the last three years, our specialist coach Nimrah has been helping kids from the ages of 2-5 overcome their water phobias and develop their swimming skills:

“For many children the barrier to improving their swimming is simply a matter of confidence. My own kids have struggled with swimming out of their depth, so I’m well aware of how tricky it can be to get kids to push themselves outside of their comfort zone. I’ve found that the best route for parents to take is to challenge their kids whenever possible (in a safe setting of course) and reward them for their bravery. It’s only by giving them the chance to challenge their fears that they can build the confidence required for them to become strong swimmers.”

Get in touch with Nimrah if you’ve got any more queries about building your child’s confidence in the water.

Tightening of safety after accident

After a handful of recent trips and slips, we’ve decided to tighten up our health and safety measures. Although most parents worry more about their children when they’re in the water, in the truth the most accidents happen outside of the pool. We’ve always asked our students to remain vigilant when walking around the pool’s edge, but sometimes excitement can get the better of the kids and slips occur.

In response to the recent spate of injuries we’re going to be asking all pool users (including coaches and parents) to bring non-slip wet shoes with them to cut down on these accidents. We understand that this might seem a little over the top, but we have to ensure that the safety of everyone is our top priority in order for us to continue. In addition to this we’ve successfully lobbied the pool managers to install a new swimming pool cover that should go some way to safe-guarding before and after races.

Kennedy takes on new class of divers

It seems like the success of Team GB at the recent Gold Coast Worlds has worn off on the kids of the North! Since Tom Daley took yet another gold medal (this time in the 10m Synchronised dive) we’ve been inundated with new recruits to our diving lessons. These 6-week courses have been in such high demand that our diving coach Kennedy has added another class to her schedule to accommodate the crowds of eager divers!

“It’s so wonderful to see a renewed interest in diving and it’s great to see so many young ones being inspired by Team GB – Tom would surely be happy to about this! There was a time when I was worried that enthusiasm for the sport was dying out, but with this new influx of young divers it looks like I was wrong. I can’t wait to get started with these new learners and see what they can do!”

Our Favourite Swimming Moments

We ask our team about their favourite times in the water:

All of our coaches have been swimming for years and within that time each of them have their own favourite moments that they still hold dear.

Some of our coaches have chosen memories from the last couple of years, moments when their hard work and perseverance as coaches has been rewarded, whilst others have chosen to look further back into their own days as students and competitors.

Here are our coaches’ favourite swimming moments, here’s hoping there’s be plenty more to come in the future:

Kennedy’s First Diving Competition

“My first diving competition was one that was absolutely fraught with nervy panic. The pressure you feel stepping onto a diving board for the first time in a competitive arena is something that simply can’t be emulated in a practice session and although my coach had tried his best to prepare me for it, I was still a hopeless bag of nerves by the time I’d climbed my way up.

I can still picture the board in front of me now, with the PA announcing my name and the line of judges sat just to the side of the pool, ready to judge me. I remember closing my eyes, taking a deep breath and just going for it. I didn’t win that day, but the exhilaration that I felt competing for the first time cemented my ambitions to purse diving as a career.”

Edan’s Struggle with Breast Stroke

“As many of you might be aware, I was a late bloomer when it comes to swimming. In fact, I didn’t start swimming until I was 12-years old! I was more than a little apprehensive when I first started swimming journey, but it was one particular style that I had the most issues with.

Breast stroke is widely regarded as one of the easiest styles to learn, but as a latecomer to swimming I found it the most exhausting and frightening. Whenever I attempted an entire length I would find my arms giving out and my head would start sinking beneath the surface. My proudest moment as a learner was mastering that style – today it’s my favourite one!”

Nimrah the Proud Mum

“It’s safe to say that my kids are truly my world. Tali, Vikram and Hope (4, 6 and 8 respectively) have given me many opportunities to be proud over the years, but a definite highlight has to be at last year’s Swimathon. After doing such a great job of raising money for their local charities, my kids swam tirelessly that day with little Tali even pitching in with a huge 50m stint in the long course pool. My favourite moment of that day has to be at the culmination of that day, when the last few swimmers were completing their final lengths my kids were all sat on the sidelines cheering their team mates along as if their lives depended on it. I couldn’t have been prouder of them that day.”

Making Swimming More Affordable

How to improve your performance (and save some money!)

Although there are certainly other sports that are far more costly (we’re looking at you Polo!), the truth is that swimming is a time consuming discipline that takes hundreds of hours of dedication to improve at.

Many of our students have the commitment to improve their swimming skills, but don’t think they have the money to make the progress that they want. Here at the NDCASA we try our very hardest to keep our tuition costs low, but unfortunately this isn’t always possible, especially when the prices of hiring lanes at swimming pools across the country continue to rise each year. With this in mind we’ve put together a series of tips that should go a long way to helping our students make the most of their money and get the kind of results that they’ve been dreaming of.

The following tips are intended as a guide only, if you’d like to find out more about improving your performance then please feel free to get in touch with us using the Contact page:

Train early in the morning

If you’re a busy person with a job and places to go, then making time to train can be difficult. Whilst it might be tempting to leave your swimming training to the weekend or the hours after work, in reality it’s a smarter play to head to the pool before work.

Most swimming pools schedule Early Bird sessions in the morning that offer you the chance of making use of the pool whilst it’s quieter – usually at a cut rate price.

Fuel yourself up for less

You are what you eat – but that doesn’t have to mean that your cheap diet can’t be nutritious! As with many things in life, a little preparation goes a long way and the same can be said about nutrition.

Whilst some swimmers might swear by their protein formulas and glucose sachets, in reality these are shortcuts to getting the nutrition you need. If you plan ahead and buy your ingredients in bulk you can load yourself up with the nutrients that you need to perform without burning a hole in your pocket.

Buy end of line swimming gear

Most of our swimmers like to buy new gear at the start of each season. For some this is a ritual that should be respected, regardless of the cost, but for many of our students it’s simply not affordable.

Understandably no one wants to buy a used swimming costume, so thankfully there are alternative methods of getting hold of new swimming gear that won’t break the bank. Buying end of line stock like wholesale nike trainers from sports wholesalers is a great way of getting hold of new equipment at a cut price and whilst you might be wearing last year’s gear the difference in performance will be negligible.

Exercise for free!

Training in the pool is obviously crucial to improving your performance but you can save money by taking your training outside instead. Jogging around your local area is absolutely free and will serve to give your body the variation that it needs to strengthen for your next pool session.

Similarly, investing in weights and other low-cost home gym equipment will allow you to keep your exercise varied and your body primed for performance.

More of Our Favourite Swimming Moments

More of our top aqua-based tales…

Our jobs provide us all with life-affirming moments throughout the year that make our hard work worthwhile.

We all hold teaching positions that give us the opportunity and the satisfaction of helping swimmers to develop and improve, whatever their discipline or ability. Throughout our years of coaching and teaching we’ve been lucky enough to play a part in a number of success stories, it’s these moments in our jobs that makes all the hard work worthwhile.

This time we’ve got a couple of stories from the founders of the NDCASA:

Abdallah’s Transition to the Pool

“Most teachers remember their first day at school: the nerves, the excitement and the bright young faces eager to learn (or to disrupt). Us swimming coaches are no different. Before I founded the Northern District Community Association of Swimming Athletes, I had worked as a PE teacher for nearly two decades. My speciality had always been swimming, however due to the lack of funding the school that I worked at could not afford to build their own pool or even take the kids to the local one. Making the leap from secondary school teacher to dedicated swim coach was a scary experience, but one that I’m glad I made.

I knew from my first lesson that I’d made the right decision. 10 young swimmers from the ages of 6-12 stood at the edge of pool, all of them with an expectant look on their face and keenly waiting to take their first steps in advanced swimming technique. Some of those kids would become long-term students of mine, proving themselves to be truly committed to their new sport. One of my proudest moments in coaching has been seeing students leave school and go on to become coaches themselves.”

Lucinda’s Trial of Fire

“There were times during my youth when the last thing I wanted to do was go swimming. The sight of blue water made me feel nauseous and the smell of chlorine would make my nerves jangle. Any of my students will find this hard to believe, especially considering how many hours I put in coaching, but it’s true. My Father is responsible for both my success as a swim coach and the anxiety that I had to overcome as a child. We spent hundreds of hours together at the pool, my Father pacing the full length with a stopwatch in hand constantly pushing me to go faster and further.

By the time I’d reached the age of 16 I was done with swimming. I went to college, made new friends and stopped training with my Father five days a week. He didn’t recovered from the disappointment for a decade. It wasn’t until I’d set up the NDCASA with Abdallah and I invited him along to observe a session that he understood the difference between our coaching styles. That was an important day for both of us and we’ve been much closer since.”

If you’d like to find out more about our teachers’ stories, or about the NDCASA in general, then get in touch with us through the Talk to Us page.

June’s Swimming Update

It’s been a hectic month for us here at the NDCASA!

We’re slowly moving forward with our plans to get our own pool built, our students have been busy selling cakes and there’s been the sound of tiny feet poolside…

Fundraising begins for new pool

For a long time now we’ve been planning on getting a pool of our own to train in, understandably it’s taken us a while to get the gears in motion. Abdallah and I have run the Northern District Community Association of Swimming Athletes for the last decade and in that time we’ve held all of our classes at local swimming pools in the region. For a long time we’ve been able to hire one or two lanes at a time, covering the costs with membership and lesson fees, however it looks like we might soon have the funds in place to change this.

Building and operating our own pool will be a huge step forward for our Association, which will bring a host of new challenges and tasks for Abdallah and I to tackle, something we’re both really looking forward to. Before we can move forward with any formal steps, it’s important that we find the right location for our pool. Luckily for us we have the aid of two surveyors, whose son has been one of our students for the past two years, Jean and Andy have been on hand with their digital level to advise about the best place to put our new pool, with their aid we’ll hopefully make the right decision when the time comes to it.

Charity bake sale a roaring success!

3 hours and just over 80 cakes (that’s right, 80!) later and our students (and their parents) have done us proud once more! Every year we hold a charity bake sale designed to raise awareness for a charity that’s close to our hearts, our students are asked to bake something and we take our wares out into the streets to see what we can sell. This year’s event was a rip-roaring success with all of our cakes being sold and just over £175 being raised in total – a great result and something that we can all be proud of.

Abdallah’s new arrival…

Finally, we’re pleased to announce that Abdallah’s wife Marnie has given birth to their first son! After months of anticipation Abdallah can finally rest easy knowing that both Mum and baby are safe and sound.

Abdalla will be taking a fortnight’s paternity leave in order to support his wife and get to know his son. We’re sure that it won’t be long until we see the little man splashing around in the shallow end…

You can send your congratulations to the happy family through our Talk to Us page and if you have any questions about how your lessons might be affected then please do ask.

May’s Swimming Update

Welcome to the official site for:

Northern District Community Association of Swimming Athletes!

We’ve got some wonderful news to share with you this month, including a new addition to our coaching team, some great progress made by one of our young students and an exciting announcement regarding an upcoming competition.

We welcome Edan Stark to the team!

After successfully passing his coaching qualifications towards the end of 2017, Edan has made the transition from adult student to coach!

Edan first came to us for some advanced technique training in 2015. Having only started swimming at the age of 12 he’d come on leaps and bounds, despite his late start and was looking to fine-tune his technique so that the could perform even better. After a year training with us, he’d picked up a new bag of tricks that had greatly improved his times, he also picked up a taste for coaching which has led him to joining our team for this season.

Lucinda breaks down her swimming diet

Many of our competitive swimmers ask us for advice regarding their diets, so we thought we’d ask our resident-pro Lucinda Cortez about what she eats before an important race meet and during her training sessions.

“An athlete’s diet will vary greatly depending on the amount of activity that they’re doing, their own weight and their goals. It’s difficult for me to offer a cover all meal plan that is guaranteed to fuel your body and boost your performance, but what I can do is point you in the direction of the kind of foods you should be eating and when.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that you should avoid food high in fats if you’re hoping to trim down your times. Chips and burgers won’t help you attain the lean, powerful body you need to perform better. Instead, you should opt for meals that are 50% complex carbs and 50% muscle-repairing protein. Think: lean chicken breasts, egg whites, broccoli and brown rice.

If you’re training regularly then you should consider changing your meals from the large meals to four or five smaller ones, this will give you a steady nutrient release throughout your training session and also reduce the chance of you feeling sluggish. Lastly, don’t forget to hydrate before and after training sessions, just because you’re in the water doesn’t mean that you’re not sweating!”

Jameel finally nails the breaststroke

As many of our students know, our annual Swimathon is coming up in July. The Swimathon is a chance for all of our students to show off what they’ve learnt over the past year, it’s also a charity event that helps raise money for a whole raft of charities in our local area. We’re looking forward to see everyone pitching in together in what should be one of our biggest events and now is certainly the time to think about finding sponsors for your chosen distance.

One young man who’s already off to a flying start is Jameel. Abdallah’s given us some great feedback regarding how far Jameel’s progressed in the last year and we can’t wait to see him cover a kilometre with his newly mastered breaststroke!