At your ready, get set, go.... Day 1 starts

Monday 30th October

As we watched our swimmers warming up, I was thinking that a place in the final would be reward enough for all the hours invested in getting this far. I don't think I was alone.  As the day progressed and the athletes completed their races we were beginning to realise that the afternoon final would indeed, be quite an event.

Once again our coaches and poolside helpers went the extra mile to calm those last minute nerves. Adjusting goggles, ensuring caps were on the right way round, making sure the swimmers were where they should be in order not to miss their race.  And the swimmers were nervous, it showed on their faces. Emotions were running high. They have worked so hard to get this far and getting a good time, a place in the final and possibly a medal really mattered.

There were some great swims in the morning, notably the 800m freestyle swum by Caroline who was the only British girl in the race. Having to count down 32 lengths, knowing how to pace yourself…

And Before We Knew It, It Was All Over!

Friday 3rd November 
Fully rested after an uninterrupted night's sleep, stomachs full, bags packed, motivation high, Team GB headed out of Hotel Mecure for their final visit to the Jaques Brel pool in Bobigny.
It was once again a beautiful day. We had been blessed with fantastic weather for all four days of the championships and regardless of what people say it does make a difference. The swimmers had a spring in their steps, keen to build on the successes of the previous three days.
The morning opened with the same ritual of officials entering the pool to rapturous applause and thanks and appreciation from the organisers. It had been a great competition so far and the final day was looking promising. 
Race one of the day was the women's 400m freestyle. Two heats with GB girls in each. Heat one had Helen Sullivan in lane 4. She led from the start but it was a tall order to maintain her position for 16 lengths. Halfway through she hesitated at the turn thinking she had finishe…

A Rude Awakening in the Night - Day 4 in Paris.

Thursday 2nd November
A well earned day of rest after two days competing was well received by all. Various groups went in their different directions. Some to the Eiffel Tower, some the Bateaux Mouches, some just an amble down the Champs-Elysees  We all returned to the hotel in good time to eat and get some rest before day 3 of the competition started. The swimmers .went to bed, refreshed and ready to perform to their best the following day.
As our coaches say, however, no room for complacency in this game.
The presenter from the World Service had just started reading the news. Sir Michael Fallon had resigned, Twitter and Facebook were being held accountable for feeding fake news to millions of Americans during the past elections. Suddenly a strange noise, in fact rather a loud noise could be heard coming from the bathroom and it didn't stop. It soon transpired after inspection that this was indeed, what I think most people were no doubt thinking, a fire alarm.
Out we went in vario…

Eat, swim, sleep, repeat. Eat, swim, sleep, repeat.

31st October 2017
Eat, swim, sleep, repeat. Eat, swim, sleep, repeat. The mantra I've been hearing over the past two months. All swimmers and I'm sure all of the supporters were exhausted after the first day in the pool.  But as is nature's way, a good night's sleep after a hearty bowl of pasta meant the swimmers were keen to continue where they left off yesterday.

Down at the pool, the swimmers had done their warm-up and were waiting to be called to the holding room. First one in was Andy Banks in the 800m freestyle who came in third, with a bronze, not a bad start to the day.
The 50m backstroke, our next,  race would surely ensure a few Brits in the afternoon finals and maybe a medal or two. Or was I being greedy?  Four heats, 23 swimmers, 14 from the UK. Probability was on our side.  

Lizzie Allen, our youngest swimmer, looked decidedly nervous. Her mother even more so. Great swims from all the girls delivered. Three swimmers,  Caroline, Florence and Holly got thro…

Last Day of Training

30th October 2017
Final day of training before it all kicks off.  We seem to have recovered from the trials and tribulations of our respective journeys, some rather easier than others.
The swimmers have met up. Huge excitement from Florence last night as she saw Will walk into the hotel, nearly knocked him for six. Mark Holmes still seems to retain his iconic status with all the swimmers, old hats and new and the 'Scottish Gals' – Cerys, Fiona and Laura – clearly are an established clan. There are lots of new people to meet, faces to recall and names to remember. It is getting difficult to contain the excitement from some of the swimmers.

Travelling from the pool to the hotel was simple enough. GB has the biggest delegation attending – over 85 in all counting swimmers and support. To avoid complete chaos we've been split into groups. So far so good, no one has got lost yet. Early days for sure but our team leaders seem pretty competent.
A shortish delay for the pool to ope…

On Our Way!!

29th October 2017
It's been a long, long wait. Hours of training from dedicated and determined swimmers. Long-suffering coaches shouting from the side; faster, slower, pace yourself, kick harder, push off... Endless trips at God unearthly hours to drop off pick up and cheer on tired swimmers from galas and swim meets. Hours spent amalgamating swim times, PBs, qualifications, records. I never knew swimming could be quite so complicated.
Finally, thankfully, mercifully we are on our way. Emotions have been running high over the last few months. Fluctuating from huge moments of elation when a new PB has been met to moments of despair when the idea of getting up at 5 am for the third time in a week just doesn't seem like fun anymore.
30 swimmers are coming from all over the UK and will gather in Paris for the 4th European DS swimming competition. Last night, having travelled on a variety of 'trains, planes and automobiles' we met in the hotel for our first team meeting. It …