February 14, 2017
Beach Bum @ The Beach Company
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Swim meets are a world upon themselves. They can be stressful, fun and a wild roller coaster ride. If we step back and let our swimmers take over, meets can be a place for them to be responsible. They provide many opportunities for our kids to practice skills that will cross over to the real world—in college, careers and families. Here’re a few life lessons your kids can learn from swim meets:
ONE How to talk with adults in authority positions. Whether it’s an official who explains a dis-qualification or volunteer moms and dads at check-in, our kids have talk to a whole lot of grown ups without our help. When they talk with professors, bosses and landlords, we won’t be at their side.
TWO Being on time. If they’re late to the blocks and miss an event, they’ll learn that the world won’t wait for them to show up. What a valuable lesson for school and work.
THREE How to handle disappointments or upsets. When our kids add time, or miss their goals, they’ll experience disappointment. They’ll also discover there is another swim, another meet and they’ll get to try again.
FOUR Good sportsmanship. Kids learn good sportsmanship from handling defeat as well as from their wins. Meets give our kids a chance to view gracious winners and losers—and some who aren’t. They’ll learn what it means to have good teammates and to be a supportive teammate, too.
FIVE Being accountable for their actions. It’s up to your swimmer to talk to their coach, warm up and warm down. They’ll find out what happens if they don’t do these basic things. In life, this translates into good study habits and taking ownership for their decisions.
SIX How to handle constructive criticism. After races, your swimmer will get some advice and suggestions from their coach. It’s imperative that they learn from their experiences and are able to accept constructive criticism. One day, they may find themselves face to face in a review with their boss.
SEVEN They get out of it, what they put into it. Swimming is like a bank account. Your swimmer can only withdraw what they have put in. The deposits in their account are the hard, consistent practices. They will gain self confidence from knowing they’ve done everything they could to be successful at a meet.
In what other ways do you see swim meets helping your kids throughout their lives?
September 01, 2016
Beach Bum @ The Beach Company
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At The Beach Company HQ, come September, there's a subtle shift in the energy in the studio – summer starts to arrive in Mumbai, the days lengthen, people are everywhere; the "sunny life" kicks in. We know we're lucky, that our work is to package up and promote a lifestyle that we all love so much – we want it to look easy… However, the truth is, our process is a little more involved then that.
As a truly holiday lifestyle brand – we create all of our products in their entirety and to make sure they tick all of the boxes, this takes some time. We start working on our summer ranges almost a year out – reviewing our previous seasons collection's, looking at our brand strategy and assessing global trends. We create themes, seasonal moods, colour palettes and prints – always many more then we actually need, which get honed into our collections and stories. We work with our supplier base from initial designs, through to the sample development and refinement process and after, much consideration and iteration, we commence our production runs. Concurrently, we work on how we're going to present the brand for the season – including activities like our photo shoots and catalogue preparation.
It requires the co-ordination and synchronicity of a great team – by this point in the cycle, we're thrilled to share the work, after all it's been designed for people to enjoy!
Throughout the season, we're going to invite you into our process to provide some insights into how we create The Beach Company - so stay tuned for more behind-the-scenes stories!
August 16, 2016
Beach Bum @ The Beach Company
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When Olympic swimmers took to the pool in Rio, world records began to get broken thick and fast - in the first four days of swimming it happened six times. This kind of thing never happens on the running track. Why not?
The first new swimming record in Rio saw Katinka Hosszu of Hungary knock more than two seconds off the best time for the women's 400m individual medley. Then Australia broke the record for the women's 4x100m freestyle relay, and Sweden's Sarah Sjostrom set a new fastest time in the women's 100m butterfly.
And so it went on. Britain's Adam Peaty broke the 100m men's breaststroke record twice in two days and Katie Ledecky of the US set a new time in the women's 400m freestyle.
On top of that, on Friday night Ledecky knocked two seconds off her 800m freestyle world record.
At the London Olympics four years ago, it was much the same. Nine new world records were set in the pool - and this compared to just two on the running track.
"Since 1972, roughly 10% of the [Olympic] track and field events resulted in world records and if you look at swimming, we're up close to 40%," says Canadian swimming coach and blogger Rick Madge.
A new world record has just been set in the women's 10,000m in Rio but these days runners are breaking new records at a slower rate than they did 40 years ago, he says. That's not the case in swimming.
"Since 2000, roughly 6% of the track and field events got world records and yet swimming is still up around 40%... it's not tapering off."
Also, while sprinters tend to shave a fraction of a second off the previous record, swimmers such as Hosszu and Peaty, have taken off one or two seconds.
Since 1912 the world record in the men's 100m freestyle has improved by 23.85% - from one minute 1.6 seconds to 46.91 seconds - whereas in athletics the record in the men's 100m has gone from 10.6 seconds to 9.58 seconds, an improvement of just 9.62%, according to Tiago Barbosa of Singapore's Sports Biomechanics Laboratory.
"If you watch the video of the 100m dash in 1912, you realise that there are things very similar to what is a 100m sprint today," he says. "But as far as competitive swimming is concerned, the only thing really in common is that you will find humans racing in water."
So why is there such a marked difference? Part of it is that the strokes involved in swimming are far more complex than running and are still evolving, says Madge.
"They involve virtually all parts of the body. And they are moving through water which is so much more dense, which means that everything that you do has to be optimised - your head position, your streamline position with your body, how your arms are above and below the water, how you kick. Those are all things that are very complex. It means that there's lots of room for optimisation."
For example, in 2012, when Cameron van der Burgh won the men's 100m breaststroke, he made between 50 and 52 strokes per minute, which was considered fast at the time. But this year Adam Peaty increased that to between 58 and 60 strokes per minute, which makes a "very difficult and very powerful stroke", says Madge.
Then there's the fact that the pool is a controlled environment, whereas the track is outside - it's much harder to control temperature and humidity, which can affect an athlete's performance.
The recommended three-metre depth of an Olympic pool reduces turbulence, while a temperature of 25C to 28C keeps muscles neither too tight nor too relaxed, reports the Financial Times.
Technology is another factor.
The paper notes that "shock-absorbent lane dividers and slick drainage to reduce ripples" are also being used in Rio.
One simple item drove the biggest long-lasting change to the sport - goggles. Competitors started to wear them in international competitions in the 1970s to see under water and protect their eyes from splashes and chemicals such as chlorine.
"That turned training from something which would be 10 to 12 hours per week and limited by how much abuse your eyes could take, to - very quickly, in the mid 70s - people training 25 or 30 hours a week," says Madge. "That additional training time meant that the world records were just being crushed in virtually every event."
Starting blocks have improved and swimsuits have made their mark too. The 2008 Beijing Games saw records broken in 19 events because new bodysuits made swimmers more buoyant and helped them slip through the water.
Although these suits were banned in 2010, other technological advantages and tweaks to the rules - allowing faster turns and dolphin kicks - have helped keep the swimmers in the lead.
There is of course another factor - doping. Drugs have affected swimming as well as athletics but athletics still has records from the 80s, and many people believe that some of those were chemically assisted. In swimming, however, records from the most extreme days of doping have been beaten because of all the other ways developed to improve results in the sport.
July 26, 2016
Beach Bum @ The Beach Company
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Sajan Prakash (pictured above) vividly remembers the day he had decided to shift his training base to Bengaluru. It was difficult for the Kerala youngster, who was brought up in Tamil Nadu, to stay away from the comforts of his home, but he knew that personal preferences should be kept aside to achieve bigger goals. Five years of intense training and competitions made the 22-year-old India’s best swimmer, and earned him a berth to the Olympics.
Shivani Kataria moved to the Garden City from Gurgaon four years ago to sharpen her swimming skills. The decision paid dividends recently as the 18-year-old earned a place in the Indian squad for the Rio Olympics.
The two swimmers, who got Universality Places (wildcard), are now training hard to give their fancied rivals a run for their money at the Olympic Aquatic Stadium in Rio.
Sajan will compete in the men’s 200 metre butterfly, while Shivani will be seen in action in the women’s 200 metre freestyle.
“The decision to train in Bengaluru changed my life,” said Prakash.
“Bengaluru helped me evolve as a competitive swimmer,” said a beaming Kataria.
The best coaches and weather
Nisha Millet reminisced that she wouldn’t have become an Olympian had she not shifted to Bengaluru from Chennai. “We are lucky to get the services of best Indian coaches, Pradeep and Nihar, here. The moderate climate allows swimmers to train throughout the year. The support of offered by schools and colleges too helps in making the city a swimming hub.”
Olympian Hakimuddin, who is the founder and principal consultant of Winning Matters Consulting, a sports consulting firm, says access to infrastructure, availability of best coaches and coaching programmes make the city the hub of competitive professional swimming. “To my knowledge, Bengaluru has the most number of 50 metre swimming pools in the country. Besides, the country’s top two coaches are based here,” he said.
“Good weather conditions allow swimming throughout the year. The city lies 1,000 metres above sea-level that helps swimmers get more training mileage at high intensity. Investments from high net worth individuals to form swim clubs too contribute in the growth of the sport,” he added.
Nihar Ameen too believes infrastructure and availability of best coaches are the major attractions in Bengaluru. “Swimmers from other parts of India move to the city to capitalise on these advantages,” said the coach who trained Asian Games medalists Virdhawal Khade and Sandeep Sejwal.
However, he said Bengaluru's Olympic medal dream can be fulfilled only with corporate support. “Their support can help swimmers get access to latest technology and meet training expenses,” he said.
Health benefits of swimming
Even learn-to-swim classes are in huge demand here, as parents insist on their children learning the basic survival techniques.
Nisha, who runs Nisha Millet’s Swimming Academy, says residents are well aware of the health benefits of swimming. “We train a lot of senior citizens who suffer from health issues. The oldest person who learnt swimming from our academy was an 84-year-old,” said Nisha, whose academy has trained around 9,000 swimmers in the last 11 years.
Winning Matters has launched an initiative “Swimming Matters” to make swimming excellence and participation an integral part of Indian culture. The project that aims to enable more than a billion Indians to enjoy swimming safely and correctly, and help India win a gold medal in swimming at the Olympic Games, has already trained 40 swim teachers from some of the top schools, swim clubs and swim schools.
“India will win an Olympics swimming gold medal by 2024. With good background, I think Bengaluru is well placed to produce that gold medallist,” said Hakimuddin.
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