Saturday/Sunday 22nd/23rd October 2011

Basingstoke Bluefins Club Championships

This weekend is dominated by a 2 day swimming competition, so I will create a single blog page.


I got up at 9am .. so slept well again. This is becoming a habit.

Chris came round at 10:15 to help load the car with all the equipment we need to run a swimming competition. I feel rather useless as there is little I can actually do, with no hands free. The competition starts at 12:30, but we need to get there much earlier to make sure that everything is set up. By the time we finish, it will be little short of a 12 hour shift.

I am hoping that I don't have to do a great deal and that others can run the competition without me. My illness has forced me to think seriously about succession planning.

Setting up at the Aquadrome was a bit stressful. Initially the staff said that we could not do anything until the start of our booked time (12:30). Eventually, we negotiated to be able to set up the computers. When more people arrived, I could understand the staff's concerns. There are some people who seem to believe that rules about early access to pool side don't apply to them or their children. We did get set up in time to start the warm-up at 12:30.

Session 2 started on time without any significant involvement from me, which is exactly what I wanted. The session finished exactly as estimated at 2:45, which allowed warm up for session 3 to start on time at ... 2:45.

At the end of session 3 at 5:30. I am starting to feel quite tired, but looking around, I think everyone on pool side feels the same with the prospect of another three hours of swimming. We brought sandwiches to eat between sessions, which were very welcome, but I am still looking forward to something more substantial from McDonalds, but that is at least 4 hours away.

The combined sessions 4 and 5 finished at 9:20. Mercifully, we don't have to clear everything away, because we will be back early on Sunday. Almost a highlight of the day .. the Big Tasty is back at McDonalds. So health food for dinner.

I was really very disappointed with the condition of our pool today. This competition is just for members of our club, but we do hold competitions involving visiting clubs. I am quite embarrassed to welcome visitors.

So what was wrong?

(1) Lane ropes. In a 6 lane competition pool, we should have 7 lane ropes to ensure that the swimmers in the outside lanes have the same conditions as other swimmers. We did once have 7, now we only have 5 and one of them has so many missing float discs that up to a metre of bare wire is exposed. This is a health and safety issue.

(2) Lighting. Fewer than half of the lights in the pool hall are working. At the start end of the pool only 2 lights out of 8 are working. It is too dark. This is a health and safety issue.

(3) Cleanliness. When we arrived yesterday, the disabled toilet was in a disgraceful state. The toilet seat was covered in urine and the area beneath the toilet seat clearly had not been cleaned for days. This too is a health and safety issue.

One of the issues we have with a private company managing the Aquadrome is their unwillingness to spend money on basic maintenance.


Back at the pool at 9:30am for the second day of competition. Everyone looks tired after a long day yesterday.

Today will also be a long day, but there are longer breaks between sessions, so officials and swimmers should have time to recover.

We have the same plan as yesterday. We have sandwiches between sessions and will get something more substantial when we are finished, which should be just after 7pm.

The first, and longest, session finished exactly on schedule, so we had time to get a cup of coffee before the start of the second session at 2:30pm. It is great to have 150 entries for the club championships, but it does lead to long sessions. We will need to rethink the programme for next year. Last night really was too late for the youngest swimmers.

We finished at around 7:15. By the time we got home and unloaded all of the equipment from the car we didn't feel like going out to eat or cooking, so the delivery service of the local "Oriental Kitchen" were invoked.

It is Sunday, and once again swimming has prevented Sue and I from going to church. This week, we don't feel quite as guilty. We did go to house group on Wednesday and have established an evening prayer time as an important time of the day.

Last week, I started to explain why I am a Christian.

Being a Christian means that I believe in Jesus Christ and accept that he is is the Son of God, died on the cross and was raised from the dead. This does require a "leap of faith", but a surprisingly small one. There is a lot of evidence that Jesus Christ was a historical figure.

I found a book called "Who Moved the Stone", written by Frank Morison in 1930 helped me greatly. This book was written by someone who was very sceptical about the Christian Faith. The author's intent was to expose its "shaky foundations". Instead, he convinced himself, and since then many other people, that Jesus Christ did die and was raised from the dead.

It is a rather academic (but eminently readable) analysis of both the accounts in The Bible and contemporary historical records.

If you are interested, you can now read this book online at

So far then, I am a strong believer in intelligent design, which requires a designer, and I am convinced that Jesus Christ was a real person, who really did rise from the dead.

Another day, I will address the importance of the life of Jesus Christ and its relevance to us today.