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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Squad Update - 27th February 2011

  • Over the coming months you will start to see the results of the work that the Committee has been doing to build some structure around our training sessions and ensure that all members of the squad have the necessary support and coaching to develop their skills and experience
  • Rotterdam
  • We’re really beginning to focus on our preparation for the Rotterdam competition now.
  • If you register before the end of February you’ll get a discount - if you’re wanting to go you will need to have registered by Easter as this is when the London Orca teams will be selected.
  • We’re planning to take two competitive teams (A and B) - if there is sufficient demand we will also take a third team which will have a bit more of a social focus.
  • Rotterdam will not have separate mens and women’s competitions so all teams will be mixed and selection will be based on our standard selection criteria.
  • Coaching
  • During March and April we will be trialling a new coaching structure with our new consultant coach Jerome Read.  The first of these sessions will be on Wednesday 2nd March.
  • We will have both pools at Porchester at this date, but in order for us to effectively plan this session we will be allocating everyone to specific groups/activities.  Please confirm to Gareth if you are able to attend.
  • Friday 11th March
  • Our next Friday session will be on Friday 11th March
  • This is going to split into two sections.  The team that is selected to play in the Knockout Cup on 22nd March will be holding a dedicated training session for the first hour.  The second hour will be for the Knock Out Cup team to play a full match against another Orca team.
  • If you’re available please let Gareth know.
  • Friendly Matches
  • Charles has been doing some great work in liaising with other London clubs to set up some friendly matches to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to build their match experience ahead of Rotterdam.  More details on this shortly.

Training Report - Saturday 26th February 2011

A great training session last night with Marijke taking the lead with the main squad and Chris F running a skills development session with some of the team that are newer to the game.

A big turnout also with 42 in the water.

After a solid warm up some really excellent shooting drills.

Attendance-wise, Luke is still out in front on 94%; Ben, G, Julian, Mike O, Thusitha and Xavier are all on 88%; then Bruce, Charles, Eduardo, Michael R, and Mike G are on 81%.

Later that night there was a team social at Circus - the Jodie Harsh club night at Centrepoint on Tottenham Court Road.

It's surprising how drunk you can get after a couple of Long Island Iced Teas...

Friday, February 25, 2011

Training Report - Friday 25th February 2011

23 in the water tonight for our first Friday night training of the year.

It was a two hour session at Porchester led by Captain Ben.

After some laps to warm up it was shooting drills followed by a round-robin series of match play between 3 fairly even teams.

It's difficult to get much of a sense of positions and flow of a game in the shallow and narrow pool that is Porchester (the dilapidated goals don't help much either), but as well as our shooting not being much threat in an actual game, the concept of "setting up the arc" and the "man-up/man-down" plays still seem to generally elude most of the team.

Our new coaching structure of Jerome R supported by Marijke and the senior players starts in March so that will be good for a bit of focus.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Training Report - Wednesday 23rd February 2011

  • 28 in the water tonight for a really great session at Porchester. Chris Falco led a skills development session in the smaller pool, while Captain Ben led a shooting master class in the larger pool. 
  • Attendance-wise, Luke has jumped out ahead with 93%, followed by a hard-core group on 86%: Captain Ben, Eduardo, G, Julian, Mike O, Stephen S, Thusitha and Xavier.
  • If you’re thinking about the Paris tournament this year, remember there’s no water polo but it would be great if you fancy a bit of swimming... 
  • Don’t forget the Friday night training session this Friday (25th Feb) at 20:00-22:00 at Porchester! This session is open to everyone so come along for 2 hours of fun!

Dates for your Diary 
  • 25th February: Training @ Porchester, 20:00-22:00 
  • 26th February - OTS AGM, 14:00 @ ULU 
  • 26th February: Training @ ULU with Marijke Zwart 
  • 2nd March: Training @ Porchester: Marijke & Jerome 
  • 5th March: Normal training @ ULU 
  • 11th March: Fri session - Porchester @ 20:00-22:00 
  • 22nd March: Thameside League knock-out final

Diet Doctor

If you're spending a bit of time in the gym, and let's be honest - who isn't, then a supplement you might want to incorporate into your diet is ZMA.

ZMA is a combination of Zinc and Magnesium which helps to promote recovery from exercise.  Zinc plays a central role in the regulation of cellular growth and tissue repair, as well as the maintenance of a healthy immune system.  Magnesium is essential for the maintenance of electrolyte balance, energy production and normal neuro-muscular function.

So essentially if you're using resistance training in order to increase strength and build muscle mass then ZMA is going to help you achieve your goals.

"ZMA" is a branded product, but there's a range of other generic products that will provide you with similar combinations.

It depends a bit on the structure of the rest of your diet and supplements, but in general you should take 3xZMA at night, on an empty stomach, just before you go to bed.  You should notice an improvement in your sleep patterns and possibly and increased sex drive.

However if you're taking a seratonin supplement at night (such as 5 HTP) then you could take your ZMA with your evening meal and still get the benefits.

Fashion Police

Changing room etiquette and behaviour is fascinating - whether at the gym or at the pool you can tell a lot about a person by the way change their clothes.

Some people seem completely oblivious to nudity (either their own or that of those around them).  Years of swimming or team sports can effectively desensitise you, you spend so much time showering with your team mates or seeing them naked that there's no shock value or excitement.  It's great to be relaxed and uninhibited, but it can be a bit disconcerting when someone engages you in a detailed conversation about membership fees or match schedules while you're still dripping wet from the shower.

Some people seem to take a real pleasure in displaying their naked form in front of others.  At the Porchester pool there's an old hairy guy who insists on getting changed in the team room - even when we're in there having a team meeting, somehow he likes being the centre of attention.  Another example is a guy at my gym who  seems to try and ensure that the last thing he does before he leaves the changing room is put on a pair of pants.  He wanders around towelling himself off, shaves and brushes his teeth fully nude, he puts his shirt on and then his tie - but still no pants.

Then there's the other extreme of people who seem to be very self-conscious about their naked body.  Sometimes this can be a cultural or religious inhibition (I think both Hindus and Muslims have a general rule about displaying the body in public?).  Sometimes people just seem to be embarrassed or uncomfortable and so shower with their swimmers on and ensure that a towel remains firmly around their waist when putting on/taking off underwear.

Of course there's no right or wrong in this situation - you should feel free to get changed however you want to, as long as you're not causing offence to anyone else (naked hairy man take note!).

Nevertheless it's fascinating to observe how people operate differently - if there wasn't a law against it I could spend endless hours in changing rooms just watching guys take their clothes off...

Monday, February 21, 2011

London Orca: History

Just uploading this one so I don't lose it - we may release of biography of the club one day!

Anyone got any idea what year this would have been?

Update 23/2: David H is guessing 2006 or 2007 for this one...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

National Water Polo Championships 2011 in Manchester

It's been a big weekend of water polo in Manchester, with 8 teams battling it out for the mens and women's championship.

Saturday 19th February was semi-finals day where the eight teams played off to see who would progress to contest the finals.

Sunday 20th February was finals day.

First up was the women's play off for 3rd and 4th and then it was Manchester v Liverpool for the trophy.  Manchester emerged victorious - the women winning their fourth consecutive national title which is a fantastic achievement.

Then it was on to the men.  First off the play-off between Cheltenham and Lancaster and then the final with Manchester taking on Bristol.  It was a fascinating match with Bristol eventually emerging victorious.

It was great to see so much fantastic water polo in one weekend.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Match Report - Wednesday 16th February 2011

  • 23 in total for our combo session at Porchester tonight.
  • Russell led normal sqad training in the small pool while Captain Ben led the team into battle with friendly rivals OMW (Old Mid Whitgiftians) - all watched over by the critical eye of coaching supremo Jerome Read
  • It was a close match and we played well, but ultimately OMW were victorious 3-6.
  • Orca goals came from Thushita (2) and Mike O (1).
  • Attendance graph has been limited to those tracking above 40% (which in hard numbers means that if you're name is not on the list then you've made it to less than 5 of the last 12 sessions...)
  • Great to welcome Ellen along to her first session, and Saffron along to her third.  Thanks also to Xavier for bringing a cheer squad along to support the team. 
  • The date for the Thameside League knock-out final has been set for Tuesday 22nd March.  The event will be held at City of London Boy’s School and will commence at 18:30.  Make sure you’re in the running to be selected to play in this fantastic event!

Diet Doctor

  • In the world of health and fitness you hear a lot about “balance”
  • Having a balanced approach to your health is however only one aspect - unless you have balance in your life then your health will suffer.
  • One popular approach at the moment is to see your health as one of the core pillars of your life - others would include: work; family; relationship; hobby/sport; and finance
  • If one of your pillars is weak or under stress, you can cope if the other pillars in your life are strong.  
  • If you've got some time on your hands, draw up a bit of a life map - what are your core pillars?  How stable are they?  Where are your weak spots?  What do you need to change to improve things?
  • By getting a bit of perspective and realising where your strengths and weaknesses are, you'll be better placed to cope when things go wrong.  If you suddenly lose your job, it won't seem like the end of the world if you know that you're financially secure and have plenty of support from family and friends.  If your relationship is rocky, put your energy into your sport or hobby or throw yourself into work and draw strength from the things you can control.
  • The worst thing to do is to let your entire world crumble at the first sign of trouble - you often hear of people becoming depressed if they lose their job or their boyfriend dumps then - before you know it you're eating Krispy Kremes by the boxful, wearing yesterday's underpants and spending Saturday night in front of the tele with a bottle of bourbon (not me... a friend of mine...)
  • The short answer? If you have a break up, hit the gym - not the junk food.

Fashion Police

  • When is being a “bear” a style and political statement and when is it just an excuse for eating too many pies...?
  • A rhetorical question perhaps, but personal taste, desire and human sexuality is so self-evidently complex and ambiguous that it can be quite confusing - one man's bear is another man's overweight uncle.
  • It is of course impossible to predict or even understand what attracts one person to another - often you see couples that are quite similar to each other (like attracts like) or that are completely poles apart (opposites attract).  Some people go for personality and some go for beauty over brains.
  • The big muscles and masculine persona traditionally associated with bears can often be a way of acting out against all of those insecurities that many gay men have had to grapple with when growing up or during school.  However if you're of a slimmer build or a bit more androgynous in your sexuality then this can be intimidating.
  • The bottom line is that it doesn't really matter what you go for, what turns you on or turns you off.  You've got to find what's right for you.  If that means taming a few bears in the process then it's worth a try.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Training Report - Saturday 12th February 2011

Really great training session tonight at ULU with 32 Orca in the water for a focused session led by Andy.  While to some extent it was "back to basics" as we worked on setting up "the arc" in both attack and defence, it's a fairly fundamental part of the game that can be quite hard to grasp when you're just starting out - and we've got a lot of new players in the water at the moment.

Great to have Joe back (showing off his all-over tan) and good to see Saffron back for her second session with us - our women's team is building momentum!

With both Mike G and Xavier away in Vienna for the Valentine's Day swim meet, attendance-wise 91% is the new 100.

Sitting on 91% we have a group of 9 players: Ben, Bruce, Charles, Eduardo, G, Luke, Mike G, Mike O, and Xavier.

On 82% we have a group of 5 players: Bill, Edita, Julian, Stephen S, and Thusitha.

Five players on 73%: Christian, Dan, Jerome, Michael R, and Russell.

On 64% we have four players: Andy M, David H, Greg, and Mario.

Five players on 55%: Ameen, Fabrizio, Lennard, Rob, and Rowan.

Seven players on 45%: Aaron, Chris C, Dimitri, Joe, Johnnie, Jon, and Patrick.

Nine players on 36%: Antonio, Haydn, Janice, Mel K, Paul S, Rachel, Riccardo, Thomas, and Tom W.

Seven players on 27%: Chris F, Christopher S, Daniel, Drew, Melissa S, Paul M and Rhys.

Six players on 18%: Charles O, Darren, Nathan, Saffron, Ming, and Stephen L.

And finally four players on 9%: Alex, Damien, Iarla and Philip.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Training Report - Wednesday 9th February 2011

  • Great session at Porchester tonight, with 23 in the water and a special guest appearance by the fabulous Lorraine.
  • Welcome to Ming Yao who joined us for his first session, also recognition to Rowan, Jon and Aaron who have all joined as permanent members of the squad.
  • The attendance graph has been limited to those on 40% or higher (so if you’re not on it this means that you’ve been to <4 sessions since the beginning of the year...  Out in front are Mike G and Xavier both retaining their perfect record - but the word is that it’s all going to come to an end this weekend...
  • Don’t forget it’s a home match next Wednesday so no training...

The wonders of Photoshop...

Eduardo's looking good!

Diet Doctor

If you read enough magazines, websites, blogs or twitter posts, things can get pretty confusing (I'm talking about health and fitness stuff here...).

One of the hot topics among the twitterati at the moment is referred to as "intermittent fasting".

Essentially this is the debate about the perfect meal frequency to support your fitness

In recent years the accepted school of thought has been that in order to minimise insulin spikes the best bet is to eat small meals throughout the day, but recently there has been a bit of a movement to de-bunk this theory.

Some studies have shown that by reducing the number of meals that the body has to process, then the easier it is for the body to lower blood sugar levels.  This line of thinking has been taken further to the suggestion that going without food for substantial periods will aid weight loss (and support a healthy lifestyle).

The trouble with intermittent fasting is that while it may have some benefits in terms of weight loss, it is going to undermine all of the hard work you are doing to build and maintain lean muscle.  The body needs to get its energy (not only for day-to-day activity but also for cell regeneration) either from the intake of food or from energy reserves.  So if you are fasting, then you're not taking in the protein you need to rebuild muscle cells and generate new muscle cells.

So you'll end up just skinny - and who wants that?

Fashion Police

  • It’s official, the “sexy geek” look is back in.
  • Nerds across the country are suddenly hot again so pull out the cardigan and the glasses and impress the boys with obscure facts about Star Trek and Doctor Who.
  • The appeal of the sexy geek is hard to define - whether it's the sense that they're more intelligent than you or likely to earn more money, or perhaps it goes back to the maths teacher from high school that was a total dork but somehow sort of cute if you looked at him with one eye closed...
  • Why fight it?  At the very least they might be able to help you sort out your home wi-fi and show you how to download the latest episodes of Glee...
  • Dan Morgan, this is your time...

Out To Swim Scholarship Fund

On a budget?

Rotterdam Tournament

  • Our friends at Gay Swim Amsterdam Waterpolo are helping to organise the Eurogames Rotterdam waterpolo tournament 2011.
  • What we know so far:
  • Opening ceremony: Thursday evening July 21st, 2011
  • Waterpolo tournament: Friday July 22nd, 2011 - 09:00-19:00
  • To register:
  • Go to the website:
  • Complete the registration by 28th February and pay €70 (saving you €30)
  • For the question “is your club EGLSF registered”, the answer is “yes”, then select Out To Swim
  • Under “team name”, enter: London Orca
  • There will not be any separate men’s or women’s competition at the event so everyone should select “Mixed Competition”
  • You’ll need to upload a photo for your registration identification
  • Registration takes about 5 minutes to complete
  • We will be looking to coordinate group travel and accommodation if possible so no need to worry about that at this stage.
  • Who is eligible to play?
  • If you’re a signed up member of London Orca then you’re eligible to take part in the Rotterdam tournament
  • This will be a relaxed and friendly tournament and a great way to see and experience competitive water polo
  • While we will be selecting a competitive A team with the aim of winning gold at the tournament, we are keen to take as big a squad as possible (ie. we could take up to 3 teams) so whether you’re a complete beginner at the game or looking to build on your experience then everyone is encouraged to register and be part of the Rotterdam tournament.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Training Report - Saturday 5th February 2011

  • Really great training session tonight.  We had 33 in the pool and a good combination of old hands and new starters.
  • Captain Ben was in charge and we kicked off with some basic passing drills (one of our key down-falls in last Wednesday's blow-out) before dividing into three teams for some solid match play.
  • Attendance-wise, Mike G and Xavier are still locked in a game of chicken to see who will break their perfect 100% attendance record first - it's too close to call at this stage, with both looking equally determined.
  • There's then a group of 8 players sitting on 89% (Ben; Bill; Bruce; Eduardo; G; Luke; Mike O; Stephen S),
  • followed by 9 players on 78% (Charles; Christian; Dan; Edita; Jerome; Julian; Mario; Russell; Thusitha);
  • then we have 3 on 67% (Fabrizio; Greg; Michael R);
  • 7 on 56% (Ameen; Andy; David H; Dimitri; Lennard; Patrick; Rob);
  • then 9 on 44% (Antonio; Chris C; Joe; Johnnie; Jon; Mel; Paul S; Rowan; Thomas);
  • then we have 11 sitting on 33% (Aaron; Chris F; Chris S; Drew; Haydn; Janice; Melissa; Paul M; Rachel; Riccardo; Tom);
  • then there are 6 on 22% (Charles O; Daniel; Darren; Nathan; Rhys; Stephen L);
  • then finally there's 5 people on 11% (Alex; Damien; Iarla; Phillip; Saffron).

Russie: Les premières publicités de prévention pour les gays viennent de sortir - Têtu

Crazy russians...

Russie: Les premières publicités de prévention pour les gays viennent de sortir - Têtu

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Match Report - 2nd February 2011

  • Avondale may have finished deceptively bottom of the Thameside League last season, but last time we met them they crushed us 18-4.
  • So it was with some trepidation that we slid delicately into the pool on Wednesday night...
  • With Andy coaching us from the side, Tom and Iarla manning the table, and Captain Ben, Mike O, Mike G, Mike R, Thusitha, Luke, Lennard, Patrick (first match!), Stephen S, Greg, Bruce, Xavier and G in the water, we hit them hard from the first whistle and stuck to our game throughout.
  • Unfortunately our game wasn’t quite good enough as they took pleasure in demonstrating their superior skill and experience by beating us 1-21.
  • Highlights of the game were Lennard’s spectacular goal and Captain Ben’s heated exchange with the naked hairy man in the team change room (if you’ve played a match at Porchester you’ll know who we’re talking about) - unfortunately Captain Ben was bested and naked hairy man remained in the change room as a slight distraction during the crucial team talk...
  • Normal training for the next few weeks before our next match, so plenty to work on!

Diet Doctor

What's wrong with sausages?

When confronted with limited food options or a breakfast buffet, I'm always tempted to go for sausages as an easy and tasty option.  And looks like I'm not alone!  Last year the British population got through 182,848 tons of sausages, with 5 million of eating sausages every day.

But, what's the problem - they're just protein, right?  Unfortunately not...

Check out some research by Channel 4 for the full details:

The short answer is - you could be eating anything. UK food standards require that in order to be called a "sausage" the product must contain at least 32% of "meat".  At it's most basic, a sausage is made of meat, bread, water, herbs and spices but there's every chance that they also include a whole host of colourings, additives and MSG.

"Meat" is fairly loosely defined though - that 32% can include fat, connective tissue and skin, so it's not exactly lean pork chops that you're tucking into.

Economy sausages are essentially pork slurry made from recovered meat with fat, bread and colourings added to it. The mixture is emulsified in an industrial process that mixes meat and incorporates fat and bread into it to spread the meat finer.  Delicious...

Then there's the casings - economy sausages use collagen casings, at the higher end of the quality scale natural skins will be made from intestine.

Is it all bad news for the sausage then?  If you go high end you can get some good quality products (try, but you still don't want to be downing a sausage every day - save them as a treat as part of your weekend fry-up.

Fashion Police

  • Sometimes you just to have to fake it.  Whether in life or in poker, you can’t really let your expression reveal too much of what you’re actually thinking...
  • Clearly Luke is not overly thrilled with the conversation at the team dinner at Mexican in Cologne (post Pink Flamingo) but there’s no need to be so obvious!
  • To be fair we were all fairly shattered after a big week of competition and then the surreal excitement of the Pink Flamingo (teams from the various teams competing aquatics trying to out-gay each other, Paris won...)
  • The dinner was actually okay too - we opted for the Mexican restaurant across the road from the pool to avoid the crush on the tram back into town, they coped surprisingly well with a group of 30 gays descending on them unannounced and we didn't have to wait too long for food or drinks.  It was also the dinner where everyone had to count up their number of conquests for the week (Bill won easily...).

Restaurant Review - The Elk in the Woods, Islington

Dinner last night at The Elk In The Woods in Camden Passage (near Angel).

Elk in the Woods is a funny place, relatively small with an eccentric but warm fit out.  Service is quirky but friendly and the food is top drawer.  They also do a mean cucumber martini which is often a pretty good measure of everything.

Located in the heart of Islington's Camden Passage, Elk in the Woods is a firm favourite with Islington locals and bookings are essential.

I started with some grilled haloumi (essentially just a stack of really good grilled haloumi with a wedge of lemon - perfect), followed by an excellent steak served with water cress (hold the fries).  Excellent coffee to round it off.

Only down-side is that as it's a small space it can get fairly noisy - we were next to a very drunk and loud woman which got a bit wearing after a while.  Who needs to be that drunk and that loud on a Tuesday night?

Marks out of 10?  A solid 8 - a great local treasure that you could happily visit once a week.