Wednesday, August 24, 2016

August Newsletter - Claire goes for Gold and other cool stuff!

Squad swimmer Claire McLean to compete in the 2016 Rio Paralympic Triathlon - go Claire!! We are so proud of you!

Dear Swimmers

I've got a few cool items to share with you today and also an update on the ill-fated update to the Swim Smooth Perth Squad app which most of you use to book in your sessions. Please read on.

Squad swimmer Claire McLean to take part in the 2016 Rio Paralympic Triathlon!

Just because the Olympics has now finished doesn't mean to say the excitement is over! The Paralympic Games runs from the 7th to the 18th September and on Sunday 11th September from 9pm, squad swimmer Claire McLean will compete over the 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run course. For more information see - we wish Claire the very best of luck from all her buddies here in Perth and I look forward to being able to update you on her progress and how she went!

My Video Review of the Olympic Games (POOL events):

In case you missed it, please check out this thorough report of the 2016 Olympic Games where I analyse the strokes of the champions against the "not quites" which will help heighten your knowledge for dinner party discussions with friends of why so-and-so swam the way they did! Here's the link (49 minutes):

…please note the exclusion of the open water and triathlon events which we reviewed here in greater depth: - I have to say Australian Jarrod Poort's valiant effort in the 10km open water event goes down in my mind of one of the most exciting sporting events I have ever witnessed, despite his tactics seemingly contrary to what I usually stipulate about the benefits of pacing and drafting (read more in the previous link).

World 70.3 Championships

Many of the squad successfully qualified to compete at the World 70.3 (Half Ironman) championships on the Sunshine Coast on September 4th 2016 in Mooloolaba, QLD. I look forward to letting you know how they get on!

Paul Away

Head Coach Paul Newsome will be away:

  • 21st to 30th September (sister's wedding in bonny Scotland - Mish and the kids to come!)
  • 1st to 15th November (USA Coaching trip - delivering two 3-day Coach Education courses in California and Florida in the quest to find some new coaching blood for February 2017's Perth courses)
...all sessions will proceed as normal during this period.

Christmas Period

The squad will take a break this year from 24th December to 1st January, that being the last sessions will be on Friday 23rd December and first back Monday 2nd January 2017.

If it's not broken, don't try and fix it!

Further to last week's email note, SMS and app notification (phew!) I am hoping you have all managed to regain access to the Swim Smooth Perth Squad app by following my instructions here - if not, please let me know. This issue had been created by a fault during MindBody's upgrade process which - as a third party - I can only apologise for. Sorry!

It has also come to my attention though that some of you who utilise our wait list system haven't been receiving your usual SMS notifications that you have been successfully accepted for a session. Whilst this offer always goes to your email address as well, obviously most people don't check their emails as much as they do their phone messages! The tech team are looking into why this is the case as we speak and I will keep you posted. 

Please remember that the system assumes that if you are still waitlisted for a session and then get offered a spot that you would want to still take it, so it will automatically put you in for that session. If you are one of the people who aren't receiving your SMS currently, apologies if you cannot then opt out of the session via this SMS notification. Please resort to checking your email or waitlist status number within the app to show how close you are to acquiring a spot and cancelling out of any wait lists that you can no longer use in the interim.

If you get added to a class which you shouldn't have been (i.e. can no longer make) just cancel out of this as you would any other class by finding it under the "My Classes" tab in your app. For those who are concerned that you have "Unconfirmed" classes in your schedule and wish to attend these, don't panic, these spots are still held for you. You only need concern yourself with opting out.

12 months gone - a time for reflection and analysis!

It seems slightly contrite to be espousing the benefits of the now 12-month old Swim Smooth Perth Squad app given the niggles mentioned above, but on the whole I am hoping you agree that it has been a very positive part of your experience swimming with the squad. I have been able to pull out the following data from our internal reports for your information and interest which I am hoping you find useful. By openly sharing this information I hope you can better understand how the new system works and equally where waitlisted spots are likely to arise for those seeking them!

Here are the 10 key points - in the last 12 months we have:

  1. delivered 575 exciting squad sessions, many of which have been entirely unique and fuelled and inspired by either current affairs (i.e. the Olympics) or suggestions from you the members
  2. had to only cancel 28 sessions for public / Christmas and Easter holidays and one lightening strike at the pool - this gives us an unmatched reliability "up-time" of 96%!
  3. delivered 350 1-2-1 Video Analysis and Stroke Correction sessions to swimmers from as far afield as the USA, Singapore, Hong Kong, India and Europe, travelling specifically for these sessions believe it or not! If you've never taken one yourself you can look at booking an appropriate spot for you either through the app or at!appointments/cta3 - use the 10% discount code "bubblebubblebreathe" to tap into one of these great sessions soon! Our wait list system has meant that we can now offer these as soon as within the next week or two as opposed to 6 months lead-time in years gone by!
  4. had 16,305 of you attend our various sessions all seeking to improve some aspect of your swimming, whether that be for fitness, fun or competition. This equates to an average of 320 (mostly) happy swimmers* per week enjoying all that the squad offers
  5. seen our most popular sessions being the Wednesday 5.30am and Friday 5.30am sessions which have seen an average of 40 and 41 swimmers respectively over the last year
  6. seen most variability in attendance for the Monday Pure Technique (7am and 9.30am), the Tuesday Technique / Endurance 6.30am and 6.15pm, and the Friday 9.30am Red Mist Endurance sessions, making these the easiest to pick up wait list spots
  7. had myself, Head Coach Paul Newsome, deliver 84% of the early and mid-morning sessions and write 100% of all the remaining sessions which have been evenly delivered by our brilliant coaches Cyndy and Sally. I am super proud of the high quality of coaches (including also Marie and Brad) we have to cover sessions during times when I am away delivering courses internationally and hope you will agree that they are all fabulous assets to the program. Even as the demand continues to grow for me to deliver and extend Swim Smooth around the world, my base is right here in Perth and as such I have made it a priority to aim to never be away myself for longer than 10-14 days at a time on these trips (often much shorter), recognising of course how important it is for me to be here to lead the charge**
  8. seen some brilliant camaraderie within the squad and - dare I say it as a "Pom" - some brilliant "digger spirit" too - people willing to give it a go, take the challenge and equally support their mates too!
  9. not once exceeded our maximum threshold attendance in any of the 575 sessions we have delivered thanks to the system management of the app. Whilst this is still possible going forwards (owing to the legacy from our previous system of having a built-in buffer of swimmers for every session above the maximum threshold), it goes to show that the system is working well for all parties. Our actual average capacity utilisation runs at 83.6% for your reference. Of course, depending on who turns up, we will occasionally have a very busy lane 1 and 2 and quieter lane 3 and 4 (or vice versa) and this dynamic is constantly changing and being managed by myself and the coaching team.
  10. been able to offer an average of 4.7 wait listed spots per session whereas in the past we had to firmly close the doors on any "new blood" for fear of being over-subscribed. This does present a dynamic challenge each session in the sense that the waitlisted system cannot (and should not!) be discriminatory against a swimmer's ability - it's purely first-come, best-dressed in that sense. I hope you find that this in itself adds a tone of variety to your sessions and I always thank you for your ability to be accepting of the "new blood" and for showing them the ropes as we go!

* note to self: Red Mist Endurance Sessions are not truly effective unless they cause at least some degree of grumpiness!

** on that note since meeting Simon Murie (head of the UK company "Swim Trek") in 2005 we have often been asked to attend one of his fabulous European / Worldwide swim vacations as their support coaching staff. Many of Simon's own team have actually attended our own 3-day Coach Education workshops so that the coaching advice that anyone receives on his holidays is concurrent with what I would suggest. This winter alone, over 30 members of the squad have participated in a Swim Trek its Simon's team. Whilst we have no formal association with Swim Trek, I am looking at the prospect of proposing a Swim Smooth / Swim Trek co-operative swim vacation in July 2017 based on many of your suggestions to do just that. This'll be a fantastic experience I am sure and also help to side-step the "being away from the squad" angle as I'd be there with you having fun and drinking Sangria too!

Thanks for your time - here are some charts for those of you who like that kind of thing!

On behalf of myself and the other coaches, I'd like to say a massive thank you for your continued patronage and support of the Swim Smooth Perth Squad. As ever, if you have any suggestions, please don't be afraid to email back.


Weekly attendance figures over the past 12 months, noting the very obvious dip around the July School Holidays (winter)

Average (yellow), Peak (Red) and Low (Green) attendance by Session Type (note the blue bars represent the maximum threshold for each session, using the axis on the LEFT)

How our lead coaching pans out over the year (early / mid-morning)

How our lead coaching pans out over the year (all sessions)

Monday, August 22, 2016

Announcing 3 FREE Release and Roll Sessions for Swim Smooth Perth Squad Members!

Dear Swimmers

It is with much excitement that I write to let you know about three (3) FREE "Release & Roll" sessions for Swim Smooth Perth Members on the following dates in the Club Rooms at Claremont Pool:

  • Monday 5th September at 8.45-9.20am (ideally suited for those swimming the 9.30-10.30am Pure Technique Session immediately afterwards)
  • Tuesday 6th September at 5.30-6.10pm (ideally suited for those swimming the 6.15-7.15pm Technique / Endurance Session immediately afterwards)
  • Friday 9th September at 8.45-9.20am (ideally suited for those swimming the 9.30-10.30am Red Mist Endurance Session immediately afterwards)

Sessions are limited to just 10 people and will be conducted by my wife, Michelle Newsome, physiotherapist from Nedlands Physiotherapy specialising in shoulder issues.

The sessions are designed to utilise foam rollers (provided*) to assist with some self-management strategies to help improve your swimming and mobility. I use these practices daily to help with my own swimming and have for many years - it's a must!

*foam rollers will be available to order / purchase if you wish on the dates.

To book a spot, please visit!book-online/m7092 and use the Group Sessions booking tab.

Hope to see you there!


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Trouble logging into the squad app?

Dear Swimmers

As you may have seen through the notifications aspect of our squad app today, some swimmers have experienced the inability to be able to log into their accounts as normal and see all their usual booked sessions. In fact all of you who've tried opening the app will have at the very least been asked to verify a few details above and beyond what you usually have to do. Mind Body (who run our app) have been making some upgrades for the performance of the app but a few glitches have occurred with some people's accounts. I can only apologise for any inconvenience you've experienced - sorry! 

I have to say that I feel someone at Mind Body should have heeded the advice "if it's not broken, don't try and fix it!" 

Essentially Mind Body offers it's own generic free-to-use app which we originally started using 12 months ago until I rapidly decided a bespoke version would better suit our needs, i.e. the branded Swim Smooth Perth app. The issue they are experiencing is linking these two apps to unite with one username / password. 

All good?

If however, you are able to login, see your schedule, cancel / book a session as normal and make payments etc, you need not do anything else at this stage! You might of course like to see our review of all the stroke techniques at the Olympics instead: 

All bad?

Obviously the whole functionality of attending the squad now resides within the app / online so it's important that it works properly. If you are having issues, please read on and kindly complete these simple steps; sincere thanks in advance!

Here's what you need to do:

  1. at the very least, you will still be able to login as normal through our online portal at!cancel/c86k with your usual username and password in case you need to cancel any last minute sessions or pay for any credits, but to get properly back up to speed…
  2. you'll need to download the main Mind Body app to re-ignite our Swim Smooth Perth app. To do that visit here (Apple) or here (Android)
  3. once installed, one of two things will happen: 
  4. either A) if you've previously downloaded the main Mind Body app (you might have if you used this before the squad one became available), enter the email that you used and click Forgot Password. This will generate an email asking you to reset your password. This will need to be 8 alphanumeric digits. Follow the prompts and log back into the main Mind Body app (now skip to Point 6) 
  5. or B) if you've never downloaded this generic version of the Mind Body app (see screenshots below) create a new account using the same username and password that you normally use for the Swim Smooth Perth app
  6. VERY IMPORTANT: now follow any prompts to verify your account and/or click the button "More…" in the bottom right hand corner of the Mind Body app and then choose Settings and opt to send the Verification Email
  7. Please click on the link in your email that states Verify My Email and once done, ignore all other steps and just try to log back into the main Swim Smooth Perth app using the same username and password - you should see your booked sessions under "My Classes" and be able to register for other sessions through the "Squad Sessions" link as normal.
  8. You can now discard the main Mind Body app if this is all working for you.
  9. If you're still having problems - please shoot me an email stating where you're struggling - thanks!

Here's what the Mind Body app looks like for your reference:

Here's what the two app icons look like on your phone:

Really super sorry to trouble you like this everyone! Hope it's not too much hassle for you!


Monday, August 8, 2016

The Excitement Is Palpable! Rio 2016!

Dear Swimmers

I hope you are just loving the Rio 2016 Olympic Games coverage thus far - Australia are doing brilliantly well!

Here are my top-picks so far - check out replays at and download the "Olympics on 7" app where you can search for your favourite events by event type. It's really great - just watch your mobile bandwidth limits as if you're like me you'll be hooking through that quicker than Cameron McEvoy in the 4 x 100m men's freestyle relay! The official "Rio 2016" app is also great for notifications of when all your favourite events are on across all sports.

Mack Horton (Australia) in the 400m men's freestyle final:

Sun Yang was the 2012 Olympic Champion but in 2014 tested positive for a drug used for the treatment of angina. He served a 3-month suspension. Horton claimed the gold as a win for "drug free sport" which has since gone on to spark great controversy. Even our own "Swim Smooth Perth" Facebook page is awash with very bitter resentment from angry fans of Sun Yang who claim Horton should respect him more than make these "false" claims:

I love the typo misprint here especially of the word "treatment", worded "cheatment" - go figure!

Controversy aside, we can take two things away from Horton's win:

  1. amazing pace awareness. James Guy (GB) goes out well under world record pace, only to die and finish 6th. Horton conversely goes out and appears to accelerate. Actually the last 50m is very fast but what we're really seeing is the massive deceleration of Guy's final 100m (he is still leading at 300m). Guy is the current world champion as well over 200m freestyle. The commentators claims he needs to go out fast and try to hold on, but even as world champion, if you cook yourself, the result is going to be the same as you and I cooking ourselves too much at the start of a Friday CSS set! Disaster.
  2. breathing side. Horton is at a distinct advantage over Yang in the final 50m as they are both breathing to their right but Yang is on Horton's right. Horton can see Yang, Yang can't see Horton. How important is this? See for yourself next time you're trying to race someone in the squad! This reminds me of Ian Thorpe's amazing Olympic Gold medal at the Athens 2004 Olympics in the 200m freestyle against Pieter van den Hoogenband (see: - Thorpe breathes to his right up the pool and left coming back - always keeping an eye on Hoogie - now can you see why I'm so pedantic about mixing up your breathing sides to cover all bases!

The Australian women's 4 x 100m freestyle relay final:

A sensational swim by the women's team - more to come from the Campbell sister's this week!

Adam Peaty (Great Britain) in the 100m men's breaststroke final:

Totally untouchable in this event, and oh-so-humble with it!

Sarah Sjostrom (Sweden) in the 100m women's butterfly final:

Unbelievably good form in the butterfly from Sarah Sjostrom…check out my feet in the bottom left: the perks of the job! This is my research and quantitive analysis for the afternoon!

And if you want some of this inspiration to translate into a session this week, here's what the Monday morning squad did today - enjoy!

See you on pool deck this week!


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Do You FEAR Squad "Failure" - You Shouldn't, Here's Why!

Watch as Suzi and Sally share the love and respect during a hard-as-nails CSS set!

Dear Swimmers

One of my greatest joys in coaching you all is seeing you all improve and also seeing how you all deal with success and "failure" differently, so much so, that I often wonder if the FEAR of "failure" amongst your peers is often what prevents you from truly moving forwards with your swimming? Today I'd like to discuss how to overcome that and tomorrow you can test it out yourself!

We often use the example of squad swimmer Megan Surrette to demonstrate what is possible in terms of improvement. Of course for every email we received that said "wow, that's fantastic - good on her and good on you for helping her achieve that!" we received 3 or 4 emails that had an air of frustration, i.e. "why not me - why can't I improve like that?" - this was such a strong response that we followed up with this blog post on that very topic, Why Not Me? specifically this salient point:

"A key part of achieving that consistency is your swimming demeanour. Megan puts it this way:

"I do know that I felt a big difference when I started swimming Wednesday mornings. I am not sure whether Wednesday improved my CSS or not but it definitely increased my confidence – 1 km TT? *shoulder shrug* … sure, whatever :-)"

Megan's not saying that out of bravado, that really is how she thinks. When was the last time you really shrugged at a swimming time-trial? The key to improving is not to over-analyse or procrastinate but, like Megan, come to terms with the work you need to consistently do, switch off the brain and get on with it.

If you can face your training with an inner smile rather than an inner grimace you've got everything you need to be the next Megan. Don't fear the hard work but actively embrace it - that is the attitude of a true champion."

Could it be that your fear of taking the bull by the horns and leading an occasional set out of concern that you might let others in your group down, be what is stifling your progress? When I'm passing the beepers out for a hard set, I receive far more "no, not me - anyone but me!" looks than "yes, what the hell, I'll give it a go!" - come on people, this is Australia! Where's your digger can-do attitude?!

Nick gives Rob a hearty high-five for leading a solid 400m interval!

The reality is that just giving it a go is what it's all about. We are not racing for sheep stations - a solid workout that gets the heart pumping, blows the cobwebs out and has you thinking about how best to maintain your technique is what the majority of you are after. I've come to realise that more and more about myself - being fit and active is way better than being unfit and thinking of where you once were! Only what you do right now is important, so give it a go!

Training within a squad is a wonderfully motivating environment, challenging you always to be a better version of yourself. It both doesn't matter about anyone else in your lane, and yet it totally does too! A sense of camaraderie and team spirit can lift you on the flattest of days, but if you don't opt to take the beeper and share the love, then you can't get upset and grumpy and see the "red mist" if someone doesn't hold exactly to the pace that is set for the lane! That's Rule Number 1 of swim squad! They're giving it their best shot. This is all I or you can ask of yourself on any given day. You should take that beeper knowing this. Knowing you're not letting anyone down because they didn't opt to take the onus like you did. If you "fail" so what? Does it really matter? No. Learn from it and pass the beeper on! It's fun, or should be!

Chris Froome has just won his third Tour de France title against some pretty challenging odds. Nairo Quintana was his supposed rival, and yet he was never in the picture. Why? Because he was playing a game of defence, a game of safety, never willing to take the risk of an attack, always hoping Froome would eventually crack. He didn't. Quintana lost. Convincingly. 

Are you playing a game of defence with your swimming? Never willing to stretch yourself for fear of "failure"?

To get maximum improvement benefits you'd opt to train totally solo following our totally bespoke system. This would see you tweaking your individually specific CSS pace by small multiples of 1/100th of a second after each session, always moving forwards. But is this ever going to be as engaging as swimming within the Swim Smooth Perth Squad itself? It's finding that balance between specificity and a motivating challenge with your peers that you need to ascertain for yourself. You need to get comfortable with the idea that you, like the next person, might take on the challenge of leading and they might succeed, or they might not - they might even have a stormer and blow everyone's doors off, who knows? But if you're on the front, you're in control. You're the leader. You call the shots. Win, lose or draw, the last thing you should do is fear the challenge!

Mike's quite happy to be following…for now - but when he gets back on front, watch out!

Becoming a Tempo Trainer "Ninja":

In tonight's 6.15pm session and tomorrow's 5.30am and 6.30am session we're going to be doing the familiar Goldilocks set which looks something like this:

  • 4 x 100
  • 1 x 200
  • 4 x 100
  • 1 x 300
  • 4 x 100
  • 1 x 400

Each lane will do the longer swims (shown in red) but depending on your lane will depend on how many 100s you are instructed to do.

We are going to use the beepers in Modes 1 and 2 tomorrow. Mode 1 allows us to be accurate to 1/100th second and this the mode we'll use for the longer swims where your goal will be to STAY with the beeper per 25m. Mode 2 works in whole seconds where your goal will be to BEAT the beeper for your rest on the 100m intervals. Remember, over 100m, if the set is RM Cycle 5, this will typically mean you should aim for 10 seconds rest as the beeper is 5s "slower" per 50m than your group's set CSS target pace. Similarly, RM Cycle 4 would give you 8 seconds rest etc.

If you take the onus of leading - or are politely asked by me or Sal (and we will still be suggesting who does lead, don't worry about that!) - it will be your job to have a go operating the beeper. It's really very simple:

  • push and hold the top* button to CHANGE MODES in sequence (this is reflected on the screen, i.e. numbers 1, 2 or 3 will display as you do)
  • lightly tap the top* button so you can hear the audible beep to START the interval
  • use the bottom* two buttons to decrease (LEFT) or increase (RIGHT) the time displayed

*always hold the beeper with the single button as the TOP - I often see people trying to operate the beeper upside down with rather comical ramifications!

The beeper will be set for you to start in Mode 2, for each subsequent block of 100m intervals, all you'll need to do is take off 1 second using a light press of the bottom LEFT button

For the longer 200 (baby bear), 300 (momma bear) and 400 (papa bear) intervals, Mode 1 will be required but this will be preset for you so you won't need to change it during this specific session - just press and hold the top button to go from Mode 2, to Mode 3, and finally to Mode 1. Simple.

I hope that's been useful for you both in terms of knowing how to operate the beeper and what to do if you find yourself leading a group, most notably:


When we tried sharing the love in the squad a few Friday's ago it worked really well and everyone agreed it was a great session. So, let's calm some of that competitive tension and put it to better use.

It's amazing what you can achieve if you just let yourself.



Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Great Big Squad Happy 80th Birthday to Squad Stalwart, Barrie Eaves!

Dear Swimmers

It is with great excitement that this week we celebrate the oldest swimmer in the Swim Smooth Perth Squad's 80th Birthday, Barrie eaves - whoop, whoop! Barrie has been swimming with the squad religiously for the last 8 years and still attends 3 sessions per week - Technique, CSS Development, and his favourite, the infamous Red Mist Session! On a recent Swim Trek trip around Greece, Barrie covered over 30km in the week and has even gone to the extreme of moving into the apartments opposite the pool to be within a 4 minute walk to enjoy his favourite activity, swimming!

In honour of such a great man and inspiration to myself and many members of the 9.30am crew (and beyond!), Barrie politely asked if we could do a little speed work in this week's CSS Development Session. He asked for something a bit "spicy" and that's exactly what we've got for you this week!

Here's a video singing happy birthday to my hero and then the set you'll be doing below:

So make sure you bring your A-Game to Thursday's 6.15pm session or Friday's 5.30/6.30am sessions in honour of this great man and do him proud on a session which he really loved!

Barrie's number one motto when it comes to swimming and life in general? 


How lucky we are to have such a  great guy in the squad - Barrie, you're our hero! Happy Birthday mate!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Run, Fun, Mara (Moo) You!

Just in from squad swimmer Shelley Hatton FYI:

Start your tri season with something different!

The Maramoo marathon is new and it's a new format to Western Australia.

It's on September 10 and is based on a cricket pitch about 10kms south of Dunsborough. We will run through some wineries, some bush tracks and you will marvel at the scenery.

Delight your taste buds as you indulge them while you run the course. You can try local produce and sample wine as you run. Smell the delicious all-day food from Rivendell as you run a lap of the cricket pitch after each of the three legs. Groove to the music as you complete your lap. High five the spectators who are cheering for you.

Of course, afterwards there will be all of the samples to try again! Stay for lunch and a glass of wine. Stay for the presentations to see if you've won one of the many spot prizes.
You can run the whole marathon, the half or enter as a team of three where you each run one leg of the course.

Go silly and enter the best-dressed competition and be in line for a sensational prize.

Grab some friends and make a weekend of it.

Special discount of $20 for Swim Smooth Squad Members. The code is SMOOO…TH and is valid until 31 July.