Friday, May 22, 2015

Quick update on yesterday's Blog...

Dear Swimmers

Massive thanks for the dozens and dozens of responses I've had to yesterday's Blog, specifically with regard to payment systems and whether we should look at moving towards a more monthly-subscription based model. It seems that the overwhelming majority of you like things just the way they are and that feedback gives me great comfort to know that it's been working well for you all, especially with respect to the flexibility that the PAYG system offers you when your work, life, social calendar is busy. So all good there - thanks so much for taking the time to feed that back to me!

Getting a little nervous this end - house just went up online at http://www.realestate.com.au/property-townhouse-wa-innaloo-119843445 - we have our first home open tomorrow at 1:15-2pm - wish us luck and please feel free to tell your friends!!! There's nothing quite like a home open to help you de-clutter your life! If nothing else I'm feeling much lighter in that respect…now, where did I put that TV remote?!

Cheers and have a great weekend!

Paul



Thursday, May 21, 2015

Pool Closure 6-21st June 2015 - The Plan, Stan!

Dear Swimmers

As you will recall, the Claremont Pool is closing for a period of 2 weeks from Saturday 6th June 2015 to Sunday 21st June 2015 for essential maintenance works on the lining of the pool which is starting to pull away after the major renovations at the pool 4.5 years ago (wow, is it really that long ago?!).

Back in 2010 we shifted as many of the squad sessions as possible up to Challenge Stadium for the 7 month closure but this was met with limited success, i.e. high booking rates and very low attendances due primarily to the change in venue and the colder weather. Given that this closure is only for 2 weeks and is at that time in the season when dark mornings, early sunsets, poor weather and the fact that many people are still recovering from the season just gone often results in low-attendance naturally, we have taken the executive decision to suspend the official squad pool sessions for this 2 week period. I apologise for any inconvenience this may cause you.

The Plan, Stan!

Whilst I appreciate that this might be of a disappointment to many of you, I have been working hard over the last month to create a fully structured program for you to follow should you wish to access one of the other pools during this period to keep yourself ticking over, especially for those of you racing some northern hemisphere events in the next little while. This can be accessed here, totally free of charge:


Utilising this special plan you then have the option to: 

  1. follow the 11 sessions for this period step-by-step from the nicely formatted, printable PDF
  2. or if you fancied taking things a little further, you can access the sessions through our https://app.swimsmooth.com portal (use the 48-hr free trial to check it out or sign up for a month's access - you'll love it!) and have full access to all our videos, tips and techniques that will help you prep nicely for the coming winter season


Option 1:

If you take option 1 to keep yourself ticking over, please be aware that I have configured the system using a CSS pace of 1:40/100m for the example swimmer (given that this is a median CSS pace for the squad). Correspondingly the paces and send-off times that the printable PDFs will state will be based on this number. That shouldn't be a problem for you though as hopefully you all know your CSS paces by now and can substitute your pace for the example swimmer. If you're still unsure, the table below "Additional Squad Space 6th July onwards" will help you get a close approximation of your pace if you find your normal session, lane and then group.

For CSS-based sessions your targets will typically be the 25m time, i.e. if your CSS is 1:30/100m just divide this by four (22:50) and enter this into Mode 1 (as per the PDF directions) on your Tempo Trainer. You can order one here if you need one: http://www.swimsmooth.com/finis-tempo-trainer-pro.html 

When it comes to calculating the RM Cycles, simply divide your 100m CSS pace by two and add the RM number to this 50m time, i.e. if your CSS is 1:30/100m, half of this is 45 seconds and an RM5 cycle time would imply a send-off of 45+5 seconds = 50 seconds. Simply enter 0:50 into your Tempo Trainer Pro in Mode 2 (as per the PDF directions) and away you go, beating the beeper to form your recovery.

Option 2:

Of course, if you have access to the app (either with the 48hr free trial or with a monthly subscription of $19.99 which you can easily cancel when the squad resumes if you wish - both available at https://app.swimsmooth.com ) you can take the CSS Test of 400m and 200m and input your information into https://app.swimsmooth.com/section/bW/eu/mycss/ and the clever little sausage of a system will propagate your target paces and instructions throughout the entire App for you. Neat, huh? You'd then use the 3 or 4 letter App Codes (as listed in the right-most column of the table above) input these into the intelligent search bar and be able to access all my suggested sessions but individually catered to your pace. Simply print these sessions off directly as you come to do them and away you go! The App will also allow you to see how all the drills are done and to pick up valuable tips and techniques on your training and open water swimming. I have included some specific videos you might like to look at within the main June Squad Sessions PDF at https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/40809953/June_Squad_Sessions.pdf

Option 3:

Of course there is the option during this period to take a 2 week break to re-stock and re-callibrate for a good solid winter's training!

A 4th (Open Water) Option:

As I still plan to swim during this period as well, I cordially invite you to come and try a dip in my favourite spot at Claremont Jetty off Jetty Road on the following mornings, meeting at 7am for a 7.15am start (sunrise):

  • Sunday 7th June - 2km familiarisation
  • Tuesday 9th June - 400m intervals
  • Thursday 11th June - 4km timed swim
  • Thursday 18th June - 200m fartlek intervals
  • Friday 19th June - cruisey 5km out and back
  • Sunday 21st June - 4km timed swim


Planning:

I plan to spend this 2 week period creating a world-beater of a winter program for you all, kick-starting on Monday 22nd June 2015 with some CSS Benchmark Testing on the Wednesday (9.30am) / Thursday (6.15pm) / Friday (5.30am / 6.30am) sessions. This is precisely 20 weeks out from the Mandurah 70.3 Ironman, 24 weeks out from the Busselton Ironman and a full 36 weeks out from the Rottnest Channel Swim, so still plenty of time to get into great shape! 

Sometimes the mind and body needs a little break and I know myself that I'll be able to use this period to get on top of some admin work, write those programs, assist and mentor our other coaches and even hopefully sell and move house! Which reminds me, if you know of anyone keen, we have our first home open this Saturday at 1.15-2.00pm, see http://www.realestate.com.au/property-townhouse-wa-innaloo-119843445 for details - sorry for the plug, hope you don't mind! :-)

Squad Availability:

I have been keeping a very close eye on squad attendance over the last month or so and have determined the following availability which we will potentially release to the wait list (now numbering 381 people!) for Monday 6th July 2015 onwards. If you have been absent over the last six weeks or so and think I might have "forgotten about you", please let me know your intentions for attendance over the winter months so as to help me plan availability better. 

PAYG vs Monthly Fees:

A few members of the squad have suggested a shift to a monthly payment scheme for the squad rather than the current (and historic) PAYG system, their reasoning being to smooth out some of the peaks and troughs in attendance and to ensure a maximum number of attendees on any given day. This wouldn't be an overnight change and my personal leaning is not towards this as I feel the flexibility for you all of the PAYG system is better, though admittedly much harder for me to administer so long as the highs and lows aren't too disruptive for you! 

I would really welcome your feedback if you feel either very strongly for or against a change in the payment scheme as it currently stands - please feel free to speak your mind! The June 6th to 21st period is ideal for me to work through some of this feedback and ensure that what we are offering caters towards the majority of people's requests. Equally, any / all feedback you have for me will be listened to and taken onboard during this period so that your needs are met as best as possible, save for potentially the addition of lots of kick sets, short sprints of 25m and the other three strokes…been there, tried that and had a very poor response historically ;-)

1-2-1 Video Analysis & Stroke Correction:

Winter is often a great time to work on enhancing the efficiency of your stroke through our 1-2-1 Video Analysis & Stroke Correction service. For your reference, bookings are now being taken from the start of September as per details / sign-up here: http://www.swimsmooth.com/perth_videoanalysis.html - don't delay, book in today and I'll keep you posted on any earlier cancellations. Cost is $219 for the initial assessment of 75 mins and $169 for any subsequent 60 mins sessions.

Thanks everyone and here's to a great two weeks of hard and diligent training between now and the pool closure…given the training plan as listed above, there should be no reason to back-off now - this is just the beginning!

Cheers

Paul





Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Proudest Coach


Dear Swimmers

Not withstanding the phenomenal achievements of a whole host of athletes from the squad in this month's Busselton Half Ironman event achieving multiple Age Group podium finishes (and wins!), including - but not limited to - an amazing spree in the women's event with 4th, 5th, 11th, 12th and 16th place overall for Kate Bevilaqua, "young gun" Emily Loughnan, Renee Baker, Janine Willis and Lisa Luckin, and 7th and 18th places in the men's for Guy Crawford and Derek Cross respectively, this morning one of my proudest coaching moments came from one of my most embarrassing mistakes. I was late for squad - very late!

I have been coaching here in Perth since May 2002 and running my own squad (as you know it) since May 2008 and as a couple of the more senior members will attest, in that whole time - despite 4.20am wake-ups six times per week, week-in / week-out - I have never slept through an alarm and missed delivering a squad session. Never. I actually pride myself on this fact more than anything (just about!). I even talk about the extreme importance of this for running a successful squad in all the coaching courses I deliver around the world. Imagine my massive panic then when Michelle says to me "Paul, it's 5.48am - shouldn't you be at the pool?!" - several expletives followed before I hurriedly headed to the pool arriving at about 6.08am. I was devastated at the thought of arriving at the pool to total chaos - "where's the coach?!", "what do we do?!" etc - but what I was met with was anything but! 

Yes, my proudest coaching experience came from walking down that path from the office in my flustered state and experiencing 32 people all in perfect squad training unison having devised their own plan and following it with structure and control in a super diligent manner - you were even all "minding the gap" too! Brilliant.


You have learned well, Young Grasshoppers!

I was super impressed, and as I said at the time amongst the profuse apologies, I didn't want to interrupt what already looked like a great session! What an amazing scene to greet a super-embarrased coach! My understanding was that you all wasted no time getting in and getting on with it led perhaps by the direction of Simon Bedbrook and James Forbes from lane 4 who expertly delegated the proposed session to lane-leaders Rory Thomson / Janine Willis, Chris Foley / Graham Crocker, and Shane Hunter / Ermie Robinson (amongst others I'm sure!) from lanes 3, 2 and 1 respectively and still covered 3000m. Well done you (all!).


It wasn't a social experiment…as cool as that would have been to make out it was!

I was humbled by all the attempts that people were making to create a plausible excuse for my tardiness (kids sick, car broken down, storm damage, earthquake, dog ate the car keys…), but the truth is I simply over-slept. The greatest irony of this whole situation was highlighted by Jo Van Rooyen with her statement "I thought you might have been conducting some sort of social experiment as you're never not there" - believe it or not I've been searching for a quirky, light-hearted way of telling you all that myself, Mish and the kids have decided to move house and re-locate much closer to the pool in order to make the 4.20am starts that much more manageable and avoid the risk of issues like this and to save my aging bones! We have an offer in on a lovely place around the corner from Claremont Pool, subject to the sale of our place in Innaloo which goes on the market tomorrow. Exciting but nerve-wracking times topped with a whole fortnight of post-midnight bedtimes and super-early starts that even 3 separate alarms couldn't wake me from this morning!


Good job I've employed the very best in Quality Control - my DIY skills have been said to leave something to be desired!

It's going to be very much touch-and-go on our part selling our house in time for the offer to proceed, but we have the best man on the job (one of my channel swimming buddies Brad Hardingham from RealMark), and the house is now all set to go. We are committed to selling even on the off-chance that our offer falls through on the new place. 

If you happen to know of anyone who might be searching for a lovely 3 x 2 townhouse set on a beautifully landscaped park in Innaloo that has been lovingly cherished for the last five years by a young family of four, please call Brad on 0419 345 400 quoting "15c Selina Street, Innaloo) and arrange a viewing with Brad directly. We should be having the first home open this Saturday (time TBC), so hopefully we get some interest and get this show on the road! At least then I will never have an excuse for being late, though I think - whilst not excusable - 1 morning in at least 2,000 is not a bad "success" rate. Rest assured, it won't happen again though.

Here are some photos - thanks for your interest:




































Friday, May 1, 2015

Back to winter hours for Tuesday / Thursday evening sessions!

Dear Swimmers

Just a quick note that from next week - specifically next Tuesday 5th May's evening session - we will return to the time of 6.15-7.15pm for the winter months (until the end of September) for the Tuesday and Thursday squad sessions with Cyndy and Sally respectively, due to an earlier pool closing time.

If this sadly means that you can no longer attend due to late work finishing times, please be sure to email me directly by return email to this post so that we can release your place to someone else for these months. Thanks in advance for your support and understanding on this.

Have a great weekend!

Paul

P.S please circulate this information to those you know in these particular sessions. The morning sessions are NOT affected by this change for your reference.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

ANZAC weekend swimming and video analysis...

Dear Swimmers

Hopefully you'll be pleased to know that despite the ANZAC public holiday this weekend, it'll still be all systems "go" at the swim squad this weekend, allowing those of you whom are training for the Busselton a Half Ironman next week to still top-up and fine tune before the event.

The following sessions will all still be on as normal for clarity:

Thursday 6:20am meet for a 6:45am start at Claremont Jetty for a 2-4km open water swim
Friday 5:30am, 6:30am, 9:30am
Saturday 1:00pm*
Monday 7am, 9:30am

*during this session we will be of course practicing some open water skills at the Claremont Pool - this could be a great opportunity to use your wetsuit and get yourself feeling comfortable with that for the following weekend. Also, as this session always works best with more numbers, please feel free to invite a friend along with you who doesn't ordinarily swim in this session. The cost to them will just be $5 cash as a special for this Saturday and also the following Saturday 2nd May** whilst we have the coaches over and whilst I am back on pool deck. Please take advantage of this great offer!!

**this 1-2pm session will still be on during the Busselton Half Ironman weekend for your reference - hope to see some of you along then!!

Lastly, we have the 5 coaches over at the moment whom you've all made feel very welcome - thanks for this. As a gesture of good faith and to help their learning we have 5 FREE places for a session between 2-4pm next Thursday (30/4) at the Claremont Pool to come and have your stroke filmed, critiqued and then some work done on your stroke. Each swimmer will then get a copy of their footage and analysis as well as receiving a complimentary 1 month free access to our exciting new app https://app.swimsmooth.com to help continue your learning. I will be aiding all the coaches with the support of Coach Emma too. This is a strictly first-come, first-served offer and valued at $219 each so please respond asap. Thanks.

Cheers

Paul

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Amazing weekend down in Margs for those of you into surfing!


Dear Swimmers

A little off-topic this one but I know many of you are well into your surfing and thought you might appreciate seeing these snaps I took down in Margaret River this weekend at the WSL Margaret River Masters - did anyone else make it down there? Very inspiring - the weather was sensational!

See you during the week and remember we'll have the coaches with us for the next fortnight - please say hi!

Paul