Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Coach Marie doing a Fundraiser for Prostate Cancer

Dear Swimmers

Simply sublime weather we are enjoying at the moment hey?! Something else!

Hope you enjoyed all those 50s this morning on a tight time cycle. Makes you appreciate how much the longer continuous swim at the end of them all allowed you to get into a much better rhythm and surprisingly smash the beeper!

Coach Marie will be doing a fundraiser on Friday 28th July for Prostate Cancer if you'd care to assist and join her on some Whiskey and Gin tasting? Details in the image below. Bookings at www.trybooking.com/QHFQ

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Around the world in 14 days - Swim Smooth hits Europe!

Dear Swimmers

I hope you are all doing well and have had a great couple of weeks with coaches Sally, Ross and Derek - I look forward to seeing how you're going on Friday morning (just in transit now between Mallorca - Prague - Milan - Abu Dhabi and Perth, phew!).

I wanted to piece together a bit of a visual story about what I've been up to in the last 2 weeks. The photos certainly show some fantastic locations that we've been fortunate enough to go to and whilst there has certainly been the opportunity to sit back, breathe, contemplate and even enjoy the off mojito or three, it's certainly been a very action-packed and hugely productive 2 weeks which has culminated here in Prague with a very exciting project that we will be kicking off very soon!

Here's the summary, we've delivered:

  • a 3-day Coach Education Course for 20 coaches from all around the world
  • a 1-day Swimmer's Clinic for 10 swimmers from all around the world
  • an open water clinic in pristine, clear, safe waters for 45 swimmers from around the world
  • a Red Mist Endurance session for 45 swimmers from around the world

We've also competed in 7 open water races over 6 days as part of the simply brilliant www.bestopenwater.com festival - think of this as the Tour de France of open water swimming if you like, covering a total of 32km - I even managed to collect the spoils in the non-elite category:

And formed some epic friendships in the process, allowing us to chip off the best non-elite team relay too:

With stunning views and morning swims every day in the lush mediterranean:

So if you fancy it next year, take a watch of this summary video clips to whet your appetite further:

And whilst I can't say too much about what I've been up to planning the next phase of Swim Smooth's objectives here in Prague, let's just say it's going to be:

And as it says at the John Lennon wall:

Do what you love, love what you do!

…a  very apt way of finishing this great trip to Europe!

See you on Friday!


Tuesday, May 23, 2017


Dear Swimmers

Just a quick note to say "arrivederci!" for 2 weeks as I head off to Mallorca this evening to run one of our 3-day Coach Education Courses for 20 international coaches from right around the world wanting to start their journey with Swim Smooth. I'll also be coaching alongside British Olympic silver medallist Keri-anne Payne (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keri-Anne_Payne) as part of the international BEST Fest Pro Clinic series (see http://bestopenwater.com/swim-smooth-offer/ ) which is a 7 day aquatic bonanza of various open water races in pristine, clear, shark / stinger-free warm waters teeming with marine life. It should be a lot of fun and a brilliant opportunity to work with some of the very best open water swimmers in the world. Check out this short video here:

…perhaps we'll look at bringing a crew of you guys out here next year! I'll certainly be doing my homework!

Whilst I am away, the coaching team of Sally, Derek, Ross and Marie will be looking after you in the best possible fashion. All the sessions are set and have been created with a view to some good challenges to keep you ticking over whilst I am away! So despite the cooler weather, you'll be in the very best of hands.


I was on a seminar last weekend and the speaker (Craig Harper - well worth checking out) said this which got me thinking:

"Motivation is the catalyst that sparks the fire, but not the fuel that keeps the firing burning (that's habit)"

It really got me thinking as he suggested that when people ask him what motivates him to go training at 5.30am he says "nothing - I don't need motivation as it's such an integral part of my daily routine that it's as habitual as brushing my teeth in the morning!" 

It made me contemplate your own motivations as squad swimmers - yes it becomes harder to get out of bed in the colder weather, but images like Derek's above show a) how nice it is to swim in the warm water with the steam rising and b) how virtuous you feel afterwards! So next time you think about rolling over and hitting that alarm, realise that the strength of your habit is what you're trying to tap into, not the search for motivation per se as you've got that internally and have already started the fire by regular swimming over the last months and years. So maintain that habit and you'll never have to re-start the fire and go searching for motivation!


I thought you might find the following useful whilst I am away:

I'll be back on pool deck Friday 9th June - see you then!


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Sally's Learn-2-Swim Beginner's sessions

Dear Swimmers

Hope you're all doing well - looks like this might be the break to beautiful weather we've been enjoying of late - still, I'm sure your gardens and the dams could do with a bit of a drink!

Sally's Learn-2-Swim Beginner's sessions (individual)

Do you have a family member or a friend that wants to learn how to swim freestyle correctly? Coach Sally offers a 5 x 45 minute beginners package for those who can't swim at all to those who have never had any formal coaching before and simply want to improve their stroke. Sally's having some excellent success with helping people during these sessions finding their love for swimming.

Please contact Sally for further details (0437996399) or view full details at https://www.sallyscaffidicoaching.com.au/testimonials

Sally's adult Beginner's class

Sally also offers a Friday 11.30am adult beginner's class as well - this small group environment is the perfect feeder group from those doing the 1-2-1 sessions and looking to eventually join the larger squad program - it's a cracking session with plenty of individual feedback - check it out at: https://www.sallyscaffidicoaching.com.au/contact 



Friday, April 28, 2017

This week I've mostly been building a new www.swimsmoothperth.com website!

Dear Swimmers

Hope you've enjoyed this week's training and the Vindaloo CSS Session this morning?

This week I've mostly been building the new www.swimsmoothperth.com website - please take a look and let me know what you think or if you have any dramas using it? 

I hope you like the fresh, clean new look, minus all the bumpf about the "new" PAYG-BLUK system as it's now nearly 2 years old and you all know how it works. I'm hoping you love the special videos I've created for it, especially the Squad Lifestyle one - can you spot yourself in it?

If you have any friends who've thought about joining the squad or attending a 1-2-1 Video Analysis & Stroke Correction session, I hope you'll point them to the site given how it's a little clearer now as to how it all works?

Have a great weekend!


Monday, April 10, 2017

Easter & ANZAC Day Closure

Dear Swimmers

Please be reminded that we won't have any formal squad sessions at Claremont Pool on Friday 14th April and Monday 17th April owing to the Easter Long Weekend.

Also both early morning Tuesday sessions on 25th April (ANZAC Day) will also be off too. Please note the 6.15pm session is open for bookings on the 25th April and all those who wish to attend should please check their app to see if they are booked in or not.

For anyone wanting to get in a couple of additional sessions this week to allow you to enjoy an extra bit of chocolate this weekend, the following sessions are currently showing as having good availability:

  • Tuesday 11th and 18th April - 5.30am, 6.30am and 6.15pm
  • Wednesday 12th April - 9.30am (I dare say too that even the 5.30am might open up entirely this week and next also, so could be a great time to bag a coveted spot in this popular session!)
  • Thursday 13th April

Please stay tuned for an informal gathering on Cottesloe Beach this Good Friday at 7am for a swim down to North Cottesloe and back in place of the squad sessions (further details to follow).



P.S I will be taking a short family holiday next week (MON-FRI) up in Kalbarri, but Coaches Sally and Ross will be holding the fort in my absence. Have a great holiday if you're also heading off anywhere yourself!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Old Hat, New Hat; Old Stroke, New Stroke; Old Skool, New School!

Dear Swimmers

I sincerely hope you enjoyed last week's "Old Skool" training week and that it provided you with a little variety, fun and a bit of a challenge of course. If you absolutely hated it, firstly, that's totally OK, secondly, don't panic, we're back to the "New School" this week!

Many of you will be pleased to see the back of this guy this week! He will return again though, possibly when you least expect it!

I thought I'd just take this quick opportunity to share with you what prompted the change to the norm and hopefully what was beneficial for you as well as highlighting how what we do "normally" week-in / week-out is significantly more effective and always still with the aim of evolving rather than just rolling with the status quo.


For the last two weeks I've had a very good friend Garrie and his partner Anna stay with me here in Perth. Garrie was the coach / president of the Rossendale Triathlon Club that I first joined as a spotty 16 year old back in 1994! Some 23 years later we are still mates and in regular contact and these days Garrie has been attending our own Swim Smooth coaching courses and utilising the same system that I've developed here in Perth with his new brood in Bolton, UK. It feels pretty cool to be helping and inspiring someone these days with his own coaching who was a major reason I got into the sport and chose to pursue coaching in the first place. Anyway, Garrie attended the Rottnest SwimRun last weekend and watched me being dragged around by ├╝ber-athlete Brad Hosking! You can read Garrie's sentiments about the race above and how it brought him back to "the good old days" - it certainly felt that way to me too.

So this was the impetus for last week's torturous t-shirt, bands, kicking and individual medley sets...

Old Hat, New Hat:

Many of you rightly questioned "why would you get us wasting a week doing something which you now consider inferior just for the sake of fun?" I can certainly understand the sentiment, especially with the last 14 years of dedicated hard work we've spent trying to change the world view of what is an efficient freestyle stroke and how it should be taught - slightly hypocritical, huh? However, besides how I don't believe you can ever put a price on fun and certainly can't underestimate it's value to bring out the best in you all with some exciting new challenges, there was definitely some method in the madness!

My kid's favourite book growing up was "Old Hat, New Hat" by Stan and Jan Berenstain. If you've never read it the synopsis is very simple: a bear walks into a shop trying to find a new hat to replace his old one. He searches the entire store and tries on at least a hundred different hats, none of which are quite right. Ultimately the bear goes back to his trusty favourite with "better the devil you know than the devil you don't" obviously being the motto here. However, I also believe that cheeky little bear is enjoying himself trying the variety of some new headwear and maybe learning a thing or two along the way! Hopefully you experienced this last week to some extent?

Old Stroke, New Stroke:

Swim Smooth Coach, Rob Kwaaitaal using our radio headset in the Netherlands to better coach this swimmer to improve his stroke

Using the "Old Hat, New Hat" analogy, I've recently been experimenting during my 1-2-1 video analysis sessions using our radio headset system to control a swimmer's stroke so that within the space of 50m they can experience the change and contrast between their new corrected stroke and their old, inefficient stroke. When you've been swimming a certain way of many years it can take time to change a habit, but systematically showing someone what it feels like to go back to the old stroke is way more powerful than simply being taught or even shown the inefficiencies on a computer video analysis screen. Suddenly it clicks and the swimmer realises how their old stroke has been holding them back and how - at first use - the new stroke might feel weird or even wrong, it is in fact much more effective. I believe it shaves many, many hours off frustrating technique development work and can be hugely empowering for the swimmer. 

Of course it requires knowing what that key thing is that is holding the swimmer back and then how to improve it, but even last week when we were doing some of the funny old drills like "catch-up" the look of recognition across many of your faces when you realised, for example, how inefficient it actually is to add too much glide into your stroke was very rewarding for myself and my coaches on pool deck. Showing you how these drills have evolved and continue to evolve to make the process even more refined is what makes swim coaching so exciting for me even now 20 years into this "gig" :-)

If you're curious book in for a session yourself at http://www.swimsmoothperth.com/appointments and use the code bubblebubblebreathe in the checkout to enjoy 10% off your first consultation.

Back to the New School:

It was massively beneficial last week for myself and my team of coaches to also see how much harder it is to coach an Old Skool session without the use of the Tempo Trainers etc and as Sod's Law would have it, the pool clock happened to be broken this week too:

You might like the idea of knowing that we're working our butts off on pool deck and really earning our keep, but this was a much less efficient way of coaching. Using 5, 10, 15 second increments on the clock made the whole process of pace and cycle allocations an "exercise of best fit" as Derek Cross put it - you were either getting too much rest, not enough, or having to solve mental arithmetic challenges in your head of when the next send-off would be, rather than focusing on your actual swimming. Equally, our attention was drawn away from your swimming, technique and required amounts of motivation as we battled to control the lanes with multiple stopwatches. I truly felt like I'd stepped back into the Dark Ages and was coaching far less effectively as a result. Whilst some of you said you liked this experience (referring to the Tempo Trainers as being psychological challenging, see http://www.feelforthewater.com/2017/03/the-psychology-of-tempo-trainer.html of this is you), as with all we do, we're constantly striving to find a better way to do something and ensure you're getting the very best bang for your coaching buck down at Claremont Pool.

4 for the Road:

In case you missed any of these Old Skool sessions, here are four for you to savour and perhaps consign to the bin or for when you're looking for something just a little fun and a tad different, after all, that is what last week was all really about: fun.



Old Skool Threshold Session

Old Skool Red Mist Session

Old Skool Technique / Endurance Session

Old Skool Technique Session