Monday, September 19, 2016

Pecking Order 2016/2017

Dear Swimmers

It's been over 12 months since I've updated the squad's "Pecking Order", accounting for the typical two groups per lane and the new wait-listing system. As I will be away from late Tuesday 20th September until Saturday 1st October for my sister's wedding in Scotland, I am hoping this proves to be useful for yourselves as a "go to default" - as there have been some recent shifts - and also helps to show what current level of ability you're operating within when we set target times and cycle times etc.

Please check out the following link so you can see:

  1. which lane we typically* suggest you swim in
  2. which group we typically* suggest you swim with
  3. which order we typically* suggest you swim in
  4. which leader we typically* appoint to each group
  5. the CSS pace / RM Cycle 5 that we typically* appoint to your lane / group

*of course, subject to the dynamic nature of some people attending and some not, others accessing the session via the waitlist etc, this is all just a guideline and your coach on the day will assign the best spot for you.

Here's the listing:


As it turns out we only had 16 swimmers (from a squad of 271 active members) attend Saturday's free CSS Test session at Claremont Pool, so I think I am correct in my assumptions that we have moved on from this regular style of testing and that the frequent "testing sets" that we employ (often without you realising!) are great for allowing adjustments to be made accordingly. Well done to those of you who did it though, I hope the results and my explanations of those results afterwards proved valuable:


Lastly, when you check the Pecking Order listings versus the actual attendance for each type of session over the last 12 months (see below) you'll see just how dynamic the squad actually is and for this reason I really thank you for utilising the squad app to notify us when you will / won't be attending! There is of course always still the possibility of a busier than normal session (due to the legacy of offering permanent spots above the maximum threshold to act as a buffer prior to the new system), but by setting the thresholds correctly, out of 350 sessions last year, not once did we crest over this point. Good lane etiquette (as explained here: http://www.swimsmoothperth.com/etiquette) is always appreciated by everyone though of course! We're not racing for sheep stations after all!*


Attendance Analysis of Squad Sessions last 12 months: YELLOW = average; RED = peak; GREEN = minimum

I'll see you tomorrow morning and then back again for Monday 3rd October. Here's the coaching roster in the meantime:




*on that note of racing for sheep stations, how's this? You're double Olympic Gold Medallist. Everyone comments on your razor-like focus and your "win at all costs" mentality. You've been accused of being "unsportsmanlike" for using a domestique on the bike, but in the Grand Final of the World Triathlon Series when you could easily claim the title yourself, you stop and pick your faltering brother up with 1km to go and haul him across the line so that he can take the spoils. Incredible. Check out the footage here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhXKjHKF64w - this is a champion personified. Alistair Brownlee, what a legend - teaching us in a nutshell Perspective 101 at the very highest levels of the sport. So next time someone ruffles your feathers in a Red Mist set, take a leaf from Alistair Brownlee's book, keep it real:




Monday, September 12, 2016

Swicheroo this Saturday for the FREE CSS Test and Foam Roller Session!

Dear Swimmers

Firstly, a hearty congratulations to squad swimmer Claire McLean who finished 9th in the Paratriathlon in Rio late last night in the PT4 category! I haven't had the gossip from Claire on the race yet but will let you know as soon as I do!


The Saturday Switcheroo!

Please note that the Foam Roller and CSS Test Session at Claremont Pool this Saturday between 1 and 3pm have been switched around owing to an unforeseen clash with a newly added water-polo match at the pool. The new format is:

  • 1-2pm CSS Test
  • 2-3pm Foam Roller

…hopefully this doesn't mess you around too much and will give you a nice relaxing session to look forward to after your efforts in the CSS session!

It's still not too late to register through the app for the CSS Test (21 people currently registered) and remember this is a FREE session too, so a great chance to come and see where you're at. Adding this in as an additional session outside of normal squad hours is in order to allow you to continue to make gains from the CSS and Red Mist endurance sessions without a break in the consistency of these sessions. Even though a CSS Test seems "hard", really it's *just* 600m of hard work versus 1.5-2.0km of hard work in a CSS session and up to 5km of hard work in a Red Mist session. 

With the newly added RM Cycles from about 12 months ago, it's been possible for me to progress these sessions without the standard CSS Test as frequently and if you've checked out our www.swimsmooth.guru app, you'll see that once you've done an initial CSS Test, through our innovative CSS Tweaker feature (see http://www.feelforthewater.com/2016/04/an-introduction-to-css-tweaking-future.html), it is technically possible to never need to do a CSS Test ever again by constant tweaking after each session. Of course I do that tweaking for you within the squad context, but if you're going to be doing some training by yourself for a Rottnest Solo swim etc, then this feature proves to be invaluable to ensure you're always moving forwards - it's very cool! 

Rottnest Solo Program - starting 10th October:

On that note, we will be going live within the Guru with a totally complete Rottnest Channel Solo Swim program that will start on Monday 10th October, i.e. 20 weeks out from the race (or 24 if you're doing the Port-to-Pub). This will detail in full (for the first time ever) a complete 100+ session guide to getting you over to Thomson's Bay in the best shape possible, all for just $19.99/mo. In the past we've always detailed a template of what would be recommended for this event (see: http://swimsmoothperth.blogspot.com.au/2015/10/just-in-time-2016-rottnest-training.html) but this year will allow you to follow each session all of the way through, even if you never swim with the squad; of course, that takes an extra bit of motivation to do that, but for our country WA, interstate and international followers, this will be the perfect thing for you. So for now, keep "training to train" before we "train to race" come 10/10/16!

Cheers

Paul

Monday, September 5, 2016

Stellar Results at the World 70.3 Championships, Mooloolaba, QLD

Dear Swimmers

I hate jumping the gun by delivering these results for the risk of not having captured everyone's results (if I've missed you or someone else you know please let me know), so the plan is to post out a "finalised" version of these "preliminary" results on Friday's www.feelforthewater.com blog, but needless to say I am a very proud coach in announcing the following results at the World 70.3 (Half Ironman) Championships:

  • GOLD Emily Loughnan, 1st in Age Group and 4h40m with a 26:44 swim time or 1:25/100m
  • GOLD Janine Willis, 1st in Age Group and 4h48m with a 27:59 swim time or 1:28/100m
  • SILVER Carrie Anderson, 2nd in Age Group and 5h00m with a 33:11 swim time or 1:45/100m
  • BRONZE Janet Ferguson, 3rd in Age Group and 5h14m with a 32:53 swim time or 1:44/100m
  • BRONZE Graham Crocker, 3rd in Age Group and 5h35m with a 29:52 swim time or 1:34/100m
  • Lisa Luckin, 10th in Age Group and 4h57m with a 31:26 swim time or 1:39/100m
  • Renee Baker, 30th PRO and 4h59m with a 27:39 swim time or 1:28/100m
  • Guy Crawford, 18th PRO and 3h54m with a 22:54 swim time or 1:13/100m (wowsers!)
  • Brad Kaye, 42nd in Age Group and 4h35m with a 33:55 swim time or 1:47/100m
  • Sean Jermy, 66th in Age Group and 4h47m with a 28:54 swim time or 1:31/100m
  • Sean Webb, 134th in Age Group and 4h54m with a 28:56 swim time or 1:31/100m

Well done crew, some really great performances there (yet again!)

Cheers

Paul

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

FREE Foam Roller Session and FREE CSS Testing Session, Saturday 17th September 1-3pm at Claremont Pool


Knowing your CSS pace is beneficial if you plan to do some solo training for things like the Rottnest Solo Swim - get tested free on Saturday 17th September at 2-3pm!

Dear Swimmers

In addition to the three FREE Foam Roller sessions being conducted by Michelle (see http://swimsmoothperth.blogspot.com.au/2016/08/announcing-3-free-release-and-roll.html to sign up and register), we are going to offer a fourth FREE session on Saturday 17th September at 1-2pm (session will actually be 45 minutes) and then also immediately after offer you the chance to do a FREE CSS Testing session as well (2-3pm) for those who feel like they wish to know exactly where they're at with their swimming.

Both sessions will help you prepare for a great summer of swimming - the rolling to give you some pragmatic exercises to keep you injury free, and the CSS Testing to see where you're at especially for those of you thinking of following our 20 week Rottnest Channel Swim program via the detailed www.swimsmooth.guru which will commence Monday 10th October and run through to Saturday 25th February.

There are 10 spots open for the rolling session and up to 45 spots for the CSS Testing which will be performed in 3 waves of 15 swimmers.

To access the CSS Testing Session, please check and book in for the session through your app - we will only be able to accept "blow ins" on the day if we haven't reached capacity, so please get onto that asap. We haven't performed a structured CSS Testing Session for over a year now (thanks in part to the new method of squad structuring), but if you're someone who wants to know where they're at and aren't sure despite the various "disguised" tests I frequently add to the main squad sessions these days (mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!), then by all means come down. The Rottnest program within the Guru benefits from you knowing this point, especially if you plan to do some / a lot of training by yourself as you can gauge improvement over time which is always motivating!

The rolling session can be booked at http://www.nedlandsphysio.com.au/#!book-online/m7092 under the "Group Sessions" tab - again this is a FREE session!

Cheers

Paul

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 https://www.rio2016.com/en/paralympics/triathlon - 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: http://www.feelforthewater.com/2016/08/rio-part-2-pool-analysis-open-water.html - 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 http://www.swimsmoothperth.com/#!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.

Paul


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 http://www.nedlandsphysio.com.au/#!book-online/m7092 and use the Group Sessions booking tab.

Hope to see you there!

Paul


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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zf5qedkgV3I 

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 http://www.swimsmoothperth.com/#!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!

Paul