Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!


Just a quick one to wish you all the very best for a great and prosperous New Year! I'm really looking forward to attending the new year open water races with those of you competing, starting off with this Sunday's event at Leighton Beach.

A quick reminder then that we will recommence the full training program as of Monday 3rd January as per the details at - even though it's a Public Holiday we'll be there to kick-off our new Monday morning 7am technique session and then Tuesday evening's 6.30pm session also starts next week (4th January) as well with Sandy Burt taking this particular session. Sandy's been doing some additional poolside shadowing over the last few weeks with me and obviously looked after the whole squad whilst I was away in November. Sandy brings an unrivalled passion and knowledge for the sport of triathlon and is very keen to run the session for those registered every Tuesday evening.

Lastly, I'm still looking around for a paddler to assist me with my second Rottnest Solo crossing on the 26th February if anyone knows of someone who'd be keen? Please put them in touch with me directly. I'm hoping for a really strong crossing this year and an improvement of my 2009 efforts. Really pumped for this one!

Cheers and have a great night this evening!

P.S 8am swim down at North Cott SLSC tomorrow morning (1st January 2011) if anyone is keen? 2 to 10km...


Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Christmas!

Great turn-out this morning for the Christmas Eve special. It seems that Santa needs a little help with his arithmetic as his 12 Days of Christmas turned out to be a little more than that!! Hope you all enjoyed it though.

Thanks so much for a great year everyone - you guys rock! Just a reminder that we'll be meeting at 8am on Boxing Day for a little swim down at Cottesloe Beach and then we have the following sessions available next week:

  • Wednesday 29th = 5.30am & 9.30am
  • Friday 31st = 5.30am, 6.30am & 9.30am
  • Back to normal as of Monday 3/1/11 with the addition of Mondays at 7am (technique session) and Tuesdays at 6.30pm (technique / endurance work)

Hope you can make it. Like I say, in this period between Christmas and New Year I'm anticipating it being a little quiet with people being away, so if you wish to join in on one of the sessions that you're not normally nominated for, this should be fine next week.

Ho, ho, ho!!



Friday, December 17, 2010

Additional Lane Space & Room at the Inn?


Just a quick note to let you know that I've been successful in securing an additional (4th) lane for the following swim sessions:

  • Tuesday 6.30am to 7.30am
  • Friday 5.30am to 6.30am

...this is great news and will help manage things at peak times. If you are on the Reserved List at and are still seeking a spot in the squad and these times work for you, please let me know before 5pm on Monday 20th December so that I can tweak the lane allocations accordingly. Interestingly enough the lane with the peak demand these days appears to be the fastest lane, which is good to know as the reason behind this is a recent improvement from those of you swimming in lane 2 now being able to push it up a gear to swim on some faster turn-around times. Good stuff. I was urging a few of the girls from lane 1 this morning to also give lane 2 a bit of a try-out, so hope you ladies enjoyed that - you did very well!!

Room at the Inn anyone?

Every year the squad has a 3 month visit from London-based Tim who comes over to enjoy the lifestyle over here, get some training in and enjoy the escape from the British winter. Tim normally house-sits for people over this period with it being a popular holiday time and has a house-sit organised from 1st January onwards, though his accommodation up till that point (from now) has just fallen through sadly. If you have (or know of anyone who has) a room for this period or even requires a house-sitter whilst they're away on holidays, please give Tim a quick call on 0405 432 982 - he'd really appreciate it!



Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Training Times & This Weekend

Dear Swimmers

Hope you're all doing well and looking forward to Christmas - talk about a busy one! We move into our new house on the 21st December so it's going to be "go, go, go!!" Can't wait!

So, just a reminder then about the Christmas training program. As mentioned, I wanted to keep the program going this year over Christmas as much as possible as a large number of you are training very hard for the Rottnest Swim. We currently have 33 people in the squad training for the solo swim (plus me) and many more duo and team entrants besides. It's going to be a great day on the 26th February! I'd like to get some squad long-sleeve t-shirts done up and know a few of you in the squad are exceptionally arty, so if you have any ideas, please let me know - it'd be great to get everyone wearing them at the Rottnest Hotel. I quite like the concept of becoming a "diesel engine" with all the long, steady training that we do for this event if that helps...??

Christmas Training Dates for Your Diary:

  • all as normal up to and including Christmas Eve, i.e. 5.30am, 6.30am and 9.30am at Claremont Pool. Sessions will all run with a special Christmas "twist" - it'll be a lot of fun!
  • Christmas Day - nothing apart from lots of turkey and mince pies!
  • Boxing Day (26th) - 8am Cottesloe to Swanbourne (or thereabouts) and back. Casual as much or as little as you like. Meet on grass bank in front of the Pylon at Cottesloe.
  • 27th and 28th December (public holidays) - no early morning lanes available at any pool. Will keep you posted as we may meet for some more OW swimming.
  • 29th December - 5.30am and 9.30am sessions as normal at Claremont Pool (both sessions open for anyone to attend as numbers are likely to be quiet)
  • 30th December - 5.30pm rough water swim at Trigg Beach (meet at the SLSC tower)
  • 31st December - 5.30am, 6.30am and 9.30am sessions as normal at Claremont Pool (all sessions open for anyone to attend as numbers are likely to be quiet)
  • 1st January - 9am, 10km swim at Trigg Beach (5km out and back with paddlers) - this is not a race, just a training session and hangover remedy!
  • 2nd January - 8am, 5km Leighton Beach race
  • 3rd January - all back to normal from here forwards - refer to for full details.

A note on the NEW sessions!

The Monday 7am technique session and Tuesday 6.30pm technique and endurance session will commence on Monday 3rd January and Tuesday 4th January respectively. These sessions are NOT yet running but we are happy to confirm that they will now proceed as of the start of January - wahoo! I am also confirming some additional lane space in our early morning sessions to try and get those of you on our reserved list into the squad permanently. Watch this space, update to follow!

This Weekend:

We have a fantastic 1pm Saturday squad session lined up for you this week - if you're racing openwater this season, don't miss this one at the Claremont Pool! The big event this weekend is the Scarborough to Trigg beach 1.8km swim on Saturday morning at 8am. On Sunday (for anyone keen) we will meet at Leighton beach to do (up to) 8km as 4 x 2km lengths. Meeting at the slightly later time of 9.00am adjacent to the old iron stairway across the railway in the car park there.

Catch you out there!


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Guinea Pigs needed...

Dear Swimmers

I'm looking for two male "Arnies" from the squad (i.e. those with Sinky Leg syndrome who swim much quicker with a pull buoy / wetsuit than without) who both own their own wetsuit, preferably one which is a few years old. We have been given two Blue Seventy "Axis" wetsuits to run some trials on. These suits are designed specifically with Arnie's in mind - the way the suit works is that it features less buoyancy in the upper torso and added buoyancy in the legs. This is Blue Seventy thinking outside of the box and the conventional of just having more buoyancy all over which just lifts the swimmer higher overall without correcting the Sinky Leg issue. I've tried this suit myself and was very impressed with it's performance.

The test will be to do three 400m trials in a) your old suit, b) the new suit and c) in normal bathers to compare the results. The two suits are sized appropriately for someone ~70kg and 5'7 to 5'10" and another for someone ~85kg and 6'0" to 6'3".

Please let me know if you're keen to partake. Testing will take place in the next two weeks.



Just a quickie...

Sorry for all the emails this week Team whilst we get everything re-established at Claremont Pool.

The new Squad List has been updated as of 2.00pm on 8/12/10 and if you could take a very quick look at and only get back to me if there are any problems with your squad allocations. Equally, if you have nominated for more sessions than you are likely to attend, please let me know asap as the reserve list is growing ever bigger and I would like to be able to offer people a spot if we have the space available.

This morning's Wednesday endurance session was really well liked if a little light on in terms of attendance, so it'd be good to see a few more of you tapping into this one if you're looking to build the K's up at the moment.

Thanks and see you Friday!


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Stunning Weekend Results

Dear Team

Great start this week at the newly refurbished Claremont Pool - all is going well and it's great to be back. See you down there soon.

I haven't had full reports through yet, but there were some scintillating results at the weekend from members of the squad.

The big news was Kate Bevilaqua's superb overall race win at Ironman Western Australia in front of initial race favorite and previous winner, Rebekah Keat. I'm so gutted I missed seeing Kate race as by all accounts it was totally inspiring! More results at Kate was joined in her win in the mens event by other local hero Courtney Ogden proving that they build them tough over here in WA!

Also racing were Paul McQueen, Matt Biddle, Hannah McKerrchar, Ron Sammut (who scooped another race win in his age group), Daniel Tarborsky, Jane Day, Matt Illingworth and Guy Crawford. I'm sure I've missed a few people from the listings and if I have and you have any race stories from the day, please email them through and I'll compile a full report. I'm very keen to see Dan T's improved GPS plot of a much straighter swim than May - well done Dan!

The day before was the Swim Thru Rotto which I was very sad to have missed myself. Again I haven't seen the full reports yet but know that the Pocket Rocket Ceinwen Williams scooped up another impressive win in her age group so I am told and that the event was very enjoyable for everyone who journeyed across.

So this weekend there is the Fremantle Ports Swim Thru in Saturday and then the Champion Lakes Swim on Sunday which quite a few of us will be attending. Maybe see you there...?!



Saturday, December 4, 2010

Update on Squad Applications

Dear Swimmers

Thanks so much for all your prompt returns of the feedback form. I have been as busy as a bee sorting through all the information to try and ensure everyone gets the spot in the squad that they wish and so that the lanes are managed as best as they can be.

You can view the preliminary draft version of the Squad List for Summer 2010 / 2011 here now: you can see space is now very tight indeed!

I am still waiting to hear back in particular from the following swimmers:

  • most of the 9.30am squad (M / W / F) and also the Saturday 1.00pm open water skills squad
  • Hannah McKerrchar
  • Bonnie Tollafield
  • Jeremy Buttsworth
  • Christine Lowe
  • Michael S (?)
  • Marie-Therese Hunter
  • Helen McKinnon
  • Nick (?)
  • Lawrence Stubbs
  • Steve Wilson
  • Fiona (?)
  • Kim Smith

...if you could please complete the form as soon as possible at: that would be a real help, thanks!

Here's how it looks (some added pointers):

  1. Looking at the interest in the new squad sessions (Monday at 7am, Tuesday at 6.30pm and Wednesday at 5.30am) I am happy to confirm that certainly Monday at 7am will commence from Monday 3rd January and Wednesday at 5.30am will commence from this Wednesday 8th December. I will wait to see if we get more interest in the Tuesday evening session before committing to this one...of course, please let me know if you'd like to do that one!
  2. IMPORTANT: Rottnest SOLO and DUO swimmers who have been either doubling up the 5.30am and 6.30am sessions on a Tuesday and Thursday at Challenge just recently (or maybe just doing an extra 1-2km into the second session) are kindly advised that it will no longer be possible for you to do this sadly as we get squeezed down to 3 lanes at the new venue. I apologise for the inconvenience of this, however, we have added the Wednesday morning session and will be requesting an extension on this to 7.30am to allow you to get a 2hr totally specific endurance set in mid-week, coupled with our Rottnest Pace Awareness Session and Volume Builder on a Saturday at 5.30am up at Challenge Stadium (if you're not on the email list for this specific session - non-coached - but would like to be, email me back please advising this) and also the Sunday morning long ocean swim. This I feel is more than enough volume for you during the week and should allow you to really focus on the quality of your performance on a Friday morning in particular. Of course, if you're attending at 5.30am and want to pop into another public lane to finish off at 6.30am, then this will be fine.
  3. The 5.30am and 6.30am sessions will go back to starting at these times (as opposed to 5.35am and 6.35am) as usually Claremont are pretty good at letting you through at about 5.26am and obviously you only have a 30s walk to the pool now - yipee! Please be ready to start on time.
  4. I have allocated 8 people per lane in all the sessions, with an additional 3 "buffer" spaces per lane as well. If you are on the buffer list, you can attend. The way this system works is a little "give and take" - we have decided to maintain the flexibility of our Pay As You Go Card system (PAYG) to allow you maximum payment flexibility at the sessions - don't fancy swimming one day and your name is on the list? Not a problem, we won't penalise you for it! This often means that the squad operates with fewer people per lane than we anticipate. Again, this is great for you guys. However, at peak times (i.e. the next 2 weeks and January / February 2011), we do anticipate times when the sessions will be a little busier when everyone nominated may turn up for a session. I hope that you can understand and support this as it all balances out in the wash (as they say), leaving everyone happy, i.e. you the swimmers and us the coaches. Below I have detailed my top tips for good lane swimming etiquette at the busier sessions.
  5. I will still be pushing for that 4th lane in the earlier sessions, and like last summer, I am hoping that this might be possible from 6.45am - I'll keep you posted!

OK, so to finish off then, here are my Top Tips for good lane swimming etiquette at our sessions - follow these and everyone will be happy chappies! Have a great weekend and I look forward to seeing you back at Claremont Pool from Monday, Paul.


  1. Unless otherwise advised, please use the clock and set-off exactly 5 seconds behind the person in front of you. You do not (and should not) try to catch them up immediately, as whilst this gives you a draft and makes it feel easier, you're not getting the best possible workout that you could and it also annoys the person in front. The coach will announce when drafting is actively encouraged, but especially on drill / technique sets, please keep your distance to allow everyone to perform at their best.
  2. Always keep to the left and swim in a clockwise direction (like you would on the road). Stay close to the lane rope and avoid swimming in the middle of the lane as this is when head-on collisions occur or whacking of arms. This is especially important in Lane 3 (fastest lane) as there is a good range of ability within this lane especially in the faster, harder sessions.
  3. If someone is catching you up and you are aware that they wish to get past you, either pull right over to the left (keep swimming), or better still, when you reach the end of the pool pull off to the left, stop, and let them past here.
  4. Be vigilant when you are pushing off in the middle of a set - is someone coming up to the wall to effectively lap you? If so, don't push off immediately in front of them as this is very frustrating. Let them through and then when it is clear jump into a spot behind them.
  5. Aim to start each and every lap with a good torpedo push off. If you don't know how, check it out here: - it will really pay dividends and make you look quite the "pro"!
  6. When using fins or pull buoys, chances are the speed order (pecking order if you like) of the lane often changes. If you know that you are particularly quick with fins on, don't be afraid to ask to go in front of the person in front of you.
  7. Aim to pace yourself well, this is ultimately what keeps the lane flowing really well and makes the most out of your own practice time. See how here:
  8. Aim to do your drill and technique work to the best of your ability. Don't feel pressured to rush through this aspect of the session. I will quite regularly slide to the back of the lane in the squad which I swim with when working on my technique, even if it means missing the odd lap. A drill worth doing is a drill worth doing well - please always remember that.
  9. Try to keep all your kit neatly organised on the pool deck - a mesh kit bag is highly advisable and prevents other swimmers mistakenly walking off or using your kit. Also, naming your kit in bold black marker is ALWAYS worth doing!
  10. Lastly, be nice to your fellow lane might be early in the morning and you might be a little grumpy normally at this time, but there's never an excuse to get irritable with anyone in the lane. If there's a problem, let the coach know or just diplomatically address it with your swimming buddy. We're all here to have a good time and not feel pressured when we swim.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Applications are now open for the new timetable!

Dear Swimmers

Hope you've all had a great week. The heat exhaustion that I felt at the start of the week has unfortunately turned into a touch of tonsilitis (would you believe it?!). Two words:


...OK, enough of that. A couple of quick notices first then:

  1. There will be no squad swim session on Saturday at 1pm due to the Busselton Ironman and the Rottnest Swim Thru both taking place. Apologies for any inconvenience here, but I figured most of you would be involved in some capacity in either of these two events. We'll resume Saturdays at 1pm next week (11th December) at the newly opened Claremont Pool. See you then. I won't be at Rotto as previously planned as I'll take the weekend to shake off this sore throat for a good (loud) return to Claremont next week!
  2. We are going to keep the squad going pretty much right over Christmas for those of you to keep up your fitness for the Rottnest Channel Swim in particular. We'll be having swimming as normal right up until Christmas Eve, take the 25th, 26th, 27th and 28th off and then resume on the 29th, 30th and 31st December. Saturday 1st January will also be cancelled, but then we'll resume on Monday 3rd January to take us into the New Year. Hope that all sounds appealing! I'll remind you all of this closer to the date.

So, onto the decisions about Claremont Pool based on the email that came through yesterday - thanks so much for your input and understanding, it was a real help. The feedback seemed to be fairly unanimous in that most of you wanted to go back to Claremont and were happy to make adjustments to the Friday morning from Thursday. Here's more:

  1. It has been decided that we will move ALL the sessions back to the Claremont Pool as of Monday 6th December, i.e. next week. Wahoo!
  2. Thursday's early morning sessions at 5.30am and 6.30am will be moved to Friday as they were originally at this location. I apologise for the inconvenience that this may cause some of you, but despite me having that all locked away since May and confirmed, it seems that we have to run this session on a Friday. I hope you can all still make this "Fresh and Fruity Friday" in the new pool with the awesome new diving blocks (hint, hint...I might just teach you all how to dive over the next few months!)
  3. Wednesday's 5.30am session will recommence as of next week (8th December) so please be sure to nominate for that if you wish to attend. It's a great session. We'll start off with a little land-based stretching (~10mins) and be in the water then for ~1h20. You can of course get out after 1hr if you so wish. I have put in a request to the pool for us to extend this session to 7.30am and thus make for a 2hr session for you SOLO swimmers if you're keen. My concern for the soloists is doubling up in the Tuesday / Friday sessions with only 3 lanes will leave us tight on space, so if we can offer this long session on the Wednesday and then the long sessions on a Saturday (pool) and Sunday (open water) this will be more than OK. If you just want to develop your endurance as well, this is a great session, so don't think you have to be an aspiring SOLO swimmer to attend!
  4. Subject to your interest in the new Monday 7am technique swim and the Tuesday 6.30pm session, we should be starting these on the 3rd and 4th of January 2011 respectively. Again, please ensure you nominate for these sessions if you wish to attend.

So, without further ado, now please take 2 or 3 minutes to let us know which sessions from the new timetable at you wish to nominate for by selecting the sessions carefully from the list. There is also space here to give us some feedback about the sessions and what you want to see improving / adding going forwards. I will do my very best to slot you all in for your preferred sessions, but please note that there is heavy demand for the 5.30am sessions on a Tuesday and Friday morning and we will honour spots here for those who have been most consistent in these sessions over the previous two seasons with the squad. I'll keep you posted once all the data is in. If you could try and get this back to me today that'd be really, really helpful! For those of you who are itching to get to one of the earlier sessions, the 5.30am Wednesday session might be a good place to start for example.

Hope it all looks OK for everyone and that you're as pumped as I am about getting back down to Claremont!



Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dilemas, dilemas


Hope you are all well and have coped in this heat a little better than I have!! A 40 degree differential in heat between the UK and here in Perth can do funny things to a man!

Anyway, some of you thought I was being a little cryptic last week by holding off until tomorrow to publish our new timetable for the re-opening of the Claremont Pool. I wasn't, and I didn't mean to cause confusion and angst for any of you worrying about whether or not you'll get a spot in your preferred sessions. The issue was that despite having confirmation back in May that we would have the lane space at Claremont Pool as outlined here:

...I found out on Friday last week that this might not be the case. This has been hugely frustrating for me as I'm keen to make the transition back to Claremont as smooth as possible and to also ensure that any changes to the timetable above and beyond what I have been advertising for the last 7 months to you won't stop you from attending the squad sessions. So, here are the two main issues that we're faced with:

  1. If we move back to Claremont we will have to change the Thursday 5.30am and 6.30am sessions to a Friday morning (as they originally were before we left). Many of you have liked the balance in the week that a Tuesday / Thursday combo gives you and I am worried that some of you won't be able to make the Friday mornings with such short notice before next week?
  2. We cannot get more than 3 lanes in any session. At Challenge Stadium we have only officially had 3 lanes booked, but Paul (Head Coach at WAIS) has been very kind to afford us an extra lane from his quota in the last two months as people have started to return after their winter hibernation. Going back down to 3 lanes is going to cause some issues with lane overload and again this is something I want to avoid completely.

...but it's not all bad...

  1. We will be resuming the Monday 7am swim technique session as of 3rd January 2011 (subject to demand, with a minimum of 12 swimmers required).
  2. We will be resuming the Tuesday 6.30pm squad session as of the 4th January 2011 (subject to demand, with a minimum of 14 swimmers required).
  3. We will be resuming the Wednesday 5.30am to 7am squad session as of 8th December 2010.

...I am hoping that these additional sessions will help to balance out the squad numbers in the early 5.30am sessions on a Tuesday / Friday, but won't know this until I officially open the application form tomorrow. This still leaves us with the issue of the switch from Thursday to Friday though...

So the question I would like to ask at this stage is, would the switch from a Thursday to a Friday mean that you would no longer be able to attend? If you can, please don't worry about replying, but if it would throw a spanner in the works for you, then please let me know. I have a couple of ideas which might help out here (namely maintaining some squad sessions at Challenge), but am not fully aware of how keen you all are to move back to Claremont in it's entirety.

If you can reply that'd be great - before 6pm today would be perfect as I need to act fast on these changes.



Friday, November 26, 2010

Claremont Pool due to reopen on Wednesday!

Dear Swimmers

I can't quite believe it! Today I was invited down to the newly refurbished Claremont Pool to check it out before it is officially re-open on Wednesday 1st December and I have simply one word: WOW!

It truly is amazing and looks absolutely fantastic AND it is ready before time!

We are due to re-commence our sessions there from Monday 6th December onwards. I've spoken with the Manager and the Pool Bookings Coordinator and there seems that there may be a slight adjustment to my planned program as per - but I'll now more on this on Monday or Tuesday and will get back to you then.

Given that we are adding in a load of new sessions to keep you pumped over the summer, on Thursday 2nd December at exactly midday I will email you all directly with a link to put in your requests for which sessions you plan to attend. I will remind you of this over the course of next week as well and if you could let your friends know too if they are not on this mailing list, that'd be great. I don't want anyone to miss out. This will be on a purely first-come, first-served basis and in the event of an over-subscription at any of the sessions, preference will be given to those who have swum over the winter up at Challenge Stadium. This is the fairest way I figure that I can do this given the change of venue and I actually anticipate that with the greater number of sessions offered there will be much more of a spread occurring in the sessions to keep the numbers at a nicely balanced ~24 per session to prevent over-subscription.

Great, really excited about getting back down more week at Challenge...I for one will be sad to say goodbye there as Challenge and it and the staff have been an absolute lifesaver for the squad whilst Claremont has been closed.

Cheers and have a great weekend!


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wow! What a trip!


I'm sat on the tarmac at Dubai International Airport awaiting my final leg back to sunny Perth. It's been an absolutely awesome trip and I thought I'd share with you some of what we've been doing in the last 3 weeks over in the UK as it's topped even my own expectations. It's a long read, but hopefully interesting...

Before I get into that, I hope you've also had a great 3 weeks training with the other excellent coaches in my absence and that you've found it all to be a nice balance and a good bit of variety. I'd love to hear back from you about your experiences of this last 3 week period and whether or not there is anything I can do to manage and improve it further for the next time. I'd like to formally thank Shelley, Sandy, Adam, Glen, Nikki, Sally and Ceinwen for all their assistance and will be aiming to touch base with all the coaches in the next fortnight to see how it all went.

What we do here in Perth with the swim squad forms very much the central hub of everything that is "Swim Smooth" and has been for the last 6 years. Your participation in these sessions is absolutely integral to what we do when we head overseas on these coaching projects, as it is through this day-to-day coaching in such an awesome place as Perth that new ideas are formulated and tested out. Without your support and active interest in these sessions, what we do overseas wouldn't be able to happen anywhere near as effectively. Likewise, the new stimulus that I get with these 2-3 times per year trips overseas spurs me on with new and exciting ideas to bring back to Perth as well. It all goes hand in hand and I consider myself extremely lucky to be able to do this and absolutely love doing what I do. Thank you all for allowing me these opportunities.

Back to the trip. As you may recall, one of the big things that prompted the trip to the UK was that the British Triathlon Federation (an organisation 4 or 5 times larger than Triathlon Australia) have recently signed us (Swim Smooth) up as their official coaching consultants. This essentially means that we have, and will be, producing video content, online media and helping rewrite the swim coaching syllabus for the BTF's 3,000+ registered coaches. This is an amazing thing for us to be part of given that when I created Swim Smooth almost exactly 6 years ago I had no idea that things would grow like they have, especially in the last 18 months since we released the new website and Mr Smooth. Mr Smooth has been downloaded over 35,000 times since launch in July 2009 and we have over 30,000 people around the world receiving our once weekly tip on improving their swimming technique. We have also built up a network of over 300 international coaches who are keen on eventually becoming affiliated with Swim Smooth as we start to develop that area of our operation. It is this that really excites me and formed the biggest part of what we have been working on over the last 3 weeks.

We kicked off the 3 week tour by inviting 12 international coaches to spend 3 days with us at the prestigious Loughborough University (home of the British Swimming and Triathlon team) learning about our coaching methods and in particular video analysis and stroke correction using our newly released Swim Types system. It was a lot of fun, and much of the discussions and interactions carried on well into the evening and very early hours as we all stayed together in a quaint little hotel. 

Spending this close, quality time with 12 experienced coaches who want to soak up everything you can offer is for me what coaching is all about - shared knowledge and constructive interactions with like-minded people. I don't see any value at all in being closed or "secretive" with your training methods and this 3 day course provided the perfect opportunity to pass on some of what we have learnt and developed over the years. 

We had pre-selected the coaches from over 30 international coaches who had registered within the first 24 hours of announcing the course, at which stage we decided to close the applications. It was unfortunate that we couldn't invite all of the coaches on this course, though we wanted to maintain a high level of quality and 1-2-1 work educating the coaches with our methods. We also paid for and flew in the highly popular Montreal-based coach Charles Gaston Coutrier who many in the online coaching fraternity simply know as "Solar Energy". Charles will be working with us on numerous projects in the next 12 to 24 months and it was great to have him over in the UK for this first week of the tour, sharing his incite, knowledge and HUGE passion for the sport - if you think I get excited about "Fresh and Fruity" sessions, wait till you meet Charles!

Over the 3 days we were very fortunate to have been allowed access to film 2006 Commonwealth Games dual gold medallist Ross Davenport who kindly gave up his time to swim for the coaches whilst the coaches observed his freestyle stroke as myself and Adam captured some unique video footage. His stroke was truly amazing and not too dissimilar to Jono Van Hazel's. We asked Ross to do a fast 100m kicking set and he easily cruised home in 1'12" (legs only!) and then followed up with a seemingly effortless 55 seconds 100m freestyle from a dive. Ross had only just returned from the Commonwealth Games in Delhi and so getting this access to him was brilliant and we have to thank Dean, Julie and Steve our friends at Blue Seventy Wetsuits for organising this all for us. Later that day we were privileged to have access to Loughborough University's swim team training session which featured many of Britain's best swimmers (including Ross, Jo Jackson, Fran Halsall etc etc) under the watchful eye of legendary swim coaches Ian Armiger and Ben Titley. The coaches were thoroughly enthused after all of this as you can probably imagine.

We delivered a good mix of classroom theory and pool based practical work for the coaches in the first two days which culminated with each of the coaches having to perform a full video analysis in front of their peers of some stock footage which I have collated over the years. This was a real highlight for me as it gave us chance to see how well the coaches were now applying the knowledge and skills we'd been building up over the last two days. 

We rounded off the three day course with a full "Swim Smooth Clinic" for 12 independent swimmers and triathletes who sought our assistance with video analysis and stroke correction to help them improve their efficiency in the water. I assigned one coach per athlete and then ran a coach-led session for the 12 swimmers with each of the coaches working with their athletes in a 1-2-1 scenario. This worked extremely well and gave the swimmers unprecedented attention which they would not have been able to get at their local pool or swim club. We finished the day with a demonstration on the benefits of drafting. Legendary UK ironman athlete and multiple world fitness champion Hywel Davies had registered for the course as he felt he had plateaued off at ~55 minutes for the ironman swim distance of 3.8km. Given that Hywel has already gone sub-8:50 for the ironman, he is aiming to get his swim time down to as close to 50 minutes as possible. One area that I felt he could probably improve upon (as he trains totally by himself) is on drafting. He came into the course with a PB for 400m of ~5'45" and so I suggested that we'd work together over a timed 400m with the goal of Hywel sitting on my feet and aiming for a swim time of 5'20". Drafting has been shown to save you up to 38% of your energy expenditure and this is why our Saturday 1pm session is always entirely focussed on this skill. I thought it totally reasonable that 5'20" would be possible if paced correctly and if my turns weren't too fast (as Hywel doesn't tumble-turn). We didn't quite make 5'20" in the end (5'29") as my turns were a touch on the quick side (what can I say - I had good coaching as a kid!), but Hywel hung in there easily at this pace and was convinced that this speed (and faster) would be maintainable if worked upon over the British winter. What's more, we asked one of the other swimmers (Rob) who was a 7'15" 400m swimmer to hop in with us and trying drafting behind us over 50m and he had no problem staying with us once we sheltered him correctly. This proved very inspiring for Rob and also all the other swimmers who were watching the events unfold on the pool deck.

So, after we'd finished our three day stint in Loughborough, we waved goodbye to the world class facilities there and headed off to six more sold-out one day Clinics. We visited Coventry where they were commemorating the rebuilding of the cathedral after the second world war, bonny Glasgow with a stunning view over the River Clyde, my childhood neighbourhood of Manchester and then finally three more clinics in north-west London. All told we covered nearly 2500km in 2.5 weeks and saw a plethora of different pools and meeting / hotel rooms as well as a huge diversity of swim strokes all fitting neatly within our Swim Types system. This system allows us to accurately identify exactly what is holding someone back within their stroke and then work to systematically implement a range of drills and visualisations to help improve these aspects. What's more, it's a lot of fun and seeing the swimmers easily recognising their own stroke against our example Swim Types and matching this up with our proposed link with their individual personalities proved highly entertaining for everyone.

It was a great trip, made even more special by the knowledge that I'm coming back to a great group of swimmers here in Perth, ready to enjoy a great summer of swimming! I'm also excited about the prospect of sitting my Australian Citizenship exam on Friday (eight years in the making) and also the news that we've been successful in purchasing our very first humble little home in Innaloo. Happy days. Your support and interest in all that we do in Perth is what makes all of this possible and for that I am truly grateful to each and every one of you. Thank you.

I'll see you all from Monday next week once I've settled back in and got over the jet lag! 



Thursday, November 18, 2010

Shelley's OW Clinic

Dear Swimmers, here's something great from Shelley...

Exclusive for Triathlon WA members!
 OWS Clinic Mastery with Shelley Taylor-Smith

All attendees will receive 50% gift voucher for the soon to be released DVD: "OWS Mastery with Shelley Taylor-Smith; How to Eliminate Your Fears, Build Confidence and Improve Your Skills."

OWS Clinics in Perth, Western Australia to help you prepare for the Busselton Ironman 5 December 2010 PLUS clinics for novices through to advanced & professional levels. Triathlon WA... proudly presents this once in a life time opportunity not to be missed....
2 upcoming clinics:

Saturday 20th & Saturday 27th November 2010

Go to for booking registration and detailed information.



Friday, November 12, 2010

Need accommodation for Busso Ironman?

Hi Troops!

Now up in Edinburgh where it's very chilly indeed! So far the courses have gone really well, though I have to say I'm missing the larger 50m pools of Perth!

Anyway, quick note today - if anyone is still searching for accommodation for the Busselton Ironman in December, please contact who has a house available for rent which might just help get you out of a tight spot if you're frantically looking for somewhere! Thanks to Lisa P for this information!

Hope that helps.



Monday, November 1, 2010

Details whilst Paul is Away!

Dear Swimmers

This is a little "au revoir" from me, Michelle, Adam and Jackson before we shoot off to the UK this evening bound for adventures in the Mother Land far and wide! Big shame that the first Open Water series race in Rockingham got cancelled yesterday, but hey ho, there we go, better to be safe than sorry.

For your information we leave on the 1st November and I will be back on the 25th November. Covering the sessions in my absence will be:

  • Monday 1/11 @ 9.30am = Nikki Rogers = a nice set to try today with plenty of variety which will see the time just slip away! Really focus on being relaxed and just slipping through the water!
  • Tuesday 2/11 @ 5.30am & 6.30am = Shelley Taylor-Smith = a nice set to try today with plenty of variety which will see the time just slip away! Really focus on being relaxed and just slipping through the water!
  • Wednesday 3/11 @ 9.30am = Sandy Burt = this session will absolutely whizz by! The variation in interval distances will keep you engaged and focused on swimming well today. Enjoy!
  • Thursday 4/11 @ 5.30am & 6.30am = Adam Mullens = this session will absolutely whizz by! The variation in interval distances will keep you engaged and focused on swimming well today. Enjoy!
  • Friday 5/11 @ 9.30am = Sandy Burt = I love this set to start out a training program - it gets right to the nitty gritty of improving your feel for the water and helping to lengthen out your stroke. You don't need to go crazy long here, just keep it smooth and relaxed with good rhythm!
  • Saturday 6/11 @ 1pm = Glen Blackwell = a veritable cocktail of open water skills goodness - come and try, you'll love it!
  • Monday 8/11 @ 9.30am = Nikki Rogers = a good solid main set here...think of it as a continuous swim, punctuated with short rests but with the added benefit of being able to really gauge your pacing consistency at sub-threshold level.
  • Tuesday 9/11 @ 5.30am & 6.30am = Shelley Taylor-Smitha good solid main set here...think of it as a continuous swim, punctuated with short rests but with the added benefit of being able to really gauge your pacing consistency at sub-threshold level.
  • Wednesday 10/11 @ 9.30am = Sandy Burt = today's session is a chance to mix your pace up a bit, both above and below threshold pace. See if you can nail the changes in pace. Good luck!
  • Thursday 11/11 @ 5.30am & 6.30am = Adam Mullens = today's session is a chance to mix your pace up a bit, both above and below threshold pace. See if you can nail the changes in pace. Good luck!
  • Friday 12/11 @ 9.30am = Sandy Burt = I love these technique pyramids - a really simple way to mix things up a little bit and give your whole stroke the once over. After the session today, make a note of what felt really good for you. Focus on this aspect going forward!
  • Saturday 13/11 @ 1pm = Ceinwen Williams = The Pocket Rocket will be back today to give you a challenging but beneficial session focused on open water skills and drafting - be there or be...
  • Monday 15/11 @ 9.30am = Nikki Rogers = They say that variety is the spice of life and nothing could be further from the truth in this set! Really focus on the middle 100m of the drill set where you are swimming at 80% effort but maintaining good form!
  • Tuesday 16/11 @ 5.30am & 6.30am = Shelley Taylor-SmithThey say that variety is the spice of life and nothing could be further from the truth in this set! Really focus on the middle 100m of the drill set where you are swimming at 80% effort but maintaining good form!
  • Wednesday 17/11 @ 9.30am = Sandy Burt = This is surprisingly tough! This session starts off feeling quite easy (even at threshold pace) but it is very easy to be deceived into believing the whole thing is going to be a dawdle!
  • Thursday 18/11 @ 5.30am & 6.30am = Adam MullensThis is surprisingly tough! This session starts off feeling quite easy (even at threshold pace) but it is very easy to be deceived into believing the whole thing is going to be a dawdle!
  • Friday 19/11 @ 9.30am = Sandy Burt = By repeating both the warm-up and the main set twice you get the chance to have a good run-through at the drills and technique pointers today. Let your focus be on connecting with the water and achieving a good feel for it!
  • Saturday 20/11 @ 1pm = Ceinwen WilliamsThe Pocket Rocket will be back today to give you a challenging but beneficial session focused on open water skills and drafting - be there or be...
  • Monday 22/11 @ 9.30am = Nikki Rogers = This is a nice little session to break up the monotony of longer intervals at a steady pace and is a subtly different set to 2 weeks ago. The 50m intervals will ensure that you stay on your toes and inspire good form!
  • Tuesday 23/11 @ 5.30am & 6.30am = Sally ScaffidiThis is a nice little session to break up the monotony of longer intervals at a steady pace and is a subtly different set to 2 weeks ago. The 50m intervals will ensure that you stay on your toes and inspire good form!
  • Wednesday 24/11 @ 9.30am = Sandy Burt = A chance to really let rip today and see how quickly you can swim without the restriction of the beeper. PFQ = Pretty Flippin' Quick! Enjoy!
  • Thursday 25/11 @ 5.30am & 6.30am = Adam MullensA chance to really let rip today and see how quickly you can swim without the restriction of the beeper. PFQ = Pretty Flippin' Quick! Enjoy!
  • Friday 26/11 @ 9.30am = Sandy Burt = A nice little set today to allow you to focus on connecting a good initial catch of the water with a very smooth body roll.
  • Saturday 27/11 @ 1pm = Shelley Taylor-Smith = The Queen of the Open Water will be giving you her top tips and advice on swimming proficiently and strongly in the open water today by practicing some specific skills in the pool - not to be missed!

A few additional pointers:

  • For those swimming in the 5.30am and 6.30am sessions, please see as an easy reference to which lane you should be swimming in and at what pace for which session. Hope this helps!
  • Please be aware that officially we only have 3 lanes at 5.30am and 6.30am but have been very fortunate that Coach Paul from "WAIS" has kindly been donating one of his lanes to us over the last 4 weeks. This is not guaranteed however and all the coaches have been briefed that we may actually have to squash into 3 lanes at times. Your help and cooperation here is much appreciated.
  • A quick reminder that the 5.30am and 6.30am sessions actually (officially) start at 5.35am and 6.35am respectively to allow you time to get down to the pool from the main reception.
  • Typically all sessions will be in the Outdoor 8 lane pool at Challenge Stadium, except for Friday 5th November at 9.30am which will be in the Outdoor 10 lane pool. Please keep an eye on the white boards for further information.
  • Most of you have recently purchased additional PAYG cards for whilst I am away which is really appreciated and will help the smooth running of the program in my absence. If you do still need some cards or find that you have run out whilst I am away, please either pay online at and bring your online receipt to the pool in order for the coaches to issue you your card(s) or pay in cash on the pool deck. Online payment is preferred and easiest for everyone concerned for your reference.
  • We are due back at Claremont Pool from Monday 6th December onwards.

OK, see you in a few weeks - I am hoping that you're all fit and raring to go when I get back, so please ensure you keep popping along to the sessions to keep that consistency up and working on the technique we went through in Saturday's mini clinic.

Kind regards


Paul Newsome
Head Coach
World Class Coaching in Your Language!
Tel. +61 (0) 431 540 980

Monday, October 25, 2010

It's Alive Doctor!


Hope you're enjoying this lovely weather - it's simply great! Makes all my teeth woes of the last few weeks fade away very rapidly I'm happy to say!!

OK, so this week then five important notices:

  1. It's Alive Doctor!!! - you've probably already noticed the new Swim Smooth branding on these Blogs, however, I'm extremely excited to be able to tell you that we've been busy beavering away with creating some new Perth specific pages for the website. Here you'll find updated information on the squad timetable, 1-2-1 Video Analysis availability, online PAYG card purchasing, our free Rottnest Program guide for download etc etc. We will still maintain the original website until ~April 2011 as I know some of you still use the vast array of technical information and resources there for your triathlon endeavours, however, today really signifies the rebranding of the squad to become known as "Swim Smooth Perth" going forwards and I'm very happy for you guys to all be part of this. When we return to Claremont Pool in December, things will all feel very fresh and renewed indeed! For now, enjoy the look and feel of the new site!
  2. Saturday - as advertised, we will be holding a technique seminar and pool practical session this Saturday at Challenge Stadium and would love for you and your interested friends to join us. There has been a minor re-scheduling of this session as follows: meet at 10.50am in the "Crabs Palace" at the deep end of the Outdoor 8 lane pool by lane 8 for an 11am start. We'll be in the classroom until 12.15pm before a short break and starting the practical session at 12.30pm. This will actually be in the Outdoor 10 lane pool. The topic we'll be looking at in the classroom will be a quick run-through of the theory behind an efficient freestyle stroke in the pool but then take you through some of our most recent work and findings on how to develop this stroke for efficient open water swimming. We'll then do a 1.5hr session in the pool working on these aspects and fine tuning your strokes. It will be a LOT of fun and VERY interesting. This will be perfect for anyone considering doing a triathlon, the Rottnest Channel swim or any of the open water races this season, so please try to attend if you can. We're aiming to have most of the coaches on deck who'll be assisting me whilst I'm away in November for 3 weeks in the UK as we're super keen to ensure that everyone gets chance to meet them and enjoy working with their individual coaching styles. Cost for the whole 3hr Clinic will be just two ticks off your card, or if you're bringing a non-squad friend just $50 for them. We didn't have many responses to the request to let me know you're coming when I last sent this out so hopefully this is of interest to you and you can attend - please let me know if you plan to be there. Those wishing to only come for the practical session can do so, but please note the 30 minutes earlier start time (12:30pm) and the Outdoor 10 lane pool location.
  3. Sunday - first open water race of the season: Rockingham. Entries open to 5pm tomorrow (Tuesday 26th October). Choose from 1.25km, 2.5km, or 5km.  Full details at - there's a note on legal race suits here: and (P.S It looks like non of the regular Blue Seventy body suits are included on that list, but worth bringing on the day and we'll enquire...). Hope to see you there! Rotto soloists should enter for the 5km event. Racing starts at 8am and registration is between 6am and 7am.
  4. Paul Away in the UK - as mentioned previously, I will be away in the UK from Monday 1st November to Thursday 25th November inclusive. My sister is getting married in Edinburgh and myself and Adam are the official photographers which will be fun! We're also conducting a completely sold-out Swim Smooth Clinic tour and 3-day Coaches Education Course for the British Triathlon Federation which I'm personally super excited about, especially as we have some super-star elite swimmers lined up for the course which will make things very challenging for the coaches!! It's an absolute honour for me to return to the UK and be running these courses in recognition of the hard work we've been putting into our online Swim Smooth website over the past six years and I always feel like my coaching benefits from it as a result, and therefore directly passes onto you guys upon my return. As always, we've set up a great group of coaches to assist in my absence all of whom are fully briefed on the protocols and will ensure you all can maintain some great swimming whilst I'm away. My only concern is that you guys in our Rottnest Solo squad will be kicking my butt upon my return as my swimming may be a little limited whilst I'm away!! LOL! 
  5. PAYG Cards - as per previous times when I've been away for a short trip to the UK, can I please request that if you're running low on credits on your PAYG card and think you may run out during the period 1st to 29th November, please can you ensure you purchase a new card this week at swimming (in cash) or online at and we'll just extend the expiry out for you by one month. Doing so this week will help us to streamline the whole process whilst I'm away in the UK and your support of this initiative is very much appreciated.

OK, thanks everyone - see you in the morning for more pool fun!


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A note on numbers...

Dear Swimmers

Hope you all enjoyed this morning's swim session at Challenge Stadium. Given that it was quite busy today, I just thought it'd be useful to run through a few things as you all know I love my numbers!!

  1. DRAFTING. I decided to change the format of the main set so that everyone did a 1000m swim. We did this in "indian-line" drafting formation for the benefit of those who will be doing the open water race series this year and also for those who've not yet tried the Saturday afternoon 1pm session where we regularly practice this. You all found that you swam either a) a lot faster, or b) a lot easier for a given level of speed. This was typically as much as 60 to 90s difference compared to your time trial performances just 3 weeks ago - so quite considerable and well worth your attention. Far too often though I hear well meaning people saying "get off to a fast start and find some clear water for yourself!" whereas in reality "clear water" is the very last thing you want to find in an open water race as chance are everyone else is on your toes or you're massively off course and heading out to sea! Drafting well can save you up to 38% of the energy cost of swimming by yourself, so is always worthwhile practicing.
  2. ATTENDANCE. We try to limit these sessions to 24 people (i.e. 8 to a lane) but have a buffer of 3 to 6 people, i.e. there might be as many as 27 or 30 people in the session on occasion. Typically though the 5.30am session averages 21 and the 630am session averages 18 / 19 people. It is very important though (please) that if you ordinarily come along at 6.30am that you stick with this time slot, as it only takes 3 or 4 people to pop along to a different session and all of a sudden we seem quite busy. I think that this is what happened this morning. Your help with managing this (as always) is much appreciated. Maybe just drop me a quick SMS or email to let me know prior that this is your intention? I don't want to scare anyone off obviously, but equally I'm trying to manage the lane space availability as best as possible and always want you guys to all have the best session possible. For some reason the lack of a shallow end at Challenge Stadium seems to magnify this effect especially when I'm asking everyone to pop their fins on at the same time!! 
  3. TIME TABLE. As per last week's email notification which included our new time table for Monday 6th December onwards (see ) you'll notice that we'll be bringing back the Tuesday 6.30pm and Wednesday 5.30am sessions. This increase in session availability will hopefully help distribute the attendance nicely throughout the week and offer greater variety and specificity for the type of sessions we can offer. In the next few weeks I'll be posting out a "register your interest" in these sessions to tentatively allocate you a space in a given session with priority being given to those who've swum through the winter. Watch out for that one!
  4. SETTING OFF. Here's another interesting one, especially those of you new to squad swimming - most swim squads will operate with a 5s or 10s interval between each swimmer in order to maximise on lane space availability. Typically we use 5s intervals unless I suggest otherwise, but all too often this tends to concertina-up (the "magneto effect" I like to call it!) and we end up using just 25 or 30m of the 100m available to us in a 50m pool. Comparatively, at 10s apart in a lane swimming at 1:30 per 100m this would allow 9 swimmers to swim in ample space. In a lane swimming at 1:45 per 100m this would be 10 or 11 swimmers, and in a lane swimming at 2:00 per 100m this would be a good 12 swimmers with enough space between each swimmer to feel unpressured by someone tickling their toes. Just like drafting practice is important, so too is having your own free space when you're doing drills or doing a solo time trial etc. This spacing is what keeps a lane manageable and it's incredibly easy to achieve once everyone knows where they're at with it. We'll do a little practice varying this up at bit over the next few weeks and see how we go. What you've really got to pity is those poor souls in the UK swimming in 20 or 25m pools with 10 people to a lane - now that's busy! The feeling of "I've got to keep up!" is what sends most of us off like the clappers to catch the person in front of us all the time, whereas in reality it'd often be better to just focus on maintaining that gap a little like driving on the freeway.
  5. PAYG CARDS. Finally, just a polite reminder here to ask you to always please remember to have your PAYG card with you at each session and treat this system as you would gaining pool entry to Challenge Stadium itself. Unfortunately the PAYG card system is not yet digital and whilst you're all pretty good at reminding me if you owe a tick here or there, it does start to get a little tricky to manage with the increasing numbers in the summer season etc. Thanks again for your support on this as I know it can be a pain to remember so many things at 5.30am!!

Cheers and have a great evening!


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Training Timetable for Rottnest and seminar on 30/10/10

Dear Swimmers

Hope you're having a better week than me! I had to have my wisdom teeth extracted on Sunday (totally unexpected) and whilst I was hoping to be back on pool deck by the end of this week, they actually seem to have deteriorated further and I'm having real problems talking, which (given my usual "big gob") is quite a problem! I'm dosed up to the eyeballs on drugs and anti-biotics and hope to be back down asap. Thank you for all your well wishes and also a massive thanks to Adam for his support and help this week!!

OK, one plus point of all this is that it's allowed me to go through the plans for the Rottnest Channel Swim preparation for the next 20 weeks, starting on Monday 11th October. I include below a link for that which will give you an idea of what session frequency and total weekly volume I'd be suggesting over the next 20 weeks for Solo, Duo and Team swimmers. It's a totally free download for you all.

If you're a Solo swimmer and wish to be added to our specific email notification list for this group, please email me at as I send out the longer Saturday session detail each Thursday to this group.

This Rottnest Squad Template is purely a guide only and obviously if you've not been doing much of late you'd need to build this up more gradually - feel free to also share it with your friends and team buddies. It also gives you an idea of when to take an easier week and also which races I'd be recommending from this year's Open Water Calendar (the orange highlighted races are the ones I hope we can all try and attend as a Swim Smooth Perth squad - it'll be heaps of fun!) - we'll go through these both in much greater detail on the 30th October (see below):

I've also put the link below for the new squad timetable that will come into effect in full from the week commencing Monday 6th December 2010. This is subject to the Claremont pool being ready to re-open by then. Have a look at some of the new sessions and also please read the finer details of when they all re-commence - all the info is there:

Technique Workshop and Meet the Coaches on Saturday 30th October from 10.30am:

Finally, I have booked the room space for our planned Technique Workshop on Saturday 30th October between 10.30am and 2.00pm. This will feature a 1.5hr session in the classroom talking about how to develop a more efficient stroke and detailing our 20 week Rottnest Program, a short break (lunch - please bring your own) and then a 1.5hr pool session focusing on technique for the pool and openwater. We anticipate it being a great day! I've invited all my assistant coaches along as well so this will be an excellent opportunity to meet them all and work with them poolside. Sadly Shelley Taylor-Smith cannot attend due to a prior engagement but she will aim to pop along to the Tuesday early morning sessions to meet you in the next couple of weeks. 

If you're keen to attend (cost, we've decided, is just an amazing two ticks on your PAYG card), please drop me an email with the Title: "I'll be there on the 30th!"  - we might have to limit numbers, but hopefully not too much...the plan is for as many of you as possible to see what we've got going on over the summer! I'll send out a more detailed itinerary next week. 

We'll also officially launch the new Swim Smooth Perth website pages on this date as well which should make navigation of squad information from the old Team Core website much easier and spell the transition between these two coaching entities.

Paul Away in the UK:

For your reference I will be away coaching in the UK from the 1st to 25th November 2010. We advertised 9 Swim Smooth Clinics late last week and they all sold out within 2 hours with enough people on the waiting lists to run at least another 9 Clinics - simply amazing! We're also running a 3-day Coaches Education Course at the prestigious Loughborough University in association with the British Triathlon Federation too - we had 23 top level coaches from around the world apply in the first 48 hours and had to cut it off at that point as we can only allocate 12 positions on the course - this has been a very hard decision to make of who attends and who doesn't as we're looking for a certain quality and criteria of coach - similar to the process of that which I put in place over here in Perth. Quality counts.

I also have my little sister's wedding to attend whilst I'm over there - can't wait, I'm the photographer! 

I'm giving you advanced notice on this and have also arranged the session (above) on the 30th October so as to please, please, please encourage you to all keep building your fitness and technique at the normal sessions whilst I am away...

Cheers - let me know about the 30th October. If you don't hear otherwise, assume your application has been accepted (I'll only email you back on this note if there's going to be an issue with space).


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A couple of articles for your interest...

Dear Swimmers,

This month we've been featured in two national swimming / triathlon magazines in the UK which I thought you'd maybe like to have a peruse of as they contain some useful information on developing a good stroke for your body type and build and also for refining your catch and pull through. The two articles can be found at these links:

Hope you enjoy!

P.S For your diary, we shall be conducting a Swim Smooth technique seminar / workshop at Challenge Stadium on Saturday 30th October between 10am and 2pm. The aim of this session is to run you through some technique advice in a classroom environment, utilising some of our latest video footage filmed at Challenge Stadium. I will be inviting our other assistant coaches along for this course as we will then head into the pool for a 1.5hr technique session (still with a focus on open water skills etc) where you will get a chance to interact with all the coaches and fine-tune your stroke. The course will be open to anyone currently training in our normal squad sessions at Challenge Stadium, i.e. 5.30am, 6.30am and 9.30am. A big aim of mine is to ensure that you feel comfortable with the other coaches as they will again be covering 3 weeks worth of squad sessions in November whilst I am away in the UK running some more Swim Smooth Clinics and also photographing my sister's wedding - I can't wait, should be great! 

For your information, we released the dates of our new UK Swim Smooth Clinics (9 in total) on Friday night and had filled every space on every course within 2 hours - amazing stuff, I can hardly believe it! We even now have over 50 people eagerly awaiting spots on our waiting lists! This is truly an amazing level of interest for us and we can't wait to deliver some great coaching over there. You have the chance to experience some of that with your attendance at the workshop on the 30th October, so please try and attend if you can. I'll be sending out an official invite and posting further details soon - watch this space as we may have to limit numbers!!



Friday, September 24, 2010

Just confirming sessions this weekend...

Dear Swimmers

Just confirming that the following two sessions will be available to you this weekend despite the long weekend and despite something called a Grand Final...?!!

  • Saturday 25th September at 1pm
  • Monday 27th September at 9.30am

Both sessions will be held in the Outdoor 8 lane pool at Challenge Stadium.

Hope to see you there!!



Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Good Shepherd Does Good!


Back in 2004 a new athlete joined our squad who wanted to prepare for the inaugural Busselton Ironman. That athlete was Glen Blackwell who would later go on to knocking off over 3 hours off his previous best Ironman finish and in 2008 be awarded our coveted "Good Shepherd" award for his services to the squad and his enthusiasm for helping others within the squad achieve their goals.

Late last year Glen qualified to represent Australia at the World Triathlon Championships in Budapest, Hungary, and he did exceedingly well with a Personal Best over the Olympic Distance of 1.5km swim, 40km bike and a 10km run in a time of 2:07 - no mean fete.

Glen has very kindly pieced together his story of the day's events to shed some light on his experiences and also the beautiful city of Budapest which I thought you'd all enjoy on this sunny Tuesday afternoon. Here goes - well done Glen:

The ITU World Triathlon Championships for 2010 was to be held in Budapest Hungry. This was to be a beautiful and exciting location for a race and the lure attracted me to have a shot at the Australian Team.

On arrival the weather was great for the first two days. I managed to get out for a long run on the first morning and see the town. Was surreal to be running past Castles and Cathedrals on the banks of the (not so) Blue Danube.

I managed to get together with a few guys from the Australian team and we went for a ride to the designated training area. A little island on in the river with one road of about 2.5kms in length. It was wet and lumpy and very boring as it didn't even make a loop. Just up turn around and back. But it was much safer than playing in the traffic. Needless to say 1hr of that and I was mentally cooked so road along the rivers edge taking in the sights instead.

The rain then started and did not let up for the rest of the week. The sprint races on the saturday got drenched and I went to bed that night expecting to be soaked by the end of the race.

Waking on race morning the Tri-gods had smiled. There was no wind, no rain and the sun came out giving us the warmest day at 23 degrees.

Getting dressed in the green and Gold to represent my country was awesome start to the day and definitely helped get the nerves going.
Especially when I got to the start line and saw all the other countries that were lined up. I was in the second biggest wave start with 125 others on the pontoon.

Getting into the water was a bit hard as the temp was a cool 14 degrees. But the water was flat no current and actually tasted clean. I had a great swim of 22:40 putting me out of the water into T1 in 37th... The the fun. On exiting my zip broke and I spent just over 3minutes tearing my wetsuit to get it off..One of the longest transition times for my group.

The ride was dead flat however the road conditions were terrible for at least 4km of the 13km loop. There were grand canyon cracks running parallel to your travel and lumps, bumps and man hole covers. The only good thing was when you got to the back 9kms you could get down onto the areo bars and go fast.

Getting into T2 i found that I had also broken my left bike shoe halfway found the course and it was just hanging on by the tip.

Well onto the run for the most scenic run I have ever had. We went 5kms up along the bank of the Danube past the university, and the Castle before turning onto the historic Chain Bridge (Think a similar style to the Tower Bridge London). Once here we commenced two 2.5km laps for the rest of the 10km run.

This lap went past the race finish of Roosevelt Square on the river bank then through the paved malls of the town to the open square in front of St Francis Cathedral where you turned almost on the steps before heading back over Chain Bridge to do the lap again.

Coming into the finish chute was awesome with the noise, people, camera crews and even a chopper flying above.

However at the end of the day I P.B'd with a 2:07:34 and most importantly was able to say I represented my country on the world stage..That was the clincher.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Saturday drafting and the Long Weekend

Dear Swimmers

You've got to love this awesome weather right now!

Just letting you know that I'm hoping you'll be able to make use out of our two squad sessions this weekend which I've locked in with Challenge Stadium despite the long weekend:

  • Saturday 25th September at 1 to 2pm.
  • Monday 27th September at 9.30am to 10.30am*.

* please note that this particular session has been quite busy the last two weeks, so this session will only be open next Monday to those who normally attend on a Monday at 9.30am otherwise I fear we might be a little too choca-block! Having said that now, no-one will attend and I'll be left by myself! LOL! If that's the case it might prove to be a good session for you to attend if you normally come on a Monday.

The Saturday session is a great chance to come and hone your open-water drafting skills. Check out this short clip from the filming of this session we did last week: - as you can hopefully make out, the swimmers are creating an arrow-head drafting formation with Geoff (far right) setting the pace. Jas (green cap) is drafting very well indeed, only breathing in towards John (center of frame), but John and Jonny (who comes into the frame a little later in the shot from the left), are both breathing AWAY from the swimmer they are supposed to be drafting. This is one time when unilateral breathing is more favourable than bilateral breathing BUT ONLY if you are breathing in towards the swimmer you are trying to draft off. Want to learn more about how this can save you up to 38% of your normal energy expenditure and prove to be a very fun way of spending 60 minutes following a black line? Come along on Saturday and I'll show you how! If you're not drafting well in the open water you are potentially missing out on massive gains in your swimming that are relatively easy to acquire with good practice and confidence to swim in close quarters to others.



Thursday, September 16, 2010

100% Success Rate For Swimmers!


That's quite a bold title for today's Blog, however, I am very pleased to announce that 100% of those of you who re-tested your 1000m swim Time Trial from the middle of July have (in two months) all improved! This is a great result - well done! Consistency and dedication on those cold mornings has clearly paid off!

Here are some more stats for those of you who like numbers:

  • A total of 89 swimmers from the squad have now tested themselves over the 1000m distance in the past two months. This is ~50% of the squad membership.
  • 36 swimmers were tested on 13th July 2010 - view all the results at:
  • 68 swimmers were tested on the 14th September 2010 - view all the results at:
  • 21 swimmers attended both test sessions and thus qualified to enter our winter "Biggest Loser" competition, whereby there was a 100% improvement across the group!
  • The fastest recorded male time was by James Forbes in 13'27"
  • The fastest recorded female time was by Ceinwen Williams in 13'47"
  • The average pace of the squad is exactly 18'00" for the 1000m distance
  • My predicted improvement (as a percentage) for those who re-tested and regularly swam 2-4 sessions per week for the 2 months was 3.0%
  • The actual average improvement of the Biggest Loser group (as a percentage) was 3.9%
  • The Biggest Loser was Silke Highet who improved by an astounding 2'57" in just two months - equivalent to 13.6%!! Well done Silke!! Silke wins a Swim Smooth waterproof Training Plan as per to keep her ticking over at times when she cannot attend the squad, e.g. school holidays etc.
  • Also doing well for the guys was Andy Bolt with a 7.8% improvement!! Andy wins a copy of the Swim Smooth DVD Boxset (as seen at ) to help him refine his stroke even further!
  • You can view all the Biggest Loser results at:

This (for me) has been a brilliant exercise and one which has prompted a lot of new ideas and sessions to be tested out within the squad in order to get your fitness up to a good level prior to the spring - so thanks for taking part if you did! Hope you enjoyed it - it'll definitely be back again next winter!

Going forwards from here, the annual Open Water Calendar has just been released (not available online yet, but you can pick up your own hard copy from the reception at Challenge Stadium) and as such I'm busily beavering away now on identifying a couple of the open water races over the season which I think would be really good to go and attend as a squad. Many of you have already expressed a bit of an interest in this. 

Also, there are numerous people now thinking about the Rottnest Channel Swim on the 26th February 2011. 20 members of the squad (me included) will be attempting the solo crossing this year, up from 13 in the previous two years. There is a lot of interest in people wanting to have a crack at the DUO or TEAM event who might not have done it before and wish to partner / team up with someone for this great event. If that's you, please drop me a quick email and we'll look at coordinating a few teams and probably organise a catch-up to discuss logistics etc. I think it will be really great if we can get a bit of a team thing happening this year, so I look forward to hearing from you!

Cheers and now let the summer roll on!


Monday, September 6, 2010

Thursday mornings

Dear Swimmers

Just a quick one to let you know that the indoor 50m pool is now back to normal (ie 50m and not 2 x 25m) and as a result on Thursday mornings we will now be swimming in the outdoor 8 lane pool instead (lanes 2 to 4 I believe). Tuesdays remain as normal (so I believe).

Also, now that it's finally starting to warm up and people are coming out of the woodwork we just need to try and manage numbers in the squad sessions as best as possible so that it doesn't get too busy too quickly. If you are planning your come back and have been irregular over the last 3 months, please would you mind dropping me a brief email to say which sessions you plan to re-attend. Priority in the sessions will be given to those who've been swimming over winter, but please help me by letting me know your intentions to smooth this spring transition for everyone. Thanks!

Finally, I will be away on Saturday for the 1pm squad session as it is my birthday and Mish and Jackson are taking me away for a surprise weekend away. I can't wait. Coach Nikki Rogers from Sorrento SLSC will be taking the session and putting you through your paces in this fun open water skills session. Please make her feel welcome and go along and pick up some top tips from this Commonwealth Games medallist and uber swimmer!!



Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mark did it!

Dear Team

Just to let you know that Mark Scanlon successfully completed his English Channel Swim attempt on the 31st August after waiting through nearly 3 weeks of bad weather and had to change pilots (skipper) at significant cost just to ensure a swim start.

Stay tuned to for Mark's post event report soon.

Well done Mark - brilliant result! 9.5 hours in rough conditions!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Update on Mark Scanlon's Channel Swimming Attempt

This video clip says it all - let's all pray for the weather gods to be with Mark in the next few days!!



Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Positive Signs of Improvement


Hope you're all doing well - not long now hopefully until we turn the corner and the weather starts becoming consistently warmer. Before we know it we'll all be moaning it's too hot again!

I just wanted to write and say thanks so much for your support in the last 3 weeks with your return back to the squad sessions. People are coming out of the woodwork left, right and centre and that's really pleasing to see. Admittedly I was getting very worried back there in July with some of the sessions being so quiet but things are now really picking up. Many of you have also made good use of our August 1-2-1 Video Analysis Special and are seeing some great improvements in your swim strokes as a consequence. If you haven't yet looked at doing one of these sessions the details are at - well worthwhile.

OK, so squad swimmer Mark Scanlon is now in place over in Dover ready to attempt his English Channel Swim crossing. The word on the street is that the weather hasn't been great in the last week and looks set to be a bit rough this week too, but we're crossing our fingers and hoping for a bit of a break in the conditions to allow for a successful crossing for Mark. Mark is unbelievably well prepared for this event, both physically and psychologically, so we really wish him the very best of luck with the conditions out there on the way to France. If you missed our interview with Mark you can read that here: - well worth a read. You can follow Mark's progress live at - he'll even have a virtual GPS tracker up there too - very cool!

If you're sat at work wanting a little swimming inspiration or something to read at the weekend, don't miss these three recent Blog entries as well:

Furthermore, I personally love it when someone gives me a book recommendation, so if you love your reading and want something that will maybe challenge your beliefs about whether such a thing as "natural talent" for swimming actually exists, check out "Bounce" by Mathew Syed (see: ) - I'm loving my copy right now!

Finally, just to show you that we're on the right mark and that the last four harder Monday / Tuesday endurance sessions have been worth it, here are some live updates on four of the squad's swimmer's 1000m time trial progress in "The Biggest Loser Competition":

  1. Trevor Magee's best 1km swim time last year was 16:40. 5 weeks ago he went 17:30 and like most people in the squad was a little off the pace from last summer (to be expected really given the winter we've had). Today Trevor posted a 16:54 to improve by 36 seconds or nearly 4 seconds per 100m which is a very good sign of improvement indeed. Well done Trevor!
  2. James Forbes's best 1km swim time last year was 13:47 (peak season). 5 weeks ago James did 14:01. Today he smashed that and not only beat his record from 5 weeks ago, but went faster than last season to go 13:28. This knocks Ceinwen William's off the squad top perch by 2 seconds (which no doubt will be fuel for motivation there!). Without a doubt, consistency through the winter shining through here - well done Forbsey!
  3. Silke Highet swam 21:39 for her 1km swim 5 weeks ago which is an average pace of 2:10 per 100m. This morning, Silke very easily swam a 600m and then a 500m averaging 1:55 per 100m which is a sure sign that when we retest everyone's Time Trials properly in the middle of September, Silke could be in the running for that coveted "Biggest Loser" award, won last year by Lucas Salter. Good luck Silke!
  4. Gillian Evans featured in the Blog above about the pull buoy set and what it can tell you about your stroke. 5 weeks ago Gillian swam 1km in 20:39 which she was pleasantly surprised with but eager to break the 20 minute marker. On Monday Gillian led the lane for 600m and comfortably averaged 1:59 per 100m which will see her ducking under the 20 minute marker in a few weeks time quite nicely. How did Gillian (a "Kicktastic") do it? Surprisingly enough by reducing her leg kick in favour of an improved catch. Nice work Gillian!

If you haven't done your initial 1km Time Trial yet but would like to and would like to be in the running for the "Biggest Loser" competition, please just let me know at one of the sessions and if appropriate I'll set you off for a time.

OK, have a great day and thanks for reading!