Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Coaching Allocations for June


Brrrr!!!! It's been a chilly one this week that's for sure. I'm just putting the finishing touches to our UK trip plans and we'll be leaving at midday on Monday 31st May. My last session coaching you guys will be the Friday 9.30am session so hope to see you then! My first session back will be Monday 28th June for the 7am and 9.30am sessions.

As promised I have put together an awesome team of coaches who will be looking after you whilst I'm away and I hope that you'll all support the sessions in my absence. There's something of a critical mass effect within the sessions whereby too many people makes it feel too overcrowded, but too few makes it feel a little sparse. Some of the sessions have definitely been a little quiet these first couple of weeks at Challenge so I'm hoping it's not the walk and cold that's putting you off as a) it's not that far and b) it's absolutely lovely in the water right now!

I have personally written out every single one of the 35 sessions that I'll be asking the coaches to take you through and these will follow our standard format of Monday = technique, Tuesday & Friday = endurance, Wednesday and Thursday = fresh & fruity, and Saturday = open water skills. I have requested the coaches to add their own personal flair to the sessions and as such I'm hoping that you'll all appreciate a different face on the pool deck for a few weeks to liven things up a tad! Here's who's on and when for your reference:

I have suggested that some of you may like to practice some tumble turns and / or the other three strokes but have said that non of these are compulsory. I'll be sending out details of our first MINI OLYMPICS on Saturday 3rd July in due course, so I'm hoping that you'll all get into the spirit of things and have a go with some of the new stuff, even if just for a bit of a giggle. Many of you have been surprising yourself with how good your other strokes actually are and this week's commendations go to Fran Waddell for her butterfly, Sally Steffanoni for her breaststroke and Ben Dundas for his amazing sprint freestyle last Thursday - all in Tuesday / Thursday's 6.30am sessions (lane 1). Seems like this lane is where we'll be breeding the next (MINI) OLYMPIC champions! I'm waiting to see some really impressive backstroke, so maybe we'll see this on Thursday morning as it's much easier indoors!

Thanks everyone and hope to catch you before I head off!


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pay As You Go Cards

Dear Swimmers

It seems like the extra 5 mins is working wonders for the earlier morning sessions and not leading to that "OMG! I've got to get in!" panic for the 5.30 / 5.35am crew - hope it's working well for you all!

OK, so myself and Adam have two more weeks left on pool deck before we head over to the UK. Our inaugural Swim Smooth Coaches Education Course (see for details) looks set to be a great 3-days working with 12 other like-minded coaches. Amazingly enough we have two coaches flying in specifically from Canada, one from Venezuela and one from Belgium with the remaining eight coaches being based in the UK. Two members of the British Triathlon Federation will also attend inline with the work that we plan to do with them on the coaching front going forward. This is all very exciting for us and something which I have personally dreamt about for quite a while (the swim geek that I am!). Our Swim Smooth 1-day Clinics are also filling nicely with Windsor becoming fully booked in less than 24 hours! It should be a great trip.

I am just tying-up the program for whilst I'll be away and you'll be pleased to know that we have some excellent coaches in place to run the squad in my absence. If you swam over the Christmas period you'll be familiar with them all and as such I'm really hoping that everyone keeps their swimming up whilst I'm away...even if its bad weather! Don't forget, this morning we had our first practice session of some of the other strokes in readiness for a bit of fun with our first of three Mini-Olympics set for the 3rd July, so we want to keep our practice up for that!!

Again, to manage payments and cards more effectively and to help the other coaches out, I am kindly requesting that if you think you will run out of session credits on your card over the June period that you please top up before I leave. This can be done: 

As mentioned previously we have regrettably had to look at increasing our rates by 20% from $100 to $120 for a 10 session card, $225 to $270 for a 25 session card and $400 to $480 for a 50 session card owing to the substantial increase in lane hire charges and also our GST liability since July 2009. This price increase will not take effect until 1st July 2010 so whilst things are a little tight for us at the moment, at least it gives you chance to buy your cards pre June 30th and make some savings going forward. Hope this seems reasonable and fair?

Finally, if you plan to be away from the squad for some / all of this period as well (31st May to 26th June inclusive) please just take two moments to drop me an email and let me know so that I can ensure lane space / bookings are managed optimally whilst I'm away.

Thanks everyone and see you for some short-course action on Thursday morning...indoors!!


Sunday, May 16, 2010

This snail needs a new shell...!


Hope you've all had a great weekend. I don't like using the Blog to send out personal info / requests etc but was hoping that someone out there might be able to help out as we're in a bit of a pickle!

On Saturday morning we were called by our landlord where we've lived very happily on an extended lease for over 3 years and were told that (due to some of his own personal circumstances) that he needed to give us notice to vacate our lovely little home here in Mount Hawthorn. This has really thrown us for a loop especially with young Jackson in tow, a fully-loaded household full of "proper" furniture (no more backpacks for Paul & Mishy!), and with myself due to be in the UK for the whole of June helping develop the coaching system over there and running our series of Swim Smooth Clinics. He's given us 2 months notice (~15th July) and was as sad as us I think to be turfing us out. C'est la vie! This will make things a little tight on the time front.

So, here's the question - does anyone know (or have) any good property listings coming up within that sort of time frame? Can you recommend anyone to us that we can speak to? We're looking at renting again (realistically) but this whole thing may finally force our hand at looking to buy as well. Renting-wise we'd be looking at staying in a similar area to where we are right now, buying wise (realistically) we'd be looking at somewhere like Narrogin...erm, OK, maybe a little closer to home than that then, but for sure it's going to have to be a bit of a longer trek to work!!

If you have any tips or ideas, we'd really welcome your thoughts. Could I request that you email Mishy (the boss) direct at

Thanks guys - I'm sure we'll get over this little hurdle - plenty worse things have happened at sea as they say!



Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bacon - saved!

Dear Swimmers

I'm wondering how many of you woke up yesterday morning, heard the thunder and thought "the last place I want to be right now is out in an outdoor swimming pool!"

As luck would have it, we were (and will be) scheduled for the Indoor Pool on a Thursday morning over the winter months and as such it didn't matter one iota what it was like outside as we all had a fantastic session indoors. Feedback was that it was actually quite cool swimming in a 25m pool for a change and the difference in people's swimming speed was quite pronounced given all the push-offs (providing you're good at them!). Having 5 lanes was also a bonus and allowed for more accurate targeting of people's target paces.

So, don't be afraid next week if its raining because it was lovely and warm indoors!

Have a great weekend and hope to see some of you on Saturday in the Outdoor 8 lane pool for our 1pm squad session.



Tuesday, May 11, 2010

5 minutes will make all the difference!

Dear Swimmers

So, this morning was our first early morning session at Challenge Stadium. It was a little chilly on pool deck, but in the water was lovely (apparently!). I had thought about setting up a side-line business renting out Ugg boots to get you comfortably from the changerooms to the pool without your feet getting cold...who knows, maybe it could catch on, but no doubt that'll be a lot of soggy post-swim Ugg boots to cart around! My suggestion is to wrap-up warm and have a nice, warm, thick towel waiting for you. Obviously this would be the same swimming at Claremont Pool's just getting into the cooler winter months that is all.

There were a couple of the expected remarks of "it's soooo far to walk from the reception!" but really it's not that bad and we have to comfort ourselves with the fact that if it wasn't for this lane space availability at Challenge Stadium, there would literally be no squad swimming over the winter until Claremont reopens. For this I am extremely grateful and hope that you all can see the positives in this, even if it's just the fact that you all knocked out some pretty impressive 100m splits this morning with the pool being that good bit quicker than Claremont!!


OK, so enough of the waffle then - one thing that we have decided to act upon with the slightly longer distance to walk is the official session start time. I asked Adam to meet you all in reception to get a good gauge of exactly when you'd be let in. All the clocks at Challenge (for your reference) run 3 minutes fast (this is true, seriously). Adam noted that you were actually let through reception at exactly 5:29am (real time). I was ready to greet you all set-up on pool deck and the first swimmer hit the water at 5:34am. Given that this is likely to be a standard occurrence we have decided to make the official start time for the 5:30am squad 5:35am. This will put the 6:30am squad back to 6:35am. Both squads will run for exactly 1 hour as normal. I am hoping this minor shift will not inconvenience anyone but allow the 5:30am squad in particular some slight relief from worrying about if they'll only get a 55 minutes session in! Someone asked why I would do that as surely this would only encourage people to be 5 minutes later getting out of bed in the morning (!) and if this is you then so be it, but please know that we are doing this to be fair to every member of the squad - fair go, mate! 

I will get the 5:35am crew started as soon as you get down on to the pool deck, so there's every chance that you might squeeze in a couple of extra minutes depending who lets you through on reception.

This change will only effect the 5:30am and 6:30am squads due to the reception opening time being the unavoidable hurdle that we have to get around here. 9:30am / 1:00pm sessions will still be at 9:30am / 1:00pm.

One final thing...the pool allocation details that I sent through last week have so far only been 50% accurate (ho-hum!) and as mentioned these are subject to change. Please always check the white board at the bottom of the stairs as you come through reception.

More food for thought on Busselton swim times:

Kindly sent through from Lindy Brand:
I had a friend of mine who is a bit of a stats guru (and a tri nut) look at the HIM swim times last week. He noted the following:

"the avg swim time for the top 50 finishers in 2009 was 26:16, 
the avg swim time for the top 50 finishers in 2010 was 29:18min - 
that's 3:02min slower on avg

, so if you went slower by less than that - well that counts as faster in my book!!!

 Luke McKenzie was 1:57 slower himself..."
Maybe of some comfort for those that did the HIM this year in terms of slower swim times… Apparently there is talk that the swim course was a little short last year, hence the difference.



Monday, May 10, 2010

Food for navigational thought...


Many people who raced last weekend (across the board, not just from our squad I'm relieved to say!) were a little disappointed with their swim times at the Busselton Half Ironman. How could this be and how much time can you really lose through navigational issues, limited practiced drafting ability etc? It would seem, quite a bit actually...

As promised, Daniel Tarborsky who swims with us in our 5.30am sessions has very kindly shared his Garmin GPS data from the event. This type of feedback is invaluable for us as we look at how long a swim leg is .vs. what it is advertised as, and also at how far the athlete actually swam compared with the shortest route possible around the given course. The results might surprise you. Daniel is kind enough to share these Google maps especially considering his own analysis of the data which would suggest that his sighting and navigational technique could have been somewhat improved. However, I think there is a real message in this for all of us - and just because you don't know how far you have swum off course in the past in terms of actual measured distances or as a percentage of your overall swim, doesn't mean to say you haven't done it!! The old axiom:

"...whatever gets measured gets done (or managed)" probably no more true than here. Up until now we haven't had the facility to truly measure someone's accuracy in navigation whilst swimming in the open water, but now (armed with his Garmin 310 XT) Dan shares exactly how far he swam in three separate events (Busselton Half Ironman, Port MacQuarie Ironman and the Hillary's Sprint Triathlon). With this knowledge we can go about fixing this known issue with some targeted sighting practice in Saturday afternoon's 1pm pool session and also in some of the pre-planned open water practice sessions Dan will do solo and also with the squad when it gets a little warmer again.

OK, enough waffle, here's the results:

Busselton Half Ironman, 2010

...and a closer look at the wiggly line:

  • Distance swam per Garmin: 2.33km
  • 'Straight line' distance measured using Google Earth ruler (includes runs to and from the shore): 1.98km
  • Distance extra swam: 0.35km
  • Percentage extra swam: 18%
  • 'Straight line' distance measured using Google Earth ruler (shore to shore): 1.93km
  • Dan's actual swim pace was 1:47 per 100m if you take his actual distance swum, however, looking at the pace as per the advertised distance of 1900m, this actually equates to a staggering 2:12 per 100m! To put this into real perspective, Dan would be lapping himself in a 50m pool every 420m or so had his pace been put into a perfectly straight line swim!! Over this distance, this would have saved him exactly 10 minutes!
Port MacQuarie Ironman, 2010
  • Distance swam per Garmin: 4.13km
  • 'Straight line' distance measured using Google Earth ruler (includes runs to and from the shore): 3.84km
  • Distance extra swam: 0.29km
  • Percentage extra swam: 8%
Hillary's Sprint Triathlon, 2010

...and a closer look at the wiggly line:

  • Distance swam per Garmin: 1.02km
  • 'Straight line' distance measured using Google Earth ruler (includes runs to and from the shore): 0.82km
  • Distance extra swam: 0.20km
  • Percentage extra swam: 24%
So, even if you think you're as straight as a dart in the open water, I highly encourage you to re-address this aspect of your swim training, because if I were to tell you that you could save 10 minutes off your Half Ironman swim split just by being straighter in the water you'd think I was pulling your leg - the data, it seems, would suggest otherwise and I dare say that there are many of us out there who might be a good deal less accurate than Dan's navigation too!

Food for thought indeed...



Thursday, May 6, 2010

Confirmation of Session Locations at Challenge


Please be advised that we start officially at Challenge Stadium from Monday 10th May. The following schedule of lane allocations will be the typical format, though is subject to change. Please always check the whiteboard as you walk in at the bottom of the stairs. You might like to aim to get to the pool 10 minutes before your session time to familiarise yourself in this first week back:

  • Monday 7-8am = 3 lanes in the Outdoor 10 lane pool
  • Monday 8-9am (1-2-1 session) = 1 lane in the Outdoor 10 lane pool
  • Monday 9.30am-10.30am = 3 lanes in the Outdoor 8 lane pool

  • Tuesday 5.30-6.30am = 3 lanes in the Outdoor 10 lane pool
  • Tuesday 6.30-7.30am = 3 lanes in the Outdoor 10 lane pool
  • Tuesday 7.45-8.45am (1-2-1 session) = 1 lane in the Outdoor 10 lane pool

  • Wednesday 7.45-8.45am (1-2-1 session) = 1 lane in the Outdoor 10 lane pool
  • Wednesday 9.30-10.30am = 3 lanes in the Outdoor 10 lane pool
  • Wednesday 10.45-11.45am (1-2-1 session) = 1 lane in the Outdoor 10 lane pool

  • Thursday 5.30-6.30am = 5 lanes in the Indoor 25m pool (this is the Indoor 50m pool set-up as a short-course pool for the winter)
  • Thursday 6.30-7.30am = 5 lanes in the Indoor 25m pool (this is the Indoor 50m pool set-up as a short-course pool for the winter)

  • Friday 7.45-8.45am (1-2-1 session) = 1 lane in the Outdoor 8 lane pool
  • Friday 9.30-10.30am = 3 lanes in Outdoor 8 lane pool

  • Saturday 1-2pm = 3 lanes in the Outdoor 8 lane pool
  • Saturday 2.30-3.30pm (1-2-1 session) = 1 lane in the Outdoor 8 lane pool
  • Saturday 4-5pm (1-2-1 session) = 1 lane in the Outdoor 8 lane pool

I'm hoping we get off to a flying start next week and am doing everything possible to ensure as smooth a transition up to Challenge Stadium as I can.

Can't wait to get started!



Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Busselton Half Ironman Results

Phew! Just got back from down south after a fantastic weekend of racing down in Busselton!

The TEAM had some great results, all of which can be seen here:

There was a total of 37 finishers from the squad, 2 unfortunate DNFs (Did Not Finish) and 2 DNSs (Did Not Start).

In the women's event, Kate Bevilaqua and Katrina Mercer battled it out for 2nd and 3rd place overall behind eventual winner Lisa Marangon. It came down to the final 3km between Kate and Katrina, with Katrina bravely holding off 4th place by just 10 seconds. This was a stellar result for both girls - Kate showing her class, strength and endurance in the latter stages of the race with Katrina doing a fine job in her very first Half Ironman event!! Not many people can say they did a sub-4h30m HIM on their first outing! Brilliant stuff.

Carle Green was similarly impressive in the men's race finishing 12th overall and first age-grouper in just over 4h15m - amazing!

My good friend and the guy who first got me into triathlon way back in 1994 came over for a visit (Garrie Prosser) and came 3rd in the 45-49 age group proving that he's still very much got it!!

Also taking podium places in their age-groups were Alan Nicholls, Nathalie Laurendeau, Sally Scaffidi, Lyndal Tudehope, Graham Crocker and Sandy Tindale. Fine, fine work groovers!

A special mention must go out to Liz McSweeny who took on her very first Half Ironman and was worried about completing the swim distance in the whole lead-up to the event. To see Liz exit the water after 1.9km was probably the highlight of mine and Adam's day and Liz can go away from this feeling extremely proud of herself! Well done Liz, we're chuffed to bits for you!

I am still waiting to hear back from Daniel T who wore a Garmin GPS around the swim course. Swim times across the board seemed to be very slow this year and as such I'm thinking that maybe it was a little long as conditions appeared OK out there - but what do I know, I was stood on the beach in my nice warm uggies sipping a flat white!!

Well done to everyone who competed. I have stripped down some of the data from the official results so you can see a little clearer what your swim, bike and run times were as well as the halfway mark on the bike and the 1/3 and 2/3 mark on the run - should be food for thought for pacing strategies going forward. Top marks on pacing has to go to Carle Green again here whose bike laps were within 6 seconds of each other and run laps within 10 seconds of each other - teacher's pet! Nice job mate!

Cheers and see you all again next week starting at 7am on Monday up at Challenge Stadium - can't wait!