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.