Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Dear Swimmers

I hope you've had a great Christmas break and are set for a great New Year! We've had a truly magnificent time down here in Esperance and whilst I came close to pondering buying the Esperance Tea Rooms (an awesome spot for Fish & Chips washed down with a Little Creatures) which are for sale currently, I will however be back on pool deck at 5.30am on Tuesday 3rd January! All sessions will proceed as normal then past this point.

I'm well rested and pumped for the new year and can't wait to get you started on our 10 week development plan. We'll commence this from the week beginning Monday 9th January so as to give you this week to get back into the swing of things. No panic either though if you'll still be away for the first couple of weeks of the program, you'll be able to easily slot back into things upon your return.

I have to thank all of you who gave me your tips for where to go in Esperance - they were great. In particular Michael S's suggestion of a trip out to Wharton's Bay (past the Duke of Orleans) - a simply amazing beach, complete with very large white pointer sighting whilst we were there (!) - and to Bill C for his suggestion of a boat ride out to Woody Island. Our favourite beach has to be Hellfire Bay in Cape le Grand - for those of you non-native 'poms' and expats yet to travel down to Esperance - you simply have to go here! The beach is out of this world and we had an awesome BBQ breakie cooked by yours truly down there yesterday.

Thought I'd leave you with a few photos to whet your appetite...we have 2 days left before flying home on Monday morning. I'll be sad to leave but feel totally privileged to have experienced such an amazing place at a very special time of year with my family.

Cheers and Happy New Year for tomorrow!

Paul























Thursday, December 22, 2011

Anyone wanting to make up a team for Rottnest?

Simon Moullin is a team member short for his 4-person Rottnest Team - can anyone help out?

Please email Simon direct:

simonmoullin@gmail.com

Cheers

Paul

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

2011 In Review

Please note - if you'd prefer not to read this year review of the Swim Smooth Perth Squad and just want to know about Christmas and New Year training times and session suggestions, please visit: http://swimsmoothperth.blogspot.com/2011/12/christmas-and-ny-swim-training.html

Dear Swimmers

I'm sure you're all gearing up for a great Christmas - I know I am very much looking forward to a bit of R&R down on the beaches of Esperance! And what a year it's been hey?! 

We ended 2011 moving back to the newly refurbished Claremont Pool which saw a marvellous improvement to the centre. Whenever we show photos of the pool to our Swim Smooth Clinic attendees back in the UK they all turn green with envy! Really, we're very lucky to have such a brilliant facility right on our doorstep with some fantastic staff assisting us with the program. I feel very privileged to be doing what I love in a venue with such great ambience.

Soon after we were back at Claremont it was a case of putting our heads down and getting into the 2011 Rottnest Channel Swim program which saw us getting nearly 40 solo swimmers across the line in February and countless duo and team swimmers too. Sadly, it seems that whilst we'll have a massive contingent again from the solo brigade for 2012, many of the duo and team swimmers have missed out in the ballot this year which is a huge shame.

After the Rottnest Channel Swim, the focus immediately shifted to the Busselton Half Ironman event in May where we saw some very strong performances from members of the Swim Smooth Perth squad, not least the brilliant swim performance of our very own 'Mr Smooth' (Guy Crawford) posting the fastest swim split of the day. It's such a great event and the fact that the 2012 race filled completely within 2 hours shows just how popular it's becoming here in WA. It seems that there's no limit to the number of people wishing to complete these hugely rewarding endurance events.

In May, myself and Adam were back in the UK running our fourth round of our 3-day Swim Smooth Coaches Education courses which, to date, has now seen a total of 48 budding coaches from the US, Canada, mainland Europe and the UK sit the course which aims to help coaches improve their own video analysis and stroke correction skills. It's been a roaring success and something which helped us secure the contract to consult and rewrite the entire swim coaching program for the British Triathlon Federation (BTF). Each year, 350 new coaches become accredited BTF coaches, all of whom will now be educated in the same methods that you all receive on a daily basis here in Perth - pretty cool hey?! We went on to select 8 of these coaches to then fly out to Perth at the end of September for 2 weeks of intensive training with the squad. These eight excellent coaches will be our first officially accredited Swim Smooth Coaches in the UK and will be announced at the start of March 2012. It's been a mammoth amount of work (and continues to be as we help mentor them in our techniques and for them to grow their own respective businesses) but something that has been personally very exciting and rewarding at the same time.

Through June, July and August there were some pretty 'wooly' weather days in Perth, but that didn't stop the dedication of the 'Channel Dare' team braving water temperatures as low as 13ºC for up to 6 hours at a time and often in the pitch black. Yes, seven of us in the squad were insane enough to consider tackling the English Channel this year and these conditions proved to make excellent preparation for us. People still ask me, 'did you ever get bored training for such a long event?' and the answer is always a categorical 'no' - the uniqueness of gaining (significant) weight for a sporting event, swimming in freezing temperatures in the middle of the night and for progressively longer distances whilst totally lathered up in wool fat is never boring! My actual swim on the 9th September 2011 will always be my greatest ever sporting and personal achievement I'm sure, but it was the camaraderie and support of not just the other six swimmers in the team but also all of your support and interest in the squad that really made this a very special time for me. I'm actually really missing it right now it has to be said! 

I have just found out too that the Channel Swim Association have actually recognised the fact that my swim on the 9th September was completed in the worst conditions this entire year in the fastest time too! I'm very happy to know this! ;-) Also, only 38 soloists made it across to France this year - six of whom were from the Swim Smooth Perth squad. Nice.

I am hoping that if nothing else that the efforts of the 'Channel Dare' team this year and the $70,000+ that we raised for Breast Cancer Care will have inspired some more of you to tackle your own 'English Channels' in the future. It's absolutely brilliant coaching the Wednesday 5.30am squad at the moment as I can see this same buzz growing around the group of Rottnest Solo 'Virgins' in this session. It's amazing what you can achieve with a shared goal amongst friends...all you've got to do is keep ticking along and focusing on the process of the 'here and now' and not on the seemingly scary nature of the 'outcome'. One stroke at a time, then one lap at a time, one kilometre, one session, one week, one month etc etc - never looking too far forward, always concentrating on the 'now'. If you believe in yourself now (and you should) you will get across to Rottnest. The hardest part is motivating yourself for the seemingly relentless training. Turn your brain off, do your first 30 strokes without thinking about it, and before you know it you're halfway through the session. Easy - sort of! I read the world-renowned Channel swimmer and Aussie icon Des Renford's book just before I swam the English Channel and he referenced a quote in there which always helped him and arguably played a massive factor in getting me across to France - 'the darkest hour still only has 60 minutes'. Remember that the next time you're having an off session.

After the Channel Swim it was quickly back to Perth for the birth of my second child and first daughter, baby Isla Rose. And what a cutie she is! Having two children definitely changes things for sure (as those of you with multiple kids warned me it would!) but I'm very proud to be a daddy for the second time. 2012 is Michelle's year to shine as she takes on the Rottnest Swim as a duo with her friend Karlee - I'll be sidelined for this one but cheering them on madly with Jackson and Isla in tow!

And if all this wasn't enough for a year, we've also managed to find time to write our very first book too! I'm not obliged to release too many details at this point but suffice to say we were approached by the world's largest and most established book publishing company of academia to write a book on swimming technique using our methods. They contacted us in April this year and complete with a full advance we set to work feverishly bringing together everything that we have been working on since 2004 when I first launched Swim Smooth. This has been a hugely rewarding process for me and I'm so happy with the final draft that we submitted. There were countless nights in the last few months where myself and Adam would work straight through the night to then have to be down on the pool deck each morning for a 5.30am start. Very tiring of course but with the light at the end of the tunnel being our first published piece of work due in May 2012, all being well. Adam called it a 'period of pain' that we just had to press through, but sure enough we got there one step at a time. I just can't wait to share this with you all once it's published.

Of course there was then the Busselton Ironman in December in which last year's winner, Kate Bevilaqua, swam 4.5 minutes quicker than 2010 when most people swam 2-3 minutes slower given the tough conditions. You may have heard me talk about how we have helped Kate with her stroke over the last 18 months and much of this has been by going against some of the 'conventions' which many believe form an efficient freestyle stroke. Kate now excels with a shorter, faster stroke with a forward looking head position and a straighter arm recovery. These recommendations are based on her natural physique and excellent natural body position in the water which used to mean that swimming in a wetsuit was quite arduous as her legs would pop up too high out of the water. Hard to believe, I know, especially for those of you with sinky leg syndrome! Is this the right advice for you too? Maybe not, but without going against the 'grain' with Kate she might forever be playing catch-up with the lead females. I'm very proud to now see a swimmer with excellent potential for further improvements. From this work with Kate, and with Kate and Guy Crawford's assistance, we have now set up an elite group of ten of WA's best professional and semi-pro Ironman athletes with whom we will work closely with over the next 12 months to see if we can also help them reach ever higher with their goals.

So all up it's been a pretty busy but very exciting year, none of which would have been possible without your help and support by attending the squad sessions on a regular basis. I am so lucky to be doing what I'm doing and to know that you are enjoying this is a great reward in itself. I have mates back in the UK who are earning the big bucks in the 'City' who frequently email me saying that they're bored / fat / stressed / burnt-out (or all of the above) and always at this point I have to pinch myself in my 'office' on the pool deck on a lovely spring morning with the scent of eucalyptus in the air and the sound of a kookaburra singing his song from the tree...ok, so not every morning is like that and the 4.20am wake-ups are tough, but I just can't wait to have 10 days off now with my family down in beautiful Esperance and to come back totally refreshed and brimming with new ideas for taking your swimming to the next level in 2012!

Maybe over the Christmas break you might even like to consider your own next goal...would love to hear about it when I'm back.

Have a great Christmas everyone and a massively prosperous 2012! Thanks again for all your support, we really appreciate it.

Paul, Michelle, Jackson and Isla Rose.





Christmas and NY swim training suggestions

Dear Swimmers

As mentioned previously, this Friday (23rd December) will be our last day of squad swimming for 10 days, recommencing with all sessions as normal from Tuesday 3rd January 2012.

I am sure that some of you will be keen to keep things ticking over whilst I am away in Esperance and as such I have compiled a list of suggestions per day which will ideally suit those doing the Rottnest Channel Swim, especially the soloists. Of course, not everyone is keen to swim in the ocean at the moment, so these are purely suggestions. You can check out Claremont Pool's Christmas and New Year opening hours at: http://www.claremont.wa.gov.au/Libraries/ContentDocs/2011_to_2012_1.sflb.ashx

The good news soloists is that I've scheduled next week as a recovery week anyway - you've worked hard the last 3-4 weeks, so don't be afraid to cut back a little over the Christmas period - a bit of light R&R will serve you well, both mentally and physically. 18km total for next week was the recommendation.

If you're not doing this event, but want to just keep ticking over, by all means follow these suggestions but reduce some of the volume to more naturally represent a normal session of 2.5-3.2km. I hope this helps!

  • Friday 23rd December - 5.30am and 6.30am sessions - come along for some Festive Fresh & Fruitiness - guaranteed to be a lot of fun! 9.30am swimmers will have more of a relaxing session given that you already worked off the mince pies this morning!
  • Saturday 24th December - pool session as: 3 x 2km at 3km pace with 2 mins recovery between each, followed up by a straight 4km steady swim in the river, ocean, or if you're really keen, pool!
  • Sunday 25th December - day off! Enjoy! OR a 7.30am splash in the sea at Cottesloe Beach with Jasmin and Co. followed by breakie on the beach.
  • Monday 26th December - 2km drills session as 500m easy w/up and cool down plus 20 x 50m as the odd number drills with fins (i.e. side kick, 6/1/6, Broken Arrow etc) and the even numbers as 25m fast + 25m easy.
  • Tuesday 27th December - 10 x 400m at a good, sustainable pace with just 30s rest between each. Knock this out succinctly in just over an hour or so - a really 'boring' but really 'good' set for you soloists!
  • Wednesday 28th December - 500m easy f/s + 3 x 200m drills with fins + 500m moderate f/s + 6 x 100m pull and optional paddles + 500m moderately hard f/s + 12 x 50m as 25m fast + 25m easy for first 8 and last 4 as choice cool down with 15s rest between each.
  • Thursday 29th December - rest day
  • Friday 30th December - 1000m steady f/s warm-up with some light stretching beforehand, then simply 20 x 100m on a 1.30 cycle for those normally in the fastest group of lane 4, 1.35 cycle for those normally in the second group in lane 4, 1.40 cycle for those normally in lane 3, 1.45 cycle for those in lane 2 and 1.55 cycle for those normally in lane 1. Finish off with 5 x 200m of easy drills using a mix of fins and pull / optional paddles. Aim to hold your fastest maintainable pace in the 20 x 100m set.
  • Saturday 31st December - 5km steady swim at Cottesloe Beach, or in the pool (broken down as 5 x 1km with 60s rest between each)
  • Sunday 1st January - rest day, or 'hangover' dip in the ocean!
  • Monday 2nd January - repeat Monday 26/12 but add in 6 x 200m at the end at 'threshold' pace with 30s rest between each.
  • Tuesday 3rd January - all sessions (5.30am, 6.30am and 6.30pm) back to normal and ready for our 10-week progressive improvement plan - exciting stuff!

Hope this all helps add a bit of structure - by all means add a little 'spice' to some of the basic set suggestions - we'll pick things up in the first week of January 2012, so be ready!

Have a great Christmas!

Cheers

Paul



Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Pacing Data for Your Interest and Christmas Closing Times

Dear Swimmers

Hope you all survived the storm last night! 

As those of you who attended Tuesday morning's 5.30am and 6.30am sessions would have seen, I was testing out a new iPhone app this morning on the pool deck which allowed me to clock the lane leader's 100 splits and then transfer this data into a chart as per: http://swimsmooth.com/pauls_images/Pacing_Data_13_12_2011.pdf allowing me to check how well paced your lane was, even whilst using the beepers. This app (Split Watch) was great to use and will be perfect for any future time trials that we do. 

This morning's session has also prompted a few ideas for a new challenge first thing in the new year - a 10 week CSS (threshold) development program to allow you all to see if you can get 6-7.5% (or more) faster over 1000m within 10 weeks. For a geek like me this is exciting stuff and will use the new beepers to their full capacity! I don't know about you, but I can't wait! We'll commence this in the first week in January 2012.

Speaking of Christmas / New Year, the squad will be taking a break from Friday 23rd December (last session being the 9.30am to 10.30am session that day, plus the 5.30am and 6.30am sessions of course!) to Tuesday 3rd January 2012 (recommencing with all sessions as normal from 5.30am on Tuesday 3rd January 2012). We'll personally be taking a family holiday down in Esperance - can't wait, I've never been!

For those seeking to keep their swimming going for this 10 day hiatus, I will post out some session ideas next week - stay tuned.

Cheers

Paul


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tuesday evening session cancelled due to crazy storm!

Dear Swimmers

Please be advised that regrettably we have been advised to cancel the 6.30-7.30pm squad session this evening, Tuesday 6th December 2011 due to the severe thunderstorm affecting the metro area right now. The pool has been closed since ~10.30am this morning due to the risk that swimming in an electrical storm outdoors poses to swimmers and is unlikely to re-open before closing time this evening. Our sincerest apologies for the inconvenience. If you wanted to do the session (indoors somewhere or later this week) it was:

  • 2, 3 or 400 easy f/s
  • 3 x 200m +15s rest as 1) fins - 6/1/6 + f/s, 2) pull and paddles, 3) 6/5/6 + f/s
  • 1000m continuous f/s swim at 75-80%
  • 3 x 200m +15s rest as 1) fins - Broken Arrow + f/s, 2) pull as 15m doggy + 85m f/s, 3) torpedo kick + f/s
  • 2, 3 or 400 easy f/s

Tommorow:

We have our fingers crossed that the sessions at 5.30am and 9.30am tomorrow morning (Wednesday) will still proceed as normal, but again, these may be cancelled at short notice if the lightening is still about. Generally speaking thunder is OK, so long as not accompanied by lightening. 

I will post a bulletin tomorrow morning at 5am on the Blog at http://swimsmoothperth.blogspot.com/ if the sessions will be cancelled, otherwise please assume they'll be on and please come along if you can - we have two great sessions lined up for you!!!

Cheers

Paul

P.S well done to some great results at the Busselton Ironman from members of the Swim Smooth squad on Sunday...full details to follow later this week, but massive congratulations to Janine Willis, Ron Sammut and Oystein Grande all of whom qualified for Hawaii 2012! Awesome - I'm in awe of you guys!



Thursday, December 1, 2011

Training this weekend

Dear Swimmers

Please be advised that the following sessions will still all be running as usual this weekend, despite the Ironman and the Swim Thru Rottnest being on (which can incidentally be entered here: http://www.swimthrurotto.com/):

  • Friday 5.30am, 6.30am, 9.30am
  • Saturday 1pm
  • Monday 7am, 9.30am

...Francene will be coaching the Saturday and Monday sessions whilst we take the weekend off down in Yallingup and the Ironman event.

Have a good one!

Paul



Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Top swim tips if you're racing at Ironman WA this weekend!



Dear Swimmers

I can't quite believe that this Sunday (4th December) marks the 8th annual Busselton Ironman. I was present at the 1st event in 2004 as a competitor but unfortunately didn't finish that year due to a big mistake with my nutrition and not trusting what I had done successfully week-in and week-out in the lead-up to the event. I haven't yet ventured back to Ironman but hope that I will one day especially as I feel that I've sorted my nutritional woes with the last three years of marathon swimming. Anyway, enough about me (!) what can you do to ensure a successful swim leg at this weekend's race? Here are my top 10 tips:

  1. Give yourself plenty of time in the morning. The PRO wave goes off at 5.30am and the Age-Group wave goes off at 5.45am so this is going to mean a pretty early start. I'd normally factor in getting up 3hrs before an event like this just to take your time over a light breakfast and to top-up on your fluids from over-night. Don't go crazy on the food and fluids as hopefully you'll have been steadily topping these up over the week and especially if you've tapered down for the event you'll have automatically started to store some additional carbs and fluid anyway. Listen to some tunes to get you pumped up, but it's a long day out there, so don't get too carried away! My personal favourite: 'I'm Not Afraid' by Eminem. Everyone normally panics that they won't be getting enough sleep when having to get up at ~2.30-3am, but the golden rule is to get a good night's sleep the night before the night before, i.e. Friday night to Saturday morning. Relax and enjoy your early start and think positively about what lies ahead.
  2. Not having a frantic start from Point # 1 will allow you time to get down to the transition area and spend an extra few minutes putting your wetsuit on properly - this can make a massive difference to how well you swim on the day. Check out my tips and short video here: http://www.swimsmooth.com/triathlon_adv.html (also including some more great open water swimming tips) - all too often we see people rushing to put on their suit on race morning only to then complain about it feeling tight and too restrictive around the shoulders leading to premature shoulder fatigue. As per the video, get a friend to shoe-horn you into the suit, but make sure they watch their nails! I personally now use Bepanthen baby rash cream around the collar of the wetsuit to prevent chaffing - it's less messy than vaseline and smells better than Bodyglide! It'd be well worth your while going for a quick swim in your wetsuit this week (even in the pool) just to test out the fit and feel and to experiment with some of the other ideas below. If you happen to be like last year's Ironman WA champion Kate Bevilaqua and find swimming in a wetsuit less enjoyable that without, you might like to check out this advice here: http://www.feelforthewater.com/2011/07/are-you-slower-in-wetsuit.html
  3. Head down to the start and check out the race course looking for the wind and current directions. You will swim around the Jetty keeping it to your left. The Jetty points to the NNW and the current forecast for Sunday morning is showing wind coming from the NE at anywhere between 14km/h and 31km/h (as per the forecast at http://www.weatherzone.com.au/wa/southwest/busselton) or 25km/h to 45km/h (as per the forecast at http://www.windguru.cz/int/index.php?sc=208628). This is a reasonably strong wind, but don't panic it could all change yet and even then, you can't do anything to change it! You need to remember that everyone will be in the same 'boat' as you - it's how you deal with it that counts. Because Geographe Bay curves around the Jetty (thus protecting it somewhat) a NE wind is not necessarily bad news, but given the very strong E wind we experienced at the Busselton Jetty swim earlier in the year, this did make for some challenging conditions out there, especially around the tip of the Jetty, forcing over 60% of the field to retire from that particular race. If the wind does kick up, you may find yourself needing to breathe a little more often to your LEFT on the outward leg and then more to the RIGHT on the homeward leg, thus breathing away from the wind and likely surface chop. You should still be able to breathe bilaterally (preferable as it will keep you straighter by being more symmetrical) but we've been practicing quite a bit of this single-sided breathing recently for this very reason. So remember, if you need to breathe to your non-dominant breathing side for extended periods, make sure the timing of your breathing to that side is good, as well as your rotation to that side. For more tips and visuals on this, see: http://www.feelforthewater.com/2011/11/checking-your-breathing-timing.html
  4. Remember that the Jetty itself is not perfectly straight and has a kink about a third of the way along. Depending on buoy placement and race organiser rules and restrictions, the shortest course on the outward leg is as per #1 on the map above, not hugging the Jetty itself. Equally, on the way back, you need to be very careful to ensure that you veer away from the Jetty at the kink and not hug the Jetty at this point (#2) as you will add extra distance as I mistakenly did at the Jetty Swim in February. Sighting is not as easy as previous years when heading for the Goose and the helter-skelter turrets, especially if it does get a little choppy. On the outward leg, you might find yourself getting pushed into the Jetty itself and on the return leg pushed away - watch out for this as it can be pretty frustrating! Keep your cool and use the marker buoys as per the race briefing to guide you.
  5. If it does get tough out there, make sure you've read this simple bit of advice for staying positive about things: http://www.feelforthewater.com/2011/11/switching-off-negative-voice-inside.html - you can deal with anything out there if you know what to do and how to handle yourself - if anything a lumpy swim makes for a little more excitement than a perfectly flat day anyway and it'll keep you focused on each and every stroke rather than thinking about how much further you've got to go. Remember, if you're moving you're making progress!
  6. Choppy and swelly conditions can also require an adjustment to your stroke technique which also benefits your shoulders in a long-sleeved wetsuit. A straighter arm recovery is often adopted by many of the world's best open water swimmers and triathletes in these conditions because it: A) helps to ensure you get clearance of the hand over the surface of the water - a high elbow / low hand recovery might look pretty and 'text book' in the pool, but there will be no style points awarded out there (especially if it's rough) so you need to ensure good momentum and to not be buffeted around too much; B) means you won't be fighting against the restrictive nature of the rubber suit around your shoulders - it's much more fatiguing in a wetsuit to try and maintain that high elbow recovery style which looks so classical in the pool; and C) can help to keep your stroke rate at a slightly higher level than normal to help power through the waves.
  7. Don't make the mistake of seeking out 'clear water'. So many times I hear people (even good swimmers) saying that they like to find some space once through the melée at the start of the event, but doing so effectively means you're swimming solo, or worse still with a gaggle of blood sucking Swingers on your toes! Drafting effectively can save you up to 38% of the energy expenditure when swimming by yourself and it's imperative that you maximise this advantage when you're out there. This is what we practice every Saturday in our 1pm session at Claremont Pool. We have some more tips on this and how it might affect your breathing patterns at http://www.feelforthewater.com/2011/01/when-not-to-breathe-bilaterally.html - no-one wants to get bashed around of course, but if done effectively, drafting well can either save you a lot of time or a lot of effort or both! You don't want to be the person who everyone else is drafting off - there are no 'hero' awards out there on the day - sit-in if you can, it's allowed!
  8. Follow the advice based on Dan Tarborsky's GPS data in 2010 to ensure you don't swim more distance than you have to out there: http://www.feelforthewater.com/2010/05/whats-easiest-way-to-take-ten-minutes.html and follow-up with these summary tips: http://www.feelforthewater.com/2010/05/swimming-faster-and-straighter-in-open.html
  9. Sometimes you just have to let that smooth stroke go!
  10. Most of all, enjoy yourself - you've put in the hard work, now get out there and have a great swim!

Hope this helps, feel free to share with your friends who might be racing as well!

Cheers

Paul


Monday, November 28, 2011

Eat Your Way to Rottnest Seminar 29th November at 6.30pm

For your information: http://www.rottnestchannelswim.com.au/content/eating-your-way-rottnest-presentation-29th-nov-2011 - well worth attending (RSVP to jhaines@iinet.net.au) especially if this will be your first Rottnest Channel Swim.

Cheers and have a great week!

Paul



Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Rottnest Stuff

Dear Swimmers

Well the ballots are done - who got in for the 2012 Rottnest Channel Swim? I know there are quite a few people from the squad who tried for teams and duos who unfortunately missed out - big shame!

If you're racing (solo, duo or team) drop me over a quick email titled "My Rotto Swim" with your team / duo name or your solo race number so we can keep everyone posted in the lead up to this great event and on the day.

Also, I realise that many people might still be searching for boats, skippers and paddlers still or equally you might be able to offer your own support for someone else? If so, please check out our specially created thread on the Swim Smooth forum at:


...just register for an account (free - top right of the web page under 'register') and start posting.

Our first swimmer seeking a boat and skipper is Mary-Anne Paton (reachable on macp@iinet.net.au) - can anyone help her out? If so please email Mary-Anne direct or post a note on the forum.

Thanks everyone - enjoy the heat!

Paul

P.S a friendly reminder to remember your PAYG payment cards at the squad swim sessions - it's very hard to keep track between the various coaches if you forget to bring them with you. Thanks in advance!




Friday, November 11, 2011

Woodwork

Dear Swimmers

Hope you all enjoyed the session this morning with the new beepers. If you used one for the first time this morning and haven't already given me feedback on them verbally, please do so - I would love to hear how you found them!

I think the session worked well this morning - the goal being three-fold: 

  1. To allow the leader of each lane be able to manually adjust the new beepers themselves and in doing so maintain the flow of the session nicely. Ordinarily we won't be changing pace as much as this on a Friday session but it did allow us to be much more precise with our pacing and hope you all found this to be beneficial. I could literally now say to the guys in the fast lane (for example) that their goal per 100m is 1'17":44 and we'd be able to set the beeper at 19:36 and be able to achieve this. Pretty cool. These smaller increments will really help you develop your threshold speed - the key determinant to how well you perform in an endurance event!
  2. To allow you to experience that pace whereby all of a sudden it starts get very hard and you start to struggle to hold the times, i.e. tipping over that threshold point.
  3. To have a bit of fun with a completely new session - the geek in me loved it, don't know about you?!

Obviously it was VERY busy this morning - every man and his or her dog seemed to come out of the woodwork! It's surprising as knowing how tough that session would be, I thought it might have actually scared a few people off - far from it! I think several factors were at play here: 1) it sounded like an exciting session and I hope it lived up to expectations; 2) people have just got their entries in for Rotto and so are all fired up; 3) people are petrified of the sharks at the moment (me especially!). 

It's interesting to note that on a wider scale that the Rottnest Channel Swim was 15% over-subscribed this year, the 2012 Busselton Half Ironman filled entirely within 2hrs of entries opening and demand for a whole variety of new sporting events is at an all-time high! This is great for sport in W.A, but as I said to the pool manager this morning, we need another 50m pool at Claremont to cope!! ;-)

I am a little concerned that the session this morning was a little too popular and that we started to spill over the 8 + 3 buffer per lane that we normally try to adhere to - one of the 5.30am lanes had 12 people in it. I have three solutions to this:

  1. Depending on how things go over the next fortnight we will re-issue the Session Sign-Up Form. We normally allocate 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 December 2011 and January / February 2012), 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.
  2. I am just investigating the potential of operating a third 7.30am to 8.30am session on a Friday morning. We tried this two years ago and for the summer period it worked very well indeed. Do please email me if this would work for you (detailing which of the 5.30am or 6.30am sessions you are currently attending). I'll let you know how we progress on this - there's a few changes I will need to make to my other bookings to accommodate this change.
  3. I am looking at bringing in the cavalry with an additional coach on pool deck with me at these busier sessions to help keep things running smoothly!

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.

LANE SWIMMING ETIQUETTE WITH SWIM SMOOTH PERTH:
  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 4 (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: http://www.feelforthewater.com/2010/03/sunk-without-good-torpedo.html - 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: http://www.feelforthewater.com/2010/07/poor-pace-awareness-and-how-yours-may.html
  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 swimmers...it might be early in the morning and we might all 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. Having said that, it was smiles all around this morning - well done!




Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A heads up for Friday!

Dear Swimmers

Hope you're having a fabulous week...whilst a little cooler I'm glad of the temporary respite from what looked like an early summer last week!

Notice for 9.30am swimmers: Sandy Burt will be covering the 9.30am sessions for me this Friday and next Wednesday and Friday whilst I take a small break to finish one of our exciting new Swim Smooth projects due on the 20th November. It'll be well worth it (guaranteed!) and I can't wait to share with you what that project actually is!! Exciting times.

This Friday:

Just a quick "heads up" about Friday's 5.30am and 6.30am "Fresh 'n' Fruity" sessions. Normally I'd keep it a surprise, but I need to let you know about this one because: a) it requires you to get a mental picture of how it all works prior to the session, b) we have some new technology to help us, which I'm going to show you how to self-adjust, c) it's quite an exciting concept and I just wanted to let you know about it!

This week, we'll be using the new beepers to maximum effect with a progressive set of 100m intervals which we're going to affectionately name "how low can you go?" 

The idea is that you do between 14 and 20 x 100m with ~20s rest between each one depending upon your lane, i.e. lane 1 = 14/15 x 100m, lane 2 = 16 x 100m, lane 3 = 18 x 100m and lane 4 = 20 x 100m. Nothing new there then. As opposed to being restricted to increments of 4" per 100m though, we'll actually just get 1" per 100m faster each interval.

We will start off at a very steady pace  (~10-15" per 100m slower than you'd normally do on a Friday) and as such the actual warm-up will be a little shorter than normal as the set in itself has a very gradual increase in pace. Be warned - this will feel very easy to start with!

Last week if you recall we did a similar small increment but in blocks of 3 or 4 x 100m at a time - this week will literally be 100m, rest, then 100m 1" faster, rest, then 100m 1" faster etc etc until you can't go any further! Sounds nice?! Well, today's 9.30am group actually really loved the challenge! I think you will too!

Starting times:

5.30am

  • Lane 4: 20 x 100m starting at 1'31" and finishing at 1'12"
  • Lane 3: 18 x 100m starting at 1'38" and finishing at 1'22"
  • Lane 2: 16 x 100m starting at 1'50" and finishing at 1'35"
  • Lane 1: 15 x 100m starting at 2'02" and finishing at 1'48"

6.30am

  • Lane 4: 20 x 100m starting at 1'36" and finishing at 1'17"
  • Lane 3: 18 x 100m starting at 1'44" and finishing at 1'28"
  • Lane 2: 16 x 100m starting at 1'54" and finishing at 1'39"
  • Lane 1: 14 x 100m starting at 2'05" and finishing at 1'52"

What if you can't make it to the end?

Firstly, whoever is leading has two strikes before they're "out", i.e. miss two consecutive intervals and we swap you with someone else in the lane. We do this until such time that no-one in your lane is able to lead and hit the times. This didn't happen this morning - it was tough but doable. That is what I am hoping for with you guys. If we can't make it, we then go back up the ramp by 4" per 100m and then re-start from this point down again until such time as all your 100s have been done.

The beepers & rest:

The leader of each lane is responsible for the beeper. Immediately after completing each interval, you will take the beeper from underneath your cap (please have one!) and use the LEFT arrow key on the beeper to reduce the interval by 0:25, i.e. 20:00 to 19:75, which equates to 1'20" down to 1'19" in this example. Each tap of the key is a decrease by 0:01 - hold the key down and it goes a little faster. You'll then put the beeper under the cap again and press the top button to reset the beeper at this new pace - you'll hear a single "BEEP" and that is your cue to set off - the beeper will now beep every time you should be at each 25m marker as normal. In practice this process takes about 10-15" and this forms your recovery period.

Those following the leader MUST maintain their gap of 5 seconds and NOT race to catch up and draft, otherwise you'll: a) be swimming faster than you need to; and b) be doing it too easy in the draft of the lead swimmer. Please be conscientious about this!

How hard will this set feel and why are we doing it?

The first 50% of this set will feel unusually easy for a Friday (phew!), the second half will gradually feel much faster than we're normally able to swim. All up, it'll be a great challenge and will demonstrate the benefit of being able to now be a little more precise with our pacings in the squad sessions. Ultimately, in future sets this will allow us to make more significant gains because the gap to the next "step up" can be as little as 0.04" per 100m as opposed to 4" per 100m. You'll probably appreciate that this has got me all geeked out and excited...you should be too - together we should be able to really develop our swim specific fitness this summer!!

The set is also designed to allow the leader of the lane get a little practice using the new beeper which will again speed up the flow of future sessions.

Great, can't wait for Friday!

Paul



Saturday, October 29, 2011

Photo from yesterday's CHOGM swim

Dear Swimmers

Thanks for coming down to Claremont Pool yesterday and supporting the squad session on a Public Holiday. For those of you present, here is the photo Adam took at the session - everyone's looking great!


See you on pool deck this afternoon (Saturday 29th) at 1pm if you can make it?

Cheers

Paul



Wednesday, October 26, 2011

OWS TRAINING WITH SHELLEY TAYLOR-SMITH


OWS TRAINING WITH SHELLEY TAYLOR-SMITH
ELIMINATE YOUR FEARS, BUILD CONFIDENCE AND IMPROVE YOUR SKILLS FOR UPCOMING TRIATHLON SEASON!!!!
  
OPTION ONE: 3 sessions for ironmen and accomplished triathletes
OWS Mastery Squad in Perth, Western Australia to help you prepare for the Busselton Ironman December for 2011 for accomplished to professional levels.
                                                                    
DATES:  Sunday 23rd & 30th October and 20th November 2011
VENUE: Sorrento SLSC, West Coast Highway, Sorrento
TIME: 8am start (ready on beach with wet suit on) & 9am finish
INVESTMENT: $36 SwimSmooth Members [click here to book now...]

OPTION TWO: OpenWaterTUESDAY Weekly Sesh with STS!
Welcome to the official head-start of the weekly Tuesday morning ocean swims to get in a skill-sharpening "dip" before your triathlon and/or OWS comp.

Goal: To help you make sense of open water swimming and sharpen your skills over the next several months. We'll hit this on Tuesday 8th November as the launch, then pick-up regular weekly Tuesday mornings.
*** This is not an absolute beginner workout. You must be able to swim 1km without stopping; approximately 2:30/100m speed; about 30min km speed or faster; 1-hour for a 70.3 swim; or
under 2 hours for an Ironman swim. Wetsuits strongly recommended.

DATES: 7 weeks beginning Tuesday 8th November – Tuesday 20th December 2011* (2012 season begins Tuesday 6th January 2012)
VENUE: Meet at Swan River, Matilda Bay, Carpark next to UWA Boatshed, Crawley
TIME: 6am in car park ready with wet suit at waist level
INVESTMENT: $99 SwimSmooth Members [click here to book now...]

For all your enquiries head to http://www.OpenWaterSwimmingMastery.com   or  Email Head Coach Shelley directly at headcoach@OpenWaterSwimmingMastery.com or call 0414 594 245

* please let Paul know by replying to this email if you plan to attend Shelley's Tuesday 6am OWS AND have a spot booked in our Tuesday 5.30am or 6.30am Claremont Pool squad session as I will then allocate your spot to someone else. Thanks.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Friday 28th October Squad List

Dear Swimmers

As mentioned last Friday, this Friday (28th October) sees a Public Holiday taking place for CHOGM. As such the Claremont Pool will only be opening from 7am to 6pm. This has reduced our squad availability to 5 lanes from 7-8am and 3 lanes from 9.30am to 10.30am. 

Last week I requested that if you sought to attend the one-off Friday 7am Fresh 'n' Fruity session that you be one of the first 40 people to email me back to highlight your interest. Incredibly these 40 spots were filled in less than 20 minutes. This was the fairest way I could see of doing this without over-crowding the lanes. I do apologise sincerely if you missed out, but here is the list with swimmer's names allocated per lane and in the order I anticipate you performing the main set:


If anyone cannot attend, please let me know asap so that I can offer your place to one of the reserve list swimmers.

If you have missed out and seek to attend the 9.30am session instead as a bit of a one-off (i.e. you don't normally attend that session) please email me with your interest and we'll aim to get you in for that one instead. The 7am session will be a Fresh 'n' Fruity Session and the 9.30am session will feature a few more drills and steady swimming for your reference.

I will have an additional coach with me for the 7am session and just to inform you that I'll be shooting off almost immediately thereafter for an 8.10am 1-2-1 session...otherwise I'd loved to have joined you guys for a relaxing coffee as some of you have suggested. Sorry.

Cheers

Paul

Friday, October 21, 2011

Public Holiday next Friday 28th October

Dear Swimmers

Hopefully you are aware (I wasn't!) that next Friday 28th October is a public holiday for the Queen's visit to Perth.

Because of this the Claremont Pool will not be opening until 7am next Friday.

This is a bit of a shame as given attendance over the last few Fridays it appears that everyone is getting into their Fresh 'n Fruity sessions!

However, with the kind assistance of Claremont Pool and not to let you down, we have negotiated a special 7-8am AND a 9.30 to 10.30am squad session at Claremont Pool.

The earlier session will feature the use of 5 lanes (!!) and as such I would like to invite the first 40 people to reply to this email to attend that session to come on down for a great little set. I'll get an additional coach in to assist.

Ordinarily we'd do a beach swim on a public holiday but given last week's tragic news I'm not keen on running a session back down at Cottesloe just yet!!

Hope that all makes sense and that you're still able to come down.

Cheers

Paul

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Thank you and Saturday

Dear Swimmers

Just a quick note to thank you all for your beautiful congratulatory email messages yesterday following the birth of little Isla Rose. I haven't had chance to reply to everyone (as there have been a huge number of lovely emails) but we have read all your messages and we are very grateful of your support.

As per last week, there still won't be any structured open water swim sessions this weekend (likely not again until the middle to end of November), though we will still be on at 1pm at the Claremont Pool for a wholly enjoyable open water skills session. There's been a great turn-out for this for the last few weeks and I'd encourage you to pop along if you can as this particular session really thrives on numbers for better facilitation and breadth of ability within the drafting exercises in particular.

Thanks and have a great end to your week. See some of you early tomorrow morning for the Friday Fresh & Fruity session.

Cheers

Paul



It's a girl!



Dear Swimmers

I'm very proud to be able to announce the birth of our new daughter "Isla Rose" today, Wednesday 19th October at 8.46am, weighing in at 7lbs9oz.

Michelle and Isla (pronounced "i-la") are both doing great and I'm the proudest and happiest Dad on the planet right now!


Isla's full name is Isla Rose Jacqueline Newsome. The "Rose" is after my grandmother and best friend who sadly past away in 2003 just after I first moved over to Perth - she would have been so proud of little Isla Rose; and "Jacqueline" is after Michelle's mother (of the same name) who is currently with us over from Canada and looking after Jackson and myself very nicely indeed (bang goes the diet!).

A quick thanks to Francene for covering my sessions for me this morning. I managed to get the 5.30am guys set off, but had to be away early on to get Mish to the hospital by 6.30am. So please don't blame Francene for the nasty little set this morning!

Despite getting several job offers to be a male nurse at the Osborne Park hospital (see photo below), I will see you all back on the pool deck on Friday morning, 5.30am sharp! ;-)

See you then!

Paul


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Interesting reads...

Dear Swimmers

Hope you are all well. Bit scary with all the going's on this week down at Cottesloe hey? Really feeling for the poor guy's family right now.

I've attached links for two interesting reads for you this week as part of your Rottnest Channel swim preparation. The first is from an article written by myself on the physical preparation required for a successful channel swim (i.e. the English Channel or Rottnest) and the second is one from Shelley Taylor-Smith about the mental preparations required for such an event. Both feature in this month's edition of http://www.h2openmagazine.com/ which I can highly recommend as a great resource and fun read as an open water swimmer. I hope you find them useful.



Cheers

Paul

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Thursday 6pm Sundowner!

Dear Team

I hope you've all had a great weekend. It's been a busy two weeks on the pool deck with the eight visiting coaches, who are all returning home tomorrow. We really hope that you enjoyed having them all here and would love to hear any feedback that you may have about the experience. 

These eight coaches will now go through an additional 50 hours recording of sessions with their own squads and individual clients over the next six months as well as some further specific coaching tasks before hopefully becoming officially certified Swim Smooth coaches. Given the incredible demand we have in Europe for what we do right now, hopefully this should really help supply this and aid these coaches with the growth of their respective programs. We really feel we have eight excellent candidates here and hope that you share our enthusiasm for this.

So, today marks the start of our 20 week Rottnest Channel Swim training program. If you're starting to prepare for this event, remember, 20 weeks is still a long time, so the tip for this week is do not go at this like a bull in a china shop but to think of this as a long, steady build-up. Don't forget you can check out our suggested development at:


...many people often get carried away at this stage and panic thinking that they must lay down some really long, hard sessions right away, though this approach is often met with early "burn-out", staleness and even injury. Take the next 2-3 weeks to gradually prepare your body for the demands ahead and use the adage "train to train, before training to race!"

To get you suitably pumped for the season ahead and to also celebrate the "Magnificent Seven" who battled the English Channel last month, you are invited to a 6pm Sundowner with Pizza this Thursday in Floreat, kindly hosted by Chris and Justine Murphy of lane 4 5.30am swimming fame. Full details here:


Please, please, please RSVP to jusmurph@iinet.net.au if you intend on coming. It's $10 per person (for some fantastic woodfired pizza) and BYO drinks. Hope you can join us! It'll be a lot of fun and your chance to ask the Channel swimmers about their experiences and pick up some valuable tips.

See you then!

Paul

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

2 for 1 offer on this Saturday's swim sessions!

Dear Swimmers

7.30am Saturday

Last Saturday's early morning swim session at Cottesloe Beach went very well with 19 swimmers in attendance. It was a beautiful morning and very flat. The water temperature was also good at ~18.5 degrees, especially for those in wetsuits.

This Saturday (8th October) we will run a similar session focused a little more on drafting - hope you can make it. Full details as per last week: http://swimsmoothperth.blogspot.com/2011/09/confirmations-please-for-saturday-ow.html - essentially:

  • meet at 7.15am for a 7.30am prompt start on the grass bank immediately adjacent to the north side of the Indianna Tea Rooms at Cottesloe Beach
  • 60 minutes
  • one tick on your PAYG card or $15 casual rate
  • wetsuits optional
  • please reply to this email with "I'm in for this Saturday's AM swim" if you can make it so we can make provisions for the right numbers

1.00pm Saturday

Also, we're back on this week with the Saturday 1-2pm squad session at the Claremont Pool. As usual this will be a fantastically fun swim session focused on open water skills in the pool. This week we will be inviting some of the coaches training with us here to actually jump in the pool for this session to boost numbers and to allow us to really focus on some fun open water techniques. If you've never tried this one before, now's the time to try! 

I know you'll really enjoy it and hope you can make it, and to boost your interest...

Special Offer this Week Only: Attend both the 7.30am and 1pm session and pay for just one!

Cheers

Paul



Friday, September 30, 2011

Looking like an easterly, so...

...we'll be down at Cottesloe Beach in the morning, meeting at 715am for a 730am start. Hope you can make it!

Paul

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Confirmations please for Saturday OW session



Dear Swimmers

Saturday Afternoon Squad Swim:

Owing to the running of the AFL Grand Final this Saturday, please note that the normal Saturday 1-2pm squad session at Claremont Pool will be CANCELLED. Numbers were low at last week's session and so we've decided to cancel this week's session with the view that they'll be lower still. Apologies for any inconvenience - I guess I should get more into the whole AFL thing myself!! Here's my opportunity, hey?!

Given that the 8 Swim Smooth Coaches are over from the UK / S.A and Czech Republic at the moment, we are really hoping to run a stellar (and popular) 1-2pm squad session next Saturday 8th October, to really showcase what this session is about. This particular session always operates well with good numbers (for drafting exercises and the like), so hopefully we'll see a few of you down here for that one.

Saturday Morning Open Water Swim:

Rather than leave you without a swim session at all though this Saturday, we will be offering the first in a 2 part series down at Cottesloe Beach in the ocean. We will meet on the grass bank in front of the pylon immediately to the north-side of the Indianna Tea Rooms at 7.15am for a 7.30am (prompt start). The ocean is a lovely 18 degrees at the moment and is very pleasant with no stingers. Many of you will wish to wear a wetsuit though unless you're a little chunky around the edges (like me!) or just fancy a really invigorating swim!!

We will be doing a small amount of beach running during the 60 minutes session and will go through some open water skills exercises like sighting, drafting and turning. It will be a huge amount of fun as always.

Cost is just one tick off your PAYG card or $15 for casuals. If you could please reply to this email with "I'm in for a beach swim" that'll help give us an idea of numbers.

Finally, in the event of inclement weather (i.e. very rough conditions) we'll move the swim from Point A (Cottesloe) to Point B (Claremont Jetty, off Jetty Road) on the map above. This is my new favourite swimming venue, but it is likely to be a touch colder. 

To be informed of this change if it occurs, please look directly at the blog at http://swimsmoothperth.blogspot.com/ and I will post a confirmation at 6.00am on Saturday morning.

Cheers and hope to see some of you then.

Paul

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Please welcome our 8 International Coaches this fortnight!

Dear Swimmers

Hope you've had a great weekend. It turned out to be a lot better than expected on the weather front! I had my first cycle ride in 18 months on Saturday with a few of the guys and girls from the squad (thanks for inviting me!) which was just great.

OK, so as you know, over the next 2 weeks we will have an additional 8 coaches on the pool deck at every session. With myself and Adam also present this will make for a rather amazing coach:athlete ratio so I'm hoping that you'll really all benefit from having them here! They've all now arrived from their respective countries and will be undergoing 2 weeks of further coach training with us with the view to becoming our first officially accredited Swim Smooth Coaches outside of Perth. We're really very excited about this. All 8 coaches have sat our compulsory 3-day Coach Education Course in the UK and have been selected from the 48 coaches whom have now sat this course. In this first week the coaches will be taking very much an observatory role on the pool deck to see how we run things here in Perth, but in week 2 you will see a lot more involvement in the sessions. All the coaches will be keen to liaise with you and assist with stroke correction as well as help with times and words of encouragement etc at the various sessions. 

Having additional coaches on the pool deck in this capacity is great from the increased input you will receive over these two weeks, though we will also ensure that their input does not affect the general flow of the various sessions such that you still receive a great workout as normal. In this respect, I will personally still be the Head Coach at all sessions and will run them entirely as normal, albeit with a lot of additional assistance! We know you're going to enjoy it and there's going to be no better way to kick-start your summer campaign than this!

As a brief introduction to each of the coaches, here is a quick bio of each of them taken from our introductory session this evening:

  • Fiona Ford is a BTF (British Triathlon Federation) Level 3 coach (as high as you can take the accreditation system in the UK) and has been coaching full-time for 2 years now and part-time since 2006. Fiona won her Age Group at both the World Triathlon and Aquathlon Championships in 2006, has 7 Ironman Top-10 finishes (overall) and has a PB of 9h54 over this distance. She is a brilliant athlete, but has the admirable quality of being able to communicate her experience with athletes of all levels. Fiona is based in London, UK and runs a coaching company http://www.triathloneurope.com/ which specialises in world class training camps in the French Alps and personalised coaching / bespoke triathlon training programs and swim squad training sessions in London.
  • Gabriela (Gabby) Fetterova is a former national swimming champion from Prague in the Czech Republic and is currently building her own swim coaching program in Prague where she hopes to specialise in video analysis and stroke correction. She will be the first coach in the Czech Republic to formally use the Swim Smooth model and she says she's very excited to visit such a beautiful place as Perth to develop her http://www.swim-coach.cz/o_mne program even further. Gabby says Australia is her dream holiday and swim coaching is her dream job and that she looks forward to chatting with you all on pool deck these next 2 weeks.
  • Craig Maltby is passionate about swimming, especially open water swimming. Craig runs his Langebaan Swim School in South Africa and has access to some great open water  venues and lagoons close by. Craig also runs open water events and races and has noticed a substantial increase in the uptake of interest in these events over the last few years. In July 2012 Craig will swim the Robben Island swim (http://www.capeswim.com/robbenisland.htm) which appears to be a similar event to our own Rottnest Channel Swim. Having seen Craig swim, we know he'll do very well! Craig says that he believes Swim Smooth has been incredibly successful and focused on getting people "out there" and looks forward to this opportunity to learn more from us whilst here and meet those of you who swim within the various squads.
  • Steve Casson is the BTF East Midlands Regional Academy Head Coach which selects and develops 14-18 year old athletes with the potential to progress through to the World Class Podium Squad. Steve runs his own successful coaching company as well called http://www.cassonz.com/ and works with adults from novice through to Age Group champions from short course to Ironman distance. Steve is also a full-time triathlon coach, based in Northampton, UK. Having worked with Steve in Loughborough last November, we're very confident that you're going to get a lot from speaking with Steve about your swimming at the squad sessions.
  • Leigh Archer has been involved in triathlon now for 25 years and loves it as much now as when he first took up the sport. He runs http://www.triathlonspecific.com/ and specialises in the Retül bike fit system as well as being the UK distributor for Sable goggles. These are my own personal preference in goggles and I have to say they are fantastic from a fit and anti-fog perspective and were what I used when I swam the Channel. Leigh has an enviable record as a coach and was British Triathlon National Performance Development Coach Of The Year for 2010. He now wants to build his own elite squad and sessions in Loughborough, UK with a focus on stroke correction, whilst all the while sticking to his mantra of "it's all about the FUN!"
  • Steve Bailey is based in Salisbury in the UK and has attended both our 3-day Coaches Course and also several other of our 1-day Swim Smooth Clinics around the UK to further his experience with the Swim Smooth program. He's been coaching swimming for 20 years and has three children all of whom are very strong swimmers. Steve is very keen to also help guide those new swimmers in the UK seeking to get into the longer distance open water events as well as for triathlon. Steve has done a lot of video work with swimmers in the last few years and wants to now develop a successful swim squad in his local area along the lines of what we do here in Perth. He's a great guy and someone whom we believe has a great future ahead of him as he looks to pursue more of a full-time swim coaching role.
  • Martin Hill is also a BTF Level 3 coach and is based down in Yeovil, Somerset in the UK. Martin has developed his own brand of swimming paddles http://www.completefitnesscoaching.co.uk/pages/Introducing-The-New-Palm-Paddle.html which work on the need to develop a more propulsive catch and feel for the water. We love them! He works with a range of swimmers from novice to "masters" and is looking to develop a larger, more dedicated swim squad over the next six to 12 months. Martin is a very competent swimmer himself and looks forward to meeting you all here in Perth.
  • Julian Nagi is a very experienced Level 3 triathlon coach who has coached over 100 athletes to Ironman success, from first-timers to Hawaii Ironman finishers. He specialises in Ironman coaching, open water swimming and in-depth stroke correction and analysis. He is a British Gas Swimming Ambassador / Coach in partnership with British Swimming and runs his successful coaching program from the lovely Park Club in London. Julian's http://www.firstironmancoaching.com/FIC/first_ironman_coaching.html program inspires his athletes to love swimming and not see it as a necessary evil (which many triathletes do). I personally met Julian back in July 2005 when I was first establishing the Swim Smooth brand in the UK and we have remained in close contact ever since, utilising his club's venue for several coaching clinics over the years.

Cheers

Paul

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

You're probably over it all now, but...

I'll be on ABC radio with Glyn Greensmith tomorrow morning (Wednesday 21st September) at 4.35am summarizing our Channel Dare "crusade" and speaking about what it was like doing the swim and how we are now all feeling being back in Perth etc.

There will no doubt be a recording put up online a few days later for those who wish to listen but are pained by the early start!

I'm sure it'll be motivating listening though for those of you swimming at tomorrow's 5.30am session which I'll be back to coach. I'm really excited to be back coaching this session again as it is definitely my favorite of the week (after Saturday of course!).

See you then!

Cheers

Paul

Monday, September 19, 2011

They both made it!

Well, both Andrew Hunt and Paul Downie successfully crossed the English Channel in fine form on Thursday 15th September making the hit ratio for the Channel Dare team 6 from 7. Given that the historic success rate for swimming the English Channel hovers around just 10%, I'd say we've done pretty well! Don't forget as well Wayne's heroic efforts at the start of August curtailed first by terrible weather and then by a shoulder injury sustained during his first attempt...totally out of his control. All-in-all, its been a very successful couple of months over in Dover, UK.

Andrew Hunt is currently taking a week out with his family enjoying the culinary delights of France. Andrew successfully crossed the Channel in 13h54m despite being swept past Cap Griz Nez with the powerful Spring Tide on his first approach. We are currently awaiting Andrew's report and photos and will report back with these later this week.

Paul Downie hit France in a brilliant time of 12h39m. Paul's report (which does much better than I can do here to sum it up) can be found at http://www.channeldare.com/?p=1042 - there's also some great photos and video clips there to view as well. A classic quote from Paul's report goes:

"As much as possible, I had tried to make the preparation and planning cause as little impact as possible on my family, friends, colleagues and workplace but that didn't really happen. It is something that consumes you, manifests in your brain and becomes a defining point in your life at that time.

But I couldn't have possibly prepared for the elation I am experiencing now. I feel I have slayed the dragon. I doubt I will ever do it again but I have loved the journey and I think have benefited enormously from the experience."

Paul is normally quite an exuberant chap, always full of life, but to hear his voice after that swim was something else - he literally was on top of the world, and rightly so!

Well done guys, you did great! 

In total I believe we've now raised over $60,000 for Breast Cancer Care WA, so thanks very much for all your support and donations for this very worthy cause. It's not too late to still contribute though. To do so, please visit: https://www.mycause.com.au/donationt.php?fpid=18666 

Cheers

Paul

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Open Water Swim Sessions and The Rottnest Channel Swim Program

NEWSFLASH!!! Both Paul Downie and Andrew Hunt have successfully made it across to France in about 13h30 (TBC) - watch this space for the latest news! Incredible effort. Well done guys - I am so proud of you both!

Dear Swimmers

I'm writing this update mid-air, somewhere over the Indian Ocean. Currently Paul Downie and Andrew Hunt are swimming the English Channel and despite hoping that I would have phone access on the Emirates flight to check how they're going (the A380 has a special "air waves" function that allows you to call any mobile anywhere in the world for $5 per minute), alas, it doesn't work! Technology hey...?!

Open Water Sessions:

Anyway, on Saturday 1st October and Saturday 8th October, we shall be running two special open water swim sessions to help kick-start your triathlon and open water racing season. We will have the 8 coaches out from the UK who will be helping run these sessions and they're guaranteed to be a lot of fun. The focus will be on open water specific skills such as drafting, sighting and turning and will feature a few fun relays as well to get the heart pumping! The sessions will meet at 7.15am for a 7.30am (prompt) start and will be at Cottesloe Beach. In the event of inclement weather, we shall move the sessions down to my new favourite open water swimming venue down at Claremont Jetty on the Swan River - it really is great for this type of work. I'll keep you posted. Cost is just one tick off your session card (or $15 casual) and will run for 60 minutes. I really hope quite a few of you can make these two excellent sessions. Depending on the popularity, we'll look at the feasibility of a more regular open water session for the schedule.

The Rottnest Channel Swim Program 2011/12:

Last year we had an amazing number of the squad compete at the Rottnest Channel Swim with some 34 Solos, a couple of dozen Duos and a gaggle of Teams. This year, we're hoping to make it even bigger and better and to look within our own resources to start pairing people up for Duos, creating some in-house Teams and helping the new Soloists find willing and able support crews and boats. Hopefully all the English Channel swims recently have been enough to inspire a bit of an urge to give this sort of an event a go...now we just need to cultivate that.

I'd love to get an official confirmation from everyone in the squad who will be competing as a Solo, Duo or Team and preferably your Team / Duo name if you already know it? Please flick your details through to me, i.e. Joe Bloggs, Team, "The Crazy Swingers" etc and I'll start keeping a record. Also, let me know if you wish to be added to the specific Rottnest Program email list which will essentially keep you posted with detailed session plans for Saturday and Sunday's long sessions.

The new program template for 2011/12 can be downloaded here:


As you're looking at the program, it is broken down week by week starting from Monday 10th October and running for a period of 20 weeks up to the event. The weeks are grouped into phases, e.g. Establish Consistency, Threshold Development etc with an easier Recovery week sandwiched between these phases where volume is reduced.

I have given my recommendation with respect to how many sessions you should be doing per week and also the recommended volume  of training per week in kilometres depending on whether you are doing a Team, Duo or Solo. The funny "+" signs are predominantly for the Duo and Solo swimmers, showing them when I'd recommend they do a double-up 2hr session on a Tuesday and/or Friday, subject to lane space availability. This is purely a recommendation, doubtless you could complete the Rottnest Channel Swim on less volume than this, or you may decide that you want to do more - the key though (whatever you do) is for your training program to be consistent and avoid sudden massive jumps in volume especially at the start of your program.

We are going to target 4 key Open Water Races in the lead-up to the "Big One" (5 if you include the Rottnest Swim Thru) - again these are recommendations and as each of these races has a different set of distances, I've given my recommendations for which distance you should attempt based on which category you are racing on the big day.

All but the Green highlighted weekend sessions will be un-coached / un-supervised. I will however, often join you at some of these sessions as a swimmer myself, depending on how things pan out with the new arrival of our baby at the end of October. Each week, I'll send out a suggested session for either the Saturday or Sunday session via email to the specific Rottnest Channel Swim email group. I will recommend when / where to meet for this, but sometimes you might be on your own here or actually choose to do these by yourself anyway. As an endurance swim like Rottnest is as much a mental challenge as it is physical, training by yourself (so long as you're safe of course) every now and again is not a bad thing to get used to the seclusion that the watery environment presents.

On that note, the Saturday sessions will be structured as such:

  • Weeks 1 to 3 = pool based
  • Weeks 4 to 6 = start in the pool and finish with 2km in the ocean / river
  • Weeks 9 to 11 = start in the pool and finish with 4km in the ocean / river
  • Weeks 12 to 19 = all in the ocean / river, apart from Week 15 which will be our super-special 12km Rotto Pool Set

Right, just 3 weeks to go then until we officially start, in the meantime, pop down to the squad and get your arms turning over ready for what promises to be an excellent summer of swimming!

Cheers

Paul