Monday, January 31, 2011

Rottnest Training and Charity event this Thursday

Dear Swimmers

Well, we braved what was left of the "cyclone" then hey?! More drizzle than bang I say! I was worried about my roof though it has to be said! ;-)

I thought I'd share with you our 12km pool swim at Challenge Stadium yesterday for those of you interested...maybe one to file away for when you do your own Rottnest solo swim next year or down the line...

But first, Emma, Marie-Therese, Georgie and Chris will be swimming across to Rottnest as a Team on the 26th February, or at least they will be if we can secure them a boat as theirs has pulled out right at the last minute! If anyone at all has any contacts and can help out these fellow squad members, please contact Emma on - Emma's team will be raising money for Beyond Blue after her close friend lost her battle with depression. They have a fund raising page up at and are also organising a $20 movie ticket entry (inc. snack voucher) to see the awesome film "The King's Speech" with Colin Firth at the Windsor Cinema on Stirling Highway this Thursday if you fancy it.

OK, so here's the set - not a bad way to spend 3.5hrs in a pool!

The Rules:

  1. Aim to bring down your race nutrition as you would have done for the Rehearsal Swim. This will stay on the pool deck and what we'll do is aim to feed / drink only once every 1-1.2k during the set (you wouldn't do more than this in the actual race). When you do feed / drink we'll have a blanket rule that you must NOT hold onto the walls or ropes (even when accessing your bits and pieces) and that you should tread water as per the race and also get down what needs to be consumed quickly. Might be an idea to bring a small esky or cool bag for this so we're not cluttering up the pool deck too much!
  2. Wear what you plan to wear for the Rotto swim - see how you get on with chaffing etc on a longer set in the pool. Try the Bepanthan creme as suggested yesterday for thsoe with Blue Seventy suits.
  3. Aim to draft as minimally as possible (if at all). It might be that the pool turns out to be quite busy and if this makes drafting unavoidable to some extent, let's mix the leaders around a bit tomorrow...
  4. Get your race "head" on and prepare for tomorrow's session like you would have done for the race, i.e. good breakfast, organised etc.
  5. No pull bouys / fins etc unless expressly used as part of the program...none!

The Session:

  • Short 10 mins stretch and loosen-up on pool deck as soon as they let us in and once we are suited and booted. Similar to a Wednesday morning. Don't use this as an excuse to show up late please! Please bring an old, fairly loose-fitting t-shirt with you as well.

  1. "The Steady Start" - very easy to go off too quick on the Big Day. This can wreck your race (trust me!). 1000m at "Rotto Pace" - suggestion being 1'26" to 1'28" for the fast crew, 1'32" to 1'36" for Lane 2 and 1'40" to 1'48" for lane 3. In the final 200m, let's do some head-up sighting every 6-8 strokes or so as though you were looking for your paddler. Drink Stop # 1 - 250ml gatorade or similar. Total = 1,000m.
  2. "The Focus on Form" - normally we don't do any fins / pull bouy work on a Saturday long session, but today, we'll do this short set where we have a bit of focus on some specific drills to make sure our strokes hold together well for the session. 5 x 200m + 15s rest: 1-3 = fins (up drill, down f/s as 1) 6/1/6, 2) Broken Arrow, 3) Shoulder Tap); 4 & 5 = pull bouy and paddles (preferably the pointy Finis ones to focus on good hand entry and alignment with no cross over!). Fuel Stop # 1 - small gel and a swig of water to wash it down. Total = 2,000m.
  3. "Find Your Rhythm" - after that first 2.0km let's get down to a good bit of rhythm in the stroke...we'll now do a continuous 3.0km swim at the same pace as the warm-up but stopping momentarily at the 1500m mark for Drink Stop # 2 - 250ml gatorade or similar. Total = 5,000m.
  4. "The Gage Roads Push" - after halfway into the Channel Swim you'll hit Gage Roads which is notoriously a bit choppier, colder and deeper than the rest of the swim. Often this is when your team will ask you to knuckle down a bit and push through. To this end we'll do: 5 x 400m at Rotto Pace less 2" per 100m (i.e. 1'24" / 1'32" / 1'44") with one beep recovery between each set (i.e. 21", 23" or 26"). In number 3 & 5 we'll aim to swim eyes-closed, only opening them to sight forward as though in the race - try to keep straight!! Fuel Stop # 2 - small gel and a swig of water to wash it down (no feeding / drinking during the 5 x 400m please!). We'll then do 4 x 50m bands only with 15s rest between each one, really focus on lifting your stroke rate as though swimming in quite rough waters. Finally, another 5 x 400m (this is the toughie of the whole session) at Rotto Pace less 4-6" per 100m (i.e. 1'20" / 1'28" / 1'40") - it'd be worth swapping the lead around here a little bit. 1 beep recovery unless you're really struggling and drop down to 2 beeps if necessary. Toughen Up Princess! Drink Stop # 3 - 250ml gatorade or similar. Total = 9,200m.
  5. "I Can See Land!" - lift your head at about 14km into the real swim and you'll feel like you're nearly there! A wave of euphoria often hits at this point but soon passes when you realise that there's still a good 1.5-2hrs of swimming left to go! Let's go with the euphoria here and take a steady 800m swim with the pull buoy at Rotto Pace from the warm-up. Ahh, bliss! Total = 10,000m.
  6. "Concrete Arms" - I thought we were nearly there! Oh no, not quite! Pop your t-shirt on now...forget any semblance or focus on speed and let's knock out a 1000m swim with your t-shirt flapping around creating drag. Be careful here if you've had some shoulder issues and maybe do pull buoy & bands instead. Think rhythm the whole time - one stroke at a time: to coin a phrase from Finding Nemo - "Just Keep Swimming! Just Keep Swimming!" Fuel Stop # 3 - small gel and a swig of water to wash it down. Total = 11,000m. 
  7. "The Focus on Form Part 2" - for those of you who haven't swum to Rotto before, you often find yourself subtly adjusting your stroke to accommodate your tiring shoulders etc. Let's do this penultimate set as a copy of set # 2 but just as 5 x 100 instead and make sure we still have that focus on technique. Drink Stop # 4 - 250ml gatorade or similar. Total = 11,500m. 
  8. "The Finishing Chute" - OK, we are literally there now...500m down the finishing chute to the finish. Swim this however you feel after such a long set, but with one goal - visualise yourself actually swimming down the chute on the 26th February. Nice job!

This all breaks down into short hand for your printing ease as:

  1. 1000m warm-up at Rotto Pace, e.g. 1'26" - 1'28" for the fast crew, 1'32" to 1'36" for Lane 2 and 1'40" to 1'48" for lane 3. Last 200m some head-up sighting. Drink Stop # 1 - 250ml gatorade or similar. Total = 1,000m.
  2. 5 x 200m + 15s rest: 1-3 = fins (up drill, down f/s as 1) 6/1/6, 2) Broken Arrow, 3) Shoulder Tap); 4 & 5 = pull bouy and paddles. Fuel Stop # 1 - small gel and a swig of water to wash it down. Total = 2,000m.
  3. 3.0km swim at the same pace as the warm-up but stopping momentarily at the 1500m mark for Drink Stop # 2 - 250ml gatorade or similar. Total = 5,000m.
  4. 5 x 400m with 1 beep recovery at Rotto Pace -2" per 100m with # 3 & 5 eyes closed & head-up sighting. 4 x 50m bands only increased stroke rate + 15s rest. 5 x 400m at Rotto Pace -4-6s per 100m with 1 or 2 beeps recovery. Fuel Stop # 2 (after 5 x 400m) - small gel and a swig of water to wash it down & Drink Stop # 3 (after the last 400m of the second set) - 250ml gatorade or similar. Total = 9,200m.
  5. 800m steady swim at Rotto Pace with pull buoy. Total = 10,000m.
  6. 1000m wet t-shirt competition (!). Struggle through. Fuel Stop # 3 - small gel and a swig of water to wash it down. Total = 11,000m. 
  7. 5 x 100m as a repeat of Set # 2. Drink Stop # 4 - 250ml gatorade or similar. Total = 11,500m. 
  8. 500m whatever you have left focusing on swimming down the finish chute at Thomson's Bay. Total = 12,000m.

Kind regards


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

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

This weekend...

Dear Swimmers

Please be advised that we have the following swim training options available this weekend:

  • Saturday 7am - open water swim session down to North Cott and Back (1.6km). The solo swimmers are using this as a loosener before the Rotto Rehearsal on Sunday, but the more the merrier. It's a short one but for those of you who have been seeking a bit of open water practice, why not pop your wetsuit on and come and try to draft off these faster guys and girls? Will be good fun. Coffee at Daisies afterwards - yum!
  • Saturday 1pm - squad swim session at Claremont Pool. We had an awesome session last week (my favourite session in quite some time it has to be said - I love cracking my proverbial whip at this session!) so please try and come along this week. It's not as hard as you might think but will teach you some really useful openwater skills such as sighting, drafting and turning.
  • Sunday 8am - Rottnest Rehearsal Swim (10km) up at Sorrento Beach, though there are also 2.5km and 5.0km events too - enter here:

Hope to see some of you this weekend or in the morning at Scarborough Beach! (P.S Sessions as normal this Friday).



Friday, January 21, 2011

Australia Day Training

Dear Swimmers

Please be advised that Claremont Pool will not open until 7am on Wednesday 26th January (Australia Day) and as such I am proposing that as many of us as possible have a little dabble in the 2.0km swim down at Scarborough Beach. You can enter that here: - looks like a blast!

There will also be no swimming at 9.30am at Claremont Pool for the Time-4-Me session either due to the Public Holiday and (fingers crossed) as I'm hopefully receiving my Australian Citizenship on this day (TBC!). But please, if there's only one open water swim that we all do together, let's try to make it this one - I'll arrange a special warm-up stretch for us all down by the registration area on the beach at 7.20am prior to the briefing at 7.45am and 8am start.

Rottnest Solo swimmers, don't forget that the Rottnest Rehearsal swim needs entering before this coming Monday - newbies must race at this 10km event on Sunday 30th January as a qualifier for the actual Rottnest Channel Swim. Enter that here:

Have a great weekend!


P.S Very quick reminder and apologies about the super-busy lanes this morning (Friday 21st January) - please let me know via email or text if you wish to swim in these sessions if your name is not down on the official list here: - if you think it should be and it's not down, please let me know to help me amend the records and help keep the sessions running smoothly at this busy time of year. Your support and understanding this morning was much appreciated and I hope you all enjoyed the tough little cookie of a session!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Old wives tale?

Dear Swimmers

Hope you're all having a fantastic week. I'm trying to keep cool on the pool deck, but this humidity is killing my soft pommie skin! ;-)

Anyway, this weekend we have the Annual Swim Thru Perth on Sunday. Full details are here: There is a 1.6km swim and a 4km swim from Barrack Street to Matilda Bay. For those keen on trying this event, on Saturday we will have a very specific squad swim session at 1pm in the pool at Claremont Pool working on developing your drafting and sighting capabilities because if you're going to swim off course, this be the event to do it! Come down even if you aren't racing.

Quick old wives tale then for those of you who are concerned about swimming in the "dirty" Swan River. Many of the UK triathlon events that I've raced in in the past have been held in rivers and lakes and if you think the Swan is dirty, try swimming in the Albert Docks in Liverpool! Anyway, many of these events are sponsored by either Coca Cola or Pepsi. I've grown up with the theory that if you drink a can of coke immediately after swimming in these waters that the acidity and chemicals of the coke are enough to kill any bacteria that you might have ingested. Old wives tale? Maybe, but I'll certainly be using this method again this weekend - there'll no doubt be a big smelly egg on my face if I get sick next week! ;-)

Lastly, does anyone need a 4th swimmer for the Rottnest Swim as part of a Team. I have someone very keen and eager who wants to swim if you need an emergency replacement. Let me know my returning this email.

Thanks and hope to see you on Saturday at 1pm if you can make it!


Thursday, January 13, 2011

A really good article for those of you swimming to Rottnest this year...

Hi Everyone,

Hope you've had a good week and are looking forward to a great weekend. This Saturday there is the 2km and 5km swim events down at Scarborough Beach. You can enter that here:

Here's a really great article about coping with endurance training and racing from a physical and mental perspective which I though those of you doing the Rottnest Swim this year might really enjoy. It's written by my former lecturer and physiologist in the UK, Dr. Greg Whyte, who coached the Little Britain comedian David Walliams to cross the English Channel for charity a few years ago. Greg very kindly came and spoke to our group of prospective English Channel swimmers last March whilst over in Perth for a quick lecture series at UWA. He's a fountain of knowledge and his "IF-THEN" mental strategies as described in the article are simply brilliant.

P.S Training will be on on Saturday at 1pm at the Claremont Pool on Davies Road - really hope to see some more of you down there!


Thursday, January 6, 2011

This Weekend and some words of encouragement...

Dear Crew

Hope you have all had a great start to the New Year and for those of you back at work hopefully it's not been too much of a struggle! 

Speaking of which, I was talking with the Wednesday 5.30am crew the other morning (who are predominantly doing the Rottnest Solo / Duo swim or Half / Full Ironman) about the "ups and downs" of training for an endurance event and thought it might be worth bringing this conversation up on the Blog too. Sometimes we get bogged down when we feel that we're going through a bad patch and it's very easy to tell yourself that this struggle isn't worth it, especially when you're tired and potentially a little grumpy. But it is. Have read of this article I wrote for the old Team Core site a couple of years ago: for those of you maybe feeling a little like this right now. 

Case in point - last Sunday I raced the 5km open water swim at Leighton Beach and had probably one of my best races ever, finishing 12th in a time of 1h05' - I was ecstatic and on a massive high all day. Then came Monday morning...a 3km swim down at City Beach at 5.30am - urgh! I could hardly even turn my arms over let alone keep up! I was hoping for better when I trained by myself on Tuesday afternoon, but again, the same thing...lethargy and heavy arms feeling like I'm swimming through treacle, totally unable to hit my target times which I'd been able to do easily last week and even able to hold a faster pace for the entire 5km race on Sunday. What gives? I'm not sick and am generally feeling good, it's just simply that Sunday probably took a lot out of me and as a consequence this week training has been really tough, but you get that. The key is to not get too overwhelmed by this sensation of fatigue and under achieving and always focus on the next session - today's being much better if still not great. 

As a young junior in the UK racing as part of the British elite triathlon team, I freely admit that I had my fair share of "ups and downs" and would often focus unfortunately on those down times more than the ups. This is not good. As a coach you feel that it is your duty to teach and share things with your swimmers, but I truly believe that I learn as much from watching you guys train and race as you do hopefully from me coaching you. A prime example of this would be Emmy Poulson who swims with the squad and in 2009 bettered her 2008 Rottnest Solo swim time by over 3 hours! Amazing stuff. A similar story with Suzanne Narbey last year who attempted the race for the first time and had a stellar performance. What I learnt from observing both Emmy and Suzanne was that they were always upbeat and general "even keel" taking every session in their stride and then getting on with the job on race day. No one particular session will make or break your Rottnest swim aspirations, but a consistent "steady away" approach to your training will pay massive dividends come race day. 

So, onto this weekend then:

On Saturday there is the Cottesloe Classic Mile swim at 8am. For those doing this event, a small group of us will be meeting on the grass bank in front of the pylon to start in the water at 6.45am for a quick warm-up swim. You are more than welcome to join us.

We also have the 1pm squad swim at Claremont Pool on Saturday afternoon. We've missed the last two Saturdays with Christmas and the New Year so am hoping to see a good number of you down there on Saturday for an awesome, fun session focused on developing those open water swim skills!

And finally:

Bit of a plug here, but over the last two years, myself and Adam have been working to produce our latest Swim Smooth DVD entitled "Catch Masterclass" which shows you how to develop and refine your feel for the water and ensure you generate good propulsion within your stroke. It's all filmed with our awesome HI-DEF filming rig at Challenge Stadium and features legendary local swimmers Jono Van Hazel (Athen's Olympian and son of Guy and Annette who train at 6.30am), Shelley Taylor-Smith (your coach whilst I was away in November and 7-times World Marathon Swimming Champion with arguably one of the best catch and pull-throughs in the business!) and recently retired Melissa Benson (Australian representative swimmer for 5 and 10km events and who has a PB of 59 minutes for 5km!!).

The DVD went on sale on New Year's Eve and has had a tremendous response so far - poor Linda is holed-up in North Wales desperately getting the DVDs out to swimmers and triathletes all around the globe as we speak!

You can see a nice trailer for the new DVD at - maybe worth a gift for that important swimmer in your life or as a treat to kick-start your New Year!



Monday, January 3, 2011

Sweat Study Volunteers Needed!


Curtin University is seeking volunteers to be involved in a research study investigating the effect of exercise intensity on sweat rate and sweat sodium loss.

If you are male, training at least 10 hours per week and willing to come into Curtin on 3 separate occasions (for ~1 hour each) between January 10th - 23rd, please email your interest.

Each athlete involved will receive a copy of their sweat composition, an AIS cookbook and be in the running to win a $200 Runners World gift voucher.

Please email to receive more information.