** NB. Swimmers, please be aware that I will be away from the squad from Thursday 28th July to Friday 12th August (last session being Wednesday 27th and first back Saturday 13th August).
I am heading over to St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada for my brother-in-law's wedding and some cold water swimming (!!) prior to my own English Channel attempt on the 5th September. I'll be back in Perth for 2 weeks between these two trips however.
All sessions will be covered by our excellent selection of coaches during my absence and we really hope that you'll support them by attending the sessions!
Payment card can be bought in cash tomorrow (26th July) at the squad session or online at http://swimsmooth.com/perth_buycard.html prior to me leaving. **
As revealed to those of you who swam on Friday morning - we are very pleased to announce that Geoff Wilson (a previous top-10 Rottnest Solo finisher) from the squad successfully completed his English Channel Swim attempt on Thursday 21st July. The 34km crossing took him 15h15', but as you'll see from the GPS map trace below, the tides (which saw every other solo fail to finish that day and only one team to make it), ensured that Geoff actually covered 57km!! This is the equivalent of a triple crossing of the Rottnest Channel. Far out! This simply demonstrates that the conditions in the Channel are so unpredictable and challenging and that time itself is pretty much irrelevant on "your" day.
On behalf of the entire squad Geoff I'd like to congratulate you on your mammoth effort their mate - you're a total inspiration to all of us who will follow.
I've attached Geoff's report below, but here are some interesting other links from his swim for your interest too:
Apart from a sore nose and rough tongue all is remarkably good. Managed a light swim in Dover yesterday and just having a bit of breaky now before we (Lisa and Jeff Vidler) head down for our morning swim.
I still can't believe the amount of well wishes and support I have been receiving from both home and here. Literally, random people have been coming up and hugging me once they know I swam the channel.
I spent most of yesterday just reading the email, tweets and FB comments, I can't remember feeling so good!
ON the swim, really there's not a lot to say. My plan was always to go out steady and maintain a constant pace with something left just in case more was needed to hit the shore. Everything worked to plan. Thinking through, I asked myself quite a few what if's?
1. What if I swam faster at the start would I have been able to beat the tide change? probably not. The tide change took the skipper by surprise and was further complicated by a strong side current and Head winds. So my conclusion here is that if I did move at a faster pace to start there was every chance that I would've still got caught and spent a lot more energy.
2. What if I went on a different tide/day? This was not an option. I was ready to go!
3. Could I have kept going longer if needed? Most definitely! In a strange way I felt like I could have gone for ever. The most pain I had was the cold. I literally hurt! From my first feed stop I had the dreaded claw and couldn't open my drink bottle, my fingers didn't straighten again until France. I was never really concerned about hypothermia, but I was concerned that my crew might decide I'd had enough so I maintained a mantra of asking myself my name, date of birth and address, I tried my phone number but couldn't remember that and thought - shit, I hope they don't ask me that one... Knowing I could do this was quite comforting, as I also knew the closer I got to France the warmer the water would be, and it was.
I didn't have much of a concept of the time. At the 20k mark, my crew said I was on 5.30 rotto pace, then a couple of feeds later I got the coke and assumed I was about 2.30hrs from France. The only time I asked was then and got stoney silence and based on the crew's body
language, somehow at that point I knew I was in for a long.
My crew was just amazing, feed stops were like clockwork, between 10 and 15 seconds each. The longest feed stop was 20 seconds. I also had full confidence in the skipper (Eric Hartley) form start to finish.
4. Given another chance, would I have changed my training program? Most definitely NOT?
5. What was the best part of the swim? Without doubt the finish (obviously) but I had my surf buddy Jeff VIdler next to me and could hep but turn the last 100m into a surf race and ran out and up the beach to beat by a nose.... Ha ha, you have no idea how good that felt!
When we returned to Varne Ridge we arrived to a billowing Australian flag and this surreal experience of people surrounding me from every direction hugs and kisses - wow!
Then I got to read some messages - Possibly the most humbling experience I've had. Totally unexpected and can't explain how good I felt.
6. Would I do this again? No!
All up, what a great adventure. Two years in the making and totally exceeded my expectations 10 fold.
The best part now is I know my very good friends, Lisa, Ceinwen, Waynne, Andrew, Paul N and Paul D are going to share the same experience!
We've just had confirmation that Geoff is due to swim the English Channel at 1am GMT (so, 8am Perth time) on Thursday 21st July.
Let's send Geoff our very best wishes for a safe and successful crossing!! Lisa is due to swim about the same time too so I'll keep you all posted on Lisa's swim times too!
Here's Geoff looking over the Channel for France from Dover's white cliffs - they do say that if you can see France from there that it's actually too windy to swim, so don't panic Geoff that you can't see any giant croissants from your viewing platform!
You'll note that the wind picks up later in the morning, but at a predicted 3mph and 14-18 degrees air temperature, starting at 1am should see Geoff through the bulk of his swim before that kicks in. It does mean however that Geoff'll have a good 4hrs swimming in the complete dark! Luckily, all those eerie mornings down at Matilda Bay this past 3 months will play dividends here!
Hope you're enjoying the lovely sunshine today! Awesome winter weather! Here's a nice shot from Cottesloe last weekend:
Just a quick reminder that owing to a water-polo match this Saturday there will be NO squad session at 1pm unfortunately. This will resume on Saturday 23rd July as normal.
It's that time of year again when it's seemingly much harder to get out of bed when the temperature is in the single digits! There's also all the late-night Tour de France watching that goes on and of course the school holidays too.
All this being said, I just wanted to let those of you who may be waiting on a space in some of the squad sessions, that we do currently have availability and that I would encourage you to please come down and try any of the sessions as outlined below. I'd hate to think that you might be waiting on for an opening and not attending because of this!
The sessions that are particularly quiet at the moment are:
Tuesday 6.30am & 6.30pm
IMPORTANT: we have just been offered some extra lane space which will essentially offer us a regular 4th lane on a Wednesday at 5.30am and a Friday at 6.30am - I need to get back to the pool manager by Monday, so it'd be good to get an indication of interest from you as to whether or not to book these lanes in.
It's a great time to come down and get a bit of stroke TLC (as you saw here: http://media.shinywhitebox.com/paul-newsome/squad-analysis - these 5 lucky swimmers got a video analysis session as part of the Saturday swim). Also, we have some very consistent former lane one 5.30am swimmers who just 12 months ago would have been swimming 1'48" to 1'50" per 100m who have recently been moved up into lane 2 (and last week even spread across into lane 3), who swam 400m last Friday at an average of 1'36" per 100m - a simply MASSIVE improvement. Well done you guys - consistency is key!
For your reference, this is what you can expect to be doing at each of the sessions:
In a given week we like to operate a regular cycle or structure which ensures that you know what to expect from each session and equally what benefits that session will give you from a fitness and technique perspective.
1. Monday 7am: A technique session with a small group size, offering you the chance to come in and work on your stroke. This is not a big volume session, nor is it physically hard, but it does contain a lot of drilling and work on refining your efficiency in the water. A great way to start the week and particularly suitable to those who've recently done a 1-2-1 Video Analysis session.
2. Monday 9.30am, Tuesday 5.30am, 6.30am & 6.30pm: This is an essential session for the week and absolutely adored by those who have a "diesel engine" and like longer, challenging swim sets at moderate paces and with a good focus on technique. An excellent way of building endurance.
3. Wednesday 5.30am: This is a favourite session of Half and Full Ironman athletes as well as Rottnest Solo and Duo swimmers. The primary focus of this 1½hr session is to allow you to work on refining your pace awareness and energy conservation over longer distances. Whilst it contains less drilling work and shorter recoveries than the Tuesday session, we still focus on technique here - the technique of effective race pace strategies. Highly recommended!
4. Wednesday 9.30am, Friday 5.30am & 6.30am: If you want to get faster with your swimming, then this session is essential. It has been shown that the most effective way to improve your aerobic (endurance) performance is by tactically shifting your threshold curve to the right, meaning that you can perform at the same speed for less effort OR perform at a faster speed for the same effort. How do you do this? By working specifically at paces just slightly below and slightly above this threshold point. How do you know where this point is? You need to test regularly for it. Is that hard? No, quite the opposite, it's very simple and if done in the right manner and using some simple training tools (like the Wetronome) this session can be both very challenging, highly rewarding and, surprisingly enough, fun!
5. Friday 9.30am: This session is similar in many respects to Monday morning's 7am session but with a slight twist in two respects: 1) each swimmer is encouraged to work through the set session entirely at their own pace and to hold back if they are feeling tired or to push on if they are feeling good. 2) we always conclude with a very special "Friday Fun Challenge" which is sure to keep you on your toes and help you learn some new swimming skills. A great way to round-off the week!
Saturday Sessions Are A Lot Of Fun!
6. Saturday 1.00pm: By far and away our most enjoyable and practically useful session of the week for triathletes and those following the open water calendar. This is a structured pool-based session focusing on refining your open water skills for more effective and less anxious ocean swimming. We go through drafting, sighting, turning and pacing and if it's not covered in this session, you don't need to worry about it in the ocean! It's a hugely fun session and not to be missed by any aspiring triathlete or open water swimmer..
Thanks crew and hope to see you down at the pool in the morning - I've got a lovely little set lined up for you!
Hope you've all had a great weekend. Just a note to say thanks so much for all your support this last weekend with respect to the www.channeldare.com team raising money for Breast Cancer Care WA. I believe we're now well over $40k and we received a big boost from the following events this weekend:
Friday Night's Mouse Night:
This event was a lot of fun and was run at the Claremont Footy Club where over 300 people were in attendance to bet on the mice racing. I had my reservations initially about how "humane" this was, but seeing how much cheese those little guys got to chow down over the course of the evening I now realise where most of their fee goes!
Prizes for the raffle were donated from our major sponsors and everyone had a jolly good time - what, what!
For your info, here's a 20 minute clip of the documentary that Adam put together of us training over the last 18 months that we showed on the evening...the near head on collision right at the start of our qualifying swim between myself and Paul D at 7'40" into the video is priceless:
Given the previous evening's activities, attendance at the 1pm squad session was at an all time low (doh!), however, 5 very lucky swimmers had the chance to participate in a bespoke video analysis and stroke correction session to fine-tune their strokes. Given that these 1-2-1 sessions are currently fully booked until the start of October, this was really well received by the swimmers.
To have your own stroke filmed and analysed in this manner featuring a complete carbon-copy recording of the analysis and a specific technique training program to take away with you, please visit the website at http://www.swimsmooth.com/perth_videoanalysis.html
How does this tie-in with the fund raising? We donated 4 copies of our new best-selling Catch Masterclass DVD (extracts of which feature in the analysis above) to the movers and shakers at Sunday's 10km event (below).
Please note: next saturday (16th July) there will be NO 1pm squad session owing to a water-polo fixture. The session will resume again on Saturday 23rd July as normal. Please aim to get down, you never know what you might be missing out on! ;-)
Sunday's 10KM Challenge Relay:
Given the cool conditions on Sunday morning, we were concerned that few would actually turn up for the 10Km relay event designed to race against the Channel Swimmers who would complete the distance solo. However, come they did and we had two teams of 8, two teams of 4 and 2 duos competing against 5 solo swimmers. The results were as follows:
Jill Benbow's Team of 8 = 2h43'50"
Peter Thomas's Team of 4 = 2h49'35"
Amanda Nietske's Team of 8 = 2h49'38" (a sprint finish for 2nd / 3rd place after 10km of head-to-head!)
Scott Jarvis's Team of 2 = 2h51'37"
Chris Foley's Team of 2 = 2h57'34"
Desiree Silva's Team of 4 = 3h05'00"
Well done everyone!
The solo swimmers were as such:
Wayne Morris = 2h42'*
Mary-Anne Paton = 2h38'*
Ceinwen Williams = 2h23'50"
Paul Newsome = 2h16'08"
Andrew Hunt = 2h47'*
* awaiting official confirmation of Wayne, Mary-Anne and Andrew's times...
OK, thanks everyone - it looks set for another chilly week, but you can always be assured that both the pool and the reception will be warm and welcoming with Swim Smooth Perth! ;-)
Hope you had a great weekend. We look set for a lovely bit of weather this week, albeit chilly mornings. The pool is lovely and warm to swim in at the moment though, so don't let that deter you - it's a very short leap of faith from the changing "hut" to the lovely warm water!!
Here's my little guy getting in some winter practice in his pool ready to join you guys in the squad next summer:
Big news this weekend is that Kate Bevilaqua won Ironman Korea in a time of 9hrs 40 minutes in blistering / humid heat. This is a tremendous win for Kate and by all accounts from Guy she had a stomping swim too. Well done Kate - we're very proud of you! Make sure you check her Blog out on Wednesday at http://www.katebevilaqua.com/ for full details.
Friday Night is Mouse Night!!
Finally, I have tickets available for $20 each to participate in an awesome evening of fun at the Claremont Footy Club on Friday 8th July, called the "Running of the Mice!". Full details can be found at:http://www.swimsmooth.com/pauls_images/MICE.pdf but essentially it's an evening of fun and frivolity watching trained mice race against each other over a set course. We have been informed that the mice have given their willing consent and that the whole affair is in good taste and does not stress the mice out in anyway.
We'll also have loads of prizes and some cheap pizza and drinks available all night. If you have anything you'd like to donate as a prize, please email Ceinwen at email@example.com
We're looking to get 300+ people along, so by all means please tell as many people as you can!!
Hope to see some of you there!
Sunday 7.30am 10KM Relay Challenge!
Our final charity bid will take place this Sunday morning at Claremont Pool on Davies Road between 7.30am and 10.30am where 6 teams of between 2 and 8 people have registered to take on the eight English Channel candidates over 10km in the pool.
If you're still keen on a swim, shoot me a quick email in reply to this Blog and we might be able to get you in on one of the teams.
We're also seeking a compere / referee for the morning who wouldn't minding getting on the PA system and chivvying everyone up a bit. Normally I'd be doing this, but I'll have my head firmly under water trying to beat the teams! If anyone's keen, this would be a massive, massive help. Please let me know!