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:
- 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!
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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"!
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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!
- 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!