Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Happy Christmas Everyone!

Dear Swimmers

Wow! What a year! Hasn't time flown?! It seems like just yesterday I was concocting the January 10 Week CSS Development program and yet here we are, nearly 12 months on - incredible!

I would like to formally thank each and every one of you for supporting the Swim Smooth Perth Squad over the past 12 months - without you support and commitment I wouldn't have a group to deliver to and effectively be living my dream of teaching and coaching a vast array of people to swim faster, swim with more enjoyment and of course to Swim Smooth! 

Now, as you know, back at the start of October, Coach Emma and Coach Alan joined us from the UK for an intensive 2-week Swim Smooth Certification course. At the end of the two week period, Alan had to return home to his family, but Emma chose to stay on and will be with us until the end of February. Her help on pool deck has been truly phenomenal - I dare say I would not have coped by myself with the increase in demand. I'm sure you'll all join me in saying a big "thank you" to Emma on Friday morning at the last squad session of the year!

Emma has compiled this short Bio on herself for your interest and information and to show you what she does over in the UK on beautiful Lake Windemere (pictured above):

Christmas and New Year Training Hours:

As a reminder, the last sessions of 2012 will be on Friday 21st December - all three squads (5.35am, 6.35am and 9.30am) will run as normal and will have a festive theme - so make sure you bring your happy faces with you and some festive spirit! The first session back in the New Year will be on Wednesday 2nd January at 5.30am - a perfect way to get back into the swing of things for those doing the open water season, Rottnest and of course the triathlon season too!

Suggested Informal Schedule over the holidays:

For those of you keen to crack on with some training over the holiday period, may I suggest the following (this is just a template, there are more than a few sub-groups within the squad at the moment, each of whom are likely to adjust the times of this program to suit - keep your eyes / ears open for any variations):

  • Saturday 22nd December - meet at Claremont Jetty at 7am for a 7.15am start* - use the 2km out & back loop and cover 4 to 12km depending on your program
  • Sunday 23rd December - day off or easy swim at Claremont Jetty of 2 to 5km.
  • Monday 24th December - challenge yourself to The Red Mist Set
  • Tuesday 25th December - meet at Claremont Jetty at 7am for a 7.15am start* - the 10km Christmas Challenge!
  • Wednesday 26th December - day off or easy swim at Claremont Jetty of 2 to 5km.
  • Thursday 27th December - do a warm-up of ~1-1.5km including a variety of drills and then do the Goldilocks Set
  • Friday 28th December - try this easy Stroke Contrast Set to hone your technique
  • Saturday 29th December - meet at Claremont Jetty at 7am for a 7.15am start* - use the 2km out & back loop and cover 4 to 12km depending on your program
  • Sunday 30th December - day off or easy swim at Claremont Jetty of 2 to 5km.
  • Monday 31st December - challenge yourself to The Red Mist Set (try 1s per 100m faster at each level than last week)
  • Tuesday 1st January - have a go at this Pace Awareness set and see how you fair

*please note, and earlier group has been meeting for this at 5.30am for a 5.45am start for those who wish to get the swim done and dusted a little earlier.

I hope this is useful for you. I would like to wish you and all of your families a splendid Christmas and a very Happy New Year! Here's to 2013!

Paul, Mish, Jackson and Isla Rose x

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Rottnest Nutrition Ideas

Dear Swimmers,

Well we are now into Week 11 of 21 of our Rottnest Channel Swim campaign and for the Solo guys and girls in particular the weekly volume and long swims are really starting to ramp up!

Around this time each year, many of you start to turn your focus towards nutrition. When the volume is on the low side at the start of the program you (like me) have probably been surviving your workouts with basic things like water and bananas etc and whilst some of the worlds best athletes do tick along on basic nutrition too, most will opt for something a little more advance to keep them going.

If you're going to be doing this type of volume in training, it makes sense to fuel yourself as effectively as possible to sustain your effort during each session, but also to allow you to recover quickly enough to consistently back your sessions up time and time again - and as we all know, consistency is key!

I've experimented with practically every product on the market with my favorite strategy up until now being:

2km swim + 250ml of Gatorade from a Pop-Tots bottle (this ensures you can quickly and easily get that amount in you without wastage)

2km swim + either 250ml water (or Gatorade - if I'm starting to feel the "pinch" a bit - but be warned, some people can become nauseous with a too concentrated hit of carbo drink and gel at the same time - it pays to experiment!) and a GU carbo gel which gives me about 22g of carbohydrates in a small hit

...I then repeat this all the way across to Rottnest (or France!) and have a few less technical food sources with me (ie a Cadbury Boost) just in case I feel like something different!

Speed is very important during your fuel stops - practice getting it in as quickly (but as effectively) as possible with the thought in your head that "whilst I'm stopped, my average speed is slowly slowing" - the swimmer with the fastest average speed gets across to Rottnest the quickest and the really fast guys can take on nutrition in under 10 seconds - crazy!

It might sound pedantic, but you really don't want to be spending any real time chatting to your crew when you've stopped - I come across as being really grumpy when I race (because I'm very short with any conversation) but in fact I'm just trying to get the job done!

So one of the things that I've battled in previous races is trying to avoid big spikes (and dips!) in my blood sugar when I'm doing a long endurance event. I had a friend (who eventually became a Pro cyclist in Europe) announce that he was going to ride home to Derby from Bath in UK during our February "reading week" at University (think freezing temperatures). This was a distance of 150 miles (240km). He was a bit of a geek to be absolutely fair (in the nicest sense!) as he'd worked out that he would be able to average about 18km/h on his fully laden mountain bike (whilst wearing jeans, boots and a lumberjack shirt for warmth - he was about as far removed from being a "Pro" at this point as one could be!) and his calorific expenditure for the proposed 14hr ride would be nicely satisfied with eating something in the magnitude of 17 Mars Bars washed down with 10 small bottles of fizzy Lucozade (like Gatorade but gassy). What James didn't realize was that the high "simple sugars" content of these products would bring on a massive surge in blood sugar followed by a huge crash about 15 minutes later. Needless to say the ride was a disaster! He did make it (in about 18 and a half hours) but I vividly recall a phone call at about the halfway point where James was crying down the phone saying that he'd "bonked" (hit the wall) massively and was so angry with himself for attempting such a stupid thing! We did try and warn him...!!

Of course, we now tend to refer to the sugar content of a carbohydrate source as its "glycaemic index" (or "G.I"). The types of foods that James had were extremely high G.I which caused his massive crash. You've probably heard of some breakfast cereals being advertised as having a low G.I for sustainable energy during the day? Well an innovative new sports nutrition product from South Africa have built their entire product range around the notion of this sustained release of energy, so much so in fact that they've actually branded their name "32Gi" to reflect the lower glycaemic index of their products.

I have been sampling 32Gi's products in the last couple of months and have been literally blown away by their ability to keep me going. This stuff has been a real revolution for me and I put it to the true test this morning with a really hard 10km river swim. I had my best swim of the season and felt like I had perpetual energy the whole way around - no nasty spikes and dips!

Being quite stubborn and a believer in "better the devil you know than the devil you don't" I have been very reluctant in the past to breakaway from my Gatorade formula (as described above) as it has worked so well for me since 2009. In 2004 I started the Busselton Ironman in super fine shape but had to pull out 95km into the ride as weirdly I too felt like I'd hit the wall. The so-called recommended magic recipe of carbs per hour is 1g of carbs per kg body weight per hour, which for me back then (in my stealth body mode) was about 66g per hour. During that race (despite what I had successfully done in training) I decided to keep taking on extra for fear of blowing up. In retrospect I was taking on in excess of 100g per hour (as crazy as that sounds) and this resulted in massive bloating of my gut and the inability to absorb anything further, hence I "blew up".

For me now, my best formula is more in the range of 50-55g per hour (I'm now 75kg), but everyone will be different, hence the need to experiment. My chosen nutrition source going forwards will hence be 32Gi as its given me the confidence to try something else, something better, than what I already thought was pretty good.

Nic Italiano from 32Gi has kindly offered to pop along next Wednesday to our 530am pool session at Claremont Pool to allow those in this long endurance squad to test out some of the products (drink, awesome jelly chews and energy tablets) for free and give them a whirl.

Hope you can make it!



Monday, December 10, 2012

Homestay requests for elite athletes and coaches

Dear Swimmers

Hope you are all well and surviving the rising mercury this afternoon!

As you may or may not be aware, we are starting to do an increasing amount of work with some of the best athletes and coaches in the world over here in sunny Perth, helping them fine-tune their strokes and ensure that they can make the jump to the next level in the swim. As a coach, it's really very exciting indeed!

Currently we have Joel Jameson and his wife Cat over here in Perth training with me for 3 months. Joel recently finished 2nd at the Ironman-distance event in Henley (UK) with a very swift 2h42m marathon off the hilly 180km bike ride - non too shabby! It was one of the fastest marathons in and Iron-distance event this year anywhere in the world. Cat races on the ITU draft-legal circuit and has been the girl in the pink Swim Smooth cap powering up and down the pool lapping even our very fastest swimmers! They've both committed to coming over to Perth for that period, because with a better swim Joel could literally be one of the fastest guys on the Ironman circuit next season - "no pressure Coach Paul!" :-)

Whilst Joel and Cat have been lucky with some fabulous accommodation in South Perth with a friend of Cat's family, this next string of athletes are not quite so lucky and, whilst cheeky, I am hoping that those of you who live relatively close to the Claremont Pool (within say 10 to 15km) and have a spare room to either lease (or even give?) may be interested in helping out with offering some space. 

The life as a Pro triathlete is not as glamorous financially as one might presume and whilst I personally 'sponsor' these guys with zero coaching fees, it is of course the travel and accommodation that really hits the pocket of these cash-strapped athletes. Any help and support you might be able to give would be marvellously appreciated and I dare say you'd be rewarded with a fair share of stories of "life as a Pro" for those of you whom might be interested.

Here's our list for the next six months, no doubt it will continue to grow...

  • Britta Martin (NZ) - just won Busselton Ironman at the weekend with a brilliantly consistent race, needs accommodation from Tuesday 11th December (tomorrow) until Friday 14th December. 3 nights.
  • Coach Fiona Ford (UK) - you met Fiona last year on the Coaches Course. Fiona is also a multiple Age Group winner at Ironman events all around the world and is now one of our 5 Certified Coaches around the world. Fiona needs accommodation from Wednesday 2nd January until Wednesday 9th January 2013. 7 nights.
  • Tom Lowe (UK) - 11th place overall finisher at the Kona Ironman World Championships in 2011 and boyfriend to non other than recently retired four-time World Champion Chrissie Wellington. Tom needs accommodation from Monday 7th January 2013 to mid-March 2013 (10 weeks - happy to split with a couple of houses during this period)
  • Richard Murray (RSA) - 4th place finisher overall in the ITU World Triathlon Series and serious contender in 2013 to the British Brownlee Brothers - this man can 'jog' 10km in under 30 minutes!! Richard needs accommodation from mid-January 2013 for about 2 weeks.
  • Cassie Patten (UK) - 2008 Beijing Olympic Games bronze medallist in the 10km open water swim and soon-to-be Swim Smooth Certified Coach. Cassie needs accommodation from Saturday 9th February 2013 until Thursday 28th February 2013. 3 weeks.
  • Coach Andy Lane (UK) - Andy will be our Welsh-based Swim Smooth Certified Coach and has attended our recent 3-day Coaches Education Course in the UK this August and is a truly wonderful guy with a big background in psychology. Andy needs accommodation from Saturday 9th February 2013 until Thursday 28th February 2013. 3 weeks.
  • Adam Young (UK) - does this man need an introduction?! My business partner in the online who will be out in Perth for ~8 weeks in January (dates TBC) to film some new material for British Triathlon and to take a vacation from the cold British weather they're experiencing at the moment. Adam will also be my main support crew for the Rottnest Channel Swim.

I do hope that someone out there is able to help out and I do appreciate your time and consideration of this matter. Please email me directly at or call 0431540980 if you can assist, especially re. Britta who will need some assistance tomorrow if possible.



Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas Swim Training Hours

Dear Swimmers

I can't believe we're now into 3 weeks to go until the Christmas festivities get under way - time flies hey?!

Just to give you forewarning that we shall be taking a well earned 11-day rest ourselves from formal coaching between Saturday 22nd December and Tuesday 2nd January, with all sessions being available on Friday 21st December as usual and all sessions recommencing on Wednesday 3rd January 2013.

We may however look to organise some informal sessions during this period and aim to post out some sessions that you can be doing in your own time around your own festivities to keep you ticking over!

Cheers and have a great week!


Friday, November 30, 2012

Saturday 1pm

Dear Swimmers

Just a quick reminder that due to many of the squad (including the coaches!) competing at the Rottnest Swim Thru on Saturday afternoon, there will be no 1pm squad session at Claremont pool this week. Sessions will resume from next week as normal.

Hope to see you over at Rotto!


Friday, November 23, 2012

Saturday 1pm session

Dear Swimmers

Due to my participation (on the boat I might add!) with Aaron's midnight Channel Swim tonight, tomorrow's 1pm session will not be down at Claremont Jetty as previously advertised, but will be down at the Claremont Pool as normal. Sorry for any disappointment - hope to see you then and hope to not be too dreary after no sleep!



Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Aaron swims the Rottnest Channel…at night!

Show your support for Aaron's swim by attending the BREASTFAST OF CHAMPIONS with all proceeds going to Breast Cancer Care WA!

On Friday, November 23rd at midnight, Aaron Richardson will set off into the dark waters of the Rottnest Channel and swim solo the 20km to Cottesloe Beach, arriving around 7:30am Saturday morning. I'll be assisting Aaron as his swimming coach - it's going to be a great night! 

Aaron is doing the swim to honour his triathlon coach, mentor and close friend Sam Naudin who lost her long battle with breast cancer in January this year. Her courage and kind giving nature has inspired Aaron to take on this brave challenge in order to raise $30,000 for Breast Cancer Care WA.
Watch the video for more info @

Join us in supporting Aaron and his cause by attending the BREASTFAST OF CHAMPIONS where we will welcome him on completion of the massive swim. The breakfast will be hosted at the Cottesloe Surf Life Saving Club where there with be loads of entertainment and great prizes up for raffle to raise money.

Tickets are only $40 and include: 
• Gourmet Breakfast 
• Reverse raffle tickets to win great prizes (stay tuned for items)
• Entertainment - live music, DJ and activities 


Purchase TICKETS @ or get in touch with one of the hosts. All money raised will go towards Aaron's target of $30,000 for Breast Cancer Care WA! 

And if you can't attend the breakfast then show your support my making a DONATION @



Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Look after those shoulders of yours this season!

Dear Swimmers

Wow! Those were some nasty stingers last Saturday at City Beach if you did the event and well done to all those of you who survived it! No easy task!

OK, so this week I have two things for you regarding shoulder injury and management following on from Prue Newnham's physio screening last Saturday at Claremont Pool.

  1. Dr Gary Couanis is running a research project for long distance open water swimmers into the effects of training load on shoulder pain. The study involves having three FREE ultrasounds of your shoulders (worth $618) done over the course of the season to monitor the state of your rotator cuff muscles as you prepare for the Rottnest Channel Swim. Details of this project and to get involved can be seen here if you're on FaceBook: and you can contact Gary at - forms can be found here: and here:
  2. Jeremy Nyman from has created this excellent PDF on what to do about Swimmer's Shoulder if and when it strikes - read it here for some useful preventative stretches:

Have a great day!


Thursday, November 8, 2012

City Beach this weekend and Manhatten Island Marathon Swim (MIMS)

Dear Swimmers

Hope you are all doing well and looking forward to a cracking weekend of open water swimming.

First up, I have some fantastic news in that myself, Wayne Morris, Ceinwen Williams, Paul Downie, Andrew Hunt, Geoff Wilson and Lisa Delaurentis have all been selected to compete in the prestigious 28.5 mile (~46km) Manhatten Island Marathon Swim (or "MIMS" for short) on 8th June 2013 which we are just thrilled about. It is a hugely lengthy application process which even involves having to write an essay about why you want to seek selection. We're now just so stoked to have got in and be seven of about only 30 or 40 swimmers worldwide to be selected for the race. The Rottnest Solo swim on 23rd February 2013 will be a very nicely timed lead-up event to this mammoth swim which will see us circumnavigating the entire "Big Apple". For more info see: - can't wait!

Secondly, I am personally swimming the 10km event this weekend at City Beach (starting at 8am and hopefully done by about 10.30am) and have just been informed that we can use a paddler for the event to assist with feeding otherwise it'll be quite a lengthy dog-leg into the beach each time to pick up some nutrition after each 2.5km lap. I realise it is very short notice, but if anyone would be keen to assist and help out with paddling (and have their own paddle) I'd love to hear from you!

Cheers and have a great weekend,


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thursday 6.30pm sessions

Dear Swimmers

Finally! The weather seems to be back - wahoo! Can't wait for the City Beach open water swim this weekend (enter at and the Lake Lesch swim on Sunday (enter at

So, the new Thursday 6.30pm session has been going now for 5 weeks and is specifically focused (as per the Wednesday 9.30am session and the Friday 5.30am and 6.30am sessions) to be a threshold development session, i.e. tough with brilliant pacing!

Unfortunately, due to a clash of bookings which the pool hadn't foreseen, we have been allocated the 25m pool for the next few months up to Rotto for this session..., before you groan and moan and think that it won't work as well, let's extol the benefits of this session and also performing it in the 25m format:

  1. all our intervals are usually set with the beepers on 25m, so working in a 25m pool is actually better in this regard as you do not have to account for differences in the 50m distance with and without a push-off. For those of you with good turns, this can make a massive difference between the two pools, with the 25m actually working better in this situation. As you should all know now, pacing effectively on these sessions is of paramount importance.
  2. and for those of you with not very good turns, what better way to practice them! Twice as many turns as normal!
  3. and for those who believe that turns aren't important for open water swimmers and triathletes, they in fact are - use each turn to really emphasise a superb torpedo push-off and your flexibility and general efficiency will thank you for it!
  4. we have 5 lanes allocated to us, so rather than having 3 lanes and having 2 sub-groups in two of the lanes which can get messy with differences in speed, this won't occur.
  5. the 25m pool is much more shallow than the 50m pool, but all the better for developing a better catch and pull through a-la Rebecca Adlington here: and here: - pulling too deep is not an option without touching the bottom!
  6. for those with sinky leg syndrome, the shallow water really emphasises your sensation and perception of this and accordingly will allow you to tune that up as per:
  7. it's a much more close-contact environment with the coach being of a shorter distance which is very nice for a change of feel with respect to communication 
  8. it's simply different and variety is (as they say) the spice of life!
  9. all the British elite swimmers do at least one swim per week in a 25m pool and we all know how good they've become in the last 8-12 years...sorry, couldn't resist :-)
  10. and if you do feel like it's all just too "Red Mist" for you and not as perfect as you'd like, I'll lend you my new super-dooper rose tinted goggles as used by Nicole this morning to put a positive spin back on the tough endurance set (which she did very well at by the way!).

Nicole, building a bridge and "getting over it" with a pair of rose tinted goggles - well done Nicole - you did great today to turn that around!

So, we still have 6 spots available in this squad - open to the first six people to email me back and request a spot...go!



Thursday, November 1, 2012

Saturday 1pm swim this week

Dear Swimmers

Just a quick note to say that this Saturday's open water skills session will take place as normal at the Claremont Pool from 1-2pm despite originally advertising an actual open water session down at Claremont Jetty in the Swan River. Unfortunately I haven't yet secured use of some full water safety support and consequently would prefer to keep the session in the pool this week. Sorry for any disappointment this causes.

We shall look to be in the river on Saturday 24th November - watch this space!



Sunday, October 28, 2012

Physio Screening this Saturday


For those concerned about muscular aches and pains this season, we have secured the services of Prue Newnham from Body Logic Physiotherapy who will come and do 15 minute musculo-skeletal screening testing on Saturday 3rd November between 2pm and 5pm at Claremont Pool. 

Prue will test things like your flexibility and functional strength and recommend a range of exercises to keep you healthy this season, especially for those of you attempting the Rottnest Channel Swim as a Solo. 

There are only 12 spots available for this first session, so please be quick to reserve your spot by emailing me back asap (please flick me a quick email if you've previously expressed an interest) we will publish a list of who's who and who's when once all the spaces have filled. 

Cost is $50.00 per person, payable to Prue Newnham. 

Prue was the Australian Open Water Swimming Team's physiotherapist this last season and also managed Wayne Morris's shoulders in the lead-up to his recent conquering of the English Channel. Highly recommended.



Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Paul away this weekend...

Dear Swimmers

Hope you're all doing well and are enjoying having the extra couple of coaches on pool deck each session.

I will be away from Thursday 25th October to Monday 29th October (inclusive) taking a short family break down in Gnarabup.

I will leave you in the very capable hands of:

  • Thursday 6.30pm (still spaces available in this session) - Brad Hosking, fastest Age Grouper overall at Saturday's Mandurah 70.3 race in a smokin' hot 4:05 finish time!
  • Friday 5.35am, 6.35am and 9.30am - Steve Casson (Swim Smooth Certified Coach, UK) & Emma Brunning (Swim Smooth Certified Coach in training, UK)
  • Saturday 1.00pm - Steve Casson (Swim Smooth Certified Coach, UK) & Emma Brunning (Swim Smooth Certified Coach in training, UK)
  • Monday 7.00am & 9.30am  - Steve Casson (Swim Smooth Certified Coach, UK) & Emma Brunning (Swim Smooth Certified Coach in training, UK)

See you on Tuesday morning at 5.35am!



P.S if you thought us English Channel swimmers were nuts last year, please get behind Aaron with his amazing venture:

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Egg and Bacon English Muffins to go!

Dear Swimmers

You may or may not be aware that the kiosk at the pool has reopened at the pool and is being run by a lovely couple called Graham and Barb and their two daughters over the summer months.

If you're like me you're often rushing around after training and trying to get to work and they've asked me to let you know that they will be making 'Egg and Bacon English Muffins to-go' on Tuesday and Friday mornings for $5. These will be ready and waiting for any swimmer when they hop out after 6ish on Fridays and Tuesdays. They will have about a dozen ready each morning for those who are interested.

I have of course sampled the muffins and can attest to their sumptuousness (the egg and bacon pastry pillows are also very yummy!) and the new coffee that they offer is sure to tempt the taste buds of you coffee aficionados!

I have no direct association with Graham and Barb, just hoping that for those of you with hungry post-Fresh & Fruity bellies might like to support them with their new venture at the pool, especially whilst it's still relatively quiet this early on in the season.



Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Get set for a great summer with Swim Smooth!

Dear Swimmers - bit of a long one today (sorry!) to set the tone for the summer season and give you a few pointers to carry forwards, including the results of last week's time trials.


I am very pleased to announce the launch of our new Thursday evening 6.30-7.30pm session at the Claremont Pool starting as of Thursday 11th October. This "Fresh & Fruity" threshold session will perfectly compliment Tuesday evening's (6.30pm) technique and endurance session. There are limited places available. Please respond via return email if you would like to attend this session. This session will be run either by Brad Hosking or Sally Scaffidi initially (on a roster) and will be a carbon copy of Wednesday's 9.30am session and Friday's 5.30am / 6.30am sessions. 

Equally, if you wish to swap from an early morning session and free up a space there for someone else, please let me know. 

This is how the new week's timetable will look for the summer:

  1. Monday 7-8am = technique development session (LIMITED SPACES AVAILABLE - PLEASE ENQUIRE)
  2. Monday 9.30am = technique development session (FULL)
  3. Tuesday 5.35am* = technique and endurance session (FULL)
  4. Tuesday 6.35am* = technique and endurance session (FULL)
  5. Tuesday 6.30pm = technique and endurance session (LIMITED SPACES AVAILABLE - PLEASE ENQUIRE)
  6. Wednesday 5.35am** = long endurance session (FULL)
  7. Wednesday 9.30am = Fresh & Fruity threshold session (FULL)
  8. Thursday 6.30pm = Fresh & Fruity threshold session (SPACES AVAILABLE - PLEASE ENQUIRE)
  9. Friday 5.35am* = Fresh & Fruity threshold session (FULL)
  10. Friday 6.35am* = Fresh & Fruity threshold session (FULL)
  11. Friday 9.30am = fun technique development session (LIMITED SPACES AVAILABLE - PLEASE ENQUIRE)
  12. Saturday 1.00pm = open water skills session (in the pool) (LIMITED SPACES AVAILABLE - PLEASE ENQUIRE)
Or downloadable as a PDF Timetable here: 

*as we are typically allowed through the gate at 5.30am I was concerned about the 5.30am squad running over into the 6.30am squad if we were a little late getting started, as such, please make sure you're there for 5.30am but know that these sessions officially start at 5.35am and 6.35am respectively as per the clock at the shallow end of the 50m pool.

**please note that the Wednesday 5.35am session will officially now start at 5.35am (like a Tuesday and Friday early morning) as opposed to the slightly delayed 5.45am start that we have used for the last couple of years. Unfortunately this means less opportunity to stretch, but more opportunity to fit the whole 4-6km session in for most swimmers. This change seemed welcomed by all when proposed this morning at training.


Well it was certainly well worthwhile if you were one of the 135 swimmers who turned up last week to have your current threshold (CSS - Critical Swim Speed) tested with the view of showing you exactly where you are at coming out of the winter. Of course, whilst many of you have been very consistent over the winter (great!) only a handful of you have been specifically training for a key event or even motivated by such things as the 10 week CSS Development Program we did in January to March this year. So with that in mind, I hope you view these results purely as a measure of where you are currently at, i.e. use it as a kick up the bum if necessary! Equally, some of the lane allocation 'changes' that I have suggested are not hard/fast but based purely on the results of last week's testing, i.e. don't be surprised if these allocations are shuffled around slightly.

You can access the results here:

  • Pages 1 - 4 detail your results in alphabetical order and include any previous test results in the last 12 months for your reference. The column "aerobic" is a simple look at the ratio between your "aerobic" (400m) result and your "anaerobic" (200m) result - anyone over ~5.0% indicates a good sprinter, anyone under ~3.0% indicates more of an endurance athlete (more notes on this later). Those swimmers highlighted in green have been tested before and are making steady progress forwards (even over winter). Those swimmers highlighted in blue could have potentially swum a but faster over the 400m (*see notes below) and those without any coloration have either never been tested before or have just held steady over the winter.
  • Pages 5 - 7 detail your results ranked fastest first. I don't normally do this, but with such a large number of you doing the test and given that it's early days in the season, I thought you might like to see how your CSS result (an indication of the pace you should be able to hold for a 1500m race effort) compares with the others in the various squads.
  • Pages 8 - 13 detail the lane allocations and the CSS pace elected for each lane (or sub-group) within each squad. Again, these are ranked on CSS pace which is more of an indication on endurance performance than who is necessarily the fastest swimmer in the lane over shorter sprints (although these do closely correlate of course). As such, I've tried to give an indication of who would be a good leader for sprint-like intervals (under 200m) and more endurance intervals (over 200m). Of course I will swap and change these around depending on who's having a good / bad day etc, so this is just for your reference. Equally, in an ideal world we'd all have our own beeper and have enough space in each lane to systematically ensure that we could coordinate your send-off times around everyone else's individual CSS pace. This of course is completely impossible in a squad-based scenario, so what we might 'lose' in specific individuality, we more than make up for with the massive motivational push that training with 8 or so other swimmers in your lane of a similar standard can have! As such, if you're worried that the elected CSS pace for your lane is maybe 4 or so seconds faster than your current CSS pace, don't panic - even with a proper 5 or even 10 second gap between each swimmer, there will invariably be some drafting effect pulling you along with the faster swimmers in front of you, and/or recognise that if / when you start to drop off a bit that's to be expected within the limits or range of your CSS pace behind the faster swimmers. It is not critical that these times are held precisely, and you should NEVER be afraid to drop behind the beeper when you're getting tired - that's the whole point - to get you to traverse that fine line between what is, and what is not, possible - "Sweet Uncertainty" we call it!

*if you have a BLUE highlight by your name, the following may explain this:

  1. you didn't pace yourself very well at the start of the 400m and blew-up, thus negatively effecting your time
  2. you're currently not that fit (maybe sporadic attendance over the winter?)
  3. you clammed-up with the prospect of being timed but know that you're capable of swimming faster when more relaxed
  4. you simply had an off-day

...whatever the case, don't worry - I'll be closely monitoring how you're all improving and making adjustments as necessary. as you can see, I've been rather busy crunching these numbers (hence the slight delay, sorry!) but this will nicely set us up for how we will structure the lanes within each squad over the busier months this summer. I am also hoping that by adding in the new Thursday 6.30pm session that this helps to manage availability as well - again, please let me know if this session suits you.

If you're a numbers 'bod' like me and are keen to know more about CSS training, please see the following four links: (More discussion around CSS) (answering a common query about how CSS is calculated - worth a read to get your head around it!)


For those concerned about muscular aches and pains this season, we have secured the services of Prue Newnham from Body Logic Physiotherapy who will come and do 15 minute musculo-skeletal screening testing on Saturday 3rd November between 2pm and 5pm at Claremont Pool. Prue will test things like your flexibility and functional strength and recommend a range of exercises to keep you healthy this season, especially for those of you attempting the Rottnest Channel Swim as a Solo. There are only 12 spots available for this first session, so please be quick to reserve your spot by emailing me back asap. I will publish a list of who's who and who's when once all the spaces have filled. Cost is $50.00 per person, payable to Prue Newnham. Prue was the Australian Open Water Swimming Team's physiotherapist this last season and also managed Wayne Morris's shoulders in the lead-up to his recent conquering of the English Channel. Highly recommended.


This is just a polite notice to request that you please (please) remember to bring your PAYG card to every session and remember to collect it after each swim also. With the increased number of sessions available and several of us coaches now coordinating the coaching effort, it becomes increasingly challenging to remember who owes what and when. Your help with this is very much appreciated - I know it can be a pain to remember that small piece of card each time, but this is our only method of payment just like remembering your money to enter the pool itself. Thanks. New cards can be ordered here: 


Last but not least, I am pleased to announce that over the next 6-8 weeks I will have 1 to 2 assistant coaches with me on pool deck at most sessions as of Monday 8th October. Like last year, we have invited two coaches over from the UK (Emma from the Lake District and Alan from Glasgow) to sit the next stage in becoming a certified Swim Smooth coach. Emma and Alan will be on pool deck assisting / shadowing me for the next two weeks, with Emma electing to stay on for another 4-6 weeks thereafter. I am very confident that you'll find this to be a huge boost! Both are great coaches and professionals who we know will be a credit to the Swim Smooth name. We hope you welcome them to our fair shores like you welcomed the eight last October!

We will also be getting a visit from Steve Casson (who attended our course last October) and is now a fully certified Swim Smooth coach in Northampton, UK. Steve will be taking full control of the squad for about 5 days right at the end of October whilst I have a visit from my step-Dad and Mum to celebrate his 50th birthday down in Gnarabup. Steve's a brilliant coach and will stop off in Perth after spending some time in New Zealand with the British Triathlon team. Emma will also be assisting Steve in this timeframe.



Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Public Holiday & the Royal Show & parking...

Dear Swimmers

Just a couple more days and hopefully we'll see the last of this foul wasn't too pleasant on pool deck this morning!

Just a reminder that both the Saturday 1-2pm open water skills session (at Claremont Pool) and the Monday 7am & 9.30am sessions will still be running this weekend despite the Public Holiday AND the AFL Grand Final!! We always like to ensure that you're covered with sessions over most of the annual public holidays as that is when many of you have additional free time, so if you can make it, please do.

Secondly, this weekend sees the start of the Perth Royal show for about 9 or 10 days. Whilst the pool's car park is reserved for soul use of the pool patrons, chances are there will be heavier than normal congestion on the roads the next two Saturdays, so if you're planning on attending the fantastically fun 1-2pm sessions on these days, please allow an extra 10-15 mins travel time - thanks!

Cheers and have a great weekend! 

P.S Don't forget, we'll be testing on Friday (5.30am and 6.30am) for your current threshold pace, an excellent chance to see where you're at. To get the most accurate times we will divide each squad into two waves utilising 3 of our 4 available lanes with one lane reserved for keeping warm / moving whilst you wait for your turn. This worked really well last time around. Please bring an extra towel if you decide to hop out and stay warm on the pool deck before you're called forward. Due to the nature of these tests, please expect to get less total volume done on Friday, but equally know that it will help set you up for a great summer, knowing full well where you're starting from...not to be missed!

P.P.S it looks like we might get permission to run an additional Thursday evening session at the pool over the summer from 6.30-7.30pm to reflect Tuesday's 6.30-7.30pm session. This will be great and open up more opportunities for those of you currently wait-listed seeking to get a spot in the squad. This session will probably be a Fresh & Fruity CSS session (threshold pace) to complement Tuesday's steadier technique & endurance session with the vision that those who attend on a Tuesday will also elect to attend the Thursday evening session as well. Please let me know if you're keen and we'll get the ball rolling. Cheers!


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Couple of quick ones...

Hi everyone

Just a three reminders:

1. Tonight I shall be at the pool from 615-715pm to answer any queries about the Rottnest Program as shown here:

Please make sure you've had a good read through and come loaded with any questions. 

Katrina Mercer will be coaching the session, so given that the pool closes at 730pm we have set it up so that Katrina can coach whilst I answer any queries during the session and for up to 15 mins after. 

You might also wish to have your 400/200 time trial done tonight if you cannot make Wednesday / Friday this week. 

2. Monday 7am and 930am sessions will still be on despite the public holiday. Francene will be taking those as I'll be away with the family down in Bridgetown. Brad Hoskings will take Saturday at 1pm also. 

3. Let me know if you plan to swim Solo to Rottnest this year. 

Cheers - stay dry!


Monday, September 24, 2012

Update to program, fixes broken hyperlinks - would love your feedback!

Dear Swimmers

Sincerest apologies but a few broken hyperlinks in our Rottnest Channel Swim Program meant it was not functioning exactly as hoped. These have now been fixed and the program resized to 4.4mb which should hopefully be better for those viewing on an iphone / ipad etc. Here's the link again:

...would love to hear your feedback!

For your reference, we shall be re-testing everyone's CSS pace this week in the Wednesday 9.30am and Friday 5.30am / 6.30am sessions to get you a baseline for the start of the season - enjoy!



Saturday, September 22, 2012

It's here! Our 2013 Rottnest Channel Swim Program!

Our 2013 Rottnest Channel Swim Program
Dear Swimmers,

Well this have been a monumental amount of work over the last few weeks culminating with a 3.30am finish this morning, but hopefully it's all worth it!

IMPORTANT: Firstly, sincere apologies but due to a clash with the room booking at Claremont Pool this Sunday for our planned 4pm Q & A session we have been left room-less! Knowing this and that many of you said you would be away this Sunday and in anticipation of some further poor weather, we will now postpone this session until Tuesday 25th September immediately following (or during if you plan to swim it) the 6.15-7.15pm session at Claremont Pool which I shall be in attendance for as Sandy will be away. 

I've ensured that the program you are about to read should answer 99.9% of all your questions about the program, and whatever it doesn't I am suggesting that you either email me through directly or pop along on Tuesday evening.

I do sincerely apologise for the late notice of this postponement - please pass on this message where possible - but hopefully the program more than makes up for it! ;-)

You can now download our 2013 Rottnest Channel Swim Program at the following link: warned, it is 49mb in size so may take a few minutes to download!

Please take a good read through of the material for anyone doing (or thinking about doing) the event in a little over 5 months time. By all means circulate to friends, family, work colleagues etc - I simply ask that if you are planning on doing the event and seek to follow the program that you quickly email me to let me know if you're doing a Solo, Duo or Team and then I shall watch out for you!

A few notable points:

  • most of the early morning squads are already close to capacity and as such, if you're not already swimming in some of the sessions which feature in this program, please email me on to be kept informed if / when spaces become available. I can't guarantee to be able to get you in but will keep you posted.
  • we do have 5 places available in our Monday 7am technique session, Tuesday 6.30pm session (note this will go back to 6.30pm for the summer season from 2nd October onwards) and also our Saturday 1pm session for the first 5 people to raise their hands for interest in these. 
  • given that the squads have been so busy, it may not be possible for those of you who sometimes do a double 5.30am to 7.30am session on a Tuesday and Friday to do this this season, however, three solutions: 1) swim in the 6.30am session and then continue on to 8.30am when the pool is much quieter (I'll still be on pool deck with a 1-2-1 which is good); 2) do the double at 6.30pm on a Tuesday evening, i.e. two separate sessions in a day - if you've never tried this it's actually very effective; 3) swim with me on a couple of the sessions listed in the Program to boost your volume at quieter times.
  • if you don't already have a copy of our new book and are planning to do quite a bit of swimming by yourself, I'd highly encourage you to order a copy as there are literally over 5,000 possible training session ideas in there that you'll be able to use to compliment the longer, more specific sessions that feature in this program.
  • we start on Monday 1st October and run for 21 weeks to Saturday 23rd February 2013 (race day).
  • Sandy will be away for the next six weeks on the Tuesday evening sessions, in his place will be uber-fish and experienced coach Anna-lee Hazell, sister to Francene.
Cheers everyone, it's 4am and I'm now going to hit the sack for a well earned sleep!


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Rottnest Channel Swim Q & A Sunday 23rd September at 4pm

PLEASE NOTE: we will be making the official start time of the Tuesday and Friday 5.30am and 6.30am sessions 5 minutes later to account for coming through the gate at 5.30am and the slightly delayed start this causes the 5.30am group. This change is effective immediately. We always make the effort to be finished with the 5.30am group ASAP, but to avoid any confusion / chaos, please be aware of this official change to the program.

Dear Swimmers

For those of you contemplating the Rottnest Channel Swim on February 23rd 2013 either as a Team, Duo or Solo swimmer, we are proposing to run a special information afternoon from 4pm to 5.30pm at the Claremont Pool on Sunday 23rd September, precisely 5 months out from the swim.

The session will involve us detailing our own proposed training and racing schedule in the lead-up to the event and to help answer questions for those of you very new to the event about how to get kickstarted.

Our own program will commence on Monday 1st October and will run for 21 weeks up to the date of the event. The primary focus of the session will be to detail the hows and whys of getting the most out of your training time and to stave off potential injuries.

I am putting out a special request to those on the Rottnest Committee (or Rottnest Solo veterans) who might like to offer an abbreviated version of the rules / regulations of the event - please get in touch if you feel you can offer some insight here.

Depending upon numbers and level of interest, this session will be held in the Club Rooms at the Claremont Pool. Please RSVP if you hope to attend what will be sure to fire you up for a successful crossing.

The session will be free of charge and I would gladly welcome any suggestions for other larger venues that we could possibly use in the event of great demand to attend.



Friday, August 31, 2012

Only nine 1-2-1 Video Analysis Sessions left before Christmas!

Dear Swimmers

Hope you have all enjoyed a great week - I've certainly loved being back on the pool deck and cracking the whip again! ;-) It's always so refreshing for me to go away and do some coaching at other venues around the world and then to come back in fresh with new ideas and prepped for the season ahead - I am very lucky to have your support and encouragement in these pursuits! Thank you.

1-2-1 Video Analysis & Stroke Correction Sessions:

I have had many enquiries this week about our very popular 1-2-1 Video Analysis and Stroke Correction sessions (see: for those contemplating a Rottnest Channel swim or for gift ideas for friends and family members this season. I just wanted to inform you that we currently have a 13 week waiting period before the next available session and only nine remaining sessions before the Christmas break. This is an unprecedented level of interest which I have to admit I'm struggling to keep up with the demand for!

If you would like to reserve a place in one of the nine available December sessions (we have ~10-12 slots available per week typically for these sessions), please do so by completing the form at the link above.

Whilst we do occasionally get cancellations for these sessions, it is very unlikely that for those of you training for either the Anaconda or Busselton Ironman events that we'd be able to slot you in before these events - sorry! I just wish there were more hours in the day and space at the pool!

Squad enquiries:

Further to this, we have had an incredible 74 independent enquiries now for new swimmers and triathletes seeking to join one or more of the various 12 x weekly main squad sessions at Claremont Pool, which is enough interest to start two entirely new squads! What's more, this has all been within just the last month whilst I've been away in the UK - just incredible. Whilst this is obviously great to see the increasing level of interest within the squad and swimming as a whole, we are already pretty much at capacity with respect to what we can take onboard this season at Claremont Pool. 

I'm a bit miffed as to where the sudden interest has built from, but I have to say my first guess is due to the recent marine life movements out there in the ocean and am a little concerned at this stage about how this will affect people's preparations for things like the Rottnest Channel Swim this year...I know personally I'm not keen at all in swimming in the ocean right now!

In the next fortnight I will be sending out an expression of interest form for which sessions you plan to attend over the summer period, with priority (as always) given to those members of the squad who have trained consistently and diligently with us year-round. 

As I've mentioned previously, the PAYG card system works very well for you the swimmer as it gives you greater flexibility and that you're not paying for sessions that you don't attend...however, it is imperative (and somewhat tricky!) to ensure that we keep the squads running as smoothly as possible, and as such I'm always looking at better ways in which we can run things. 

As it stands at this point in time, we cannot get anymore lane space at Claremont Pool, thus I am now looking at the feasibility of approaching other local (and not so local) pools to potentially establish "mirror" squads at alternative venues with the assistance of the fantastic coaches who looked after you all very well indeed in my absence last month. I'll keep you posted on this, but by all means if you have any ideas or suggestions, then please do let me know! 

I'm very keen to not spread myself too thin (as personally I am very happy with my current workload) and will always seek to support the squad members (you!) who have supported me over the years with your attendance and have helped us grow to this level. What I see this seemingly sudden rise in interest as generating though are positions for other passionate coaches like myself to continue to grow the sport of adult swimming here in Western Australia, and that can only be a good thing! Through our work in the last 2 years with British Triathlon and re-writing their entire swim coaching curriculum for Levels 1, 2 and 3, I have a huge passion for Coach Education and nothing would make me happier than if we can bring a little slice of that over here to Perth where Swim Smooth all started.

Of course, my ultimate dream is to have my own 10 lane 50m pool right on Cottesloe Beach complete with palm trees and landscaped gardens, but I think I'm at least four lifetimes and probably about $10m (or one Powerball!) away from that one...alas, I can but dream! ;-)

Thanks for your attention, have a great weekend and hope to see some of you at the pool this afternoon for our super-fun 1pm Saturday session!