Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Public Holiday Monday 5th March 2012

Hi all,

Just a brief reminder that the 7am and 9.30am squad sessions will still be running this coming Monday despite the Public Holiday - hope that helps those of you not going away this weekend!

P.S Saturday 3rd March at 1pm is also back on after last week's hiatus with the Rottnest Swim.



Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Bon voyage!

Dear Swimmers

Please be advised that I will be away for 3 weeks following my final sessions tomorrow morning at 5.30am and 9.30am, and will be back on pool deck from Saturday 24th March at 1pm. In my absence, all the normal sessions will still be running with the coaching allocations thus:

...given that Rotto is over for another year, the only minor modification is that the Wednesday 5.30am sessions will be a maximum of 4-5km (not the 6-7km sessions we've been use to of late). These will also be complete by ~7am. This is a great session to build your endurance and really fine tune your pacing etc.

N.B. Some of the coaching allocations are subject to change, especially with Francene being so close to having her first baby (wahoo!) - please be understanding if things change at short notice with respect to who is taking the session - thanks!

9.30am session swimmers, please take heed of the notes regarding some of the session locations whilst I am away, i.e. 25m pool and two beach sessions owing to fully booked pool space due to the carnival season. Please be patient and supportive of the coaches at this time and also the pool staff as they have all done their very best to ensure that we can maintain the program as much as possible during this busy period at the pool.

Also, if you still require a PAYG payment card, there's the option to buy one at either of the 5.30am or 9.30am sessions tomorrow (Wednesday 29th February) or online at:

...if you happen to process a payment whilst I am away, please print out the receipt and present this to your coach on the day to receive your PAYG cards

On this note, please can I request that you are all super diligent in bringing your PAYG cards to each session...there have been a few consistently 'forgetful' swimmers recently but this will prove to be an admin nightmare with 3 coaches taking the various sessions in my absence, so please support this system as best you can. Your support here is much appreciated!

OK guys, have a great 3 weeks with the new coaches and the exciting sessions that we have planned between us. The 10 week CSS Development Program will still continue in the same format on a Wednesday at 9.30am and Friday at 5.30am & 6.30am. This week is week 7, I return at the end of week 10 and we will be doing some re-testing in week 11 upon my return to see how you've all gone, so please keep up the great work you've been putting in recently!

Cheers and enjoy!


Sunday, February 26, 2012


Dear Swimmers

Congratulations to all of you who successfully completed the 22nd annual Rottnest Channel Swim yesterday. Conditions turned out to be much better than predicted and times generally speaking were relatively quick despite the swell earlier in the day. I aimed to get as many shots of you all either starting or finishing as possible (not easy with 48 successful soloists, and over 70 DUO & TEAM swimmers from the squad and my 1-2-1 coaching taking part!). These can be viewed here:

Full results will be published in the next couple of days at:

It has been an incredible season seeing so many of you take on such a massive goal and succeed in the finest of fashions! Well done to you all! It would be unfair to suggest who had the best race from the squad as just making it across to the island is such a huge fete in itself and many of you were out there to simply complete your first ever solo swim and pick up the number plates! There were some seriously impressive performances though and generally speaking I'd say that 90% of you seemed happy with your times, including all those of you who smashed your PBs from previous years, of which there were many! 

Just to illuminate a bit of perspective on the whole time thing though for the few of you who thought you could have / should have swum quicker, squad stalwart and now English Channel legend Paul Downie, swam 9h16m in 2009 for his first successful crossing of the Rottnest Channel. Paul suffered severe shoulder pain in the last 6km but battled on to set in motion what would then be 2.5yrs of hard work leading up to a successful assault on the English Channel in September 2011. Despite Paul's route being over twice the distance of Cottesloe to Thomson's Bay, he completed his epic English Channel swim in just 12h38m. Why raise this point? Well of the 48 soloists who successfully swam to the Rottnest Island this weekend from the Swim Smooth squad and those whom I've been coaching on a 1-2-1 basis, the longest time it took to swim the Rottnest Channel yesterday was 8h48m, i.e. 26 minutes faster than Paul's first attempt in 2009. The quickest (for your reference) was 5h15m. 

Should this suggest that all 48 of you now look to swimming the English Channel? No, probably not, but despite how you're feeling with your aching arms and tired muscles over the next few days, please try to take onboard what you have achieved this weekend and realise that very few people have done what you just have. Enjoy this feeling and who knows, maybe you might just have inspired another swim in yourself next year or for another Rotto virgin in your lane!

363 days of training to go...!

Cheers and well done again - I'm super proud to be known as your coach.


Friday, February 24, 2012

This time tomorrow...

...most of you will be across on Rottnest Island, or there or thereabouts! Wahoo!!

The weather conditions look like they have stabilised a touch, but it will pick-up to a SW wind ~11am, so please be prepared for this (not scared, just prepared - and you are, all of you!).

Given the likely conditions and what I'd promised to send out with respect to suitable change-over times for DUO and TEAM swimmers, if it proves to be a bit tricky to get in / out of the boat, my suggestion would be to lengthen the time you spend in the water so that this process doesn't become so fatiguing midway through the swim when you need it most.

As a DUO (of which I have now done three crossings all in about 5h30 with three different partners), we've always done this as me off the beach (first km), my partner will then take the first 12-15 mins whilst I recoup and get my bearings off the beach and then we'd immediately jump down to rotations of 8-10 mins for the first couple of hours before bringing this down to 6-8 mins in the next 2-3 hours and even down to 3-4 mins in the 'final' hour (sometimes given the conditions this might become slightly longer than an hour!). I would say that you'd want to factor on about this +2-3 mins per cycle depending on how rough it gets (i.e. the rougher it is the longer each swimmer should stay in because of the hassle of swapping over). Still though, the max I'd recommend staying in for would be 10-12 mins after that first rotation as swim speed will invariably drop-off somewhat and with the prospect of worsening weather at ~11am, faster (sustainable) paces will be advantageous at the start.

I've never competed in a TEAM event (one year maybe!) but you might like to sway your rotations towards the stronger swimmers in the team (i.e. 6-10 mins for the stronger swimmers and 4-7 mins for the less strong) in order to gain the advantage of an easier day all round if you cover more ground before ~11am. Again, you'd typically start off with longer rotations and reduce these as you got closer to Rottnest and your speed starts to decline all round.

Obviously for SOLOS you don't have to factor such rotations, but I would still stick with your fuelling stop plan as suggested earlier in the week (i.e. 15 to 25 mins). Ensure that your paddler is protecting you from the elements as best as possible and also trying to shelter you when you're feeding as a mouth full of seawater is not nice and will not aid your digestion! Let your skipper set your course and let the paddler follow the boat and be your guide. Tell your paddlers not to deviate from the course even if you (as the swimmer) are mistakenly nudging them off course. Have faith in their judgement and just you get on with your swimming.

OK, so very best of luck everyone. It looks like it will be a tough day at the office, so let's not beat around the bush and get our heads set squarely on. With this in mind I'd like to leave you with these three points / quotes before I see you in the morning on the beach:

  1. whether you think you can, or you think you can't, either way you are right!
  2. the darkest hour still only has sixty minutes in it!
  3. enjoy the challenge - no-one is forcing you to do this or holding a gun to your are doing this because you want to and what the challenge of training for such an event has brought to your life. Now all you can do is just do your best and keep a smile on your face knowing that you are undertaking a challenge which very few people are fortunate enough to be in the position to do so. 

My final point is to do with times and expectations of yourself - if I can be brutally honest for a moment, in 2009 I completed my first solo swim - I finished 6th in the men's event and 9th overall (way higher than I had ever believed possible, beating many swimmers who I thought would smash me). I had a goal throughout my whole training program of going sub-5 hrs. I crossed the line in 5h24m. Despite finishing as high up in the field as I did and with the winner 'only' doing 4h48m that year due to strong currents around the island, the first recollection I have of the finish was one of total disappointment for not having cracked 5 hours. I didn't know then where I had finished, only my seemingly disappointing time. Michelle still recalls how sad and grumpy I looked when in fact I should have been overjoyed by making it. The achievement of completing my first ever Rottnest Solo Swim ranks as one of my best ever sporting accomplishments, and yet that initial wave of disappointment and grumpiness will always rank as one of my deepest regrets. Please don't let this happen to yourself. 

In September 2011 I completed the English Channel Swim (again in a much slower time than I had envisaged even given the brutal conditions). The last words that I had still ringing in my ears before I started was "forget about the times, just make it across" after speaking with an English Channel veteran and former British record holder. He knew that the conditions weren't conducive to good times and knew that anyone who chased quick times would be either sorely disappointed or would not even make it to France. Without a doubt this was the very best bit of advice I could have had knowing that I was setting out in less than ideal conditions. This savvy advice might just prove to be what you need to have ringing in your ears before you set off tomorrow!

Best of luck everyone - you can do it if you believe you can!


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tips to manage shoulder fatigue / pain this weekend!

A couple of shoulder fatigue / soreness management tips for you - try these in the order that you start to feel any significant pain when you're swimming this weekend:

  1. check your stroke for a thumb-first hand entry and/or a midline cross-over as you enter into the water - the two leading causes of shoulder soreness in swimming! Hand entry should be finger-tips first and for the middle finger to be extending forwards in front of the same shoulder, not across. Watch this video clip on Saturday night (and now) for a great demo of how to do this properly:
  2. whichever shoulder starts to hurt first, breathe more frequently to that side for 15-20 minutes. This will force you to rotate better to that side and consequently reduce some of the pressure on that shoulder. Even just being conscious of rotating more to that side will help.
  3. when you have your paddler with you, let them do the navigating for could do the whole 19.7km of not needing to sight at all if you have your paddler by your side and trust their judgement. Often times, repetitive lifting to sight (especially in rough water) can cause the shoulders to eventually feel pain because of the lift required to get your eyes above the water.
  4. try shortening the stroke just a smidgen and elevating the stroke rate just a touch...overly gliding especially when rough will leave your lead arm in too much of an extended position too long within the stroke and can in some cases cause pain when fatigue sets in. Whilst this isn't necessarily required in everyone's stroke, it won't do any harm to try it if the above two points haven't made much difference.
  5. try straightening the arm a touch during the recovery phase rather than aiming for the classic high elbow recovery - you don't need to swing the arm over the water, but just focus on loose shoulders and better mobilisation in the socket rather than forcing an artificially high elbow.
  6. in extreme cases (as I did in my 2009 swim) I had to open my left-hand fingers a touch during the pull through to take some load off during the propulsive phase of the stroke - of course I slowed down as a result of slipping my catch a little bit, but I did make it across.
  7. have your paddler carry some emergency ibuprofen with you if your shoulders are starting to get really sore.

...hopefully you'll all be OK, but most swimmers do experience some degree of shoulder fatigue / soreness in swims of this nature, so rather than being ignorant to this fact, the savvy swimmers takes an arsenal of tips to try with them to best manage these situations.

Hope this helps!


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

No swimming at 1pm this Saturday

Dear Swimmers, please spread the word that there will be no swimming this Saturday at 1pm due to the Rottnest Channel Swim.

This Friday morning's 530am and 630am sessions will still be the solid Fresh n Fruity session that we've all come to know and love! I'm assuming that those who are Rotto-ing will either do a very short pool swim or even a loosener in the ocean.

The show must roll on for those not competing! ;-)



Monday, February 20, 2012

Help at the final hour…!

Dear Swimmers

Hope you're all doing well - the count down to Saturday's Rottnest Channel Swim is finally on! Hope you're all feeling great. The weather report at this stage is looking a little unsettled, but I'd ignore worrying about this right now...if nothing more my English Channel swim in September proved to me that a) there's no point worrying over something you can't control and b) that you've got to make the best of the elements on the day - you're all facing the same challenge, whoever gets their head around it the best will be the one who has a great swim. I totally believe you can all do this and if you want some inspiration check out this little video clip of my experiences in the Channel:

...that being said, I've also checked the reports and at this stage I am not overly concerned at all. Focus on you and your own preparations and believe that you can do it.

OK, a few points and tips, starting off with a MASSIVE plea for help:

  1. Kim Annear's boat is having a few mechanical issues and she needs either a great mechanic, a minor miracle or a new boat. The mechanic is due to do his stuff tomorrow, but we're trying to cover our bases and are desperately seeking a back-up boat in the eventuality that hers cannot be fixed. If you know ANYONE who can help, please contact Kim direct on or 0488 131 308 as soon as possible. Kim's raised well over $20,000 for the Cancer Council WA (see - please help if you can!
  2. I only have 9 days left in Perth before I head over to the UK for a series of Swim Smooth Coaching Clinics and to launch a brand new range of wetsuits that we've designed. If you think you may run out of PAYG payment cards whilst I'm away (1st to 23rd March 2012), it would be very much appreciated if you could purchase a new card before I leave at so as to help the coaches who will run the squad in my absence. There will still be the facility to do this whilst I am away or pay for a card in cash with the coach on the pool deck, but given the recently high numbers at the squad I am just trying to smooth out this process as much as possible and your help is much appreciated.
  3. We've had a massive number of enquiries and bookings recently for our 1-2-1 Video Analysis and Stroke Correction Sessions (see and these are now all fully booked until the start of June believe it or not. If you are hoping to book in for one (especially for the winter period) please may I suggest you do so sooner rather than later. Thanks.
  4. Below are some suggestions (quite long, but hopefully useful) on nutrition for this weekend's race in response to two squad emails I recently received. Hopefully you have all this nailed in by now and I'd strongly suggest not changing anything dramatically before your event:

Question # 1:

Hey Paul,
You have about a million times more experience than me for endurance racing. I hope that you can give me your opinions regarding my nutritionplan for my Rotto swim.
Basically, I have done 4 x 10km races this season but the Rotto swim is 20km. Aiming for 5hrs – 5:30hrs.
Can you please give me your thoughts on the following:
My goal is to load up on Pasta at 6pm and again at 10pm the night before. Just spaghetti with a flavourless light red sauce. I'll try to keep my hydration normal. Swim starts at 5:45am. 

Plan is to have a gel 15mins before race. During the swim I am planning to have 20 second break every 15mins (1km). At each break I'll have a gel mixed with 200ml of powerade. So over the whole swim I'll be having 20 gels and 4L of powerade. (is this too much?)
Doing my 10km swims I was having between 5-7 of the same gel/powerade mix and did not suffer adversely.
Thanks in advance for your expert thoughts.


Hi Damon

My thoughts on the nutrition are:

1) I wouldn't get overly concerned about stuffing a load of extra pasta into you the night before the week just ensure you don't do anything out of the ordinary and keep well hydrated and fuelled generally. Sometimes over loading yourself with very dense carbs can result in quite a heavy lethargic feeling on race day.

2) I would suggest having some water to hand to wash down some of the gels especially if you start to feel a little bloated. Some people are OK with a lot of rich carbs (i.e. gatorade and gel together) but some are not. Stick with what you know.

3) In 2009 I stopped every 20mins, in 2011 I stopped every 1500m (~22 mins) but found I needed to do a couple of quicker stops every 12-15 mins at about 15-16km when I was feeling a little low on fuel. Had I raced this year though (and with all the EC conditioning) I would have opted for every 2km (~28 mins) as this worked perfect for me. I personally think every 1km for 20" is too much, especially at the start. You can always start with 22-25mins and do what I did in 2011 if you feel the need - do this though before it becomes a problem! 

4) How fast you go off at the start will determine how quickly you chew through your carb stores - a good pacing strategy at the start will see better conservation of your energy as you go along.

Question # 2:

Hi Paul,
I have been doing the Saturday morning set the last 3 weeks with Stu and Clare and feel like I am pretty close to running on empty after about 4k. 
You mentioned using carbohydrate gels in one of the sessions last week – would it just be one of those after 3 or 4km?  In terms of fluids – just water or a Gatorade or similar? 
Would you recommend anything before a 5 – 7k swim – banana's, muesli bar??
Where do you get the carbohydrate gels?
At Swim Smooth we are often asked questions about what food and drink swimmers and triathletes should be using when they train and race to keep themselves fuelled and hydrated. Getting this aspect of your training preparation right is very important and will also determine how well you perform in training sessions and how well you recover afterwards. Studies have shown the negative effects of dehydration on performance as being anything upwards of 20% and if you have ever depleted your energy strokes and 'hit the wall' whilst you have been training you will know the profound effect that this also has.

Whilst we believe in a balanced whole-food diet outside of your training and racing, here are a few tips on what you can do immediately before, during and after training to supplement your fuel stores and maintain your hydration levels. We have written our advice on this as a direct response to an email we received recently from one of our swimmers who is contemplating the challenge of the 20km Rottnest Channel Swim in February 2012.

There are a couple of things worth pointing out with respect to training and racing nutrition to fully answer this question Chris:
  1. When training early in the morning your body has slept for 6-8 hrs and whilst this requires less energy than when you are awake, you still do burn calories whilst asleep. Although some swimmers prefer training on a totally empty stomach, we highly recommend having something before training to top up your muscle and liver glycogen stores. I personally have 'Weetbix' cereal with hot milk and a sprinkle of sugar washed down with a vitamin drink which I find works really well. Other people might have a banana, muesli bar or some toast and honey or jam. I will often sip on a bottle of water on my way to the pool to top up my hydration levels.
  2. Your body typically stores enough fuel in the form of carbohydrate (glycogen) to last you through 1½ - 2hrs of moderate to hard intensity training. In general you want to avoid becoming depleted so it's important that you top-up your energy during any session over an hour. When you exercise very lightly you use a larger portion of stored fat as your fuel source but as soon as intensity starts to lift above 70-75%, an ever greater share of your fuel source starts to come from carbohydrates. Given that this session is long (5+ km) and it becomes progressively faster, it has the potential to be a real drain on your glycogen stores. As you get fitter, the body becomes better equipped for utilising stored fat as a fuel source but your pacing in the first 1-2km of a hard set like this is important as well - go off too fast and you will immediately start draining your carbohydrate stores which will leave you wanting later in the session or race.
  3. Personally I alternate between drinking 250ml of Gatorade (mixed into the recommended 6-8% solution) every 25 minutes with 250ml of Gatorade or water together with a carbohydrate gel like a GU. Some say you should never ingest a gel and Gatorade together (or similar carbohydrate rich drink) as the sugar solution might be too strong in your stomach and can cause gastro-intestinal problems. Whilst this is true for some, it's not true for everyone - which is why you should use your training sessions as a way of experimenting what works best for you. My little formula gives me 500ml of fluid per hour plus 30g carbohydrate from the Gatorade and 25g from the gel (55g total). This is somewhat lower than the standard recommendation often made to triathletes of 1g/kg/hr (75g per hour for someone of my size) plus 600-1000ml of fluid per hour. I've always found the greater total fluid and fuel volume there a bigger source of stomach upset than combining a gel together with Gatorade but as I say this is highly individual and something to test out thoroughly yourself.
  4. These days carbohydrate sports gels can be bought at many sports stores or online. Whilst I use Gatorade most often as my drink source (because of its wide availability in supermarkets) other brands offer more sophisticated carbohydrate drinks too. 'Pure Sport' is a drink that we're currently trialling (as used by Mr Michael Phelps himself), this contains a little protein as well as carbohydrates and electrolytes - the carbohydrates are for fuel, the electrolytes are to replace lost minerals through sweat, and the protein is to enhance recovery and reduce muscle damage. Other good brands include Powerade, Science In Sport and Powerbar.
  5. Not everyone likes the texture of consuming a gel, so experimenting with things like Powerbars, cereal bars, honey sandwiches and bananas are also a worthwhile thing to do to find out what works best for you, albeit they are generally harder to eat and digest than gels. On my Rottnest crossings (and for the English Channel) I took a large variety of things with me (some of which are comfort foods and make me feel good if I'm getting low, e.g. Fry's Turkish Delight - yum!) just in case I fancy something different. When I swam the English Channel, despite being in the water for a little over 12 hours, I hardly strayed from my original Gatorade and GU gel plan but it was good to know that I had something different readily available if I wanted it.
  6. Whilst it's fair to say that sweat and evaporation rates are a lot different on land than in the water, you do still lose fluid in the water, so rehydrating is essential. If you are not needing to urinate every 60-90 minutes whilst training, you could be starting to become dehydrated. Equally, over-hydrating (more than 1.2 litres per hour, especially as plain water) can be extremely dangerous from an effect known as hyponatremia where you flush the body's cells of their sodium stores. So whilst my 25 minute fuelling and hydrating strategy works for me, you should experiment between 15 and 35 minutes to see what works best. In a pool session when you are not swimming continuously it is advisable to have a water bottle for little sips in between your major fuel stops.
  7. If you finish a session completely drained of fuel then it's going to take you a much longer time to recover. We get fitter (and faster) through a good balance of hard work and recovery. Take too long recovering between sessions and you will feel much less energetic at your next session. Consequently you always end up performing below par and never see the big improvements. This is why fuelling is so essential for effective training.
  8. Aiming to get in 20-30g of carbohydrate immediately after a long session like this will really pay dividends - a Nutella sandwich is always a favourite for me within 20 minutes of finishing a tough session. Things like Sustagen drinks are also a good way of recovering post session too.

This is certainly not an exhaustive section on sports nutrition but the take home points are: don't skip on nutrition, experiment with what works best for you and don't forget to consume some carbohydrate rich foods immediately after training to aid rapid recovery and reduce the urge to snack on fatty foods later in the day.

Friday, February 17, 2012

5 weeks down, 5 to go!

Dear Swimmers

Hope you're all having a great week. Obviously we're now only 8 sleeps away from the 2012 Rottnest Channel Swim and as usual I'm getting pretty excited about that. I'm sure you are too! I plan to send out some more Rotto-specific tips early next week on injury management, pacing, swap-overs for teams and duos and also nutrition. Today though, I've felt inspired to write more about how we're all getting on with our little 10-week CSS Development challenge.

Listening closely to feedback in and around the sessions, I've been hearing varying responses from:

  1. I'm loving the challenge - it feels great to have small goals!
  2. I'm over this - when is swimming going to be fun again?!
  3. Do we really need to have goal times all the time?!
  4. I just can't hit those times anymore and it's a bit off-putting!
  5. I can't believe how much better / quicker I am swimming now compared to 5 weeks ago!
  6. So-and-so seems to be making more improvement than me - why is that?!
  7. I think it's great that this rolls over past Rotto - it'll encourage me to keep swimming and not let go of all this fitness I have right now!
  8. Do you really expect us to be able to hold that pace for 1000m?!
  9. What will we do when the 10 weeks is over?
  10. I love (or hate!) not knowing what is coming up in the final 1000m on a Wednesday / Friday.

...clearly, there is wide ranging opinion on this little challenge just as there is a wide ranging level of ability, Swim Type and personality within the squad currently, and no one particular view-point seems to correlate to a particular group of swimmers within a particular squad. Of course not, you're all individuals with differing opinions and differing perspectives with different goals and aspirations at the end of the day.

What I am hoping is that this challenge has brought a slightly new perspective on training specifically to your current fitness level and striving to eek out that extra little bit from you each week in a progressive manner. Whether you make all the times or not is not the point (I've certainly had some monumental blow-ups in the last 5 weeks trying to do the same exercise as you guys!) but that we are slowly and surely moving forwards.

This morning was a classic example. In the 5.30am session there were a (LOT) of sour looking faces when I mentioned that we'd be doing 1000m at the end of the set - "we can't do that!" was heard more often than "what time is it Mr Wolf?" at Jackson's daycare! In telling yourself that you couldn't do it, you had already given up on yourself. I didn't expect it was going to be easy, nor did I even know if it would be possible for all of you, but for some in the group it was, and for those swimmers big PBs were seen - well done to you! The 6.30am crew had the benefit of knowing how the 5.30am crew had responded and correspondingly with a stronger "I can do it!" perspective set about doing some fantastic times almost across the board.

Sure it's a challenge and sure it's a real pain in the bum when that little beeper gets in front of you, but in a funny way it's also quite addictive too - we all want to know that we can improve ourselves and however you take this challenge I hope that you can see it in a good light and one that at the very least has seen 100% of you swim faster times in training than you were doing 5 weeks ago. That little increment of just 0.5% per week is doable and whilst I am sure some of you now feel like you are plateauing off a touch (I personally feel like this too if knowing this helps?!), others of you are just looking stronger and better each week. Good work. 

And at the end of the day guys, it's just training...have a crappy day and take it with a pinch of salt, move on and move forwards, never dwell on the bad ones (hypocrite alert! HYPOCRITE ALERT! Yes, this has arguably been one of my own failings in the past, but I'd like to think I'm getting as the years and wrinkles go by!).

Have a great weekend and forget about the numbers! ;-)


Monday, February 13, 2012

First of a few pre-Rotto tips

OK gang, so we're into the final 2 weeks before the Rottnest Channel Swim, i.e. taper time!

Now's the time when everyone expects to feel good but often feels terrible and begins to panic and wonder what's happening!!

You know what it's like if you've been working hard before a big family holiday, stressed to the nines, you get away and expect to feel great as soon as all the stress has been left in the office and yet for the first 3 to 7 days you actually feel totally flat and lethargic - not what you'd hoped for obviously!!! In this case the body and mind is simply having chance to finally sit back and relax and recuperate after all the stress you've been subjecting it to. Many people even get sick on holiday in these first few days. This is much the same as what happens when you start to taper down for a big event like Rottnest. It's unnerving though as you thought that you couldn't possibly feel anymore fatigued than you did after all those hard sessions in the pool and more recently open water.

Don't panic.

The key to a good taper is to:

  1. look after yourself - early nights, sitting rather than standing, lying rather than sitting. Keep hydrated and energy levels high with good nutrition.
  2. reduce volume substantially but still maintain a sense of intensity to keep you 'peppy' and alive rather than flat and sluggish from just a load of slow, easy swimming.
  3. maintain positivity even if feeling flat - this is a time for healing and recovering - you're going to feel a bit 'off' in the next 10 days - it's only natural. Don't fight it, accept it and use the additional time you have with the lower training volume to focus on your race and visualise a successful result. Do not skip on this - if you had to stop swimming today and couldn't swim another stroke before the event, what would make or break your preparation would be how you mentally prepare for the big day. Take a 1hr walk along Cottesloe Beach and simply visualise yourself completing the swim...use an iPod and listen to your favourite music to pump you up and set a positive tone (I can highly recommend "Not Afraid" by Eminem - it makes me all emotional just recounting how I sang this to myself over and over and over again before my English Channel swim!)
  4. set out a good plan (both physical and mental) and use this "If-Then" plan as described by my colleague and mentor Dr Greg Whyte to get your head around the task at hand:

OK, more later on in the week on technique strategies and how to rescue and regain yourself when heavy and sore shoulders eventually hit...

Hope this helps!


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Two teams looking for swimmers

Dear swimmers

If you've not got yourself into the Rottnest Channel swim this year but were keen for a swim, these two contacts are looking for a 4th swimmer:

Please get in touch asap - spaces likely to go in a snap!



Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Just 2.5 weeks to go to Rotto!

Dear Swimmers

Well, it's very nearly upon us - the Rottnest Channel Swim that is - just 2.5 weeks to go! Hope you're all feeling ready or at least getting there! For the soloists, this should be your biggest week of training before backing off in the final two weeks - please refer to

Since school went back last week and with the mad panic that usually accompanies the last minute cramming before the Rotto swim, you'll probably have noticed that some of the sessions have been a little on the busy side. I do expect this to drop off somewhat after the Rottnest swim, so please can I ask you to all be kind and courteous to each other and if you're new to squad swimming and are unsure of proper 'lane etiquette' that you just quickly familiarise yourself with these points:

Thank you!

There were some great results from the squad at the annual Cottesloe to Swanbourne Swim (my personal favourite) and also the Busselton Jetty Swim with a very notable performance coming from Kim Annear in 64 minutes for the 3.6km swim which will set her up nicely for her first outing at the Rottnest Channel Swim solo.

Lastly, almost immediately following the Rottnest Channel Swim (on the 1st March) I will be away for a period of 3 weeks coaching again in the UK. We are running two more 3-day Coach Education Clinics in association with the British Triathlon Federation and 4 or 5 1-day swimmer's clinics. We announced these on Friday night and were staggered to see them all fully book out in less than 30 minutes with well over 100 people on the waiting list within 2 hours. Just unbelievable. We are also going over for a product launch of a new range of wetsuits which we have helped to design that are aimed specifically at the different swim types and the necessity to produce suits of differing buoyancies depending upon how you naturally swim. All exciting stuff! All the squad sessions here in Perth will obviously continue with our excellent selection of coaches and I'll be back just in time to complete the 10 week CSS challenge with you all. Great!

OK, have a great week and see you on pool deck!


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

More Rotto help required - this time 'close to home'

Dear swimmers

Hoping you can help out or know someone who can?

In an effort to get fit after giving birth to our beautiful 3 month old baby girl Isla Rose, my wife Michelle is taking on the Rottnest Channel swim as a duo with her partner Karlee. They should go really well as both are strong swimmers with myself and Mish finishing 2nd in the mixed duos in 2010 with a time of 5h35.

Their paddler has sadly fallen through as has their skipper. The girls have a boat and even a driver but seek a paddler for the day and also a skipper to sit aboard.

If anyone can help please email Mish at

Thanks everyone - I'll be on Dad duty this year and shouting for everyone from the Island with JJ and Isla in tow!



Kind regards