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.



No comments:

Post a Comment

Please add your comments here: