Saturday, February 15, 2014

Taper time and what to do this week!

IMPORTANT: there will be no squad swimming at 1-2pm on Saturday 22nd February due to the Rottnest Channel Swim event - no other sessions are affected this week!

Dear Swimmers

Each year I post out some advice regarding the Rottnest Channel Swim and what to do in the final week to maximise your chance of success. Rather than cut & paste all of that info here, I will instead point you to the relevant links depending on what info you're seeking. I hope this helps!

We've got a massive number of you again involved in the event again in some capacity and whilst my back surgery precludes me from partaking myself this year, I will be on Coach Sally's support boat for her first Solo (I actually can't wait to help her and give back some of the enthusiasm and energy she's shown towards all of you in the squad in the last few years!). That also means I'll be on Rottnest Island when most of you land, so I can't wait to share a beer or three with you then - let's rock this thing!

So here are the links:

Taper Time Info and How to Keep a Cool Head

Suggested Training Sessions this Week

Rottnest Q & A (in case you missed it)

How to Manage any Shoulder Pain on the Day

Nutrition Tips (don't make any drastic changes now though!)

Change-over times for DUOS and TEAMS

Whilst the Soloists will be stopping every 20-30 minutes to refuel with fluid and gels etc, my suggested change-over routine for Duos and Teams would be as follows:


  • One off the beach (1km) and then partner to do equivalent time (15-20mins)
  • Bring the next 4 to 5 intervals (each) down to 8-10 minutes (anything less than this at this stage and you're balancing the fatigue of getting in/out of the boat too much)
  • Next block 4 interval of 8 minutes each
  • Once into the last 4-5km I would recommend bringing it down to 5-6 minute intervals (you could go a bit less at this stage)
  • Swim last 400m in together


  • One off the beach (1km) but then subsequent three swimmers each onto rotation of 10 minutes maximum (once through)
  • Switch down to 3 intervals each of 8 minutes
  • Next block down to 3 to 4 intervals each of 5-6 minutes
  • Remainder (if within the last 5km or so), notch it down to 3-4 minute intervals each
  • Swim last 400m in together

NB. some elite teams swim much shorter intervals than this to get across at break-neck speed, so if you're a faster team with stronger, experienced swimmers, then you too could do that.

All of the above are purely suggestions on what has worked well for me in the past. Another good tip is to have a whiteboard on the boat for Duos so you can write messages of encouragement to each other, because once you start, you won't ever really speak to them until you're stood on Thomson's Bay beach. Also, plenty of soft fluffy towels are excellent for preventing hypothermia (even on hot days) and a rope with a small buoy attached to reel the swimmer who's just completed their leg in is a massive assistance and will save you fatigue later in the day.

Maps on iPhone

This map shows real time current information in the channel: which you might use to check the best line of approach to the island (not guarantees here though! Your skipper should always be the one plotting the best line!)

Andrew Hunt's other fantastic map is this realtime tracker of people making it across the channel with the power of your phone:

Instructions for set-up are here:

Hope this all helps! Have a great day out there and if you want some inspiration on what to do if it does turn a little grizzly out there, see:



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