Wednesday, June 10, 2015

UPDATE: Winter Squad Allocations

Dear Swimmers

Hope you're doing well? Another lovely morning in the river yesterday - I'll be there at 7am tomorrow again if anyone's keen before I shoot up to Hong Kong for a weekend delivering some Swim Smooth clinics up there - should be fun! 

You'll see from the length of this report that I literally "have nothing better to do" (the words of some, not of mine - hopefully this is all ends up being very useful long-term for you, the swimmer!) whilst the squad is in temporary closure. Do please ensure you at least scroll to the bottom though as our unofficial squad listings are there to view now.

OK, we've had an amazing response to the Winter Application form with 230 of you so far registering your interest. I have gone back through all my lists of attendees from the last 2 years and those that I know have been swimming relatively regularly and have determined that we're missing only about 15 people. I've contacted them all directly so just hoping they touch base with me asap to let me know their intentions for the winter squad. Needless to say it's been a mammoth amount of work and has only been possible due to the pool closure - so for that I'm glad.

Some interesting data has come from the form so far, in summary:

  • almost a 50/50 split between guys and girls
  • average age is 46
  • average CSS is 1:42/100
  • we have a very healthy balance between those who are currently competitive and those that are swimming for fitness, fun and friendship - I like this!
  • we have a very dedicated and consistent core group of members - I thank you for this!
  • the squad's most popular Swim Type is "Swinger", followed by "Arnie"*

*this fascinates me as worldwide we see more of this trend:
So the question I'm left asking myself, is:

  • Does Perth have an inordinately large Swinger population due to our strong association with ocean swimming and the Swinger's natural aptitude towards this environment, or…
  • Is the Swim Smooth Perth Squad popular because we recognise and cater well to the needs of Swingers who are ordinarily passed over as having "poor form"? Or…
  • In the process of coaching you to primarily be good open water, long distance swimmers, have many of you morphed into the Swinger style to capitalise on it's benefits in this environment?

…answers on a post card! Of course just as big of a revelation is that we only have a 13% Overglider population within the squad compared to the world "norm" of 40.6% - so could we literally be changing the world of swimming for the better from right here in sunny Perth? One of the USA's top open water swimming coaches Gerry Rodrigues seems to agree: - he's even used several of the terms and phrases I personally coined over here in Perth as far back as 2004 "dead spots", "over gliding" etc. A great article and well worth a read!

I've added some more graphs and charts below from the feedback form to satisfy your inner nerd (you might need to click on the image to view the detail):

The last chart is interesting and with any luck there's 33 of you out there who have just received this blog for the first time - welcome!

Lane Allocations:

Finally then, I have compiled an "unofficial" Squad List for the 2015 Winter Program. This is not yet set in stone as priority will still be given to those 15 I haven't heard back from yet over newbie applicants. I also haven't defined the Lane Order properly yet or the order of the Reserve List (so don't panic there!) or assigned the group CSS paces either - so this is just a guide only. "Please don't book your tickets" just yet etc

Green spaces indicate possible available spaces within the squad, subject to confirmation from the other coaches, Sally and Cyndy who run the evening and weekend sessions. Yellow highlighted names are those swimmers who've applied for more than one session on the same day (if this is you, please indicate which would be your preferred option now you've seen the listings). If your name is on the Reserve List for a particular session, you cannot attend that session until direct notice is given.

In the past we've formerly highlighted a "Buffer List" which essentially showed 8 to 10 people as confirmed per lane (depending upon the type of session) with an additional 2 to 4 listed to account for the versatile / flexible nature of the PAYG card and it's peaks and troughs - some sessions are busier, some sessions end up being quieter etc. In reality this just used to confuse people, so I've now removed it. 

Typically though, even though a couple of the sessions read as being quite busy (Wednesday 5.30am and Friday 5.30am / 6.30am), these have had no additional swimmers added to them above what we have been taking on a session-by-session register over the last 4 months. So saying that I expect little or no change to the dynamic of these sessions going on the fact that our busiest session in the last 4 months has been 43 people (10.75 people per lane). This happened once. 

Attendance is a little like Perth summer temperatures - we have a couple of +40s every now and again, but the average seems to be about 28 to 32 in the 4-lane sessions and 16 to 23 in the 3-lane sessions.

Where things often get a little tricky is in lanes 2 and 3 where depending on the specific allocated CSS pace that day and who shows up, despite the whole session maybe only having 36 people, these middle lanes can be busier than average as the dynamic will still work better than if there was a set 9 people per lane for example. As always, the job of the coach then is to manage that properly and for us to give guidelines on appropriate lane etiquette (see here: and here:

So here's the listings - please get back to me asap with any mistakes you might be able to see or if I have mistakenly missed you out entirely!

One, final, final thing:

If we still have some of the green spaces left by the end of next week, then I shall open these up to the wait list (387 people). My intention here is to formalise the possibility of the 7.30-8.30am sessions on a Tuesday and Friday and offer space here if the demand is there. I have had very little demand from any of you already registered for these specific sessions (you're obviously happy with your routine and that's more than OK), so am anticipating very little shuffling around if they do become available. Please help me though by raising my awareness of your interest in those 7.30am sessions so that I can look at where gaps in the 5.30am and 6.30am sessions might open up. You are not committing to anything or forfeiting your current space, just letting me know. Thanks!


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