Wednesday, August 24, 2016

August Newsletter - Claire goes for Gold and other cool stuff!

Squad swimmer Claire McLean to compete in the 2016 Rio Paralympic Triathlon - go Claire!! We are so proud of you!

Dear Swimmers

I've got a few cool items to share with you today and also an update on the ill-fated update to the Swim Smooth Perth Squad app which most of you use to book in your sessions. Please read on.

Squad swimmer Claire McLean to take part in the 2016 Rio Paralympic Triathlon!

Just because the Olympics has now finished doesn't mean to say the excitement is over! The Paralympic Games runs from the 7th to the 18th September and on Sunday 11th September from 9pm, squad swimmer Claire McLean will compete over the 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run course. For more information see - we wish Claire the very best of luck from all her buddies here in Perth and I look forward to being able to update you on her progress and how she went!

My Video Review of the Olympic Games (POOL events):

In case you missed it, please check out this thorough report of the 2016 Olympic Games where I analyse the strokes of the champions against the "not quites" which will help heighten your knowledge for dinner party discussions with friends of why so-and-so swam the way they did! Here's the link (49 minutes):

…please note the exclusion of the open water and triathlon events which we reviewed here in greater depth: - I have to say Australian Jarrod Poort's valiant effort in the 10km open water event goes down in my mind of one of the most exciting sporting events I have ever witnessed, despite his tactics seemingly contrary to what I usually stipulate about the benefits of pacing and drafting (read more in the previous link).

World 70.3 Championships

Many of the squad successfully qualified to compete at the World 70.3 (Half Ironman) championships on the Sunshine Coast on September 4th 2016 in Mooloolaba, QLD. I look forward to letting you know how they get on!

Paul Away

Head Coach Paul Newsome will be away:

  • 21st to 30th September (sister's wedding in bonny Scotland - Mish and the kids to come!)
  • 1st to 15th November (USA Coaching trip - delivering two 3-day Coach Education courses in California and Florida in the quest to find some new coaching blood for February 2017's Perth courses)
...all sessions will proceed as normal during this period.

Christmas Period

The squad will take a break this year from 24th December to 1st January, that being the last sessions will be on Friday 23rd December and first back Monday 2nd January 2017.

If it's not broken, don't try and fix it!

Further to last week's email note, SMS and app notification (phew!) I am hoping you have all managed to regain access to the Swim Smooth Perth Squad app by following my instructions here - if not, please let me know. This issue had been created by a fault during MindBody's upgrade process which - as a third party - I can only apologise for. Sorry!

It has also come to my attention though that some of you who utilise our wait list system haven't been receiving your usual SMS notifications that you have been successfully accepted for a session. Whilst this offer always goes to your email address as well, obviously most people don't check their emails as much as they do their phone messages! The tech team are looking into why this is the case as we speak and I will keep you posted. 

Please remember that the system assumes that if you are still waitlisted for a session and then get offered a spot that you would want to still take it, so it will automatically put you in for that session. If you are one of the people who aren't receiving your SMS currently, apologies if you cannot then opt out of the session via this SMS notification. Please resort to checking your email or waitlist status number within the app to show how close you are to acquiring a spot and cancelling out of any wait lists that you can no longer use in the interim.

If you get added to a class which you shouldn't have been (i.e. can no longer make) just cancel out of this as you would any other class by finding it under the "My Classes" tab in your app. For those who are concerned that you have "Unconfirmed" classes in your schedule and wish to attend these, don't panic, these spots are still held for you. You only need concern yourself with opting out.

12 months gone - a time for reflection and analysis!

It seems slightly contrite to be espousing the benefits of the now 12-month old Swim Smooth Perth Squad app given the niggles mentioned above, but on the whole I am hoping you agree that it has been a very positive part of your experience swimming with the squad. I have been able to pull out the following data from our internal reports for your information and interest which I am hoping you find useful. By openly sharing this information I hope you can better understand how the new system works and equally where waitlisted spots are likely to arise for those seeking them!

Here are the 10 key points - in the last 12 months we have:

  1. delivered 575 exciting squad sessions, many of which have been entirely unique and fuelled and inspired by either current affairs (i.e. the Olympics) or suggestions from you the members
  2. had to only cancel 28 sessions for public / Christmas and Easter holidays and one lightening strike at the pool - this gives us an unmatched reliability "up-time" of 96%!
  3. delivered 350 1-2-1 Video Analysis and Stroke Correction sessions to swimmers from as far afield as the USA, Singapore, Hong Kong, India and Europe, travelling specifically for these sessions believe it or not! If you've never taken one yourself you can look at booking an appropriate spot for you either through the app or at!appointments/cta3 - use the 10% discount code "bubblebubblebreathe" to tap into one of these great sessions soon! Our wait list system has meant that we can now offer these as soon as within the next week or two as opposed to 6 months lead-time in years gone by!
  4. had 16,305 of you attend our various sessions all seeking to improve some aspect of your swimming, whether that be for fitness, fun or competition. This equates to an average of 320 (mostly) happy swimmers* per week enjoying all that the squad offers
  5. seen our most popular sessions being the Wednesday 5.30am and Friday 5.30am sessions which have seen an average of 40 and 41 swimmers respectively over the last year
  6. seen most variability in attendance for the Monday Pure Technique (7am and 9.30am), the Tuesday Technique / Endurance 6.30am and 6.15pm, and the Friday 9.30am Red Mist Endurance sessions, making these the easiest to pick up wait list spots
  7. had myself, Head Coach Paul Newsome, deliver 84% of the early and mid-morning sessions and write 100% of all the remaining sessions which have been evenly delivered by our brilliant coaches Cyndy and Sally. I am super proud of the high quality of coaches (including also Marie and Brad) we have to cover sessions during times when I am away delivering courses internationally and hope you will agree that they are all fabulous assets to the program. Even as the demand continues to grow for me to deliver and extend Swim Smooth around the world, my base is right here in Perth and as such I have made it a priority to aim to never be away myself for longer than 10-14 days at a time on these trips (often much shorter), recognising of course how important it is for me to be here to lead the charge**
  8. seen some brilliant camaraderie within the squad and - dare I say it as a "Pom" - some brilliant "digger spirit" too - people willing to give it a go, take the challenge and equally support their mates too!
  9. not once exceeded our maximum threshold attendance in any of the 575 sessions we have delivered thanks to the system management of the app. Whilst this is still possible going forwards (owing to the legacy from our previous system of having a built-in buffer of swimmers for every session above the maximum threshold), it goes to show that the system is working well for all parties. Our actual average capacity utilisation runs at 83.6% for your reference. Of course, depending on who turns up, we will occasionally have a very busy lane 1 and 2 and quieter lane 3 and 4 (or vice versa) and this dynamic is constantly changing and being managed by myself and the coaching team.
  10. been able to offer an average of 4.7 wait listed spots per session whereas in the past we had to firmly close the doors on any "new blood" for fear of being over-subscribed. This does present a dynamic challenge each session in the sense that the waitlisted system cannot (and should not!) be discriminatory against a swimmer's ability - it's purely first-come, best-dressed in that sense. I hope you find that this in itself adds a tone of variety to your sessions and I always thank you for your ability to be accepting of the "new blood" and for showing them the ropes as we go!

* note to self: Red Mist Endurance Sessions are not truly effective unless they cause at least some degree of grumpiness!

** on that note since meeting Simon Murie (head of the UK company "Swim Trek") in 2005 we have often been asked to attend one of his fabulous European / Worldwide swim vacations as their support coaching staff. Many of Simon's own team have actually attended our own 3-day Coach Education workshops so that the coaching advice that anyone receives on his holidays is concurrent with what I would suggest. This winter alone, over 30 members of the squad have participated in a Swim Trek its Simon's team. Whilst we have no formal association with Swim Trek, I am looking at the prospect of proposing a Swim Smooth / Swim Trek co-operative swim vacation in July 2017 based on many of your suggestions to do just that. This'll be a fantastic experience I am sure and also help to side-step the "being away from the squad" angle as I'd be there with you having fun and drinking Sangria too!

Thanks for your time - here are some charts for those of you who like that kind of thing!

On behalf of myself and the other coaches, I'd like to say a massive thank you for your continued patronage and support of the Swim Smooth Perth Squad. As ever, if you have any suggestions, please don't be afraid to email back.


Weekly attendance figures over the past 12 months, noting the very obvious dip around the July School Holidays (winter)

Average (yellow), Peak (Red) and Low (Green) attendance by Session Type (note the blue bars represent the maximum threshold for each session, using the axis on the LEFT)

How our lead coaching pans out over the year (early / mid-morning)

How our lead coaching pans out over the year (all sessions)

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