Monday, October 15, 2018

Spring 2018 Squad Newsletter

It was pretty windy out there this weekend!

Hope you are all doing well and have had a great weekend, despite the somewhat yucky weather! I was running along Cottesloe Beach at about 6am on Sunday morning and was literally blown into my running partner several times, such was the ferocity of the wind!

OK, so I wanted to take this opportunity now that the weather is supposedly warming up, to give you a bit of a scope out of the spring / summer season ahead and what we have in the pipeline. As this has been the first proper newsletter in some time, it’s a bit lengthy, but I’ve broken it down into seven sub-sections for your ease of reading.

In this newsletter we cover:
  • Communication - how to stay abreast all the squad news, gossip, offers etc
  • Rottnest Channel Swim - how to get your training groove on for this amazing event
  • Permanent vs Guest squad spots - how to snag your chance to have a guaranteed place in the squad (includes a great description of each type of session we offer and what to expect from them)
  • Squad “Christmas” Party - being held much earlier this year on Friday 23rd November (to allow Mother Smooth to meet you all!)
  • Have a taste of what SwimRun is all about...
  • Results from the 2018 Hawaii Ironman World Championships
  • Our next 2 week Certified Coaches Course will take place 11-23 February 2019


These days there are many different mediums for staying in touch and up to speed with everything in the Swim Smooth Perth Squad. If you’re new to the squad, you might not be aware of all the great free information we’ve built our reputation on over the years, so here’s where to find us on t’internet:
  • The Squad Blog (what you’re reading right now) goes out sporadically every few weeks and contains a good insight into the weeks and months ahead, i.e. details and results of CSS challenges, free sessions and giveaways, squad socials and the like. Perhaps you have got this link via a direct email? If so, this will have come via the database which holds your email address as a squad swimmer. I prefer to post these messages via the Blog so we can always refer back to them at - but if you think you’re maybe not subscribed, you can do so here: 
  • Push Notifications (the little SMS-like notifications that temporarily pop up on your phone if you’re using the squad app) are used to inform you of certain critical changes to the program in real-time, i.e. cancellations due to the weather and the like. Of course, you need to have the app installed to receive these - that can be done here for iOS users and here for Android users
  • Feel For The Water Blog (the main Swim Smooth blog) is our main resource of creative writing, interviews, tips and techniques that appear in your inbox once per week. Running since 2009 (and having not missed a single Friday post since that point), this is the world’s most prolific swimming blog with in excess of 130,000 subscribers around the world which we’re awfully proud about. To subscribe (and also get a free version of our animation Mr Smooth to guide you forwards) visit - a chronological archive of some of these articles can be easily accessed at - in fact, believe it or not, we wrote the entire best selling Swim Smooth book (see our 4.9 out of 5 star reviews on Amazon here) based upon responses to the blog between 2009 and 2012!

Rottnest Channel Swim:

For those of your contemplating a Rottnest Solo this year, we have the new version of our 2019 Training Planner outlined here. To make best use of this program and to see in detail every one of the 100+ sessions and races recommended between now and Saturday 23rd February and to also fully track your progress with our industry-leading analytics etc, go to the Swim Smooth Guru (requires a $19.99/mo subscription). If you want some more generalised help and (free) advice, then visit our 75 minute online seminar which will provide advice for Solo, Duo and Team swimmers. It’s less than 19 weeks to go, so you do need to get a little wriggle on!

Furthermore, my Top-10 Rottnest Channel Swim tips (from back in 2017) can still be viewed here:

The Saturday Stoic Sunrise Swim every Saturday at 530am would make the perfect compliment to your training week whether Solo, Duo or Team swimmer.

We will be announcing about ten 60-90 minute open water sessions taking place in the new year during the 9.30am squad slot (due to carnival clashes) in due course. Outside of these, my best recommendation is always to sign up for as many of the series races as possible, where there’s a certain security in numbers and water safety above training by yourself in the ocean (if you catch my drift…).

Permanent Spots in the Squad:

Essentially, swimmers can access the squad sessions in one of two ways:
  • As a PERMANENT squad member who has all their sessions permanently booked in for them (going forwards to August 2022 at this point). If you cannot make a session, simply OPT OUT up to 12 hours before the session to avoid being charged as though you were there. This option assures you a place in the squad every time you wish to use it.
  • As a GUEST squad member who switches and changes their sessions according to their own schedule. You need to OPT IN every time you wish to attend a session, which can get a little tedious remembering to do this as you’ll also need to monitor any sessions that you are popped onto the wait list for. For those with very changeable work schedules though, this option often works very well.
We now have some PERMANENT squad places available on a first-come / best-dressed basis by completing the simple form here with all your particulars (will take you 60 seconds tops). Notably, only the Saturday 530am session has spots available (and only 1 or 2 at that!) in the very early sessions (Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 530am sessions all continue to be fully booked).
All other sessions have limited availability of permanent spots - so please get in quick!

We have a special push going on at the moment for the two evening sessions (Tuesday and Thursday 615pm) which have been a little on the light side over the winter months - can you make them?

Here’s what you can expect in each of the types of session we offer (note this information is always in the description when you use the app to sign up for a place):
  • Monday Pure Technique The "Stroke Refiner" Pure Technique Session is a great way to start your week. The emphasis here is on a lot of drill and technique work with plenty of recovery and tips on how to refine your individual stroke. A common mistake many people make is to rush through the exercises to try to keep up with others in the lane. Don't. There is no need to do this. Take your time and focus on YOU! Leave the ego in the change-room and give your stroke the TLC it deserves. You will need all your swim equipment for this session (fins, pull buoys, bands, paddles and a Tempo Trainer as well if you have). There will be very little emphasis on target times etc during this session to keep you focused primarily on your technique. You can expect feedback during this session on how to perform the nominated drills correctly and a few quick tips on your stroke. 
  • Tuesday Technique / Endurance The "Cheeky Tuesday" Technique / Endurance Session is a great way to blend a bit of focus in the warm-up and build-set on enhancing your efficiency in the water, with a little bit of low-level endurance work, typically at CSS +3s to +6s/100m and over interval distances of 100m to 1000m. It's not as challenging as the longer "Red Mist" Endurance Sessions, but is a still a cracking little work out! You can expect feedback during this session on how to perform the nominated drills correctly and a few quick tips on your stroke. 
  • Wednesday / Thursday / Friday CSS Development Ah, the classic "Fresh 'n' Fruity" CSS Development Session - my favourite. There's a reason why a third of our 12 weekly squad sessions are focused on this type of session and that's because it works. If you want to enhance your speed in the pool and the open water over distances greater than 400m, then this is the place to start. It's a very challenging session and relies upon you knowing your current CSS pace. If you don't, why not have a little tester using the information at Intervals will range from 50m to 500m and will all centre around CSS pace. There will be a few drills and a few little pick-up sprints as well, but the majority of the session is focused on you maintaining your speed as your stroke inevitably starts to breakdown. The best swimmers in the world are those who let this happen least. Join them by getting good at these sessions! You can expect feedback during this session on how well you are holding pace and motivation to keep pushing on when things are getting tough. 
  • Wednesday / Friday Red Mist Endurance The infamous "Red Mist" Long Endurance Session is one tough little session, and in fact there's nothing really "little" about it as swimmers will cover between 3800m and 5000m during the 90 minutes. This session is the stalwart of the Ironman and 70.3 brigade given how good it is at preparing you for these distances. Despite it being the hardest session of the week, it's also the most popular which goes to show that people recognise it's merits and are willing to lay themselves on the line each week to get the most out of themselves. Interval distances range from many multiple 50m on a very short cycle up to 2000m - yes, as an interval, not as a total! These sessions typically use an RM Cycle which is different to the standard CSS pace method of using the Tempo Trainer to beep every 20 to 30 seconds or so when you should be at the 25m mark. Instead the RM Cycle adds a small buffer per 50m which includes your rest period - push harder and get more rest but risk blowing up, or back off and risk making the intervals become one long continuous swim: you are in control - though it'll hardly feel like it at the time! These sessions also rarely feature a "proper" warm-up, encouraging you to get right into it from the word go like at the start of a race - can you hold off the "Red Mist" from descending on you when you're not feeling your best?! You can expect feedback during this session on how well you are sticking to your targets and a rather excited coach urging you on under pressure to add to the sense of stress - all as a simulation of a race, you understand?! 
  • Saturday Stoic Sunrise Swim The long-awaited "Saturday Sunrise Stoic Swim" is a 1.5hr pool training session which caters to a variety of swimmer's needs. What's more - you don't need to stay in for the entire session, but will need to be there for the start at least. Perhaps you're planning to compete in the next Rottnest Channel Swim or Port-2-Pub event, or fancy a dabble in a longer distance Triathlon or SwimRun competition and this is merely the aperitif to a longer Saturday brick session? Maybe you just love swimming so much that the idea of a challenging year-round Saturday morning swim is too good to miss to kick-start your weekend on the right note? Whatever your reason, if swimming on a Saturday morning floats your boat then we have the session right here for you. The session will draw a little from each of our 4 session swim types: a bit of technique, a bit of strength work, a bit of threshold development and some of the longer / challenging Red Mist endurance intervals too. The ratio of these parts will evolve over the course of the season to prepare you for the key events of the season, including some open water specific for those of you who recall our previous Saturday afternoon sessions. Basically, it's going to be a lot of fun and everything you'd expect from an engaging Swim Smooth session! We hope you can join us! 

We pride ourselves on the unprecedented level of personal feedback and interaction during the squad sessions, but for a fuller analysis of your swimming and some individual stroke correction, please register your interested in our coveted 1-2-1 Video Analysis and Stroke Correction Sessions. Use code “bubblebubblebreathe” for 10% off your booking with Paul & Sally.

An Early Squad Christmas Party:

Come and celebrate an early Christmas Party - slash - house-reno-warming!

This year we’ll be running our 4th annual Christmas Party at 145 Alfred Road a little earlier than usual on Friday 23rd November to allow for Mother Smooth (my Mum and top Swim Smooth employee over the last 10 years!) to attend and meet you all. They’re visiting from the 12th to 30th November. My step-Dad has had a bit of a health scare recently, so I’d really love for them to have a great time whilst they’re here and meet as many of you as possible in a social environment!

  • 145 Alfred Road, Mount Claremont
  • Friday 23rd November from 530pm to 10pm+
  • Please bring a plate of nibbles and / or some beverages (we will also provide some nosh and drinks as per previous years)
  • Please bring your partners and / or kids as well as their bathers so that they can chill out in the pool (we also have a trampoline and ping pong table this year!)
  • Please be sure to register within the squad app so that we can get an idea of how many people to expect

We’re really hoping that this date works for as many of you as possible as it’s by far and away my favourite night of the whole year and simply a chance for us to all let loose outside of the confines of simply following that black line!

Want to suffer like never before but do it tied to a mate? Read on…

So you saw me suffer like never before in the 2018 Ötillö World SwimRun Championships in Sweden last month and fancy a piece of the action yourself now hey? The good news is that you don’t have to swim and run your way over 75 gruelling kilometres in the Stockholm archipelago, no, now you can get a taste for it right here in Perth. On Saturday 24th November the Shoreline SwimRun event will take place over approximately 20km up at Sorrento and is well worth checking out via their Facebook page here. Notably, this is the morning after the Christmas Party, so that might be the perfect place to find a race partner and then rock up the following morning in the true spirit of SwimRun - to have a little fun in nature!

Results from the 2018 Hawaii Ironman World Championships:

We had 6 members of the Swim Smooth Perth Squad compete in the 40th edition of the Hawaii Ironman World Championships yesterday. The weather was reportedly the best it’s ever been in the race’s 40 year history, with the men’s record being beaten by nearly 10 minutes (Patrick Lange of Germany) and the women’s record by over 20 minutes (Daniela Ryf of Switzerland). Last year’s female runner-up was also this year’s second place getter as well after totally destroying the swim course record, Lucy Charles of the UK. If you’ve got access to our Guru, you can check out my analysis of Lucy’s stroke after we did some work with her back in 2016 in Mallorca - see here: - she’s a simply brilliant athlete!

Winning the men’s age group title (non-professional) by over 10 minutes and incidentally beating all but 21 of the top professional athletes in the world, was my old mate Dan Plews who smoked the course in 8h24m! Simply amazing for someone who holds down a full-time job too! Dan and I first raced together in 1994 and have been close friends ever since. In fact, when I was 16 and Dan was 13, he cheekily jumped on my wheel as I left T1 of my first open water triathlon in the lead and proceeded to draft off me the whole way…he wasn’t old enough to do the actual race so his Dad told him to just hop on his bike and see what he could do. I was flattered that he asked me to help him with his swim component of his Kona preparations some 25 years later! I can’t quite get my head around how brilliant of a result this is, and am very happy for him.

A massive congratulations for the following 6 squad swimmers for also raising the bar and showing us what can be done if we dream big enough - kudos Nick, Rob, Shane, Gary, Fiona and Brad:

Our next 2 week Certified Coaches Course will take place 11-23 February 2019

Adam, Emma and myself will have our next group of 4 to 7 coaches vying for full Swim Smooth Certification on 11-23 February 2019 here in sunny Perth. This will be a great opportunity to seek some additional feedback from the coaches in training and to also possibly secure their assistance with your Rottnest Channel Swim team (either as a swimmer or on-board coach!).

Thanks for reading this far if you did!


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

New Release & Roll classes starting October 2018!

Nedlands Physiotherapy - whom many of you see for your aches and pains and to keep you in tip-top shape - are offering FREE Release & Roll classes for the month of October! Both physios - Matt Thompson & Michelle Newsome - are avid swimmers and swim themselves twice per week within the squad, so you can be assured that they understand what it takes to hone your body for optimal performance in the pool or open water.

Here's the blurb...

Do you experience ongoing soreness or tightness in your neck, shoulders, upper back, lower back, buttock or legs?

Many of us have tension in at least one of these areas if not more which may be related to the work we do or the sport we play.  Release & Roll classes can help you manage this tension and alleviate the pain which may be caused from the soft tissue tightness in your body.

Nedlands Physiotherapy is offering complimentary 30- minute Release & Roll classes for the month of October 2018 beginning Tuesday 9 October 2018 at 930 am.

Release & Roll classes at Nedlands Physiotherapy

Tuesdays 930-10 am
Fridays 930-10 am

Cost (from November onwards):  Adult $15  Concession $10

Places are limited so please secure your place online at  We look forward to seeing you for a little R&R!

For more  information please contact Michelle or Matt on