Monday, October 25, 2010

It's Alive Doctor!


Hope you're enjoying this lovely weather - it's simply great! Makes all my teeth woes of the last few weeks fade away very rapidly I'm happy to say!!

OK, so this week then five important notices:

  1. It's Alive Doctor!!! - you've probably already noticed the new Swim Smooth branding on these Blogs, however, I'm extremely excited to be able to tell you that we've been busy beavering away with creating some new Perth specific pages for the website. Here you'll find updated information on the squad timetable, 1-2-1 Video Analysis availability, online PAYG card purchasing, our free Rottnest Program guide for download etc etc. We will still maintain the original website until ~April 2011 as I know some of you still use the vast array of technical information and resources there for your triathlon endeavours, however, today really signifies the rebranding of the squad to become known as "Swim Smooth Perth" going forwards and I'm very happy for you guys to all be part of this. When we return to Claremont Pool in December, things will all feel very fresh and renewed indeed! For now, enjoy the look and feel of the new site!
  2. Saturday - as advertised, we will be holding a technique seminar and pool practical session this Saturday at Challenge Stadium and would love for you and your interested friends to join us. There has been a minor re-scheduling of this session as follows: meet at 10.50am in the "Crabs Palace" at the deep end of the Outdoor 8 lane pool by lane 8 for an 11am start. We'll be in the classroom until 12.15pm before a short break and starting the practical session at 12.30pm. This will actually be in the Outdoor 10 lane pool. The topic we'll be looking at in the classroom will be a quick run-through of the theory behind an efficient freestyle stroke in the pool but then take you through some of our most recent work and findings on how to develop this stroke for efficient open water swimming. We'll then do a 1.5hr session in the pool working on these aspects and fine tuning your strokes. It will be a LOT of fun and VERY interesting. This will be perfect for anyone considering doing a triathlon, the Rottnest Channel swim or any of the open water races this season, so please try to attend if you can. We're aiming to have most of the coaches on deck who'll be assisting me whilst I'm away in November for 3 weeks in the UK as we're super keen to ensure that everyone gets chance to meet them and enjoy working with their individual coaching styles. Cost for the whole 3hr Clinic will be just two ticks off your card, or if you're bringing a non-squad friend just $50 for them. We didn't have many responses to the request to let me know you're coming when I last sent this out so hopefully this is of interest to you and you can attend - please let me know if you plan to be there. Those wishing to only come for the practical session can do so, but please note the 30 minutes earlier start time (12:30pm) and the Outdoor 10 lane pool location.
  3. Sunday - first open water race of the season: Rockingham. Entries open to 5pm tomorrow (Tuesday 26th October). Choose from 1.25km, 2.5km, or 5km.  Full details at - there's a note on legal race suits here: and (P.S It looks like non of the regular Blue Seventy body suits are included on that list, but worth bringing on the day and we'll enquire...). Hope to see you there! Rotto soloists should enter for the 5km event. Racing starts at 8am and registration is between 6am and 7am.
  4. Paul Away in the UK - as mentioned previously, I will be away in the UK from Monday 1st November to Thursday 25th November inclusive. My sister is getting married in Edinburgh and myself and Adam are the official photographers which will be fun! We're also conducting a completely sold-out Swim Smooth Clinic tour and 3-day Coaches Education Course for the British Triathlon Federation which I'm personally super excited about, especially as we have some super-star elite swimmers lined up for the course which will make things very challenging for the coaches!! It's an absolute honour for me to return to the UK and be running these courses in recognition of the hard work we've been putting into our online Swim Smooth website over the past six years and I always feel like my coaching benefits from it as a result, and therefore directly passes onto you guys upon my return. As always, we've set up a great group of coaches to assist in my absence all of whom are fully briefed on the protocols and will ensure you all can maintain some great swimming whilst I'm away. My only concern is that you guys in our Rottnest Solo squad will be kicking my butt upon my return as my swimming may be a little limited whilst I'm away!! LOL! 
  5. PAYG Cards - as per previous times when I've been away for a short trip to the UK, can I please request that if you're running low on credits on your PAYG card and think you may run out during the period 1st to 29th November, please can you ensure you purchase a new card this week at swimming (in cash) or online at and we'll just extend the expiry out for you by one month. Doing so this week will help us to streamline the whole process whilst I'm away in the UK and your support of this initiative is very much appreciated.

OK, thanks everyone - see you in the morning for more pool fun!


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A note on numbers...

Dear Swimmers

Hope you all enjoyed this morning's swim session at Challenge Stadium. Given that it was quite busy today, I just thought it'd be useful to run through a few things as you all know I love my numbers!!

  1. DRAFTING. I decided to change the format of the main set so that everyone did a 1000m swim. We did this in "indian-line" drafting formation for the benefit of those who will be doing the open water race series this year and also for those who've not yet tried the Saturday afternoon 1pm session where we regularly practice this. You all found that you swam either a) a lot faster, or b) a lot easier for a given level of speed. This was typically as much as 60 to 90s difference compared to your time trial performances just 3 weeks ago - so quite considerable and well worth your attention. Far too often though I hear well meaning people saying "get off to a fast start and find some clear water for yourself!" whereas in reality "clear water" is the very last thing you want to find in an open water race as chance are everyone else is on your toes or you're massively off course and heading out to sea! Drafting well can save you up to 38% of the energy cost of swimming by yourself, so is always worthwhile practicing.
  2. ATTENDANCE. We try to limit these sessions to 24 people (i.e. 8 to a lane) but have a buffer of 3 to 6 people, i.e. there might be as many as 27 or 30 people in the session on occasion. Typically though the 5.30am session averages 21 and the 630am session averages 18 / 19 people. It is very important though (please) that if you ordinarily come along at 6.30am that you stick with this time slot, as it only takes 3 or 4 people to pop along to a different session and all of a sudden we seem quite busy. I think that this is what happened this morning. Your help with managing this (as always) is much appreciated. Maybe just drop me a quick SMS or email to let me know prior that this is your intention? I don't want to scare anyone off obviously, but equally I'm trying to manage the lane space availability as best as possible and always want you guys to all have the best session possible. For some reason the lack of a shallow end at Challenge Stadium seems to magnify this effect especially when I'm asking everyone to pop their fins on at the same time!! 
  3. TIME TABLE. As per last week's email notification which included our new time table for Monday 6th December onwards (see ) you'll notice that we'll be bringing back the Tuesday 6.30pm and Wednesday 5.30am sessions. This increase in session availability will hopefully help distribute the attendance nicely throughout the week and offer greater variety and specificity for the type of sessions we can offer. In the next few weeks I'll be posting out a "register your interest" in these sessions to tentatively allocate you a space in a given session with priority being given to those who've swum through the winter. Watch out for that one!
  4. SETTING OFF. Here's another interesting one, especially those of you new to squad swimming - most swim squads will operate with a 5s or 10s interval between each swimmer in order to maximise on lane space availability. Typically we use 5s intervals unless I suggest otherwise, but all too often this tends to concertina-up (the "magneto effect" I like to call it!) and we end up using just 25 or 30m of the 100m available to us in a 50m pool. Comparatively, at 10s apart in a lane swimming at 1:30 per 100m this would allow 9 swimmers to swim in ample space. In a lane swimming at 1:45 per 100m this would be 10 or 11 swimmers, and in a lane swimming at 2:00 per 100m this would be a good 12 swimmers with enough space between each swimmer to feel unpressured by someone tickling their toes. Just like drafting practice is important, so too is having your own free space when you're doing drills or doing a solo time trial etc. This spacing is what keeps a lane manageable and it's incredibly easy to achieve once everyone knows where they're at with it. We'll do a little practice varying this up at bit over the next few weeks and see how we go. What you've really got to pity is those poor souls in the UK swimming in 20 or 25m pools with 10 people to a lane - now that's busy! The feeling of "I've got to keep up!" is what sends most of us off like the clappers to catch the person in front of us all the time, whereas in reality it'd often be better to just focus on maintaining that gap a little like driving on the freeway.
  5. PAYG CARDS. Finally, just a polite reminder here to ask you to always please remember to have your PAYG card with you at each session and treat this system as you would gaining pool entry to Challenge Stadium itself. Unfortunately the PAYG card system is not yet digital and whilst you're all pretty good at reminding me if you owe a tick here or there, it does start to get a little tricky to manage with the increasing numbers in the summer season etc. Thanks again for your support on this as I know it can be a pain to remember so many things at 5.30am!!

Cheers and have a great evening!


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Training Timetable for Rottnest and seminar on 30/10/10

Dear Swimmers

Hope you're having a better week than me! I had to have my wisdom teeth extracted on Sunday (totally unexpected) and whilst I was hoping to be back on pool deck by the end of this week, they actually seem to have deteriorated further and I'm having real problems talking, which (given my usual "big gob") is quite a problem! I'm dosed up to the eyeballs on drugs and anti-biotics and hope to be back down asap. Thank you for all your well wishes and also a massive thanks to Adam for his support and help this week!!

OK, one plus point of all this is that it's allowed me to go through the plans for the Rottnest Channel Swim preparation for the next 20 weeks, starting on Monday 11th October. I include below a link for that which will give you an idea of what session frequency and total weekly volume I'd be suggesting over the next 20 weeks for Solo, Duo and Team swimmers. It's a totally free download for you all.

If you're a Solo swimmer and wish to be added to our specific email notification list for this group, please email me at as I send out the longer Saturday session detail each Thursday to this group.

This Rottnest Squad Template is purely a guide only and obviously if you've not been doing much of late you'd need to build this up more gradually - feel free to also share it with your friends and team buddies. It also gives you an idea of when to take an easier week and also which races I'd be recommending from this year's Open Water Calendar (the orange highlighted races are the ones I hope we can all try and attend as a Swim Smooth Perth squad - it'll be heaps of fun!) - we'll go through these both in much greater detail on the 30th October (see below):

I've also put the link below for the new squad timetable that will come into effect in full from the week commencing Monday 6th December 2010. This is subject to the Claremont pool being ready to re-open by then. Have a look at some of the new sessions and also please read the finer details of when they all re-commence - all the info is there:

Technique Workshop and Meet the Coaches on Saturday 30th October from 10.30am:

Finally, I have booked the room space for our planned Technique Workshop on Saturday 30th October between 10.30am and 2.00pm. This will feature a 1.5hr session in the classroom talking about how to develop a more efficient stroke and detailing our 20 week Rottnest Program, a short break (lunch - please bring your own) and then a 1.5hr pool session focusing on technique for the pool and openwater. We anticipate it being a great day! I've invited all my assistant coaches along as well so this will be an excellent opportunity to meet them all and work with them poolside. Sadly Shelley Taylor-Smith cannot attend due to a prior engagement but she will aim to pop along to the Tuesday early morning sessions to meet you in the next couple of weeks. 

If you're keen to attend (cost, we've decided, is just an amazing two ticks on your PAYG card), please drop me an email with the Title: "I'll be there on the 30th!"  - we might have to limit numbers, but hopefully not too much...the plan is for as many of you as possible to see what we've got going on over the summer! I'll send out a more detailed itinerary next week. 

We'll also officially launch the new Swim Smooth Perth website pages on this date as well which should make navigation of squad information from the old Team Core website much easier and spell the transition between these two coaching entities.

Paul Away in the UK:

For your reference I will be away coaching in the UK from the 1st to 25th November 2010. We advertised 9 Swim Smooth Clinics late last week and they all sold out within 2 hours with enough people on the waiting lists to run at least another 9 Clinics - simply amazing! We're also running a 3-day Coaches Education Course at the prestigious Loughborough University in association with the British Triathlon Federation too - we had 23 top level coaches from around the world apply in the first 48 hours and had to cut it off at that point as we can only allocate 12 positions on the course - this has been a very hard decision to make of who attends and who doesn't as we're looking for a certain quality and criteria of coach - similar to the process of that which I put in place over here in Perth. Quality counts.

I also have my little sister's wedding to attend whilst I'm over there - can't wait, I'm the photographer! 

I'm giving you advanced notice on this and have also arranged the session (above) on the 30th October so as to please, please, please encourage you to all keep building your fitness and technique at the normal sessions whilst I am away...

Cheers - let me know about the 30th October. If you don't hear otherwise, assume your application has been accepted (I'll only email you back on this note if there's going to be an issue with space).