Thursday, September 15, 2011

Open Water Swim Sessions and The Rottnest Channel Swim Program

NEWSFLASH!!! Both Paul Downie and Andrew Hunt have successfully made it across to France in about 13h30 (TBC) - watch this space for the latest news! Incredible effort. Well done guys - I am so proud of you both!

Dear Swimmers

I'm writing this update mid-air, somewhere over the Indian Ocean. Currently Paul Downie and Andrew Hunt are swimming the English Channel and despite hoping that I would have phone access on the Emirates flight to check how they're going (the A380 has a special "air waves" function that allows you to call any mobile anywhere in the world for $5 per minute), alas, it doesn't work! Technology hey...?!

Open Water Sessions:

Anyway, on Saturday 1st October and Saturday 8th October, we shall be running two special open water swim sessions to help kick-start your triathlon and open water racing season. We will have the 8 coaches out from the UK who will be helping run these sessions and they're guaranteed to be a lot of fun. The focus will be on open water specific skills such as drafting, sighting and turning and will feature a few fun relays as well to get the heart pumping! The sessions will meet at 7.15am for a 7.30am (prompt) start and will be at Cottesloe Beach. In the event of inclement weather, we shall move the sessions down to my new favourite open water swimming venue down at Claremont Jetty on the Swan River - it really is great for this type of work. I'll keep you posted. Cost is just one tick off your session card (or $15 casual) and will run for 60 minutes. I really hope quite a few of you can make these two excellent sessions. Depending on the popularity, we'll look at the feasibility of a more regular open water session for the schedule.

The Rottnest Channel Swim Program 2011/12:

Last year we had an amazing number of the squad compete at the Rottnest Channel Swim with some 34 Solos, a couple of dozen Duos and a gaggle of Teams. This year, we're hoping to make it even bigger and better and to look within our own resources to start pairing people up for Duos, creating some in-house Teams and helping the new Soloists find willing and able support crews and boats. Hopefully all the English Channel swims recently have been enough to inspire a bit of an urge to give this sort of an event a we just need to cultivate that.

I'd love to get an official confirmation from everyone in the squad who will be competing as a Solo, Duo or Team and preferably your Team / Duo name if you already know it? Please flick your details through to me, i.e. Joe Bloggs, Team, "The Crazy Swingers" etc and I'll start keeping a record. Also, let me know if you wish to be added to the specific Rottnest Program email list which will essentially keep you posted with detailed session plans for Saturday and Sunday's long sessions.

The new program template for 2011/12 can be downloaded here:

As you're looking at the program, it is broken down week by week starting from Monday 10th October and running for a period of 20 weeks up to the event. The weeks are grouped into phases, e.g. Establish Consistency, Threshold Development etc with an easier Recovery week sandwiched between these phases where volume is reduced.

I have given my recommendation with respect to how many sessions you should be doing per week and also the recommended volume  of training per week in kilometres depending on whether you are doing a Team, Duo or Solo. The funny "+" signs are predominantly for the Duo and Solo swimmers, showing them when I'd recommend they do a double-up 2hr session on a Tuesday and/or Friday, subject to lane space availability. This is purely a recommendation, doubtless you could complete the Rottnest Channel Swim on less volume than this, or you may decide that you want to do more - the key though (whatever you do) is for your training program to be consistent and avoid sudden massive jumps in volume especially at the start of your program.

We are going to target 4 key Open Water Races in the lead-up to the "Big One" (5 if you include the Rottnest Swim Thru) - again these are recommendations and as each of these races has a different set of distances, I've given my recommendations for which distance you should attempt based on which category you are racing on the big day.

All but the Green highlighted weekend sessions will be un-coached / un-supervised. I will however, often join you at some of these sessions as a swimmer myself, depending on how things pan out with the new arrival of our baby at the end of October. Each week, I'll send out a suggested session for either the Saturday or Sunday session via email to the specific Rottnest Channel Swim email group. I will recommend when / where to meet for this, but sometimes you might be on your own here or actually choose to do these by yourself anyway. As an endurance swim like Rottnest is as much a mental challenge as it is physical, training by yourself (so long as you're safe of course) every now and again is not a bad thing to get used to the seclusion that the watery environment presents.

On that note, the Saturday sessions will be structured as such:

  • Weeks 1 to 3 = pool based
  • Weeks 4 to 6 = start in the pool and finish with 2km in the ocean / river
  • Weeks 9 to 11 = start in the pool and finish with 4km in the ocean / river
  • Weeks 12 to 19 = all in the ocean / river, apart from Week 15 which will be our super-special 12km Rotto Pool Set

Right, just 3 weeks to go then until we officially start, in the meantime, pop down to the squad and get your arms turning over ready for what promises to be an excellent summer of swimming!



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