Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Whip Cracker is back…!!!

Dear Swimmers

Hope you're all well. I've just landed safe and sound in Perth after very luckily being upgraded to business class all the way back from the UK....oh, the difference that makes! Can't quite believe it.

Anyhow, I'll be on pool deck this morning for the 5.30am long Wednesday squad, so hope to see some of you then.

Please remember that the 9.30am squad today will be down at Cottesloe Beach. The remaining dates for a beach swim in the 9.30am session for your reference are:

  • Friday 5th April
  • Friday 12th April

...otherwise, it's all systems as normal now leading into the autumn and winter.

On that note, I will be making an assessment on squad numbers in the next 10 days too and will probably release our standard request form asking you to let us know which sessions you plan on attending over the winter. We are fielding a huge amount of enquiries at present and incredibly have 224 people on the squad wait list, so if you could let me know in good time (when I release the form) of your intentions over the next 3-6 months that'd be great.

Thanks guys - incredibly pumped to get back into it!

P.S remember, there will be no squad sessions this weekend (Friday to Monday inclusive) owing to the Easter Break.

P.P.S massive congratulations to Ceinwen, Andrew, Paul, Wayne and the others who successfully completed 1, 2 or an amazing 3 crossings of the Rottnest Channel this last weekend. I've been slightly out of the loop on this one owing to a big conference that I was delivering over the weekend and of course travelling back, so as soon as I have more details from the guys about how it all went, I'll be sure to let you know! INSPIRED!!



Sunday, March 24, 2013

Message from Francene re. Saturday 1-2pm session missed...

Dear Saturday Squad Swimmers,

My profuse apologies to you all for not attending to coach the Saturday session on Saturday 23rd March. I had an accident with my daughter on Saturday morning, which caught me off guard and had a significant impact on my mental state. Whilst not an excuse, the coaching session completely slipped my mind as I focused on my daughter.

Not only have I let you as a group of swimmers down, but also Paul, who runs such an excellent program and relies on the professionalism of his fill in coaches when he is away. Please accept my humblest apologies on this occasion and be rest assured it will not happen again.

Humble regards, Francene

From Paul: Francene is a super reliable member of our coaching staff and given this incident I am sure we can find it in our hearts to dismiss it as a simple mistake caused by an unfortunate incident. We all wish Sabine a quick recovery. Thanks Francene for your note.



Friday, March 22, 2013

Rotto madness this weekend!

Dear Swimmers

As you've probably heard on the news, Ceinwen, Wayne, Andrew, Paul, Jazz, Damon and Geoff from the squad are attempting Double and Triple crossings of the Rottnest Channel this weekend (amongst a few other local swimmers). The 59.1km challenge is enough to make most people wince, but if you can get behind them and support their cause at they would very much appreciate it. I'm very gutted that I miss this challenge by 2 days, but am confident that the troops will get out there and rack up those miles for charity.

As a rough timetable:

Ceinwen and Rohan (Triple) with Mark and Damon (Double) off the beach at Rottnest midnight Saturday.

The rest of the crew: Wayne (Double) Andrew, Jazz and Paul D (hopeful Double), Jaime (pacesetter) Mark, Michael and David off the beach Cottesloe about 6.00am Sunday.

First double finish and second of triple leg at Rottnest noon Sunday

Finish Cottesloe beach 6.00pm Sunday.

Please support the gang in their "crazy" endeavours!



Swim Smooth hits the UK & Ireland...

Dear Swimmers

Hope you're all doing well - I see you're having some beautiful weather over there at the moment, whereas here in the UK apparently it's been one of the coldest March's on record - brrrrr!!! Coaches Sally, Sandy, Brad, Francene and Carolyn tell me that everything is going well over there and that you're not that keen on having me back cracking the whip next week...?! 

Did you see us in the West Australian this week? If not, see here:

As usual, whilst the work schedule has been tough over here in the UK, I do feel as though I've had chance to recharge my squad coaching batteries and am inspired to get back over there and started again next Wednesday. Of course next weekend is Easter, so with Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Monday sessions being cancelled for this period, I'll actually be fully back into the swing of things from Tuesday 2nd April - ready to get those of you preparing for the Busselton 70.3 race up to speed - great!

I thought you might be interested to read a little about what I've been up to whilst I've been over here in the UK, so grab a mug of coffee and I will begin...

220 Triathlon Show

We started off at the annual Triathlon Show at Sandown Park near London where we had a combined stand with HUUB wetsuits and also delivered two seminars on swimming technique to two packed audiences, sponsored by the 220 Triathlon magazine. 

You may remember that we are part of the design team and part owners for this fledgling wetsuit company and last year we actually launched the new wetsuits as a concept idea. Well, this year things have grown quite significantly with the announcement that we had signed the two best triathletes in the world (Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee) to the wetsuits at the end of February. This is a massive endorsement of the quality and design concepts that feature in the suits and we were just as proud to collect two national awards for "Best Wetsuit Manufacturer" and "Most Innovative Product" later that evening at the 220 Awards do:

Left to right: Dean Jackson (owner), Huub Toussaint (sports science guru), me, Adam

Me and Huub "with" the Brownlees who were actually racing (and winning!) Abu Dhabi that weekend

Meeting one of my all-time heroes, Olympic gold medallist Mr Chris Boardman (who told me I must be old if I can remember him racing the Leeds Classic in 1995!)

Loughborough, UK, Coach Education Course

After the Triathlon Show and a quick day out with my Mum to celebrate her 60th birthday in London with a beautiful chinese dinner and the theatre (darling), we made our way 'oop north to chilly Loughborough for our 3-day Coach Education course. 

Mum & Steve in front of Big Ben - happy 60th birthday!

These 3-day courses are the absolute pinnacle of the work that we do - spending 3 whole days with 12 like-minded coaches and training them up in the skills and methods that we use on a daily basis in Perth is very rewarding. We've now had over 130 coaches attend these courses from all around the world, which is just great. For this first course however, most of the coaches were from the UK...

Loughborough 3-day Coach Education Course

...however, we did have two budding swimming enthusiasts join us from Barcelona for the third day, Jorge claiming that he has watched 495,000 of the 495,453 views of Jono Van Hazel's (aka "Mr Smooth") stroke:

Two very excited Spanish swimmers - Meri & Jorge

We had managed to organise two guest swimmers for the course in Magnus Backstedt (Paris-Roubaix cycling champion, 2004) and Tim Don (2006 Triathlon World Champion) and also got to meet arguably one of the best ever students of our Swim Smooth methodology (coached by Coach Fiona) Tarek Mouganie from Ghana who only started swimming in 2009 and yet was able to sit on Tim's toes during a drafting exercise at 1:06 per 100m - simply amazing!

Me & Tim prior to getting blasted by Tarek in a drafting exercises

Whilst at Loughborough we learned that we'd been successful in winning the tender to provide Triathlon England's national open water Training Days around the UK for the next four years. This was great news and compliments nicely the work that we've been doing with British Triathlon over the last 3 years to re-write all their swim coaching materials for Levels 1, 2 and 3. Whilst this has all been a LOT of work behind the scenes, we are starting to see real traction and recognition for what we are doing with Swim Smooth, which is just fantastic.

Trip to the "Motherland":

One of the things I am totally blessed with given the way my coaching business operates, is that I always get chance to stay in touch and see my folks on a regular basis. Without this, I think I would really struggle being away from "home" as much as I am. Still, a freezing cold walk along the River Humber with my Dad and Adam was enough to remind me why I'm in Perth!

Me and Dad in front of the Humber Bridge - if it was minus 10 that day I'd be surprised!

Adam learning the true Yorkshire way: gurning and a flat-cap!

Heaven: 480 bags of Yorkshire tea!

Limerick, Ireland, Coach Education Course

After literally 8 hours at my Dad's house we were off and boarding a ferry at Holyhead (North Wales) across to Dublin, Ireland for our very first Irish 3-day Coaches Education Course. This also went very well with coaches attending from as far afield as Germany, Oman, the USA, Hong Kong and Denmark. 

Limerick has a fantastic sporting facility and is home to Gerrard Hartmann, world-renowned physical therapist who has worked with the likes of Paula Radcliffe, Haile Gebrselassie and was even on tour with Bono & The Edge (U2) whilst we were over there - amazing! The weekend also coincided with St. Patrick's day, so it would have been rude not to have obliged:

Hmmm, Lovely Day for a Guinness!

For this course we had invited Cassie Patten, Olympic bronze medallist in Beijing 2008 (women's 10km open water event) to attend as one of the coaches, and with any luck we may well be seeing her with us over in Perth within the next 12 months for some additional mentoring.

Ohhh, cheeky! Me and Cassie Patten

Limerick 3-day Coach Education Course

Taking an afternoon off to see the Cliffs of Moher as advised by squad member Sean Webb - thanks Sean!

A loooooong way down!

Back to Essex and my final weekend in the UK:

So as we speak, myself and Adam are indulging in a week of "Bromance" down at his place in Essex. Given that I haven't seen Adam since August last year, it's been great to catch up and nut out some new ideas about some new things we'll be rolling out in the next 12 months. It's all very exciting stuff, but that's about as much as I can at this point ;-)

Preparing the materials for our latest Swim Smooth product(s) - shhh! Top Secret!

This weekend will see us delivering the Level 3 swim coaching component for British Triathlon in Loughborough (something we've written, but have never personally delivered, but which has been delivered on our behalf to over 500 coaches around the UK) on Saturday and then being guest speakers at the Triathlon England Club and Coach Workshop Weekend on Sunday where we will deliver two more seminars on our video analysis techniques and methods - all exciting stuff.

I then hop on a plane on Monday lunchtime and will be back late Tuesday evening and ready to coach you all on Wednesday morning of next week.

Once again, a very deep and sincere thank you to you all for allowing me to take this important trip over to the UK. Your support of the fantastic coaches that I have put in place (Sally, Sandy, Brad, Francene and Carolyn) in my absence has been very much appreciated as always and I do look forward to getting back to Perth next week to continue developing the squad to the very best of my ability - after all, this is where the core foundation of all of our Swim Smooth ideas and methods are generated from, so without you guys, none of what you've read above would exist. Thank you.



P.S a special thank you to Mish, Jackson and Isla who had to stay home in Perth on this occasion but whom support me tirelessly in my adventures with Swim Smooth!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Better late than never! Rottnest Channel Swim Report

Coaches Paul & Emma "lubing up" for the 2013 Rottnest Channel Swim

Dear Swimmers

This report is winging it's way to you from the beautiful west coast of Ireland, where we've been for the last week delivering a 4-day Swim Smooth Coach Education Course and two x 1-day Swim Smooth swimmer's Clinics. I do sincerely apologise for the delay in getting this out to you as it's been "go, go, go!" since I got here 2.5 weeks ago and will be jetting back to sunny Perth in under a week now, back on pool deck on Wednesday 27th March. 

I plan to send out another report in the next couple of days of this particular trip so you can see what fun and adventures we've been having over here! Please stay tuned.

Anyway, a full listing of the Solo swimmer's results from the 2013 Rottnest Channel Swim can be seen here:

...highlighted in yellow are those swimmers who trained with the squad or underwent 1-2-1 tuition with myself directly and / or followed our 21 week training plan as outlined here for your future reference:

There were some particularly inspiring results from the squad, with many swimmers attempting the Solo for the first time - well done to all of you who got across in one piece!

Each year I like to "award" a recognition of what I see to be the most outstanding male and female performance from within the squad. This is not to take away the shine from anyone else, just that these results were particularly memorable.


Stuart Moran finished 17th overall and 12th male in an incredible time of 5h21'10" - what makes this result so great is that earlier on within the program (following a CSS test set) I actually moved Stuart DOWN from lane 4.5 to lane 4 in order to focus on his pacing and long distance efficiency and it seemed to really pay off with a simply brilliant performance - well done Stuart!


Emma Brunning (you all know her as Coach Emma) battled extreme adversity in the lead-up to the event which included an extreme anaphylactic reaction to jellyfish meaning that she could not train in the open water in the run up to the race and also a severe neck and shoulder injury sustained from a bicycle crash about 10 years ago. Emma finished 71st overall and 18th female in a cracking first-time-Solo time of 6h21'45" showing superb resilience and the ability to "nut it out" to get across to Rotto. Well done Emma - we're going to miss you on pool deck now you're back over in the UK - good luck with everything back there! We are all super proud of how far you came in those 6 months!

Finally, I personally didn't have the race result I was hoping for (aiming for a sub-5 hour finish). Unfortunately at the start of the event my boat struggled to find myself and my kayaker and as such we lost a good bit of time being stopped by the water police at the Leeuwin tall ship. It was heart breaking seeing everyone else disappear off into the distance and not being able to do anything about it. I found it took me a good few KMs to regain my rhythm and momentum that I gained at the start. However, I am proud to say I finished though with an 11 minute PB (5h11) despite this and would like to thank my team and crew for getting me across to the island and making up so much ground on those who forged ahead when we were stuck at the start. One day I'll break 5 hours! :-)

Well done also to all those of you who were involved in the various Duo & Team events...anyone thinking of stepping up to a Solo in 2014??!

So now we turn our heads to the Busselton Half Ironman event in May and then from there 7 of us will be taking on the Challenge of swimming 46km around Manhatten Island in June - eek! Actually, five of the team (everyone except myself and Lisa Delaurentis) will be taking on the almighty challenge of either a Rottnest Double (Paul Downie, Andrew Hunt, Wayne Morris, Geoff Wilson) or a hopefully a world first Rottnest Triple (the pocket rocket and 4th place Rottnest swimmer, Ceinwen Williams). Sadly I'll miss out here in the UK, but best of luck to all of you for this marvellous challenge!

See you poolside a week tomorrow (Wednesday 27th March) at 5.30am.