Friday, March 22, 2013

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!

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