Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Help give Fletch a final send off!

Dear Swimmers

Squad swimmer and all-round nice guy with a crazy love-the-cold streak, Fletcher Barr will soon be heading off to swim the English Channel. He's looking for a few play mates in the freezing Swan River (I'm not selling it very well, am I?!) on Thursday (Claremont Jetty) and Sunday mornings (Bicton Baths) for the next few weeks:

Sunday 02-08-15 paddlers or swimmers

Sunday 09-08-15 paddlers or swimmers

Sunday 16-08-15 paddlers or swimmers

Sunday 23-08-15 paddlers or swimmers

They are at the jetty every Thursday meeting 6am for a 6:15 start.

Please contact Fletch on fletcher@keslake.com.au if you're feeling a little brave to even get in with a wetsuit or just to pop down and give him some support!

Fletch actually swims almost 4yrs to the day since I did my Channel swim and with the same pilot too!



Get set for a great Rotto Campaign with a limited-release of 121 Video Analysis Sessions! Get them whilst they are hot!

Dear Swimmers

It's that time of year when many of us think about setting out a pathway for a great Rottnest Channel Swim campaign, and if you're a Solo or Duo swimmer especially there's often the niggly thought in the back of your mind that's saying "I really should get my stroke sorted before I start laying down the big Ks" - and you'd be right, you should!

Ordinarily our 1-2-1 Video Analysis and Stroke Correction Sessions are fully booked for months in advance making the best intentions often hard to cater for, however, now that I've moved much closer to the pool and will be saving significant travel time each way, I'm offering a few limited-release sessions between now and the start of our official commencement to the 2016 Swim Smooth Perth Rottnest Channel Swim Program on Monday 5th October.

We have the following available - book them while they're hot by replying to this email simply with your chosen session(s), full name, email and phone number and take advantage of our 2014/15 1-2-1 Video Analysis pricing ($219 for an initial 75 minute consult and $169 for a follow-up 60 minute session for anyone re-booking again within the last 6 months) by completing your payment details before 5pm on Saturday 1st August at http://www.swimsmooth.com/perth_videoanalysis.html#pay 

Here's the availability:

  • Thursday 13th August at 11.30am only
  • Thursday 20th August at 11.30am only
  • Thursday 3rd, 10th, 17th and 24th September at 10am and 11.30am
  • Thursday 1st October at 11.30am only

…that's 11 places up for grabs to the first-come, best-dressed amongst you…you might like to suggest a couple of times that you can be available for to make certain of a spot.

Don't forget, those of you planning an awesome 2016 Rotto Campaign can check out last year's FREE program and webinar at http://swimsmoothperth.blogspot.com.au/2014/08/dear-swimmers-this-years-2015-rottnest.html which will really set the tone for what to expect from the big block of training you had ahead of you! This year's program will feature a fully bespoke training plan within our app.swimsmooth.com which will allow those of you who can't access our squad sessions for whatever reason to have a full step-by-step / session-by-session plan to work through.

Cheers and looking forward to working with you soon!


P.S of course this offer is open to anyone seeking some individual guidance with their stroke, not just those with plans to swim to Rottnest!

Monday, July 27, 2015


Dear Swimmers

Following on from Saturday's SMS request, if you could please bring down any / all your PAYG cards this week, we will hold onto them and simply keep a register of attendance in this final phase whilst we credit your new 'PAYG (BLUK!)' accounts. We still don't have a definitive launch date (we are still waiting on the data conversion teams estimates), but am hoping we'll be up and running a little sooner than the original 10th August date. Exciting times! We're also moving to our new house this week, so it's all on for young and old right now!

By all means keep a mental / written record yourself of how many visits you make between now and the launch, but rest assured we will ensure that everyone is credited with the correct number of sessions and that any new purchases over the last few days will be added to your accounts with expiries only starting when the first credit is used from that new block.

Thanks! See you this week!


P.S someone commented this morning that the squad seemed "busy" - I had to reply and say, actually this is "normal" now (21 people for a Monday 7am technique session), what you've seen in the last eight weeks has been 60% less attendance than normal at this time of the year! Hopefully the new system will help manage attendance significantly better and has been in much need for a while - thanks so much for your support and understanding whilst we make these necessary changes and of course, thanks for coming back down and taking advantage of last week's winter special deal! We missed (some of) you!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

IMPORTANT: Please complete the final part of the new system's pre-release - BIG THANKS!

Dear Swimmers,

We are so very close to launching the new system, but I please need your kind help to complete the data conversion process as soon as possible in time for a hopeful release on or before Monday 10th August. We had 132 responses from the last form out of the required 277, so please do complete the form to help us out and get these numbers up to 100%.

I will need you ALL to complete this form please, even if you completed a prior version a month ago when we hoped we'd have been launching sooner. Given a few changes and a move to an entire new system in that time, it is imperative that we re-gather this information. Thank you sincerely for your time and effort on this! 

Your help allows us to propagate the entire system with your remaining credits and the sessions you are allocated for. From here on I will simply allocate a username and a password for each of you just before the 10th August to allow you to log into the system from either your computer or your phone with a special app that allows you to cancel out of any sessions you know you won't be attending (due to holidays) and allow you to cancel up to 12hrs before the session for those last minute changes to your own schedule. This allows us to maintain the flexibility that the PAYG system offers you, but by BLUKing us (But Let Us Know), we can better manage the attendance in the sessions and equally plan for when we might look at engaging additional coaches to help on the deck and improve our delivery to you.

All I need now from you is the following couple of bits of information relating to ONLY THE PAYG CARDS YOU HAVE IN YOUR POSSESSION (NOT the ones you might have bought in the last couple of days as part of the winter special unless I have physically given you this card). These winter special credits have already been added for you, with expiries that will start to commence when you physically use the first session from that new block, not when you actually purchased it.

We are having to secure the services of a data conversion specialist team, such is the amount of data we are handling here from 277 people, so your prompt action would be massively appreciated.

It shouldn't take you more than 90 seconds to complete.


When you lodge this form it will automatically assign exactly when you did it, so all you need to do is tell me EXACTY how many credits you have remaining on your PAYG card RIGHT NOW, which card you have (10, 25 or 50), and what expiry is listed at the bottom. I will then do the rest. This change-over will not happen instantaneously (hoping for Monday 10th August at this stage), so please rest assured that you will not lose any credits, nor is it a problem to continue to load up a new PAYG card the old-fashioned way before this system is put in place, the link being http://www.swimsmooth.com/perth_buycard.html or the following links if you are wanting to still take advantage of our special winter offer before 5pm on Saturday 25th July:

10 Session Credits for $140 with a 3 month expiry* (currently $150): Go to: http://bit.ly/1Ii5SvD 
25 Session Credits for $310 with a 4 month expiry* (currently $330): Go to: http://bit.ly/1DtEgOG 
50 Session Credits for $550 with a 5 month expiry* (currently $590): Go to: http://bit.ly/1GBnw82 

Thanks for your help on this one - we're nearly there with the housekeeping! Can't wait to get this rolled out and show you the new Perth Squad website I've been building alongside it all - it's really cool! (If I do say so myself!).


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Squirrel Away Some Mega Winter Savings and Boost Your PAYG Balance For The New System!

Dear Swimmers

We are getting very close now to launch of our brand new payment and wait list management system which I've been busily creating since May. I would like to thank you in advance for your patience whilst we are putting this new system in place which will have a massively positive impact on the way the squad is run and how you access sessions on a day-2-day basis (more on that in a moment).

As a small token of my appreciation for your patience I would like to offer each of you the opportunity to boost your PAYG credit balance by rolling back the clock to 2014 prices! This offer is valid until 5pm on Saturday 25th July only and strictly limited to one session credit "block" per person, i.e. select a 10, 25 or 50 session card based on your typical usage with the 10s being good for 1-2 swims per week, the 25s good for 2-3 swims per week and the big bertha 50s being good for 3-4+ swims per week:

*when released, the new payment system will allow me to load up these credits into your account balance and have them only commence the expiry period when you use the first session from that block. I will start adding these credits into the system for you now, unless you are in immediate need of a new card and I will just issue one as normal for you to start eating into. So by all means, don't be afraid to squirrel a block away for the winter! Go nuts!

New Fees:

To move in sync with Claremont Pool's rate increases each year (1st July) and to account for a recent change in council policy* which sees a significant increase in our overheads this coming year, it will be necessary to raise our squad prices from the time of expiry of the deal offered above. I am hoping the deal above will in part help to offset the fact that our prices were raised on January 1st this year following a prior period of 18 months with no adjustment. Going forth, we will raise our prices in-sync with Claremont on the 1st July each year by the minimal possible amount to cover our costs. Here's how the 2015/2016 prices will break down:

  • 10 Session Credits for $156.00 with a 3 month expiry (an increase of just $0.60 per session on current rates)
  • 25 Session Credits for $343.20 with a 4 month expiry (an increase of just $0.53 per session on current rates)
  • 50 Session Credits for $613.60 with a 5 month expiry (an increase of just $0.47 per session on current rates)

*for your information and consideration, our lane hire arrangement at the pool has changed going into the 2015/16 FTY such that we are no longer billed for only the lanes that we use, but now for all the lanes that we book. In the past, if we happened to have low attendance in a session and didn't require all the lanes, we'd only be charged for the lanes that we used. This took some of the stress out of quieter periods. Now though, I am required to forecast how many lanes we will require for the entire year, based on such things as the Winter Squad List that you all registered for (see here: http://swimsmooth.com/pauls_images/Confirmed_Winter_2015_Squad_List.pdf This of course makes sense and is really only fair to potential other users of the pool. It is therefore imperative that we ensure full use of these lanes in every scheduled session with as consistent attendance as possible year-round. This has prompted me into looking at new ways to manage attendance better and I am hoping that you can openly embrace these new changes to the system as they will really benefit everyone. Equally, if your circumstances have changed since you originally put in your session nominations, please help us by letting us know as soon as possible so that we can maybe allocate your space to someone eagerly waiting in the wings!

The New PAYG (BLUK!) System:

In the past most of you have tried to do the right thing - you've been aware we've had a wait list of over 370 people wanting to swim with the squad (such is it's reputation), so when you know you've had a holiday or work trip coming up you'll kindly email / call / SMS that you will be away in the hope that we can offer your spot to someone else. We of course thank you greatly for this courtesy.

The trouble is, this well intentioned action has caused a mountain of administration work for this admin team of one, but sadly with no way to ever effectively communicate and manage the waiting list to offer these spots away. Instead, as the wait list has become ever bigger, attendance has actually fallen away by an average of 3 people per session from 2014/15 back to 2013/14 for fear of mistakenly booking too many people into a session. Action is needed. Thankfully we have found the solution, but will need your help. 

By setting up a simple online account for each of you that you can access either through your computer using our soon-to-be-released amazing new website, or through a special app if you have an iOS device (iPhone / iPad) or Android device (Samsung Galaxy etc), we request that you now let us know up to 12 hours before your session if you will NOT be attending with the simple click of a "CANCEL" button in your account. Of course, you'll be able to cancel sessions up to 12 months in the future too for those times when you know you will be away. There's no longer a need to call / email / SMS to cancel and feel guilty for doing so, you will just hit "CANCEL" within the app or online portal (very simple!) for that specific session and you're done, knowing that your spot will then be automatically offered to someone on the wait list who will benefit. Sweet.

Book - Pay - Cancel - Re-Schedule, all in one simple app or webpage! Now doesn't that sound neat! But best of all, it's way easier than our current set-up and no more standing around in the cold watching everyone's cards blow away…you might even enjoy it!

We're calling this new system a "PAYG (BLUK!)" system - Pay-As-You-Go (But-Let-Us-Know!) - and hope you really enjoy the experience! More details to follow soon…we hope to be fully ready to roll by the start of August as we're pulling out all the stops to get this working asap in order to make up for what has been a very quiet last six weeks in the squad.

P.S I'll leave you with this fun little session that the 5.30am Wednesday "Red Mist" crew did this morning (as inspired by Le Tour de France!) - it was well loved by everyone…if you can make it to the 9.30am session this Friday you'll get chance to try it out for yourselves, or for you 6.15pm Thursday and 5.30am / 6.30am Friday bods we have another special kind of something in store for you so please come down and get that critical mass vibe buzzing once again - it really is lovely back at Claremont Pool!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

It might be chilly, but down at Claremont Pool the sessions are HOT!

Dear Swimmers

Hope you are braving the cold - it's been a little lonely down at Claremont Pool these last two weeks and the "hardcore" are wondering where all their playmates have gone to (whilst gloating about their hardiness too mind!). Ha!

I just wanted to let you know about a great new session that the crew tonight will be doing at 6.15pm and then we will repeat at 5.30am and 6.30am tomorrow too for those of you who can make it.

The session is a twist on a classic pyramid set on some relatively tight cycle times but interspersed with two really "fun" 100m sprints to really test your oomph! The Wednesday 9.30am crew absolutely loved it yesterday and I know you will too tonight or tomorrow, so please do come down if you can…the hardest part is just the jump from the under-cover change area to the pool itself and once you're in it's LOVELY! And just think of how virtuous you will feel afterwards. Please just remember the roadworks at the bottom of Davies Road and allow yourself an extra 5 minutes or so to come via Alfred Road (most likely).

Lastly, for those of you coming tomorrow at 9.30am, we have a real treat for you too - a classic type of "Red Mist" set where the anti is really upped towards the end of the session. Come down to find out more and test your mental aptitude to prevent the Red Mist descending!

Thanks everyone, see you then!


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The New System, The Wait List and SMSing

Dear Swimmers - please read this important information as it contains an update on how our exciting new system for squad attendance will save you time and energy!!

Firstly, please find the most recent squad list for your perusal at:

Please check this closely, as some of you waiting on the reserve list have been added in. Whoop, whoop! There's no way just yet for me to keep you posted on these changes other than to ask you to re-check that link from time to time, but as you'll see below, that's all soon to change!

I have been busily beavering away to create groups for SMS notifications which will mean that you'll only receive an SMS if it's pertinent to your selected squad, unless of course it's an important squad-wide notice. This should be especially useful in the case of inclement weather as I would hate to think I'd woken anyone up to tell you the pool is closed due to a lightening storm etc when you weren't planning to come anyway! I am trying to use this service sparingly as it can get quite expensive, but hoping you've thus far found it useful. On the occasion that an error might be made, I trust you'd simply delete the SMS anyway. 

Where I must apologise for any confusion is if you have received an SMS encouraging you to pop along to a given session, but are actually still listed on the wait list (see above). This is in preparation for the new system and how it will invite you along if it looks like it'll be a quieter session that day.

When the new system is ready, the plan will be for me to propagate the system with all your nominated sessions and also your credits for those sessions - quite a bit of work, but it should be worth it! I will then ask you to kindly and quickly go through your schedule on the special app, and simply uncheck any sessions that you know well in advance you will be away for, e.g. holidays, work trips etc. The benefit of doing this will be that it'll easily flag up when sessions are likely to be quieter and when those on the reserve list will get a chance to attend. In theory this will all happen automatically, with those of you on the reserve list receiving an invitation to attend if it looks like space will be available. 

For late-notice "cancellations", I will request those who are already confirmed for a session let me know before 5pm on the previous day if they cannot attend "last minute" so as to give those of you on the reserve list enough warning to attend. This might be because you're sick, injured, fancy a lie-in, or held up at work for example. The way this will be done will be very simple indeed and won't require anything more than a tap of a button in the special app that we are creating for this - no more need for direct emails and text messages, you'll simply hit a button and the system will know you're not coming! It should save us all a lot of time as I'm unable to manage such a request directly myself at this stage without a dedicated PA (but thanks if you have tried to let me know in advance - the thought is much appreciated!). 

Today would have been perfect for this as we had less than 20 swimmers along to each of the 3 sessions (despite being "fully booked") and inadvertently turned away 38 people on the wait list.

So that's the plan. Essentially nothing will change except for: 

  1. you'll have the ability to register and pay for sessions much easier through a dedicated new web portal and app
  2. will be prompted when your credits are running low (or have the option to auto-renew, or possibly even have a direct debit monthly subscription option running in parallel with the PAYG cards for those of you who are super consistent and want to be rewarded with a lower per session fee)
  3. won't have to remember your card ever again or have to hunt around in the dark for it
  4. have an app to check-in (or off!) to let me know easily if you'll be there or not (with the default being that you'll be there unless you tell the system otherwise, up to 5pm the day before the session).

As ever, I will keep you posted, but we're aiming for a Monday August 10th start to this new system, so for now please proceed as normal. My hope of course with all this is that we can maintain the flexibility of the PAYG system but equally ensure the squads are operating effectively and allowing access to those on the wait list who'd dearly love to have a session with us if the opportunity arose.

If you need a new PAYG card, you can order that here: 



Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Five important notices and one exciting bit of news!

Dear Swimmers

Hope this email finds you well. We're now well back into the swing of things and I hope you are enjoying being back at Claremont Pool!

I just wanted to give you a few important notices:

  1. information about the road closure affecting the southern / Claremont access to Claremont Pool (until late August) can be found here (thanks to James Forbes for sending this on) - please allow an extra 5-10 minutes to get to the sessions on time: https://www.mainroads.wa.gov.au/Documents/Metro%20roadworks%20-%20Shenton%20Road%20Closure%20-%20Flyer%20LANDCORP.RCN-D15%5E23353922.PDF - guess that means many of you might have to take a detour past our new house on Alfred Road - whoop, whoop, yes that's the exciting piece of news - we got it! We move in 30th July - can't wait - thanks for all your well wishes!
  2. the new PAYG checking-in system will likely be ready for use early August, so please continue ordering any PAYG cards as needed through http://www.swimsmooth.com/perth_buycard.html - I want to make sure it's been fully tested before we launch it. I've looked at about 20 different service providers before settling on one which should be very robust for our needs and hopefully enjoyable for you to use too - more details to follow! What we will inevitably do then closer to the time is just recall all the old paper cards and credit you "on the spot" whilst you are swimming a session. Thank you to everyone who completed the form I sent through over the weekend asking for expiry dates and credits remaining - this has been very useful for us to start propagating the new system.
  3. I'm continually updating the Winter Squad List for your reference, so those of you whom have recently joined can check where you might have been wait-listed or added in at http://swimsmooth.com/pauls_images/Confirmed_Winter_2015_Squad_List.pdf 
  4. we have made the decision to allow "open access" to the Saturday 1-2pm open water skills session from this week onwards. What this means is that even if you haven't specifically nominated for a place in this really fun session, you can rock up on the day and swim using your PAYG card. Given that this session always works best with bigger numbers, we hope that by extending it out we can get a good number of you consistently along to hone your open water skills. What would be really helpful would be if you could introduce yourself to the coach as you arrive and stipulate what you think your CSS time is currently (or what you could swim for say 400m in the pool) so that we have a good idea of how to group you for drafting exercises accordingly.
  5. numbers often drop off dramatically in the 9.30am sessions on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the school holidays, so from next week for the next fortnight, if you are wait listed for these sessions, please feel free to pop along and attend them. We will see how this pans out next Monday and Wednesday, so if you don't yet have a full PAYG card, you might like to just pay casually for these sessions at $18 per session and I will let you know how it's going.

Cheers and have a great weekend if I don't see you before!