Monday, August 31, 2015

Two Silvers and an 11th from the girls in the Swim Smooth Perth Squad at the World 70.3 Champs!

**NOTE: I have a few last minute 1-2-1 Video Analysis Cancellations available - 8/9 (very rare!), 30/9, 1, 6, 7, 8, 13/10 - please visit!appointments/cta3 and search in this range to book in automatically - first come, best dressed!**

Emily Loughnan after finishing 2nd in the world in her Age Group - whoop!

Dear Swimmers

As promised, hopefully we've seen the last of the long, techie emails regarding the new PAYG (BLUK!) System and what better way to kick us back into the "enjoyable" reads than this marvellous bit of news from three of the ladies in the squad at the recent World 70.3 Championships in Austria.

If you don't know what a "70.3" is, this is simply a branded name for a Half Ironman - a 1.9km swim, 90km cycle ride, and a 21.1km run and what better place to do that than in the rolling countryside of Austria. Getting there is no mean feat though, as all athletes have to qualify at a prior event just to compete, meaning they've had to polish off at least two of these babies in one season.

Representing Australia (and our squad!) was Emily Loughnan in the 25-29yo Age Group, Carrie Anderson in the 50-54yo AG, and Deb Kempe in the 55-59yo AG. Emily and Carrie both picked up silver medals and Deb took an 11th out of 54. A great effort ladies!

One of the most exciting and inspiring parts of my work as a coach down at the Claremont Pool is seeing everyone of all levels of ability all mixing together without any degree of elitism - in fact, so much so, that I'm sure you all probably recognise Emily's face in the picture above but had no idea about her level of achievement in the sport. But this is what makes the squad so special, at the end of the day - and as squad swimmer Judi Clemie so aptly put it to me once - "non of us are racing for sheep stations!". That's not being soft or defeatist, it's just simply reality. I am a firm believer in doing what you love and doing it primarily for that enjoyment beyond everything else, and if it just so happens that your love takes you all the way to a podium position on the world stage, great…and that is what these three ladies epitomise - so well done you three!

Cheers from A. Proud. Coach.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Step into your time machine...let's re-visit a popular idea from 2010 if you will for all you "late" risers...

Dear Swimmers

Tell someone they're a late riser in the UK at 7.30am and you're likely to get a slap square in the chops…in fact "early bird" swim sessions back in my Mother Land typically start at 7am!! The thought of a 5.30am start is simply ludicrous! However, here in WA, we Sandgropers like to rise early in most cases, but not all of you have to rush straight to work afterwards and may prefer a slightly later swim session start of 7.30am and bathe in the beautiful early morning light (which is now shadowed by the new housing development in the earlier sessions…ho hum!).

So here's your chance to let us know if you're keen to attend a 7.30-8.30am session on a Tuesday and / or Friday. Would you be keen to shift to a later spot? Or have you been waiting in the wings for the early sessions for too long now and would just like the opportunity to join the Swim Smooth Perth Squad? If this is you, please complete the very simple yes / no form here:

…with enough interest we'll look to kick this off at the start of October…stay tuned and have a great weekend!


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Here's how to do groovy stuff with the new PAYG (BLUK!) System...

…just in case you missed the direct email earlier today:

For your reference, next Monday's 7-8am Pure Technique session (31st August) looks a little quiet on the system and would be a great one to have a go signing up / wait listing for if you wanted an easier technique session to fine tune your stroke!



Thursday, August 20, 2015

The week I became an IT Help Desk...and failed!

Dear Swimmers

Hope you've all had a good week and weren't too fooled by the sunshine / heat of last Saturday before the drenching / "cold" this week!

Thank you and sorry!

I just wanted to start off by saying thank you so much for your support this week with the launch of the new PAYG (BLUK!) system, and to also apologise if I've inadvertently caused any undue stress / angst to anyone in the process, as obviously that's not my intention. I started off on Monday mentioning a few teething issues we've experienced during the launch and these have now been magnified many times over with everyone getting started using the new system. I did my due diligence by investigating over 20 different possible software companies prior to selecting MindBody (a major industry leader) and then spent nearly 4 months totally devoted to building it correctly, only to not be able to truly test things until we have gone live. 

I have been reassured by many of you in the IT / business sector that these things are never without hiccup, but what has caused me the most stress is knowing that it's been a troublesome process for some of you too and given that I always like to think of you all as my friends and extended "family" here in Perth, you'll understand me when I say that it's been a bit of a rough week! I cannot say that I am more sorry and feel like I have let you down unwittingly. 

I appreciate as well that when I write I like to give ALL the detail, but am totally cognisant of the fact that many of you don't have time to read everything. That's OK - I figure that those who want to skip will, but those who need the detail and direction will benefit from that. If you're having any issues / concerns, can I politely ask you to skim-read the headings below and if there's something I haven't covered then by all means drop me a line, but otherwise if I can just ask for your patience and trust whilst I work through these issues, that'd be fab. 

The current modus operandi:

  1. use the online portal to login with the account details I sent through (remembering to change your password)
  2. check your schedule and opt-out of sessions you know you can't attend
  3. check-in using the iPad kiosk at the pool
  4. wait for an automated-email to let you know you're low on credits and then follow the prompts to pay for more

…in essence we're all still really just using "The Traditional Method" as the "Cool Kid Method" hasn't yet allowed you cool kids to unleash it's power properly yet, but trust me, it will!

As such, I have tried to lay out exactly where we stand with everything currently to allay any concerns going forwards for those who want to know. Before I do that though, I thought you might all be keen to check out a couple of pages in the new website as this has been a bit over-shadowed by the teething issues I feel and I really hope you'll find it to be a great resource:

Where things stand with the new PAYG (BLUK!) system:

Below is a detailed list of what's working well, what's not and what we're doing about it to make your experience much more enjoyable! At the end of the day we all just want to get in and swim, but I'm hoping you've caught an inkling of how the new system might help us all down at the pool. I'll be the first to say that there have been MANY times this week where I've felt like throwing my hands up and wishing we were back to the paper PAYG cards, but as 69-yr old Sue Oldham has proven in her adoption of the new system, once you're in, it's really quite simple! If Sue can do it, so can you (she allowed me to say that - thanks Sue!). I'm going to take the weekend off to recharge my batteries, so please bear with us and know that the basics are still working and tracking properly.

What's working well:

  • Wait lists - some of you have registered your interest in joining the wait list for a particular session. The way this works is that if the number of sign-ups drops below a certain threshold as people in the session opt-out, those on the wait list are automatically invited and added in via SMS / email. Pretty cool!
  • iPad Check-in - I'm hoping that if you've used the iPad kiosk you've found it quite easy to check-in on the pool deck and much easier than waiting for your card to be ticked in the rain! In the event that you haven't signed yourself in yet (but have attended a session) myself and the coaches have been manually adding you when it's apparent that the group list is short of those in the pool swimming. So if you're a keen bee who wants to be in at 1 second past the start time of the session, please don't feel panicked if there's a small queue at the iPad - we can do it for you!
  • Opting-out - many of you have done a great job already of opting out of the sessions you know you can't attend, which in turn helps with the wait list process (a key thing to prevent the ├╝ber-quiet 8-10 weeks we've just been through despite an ever-increasing wait list). Big thanks on this one!
  • Low credits reminder - this is set to come out when you are down to your last two credits or with 2 weeks remaining on your expiry with a direct link showing you how to recharge
  • Purchasing credits - given that you can elect to safely and securely save your card details within your account or in the app, purchasing new credits can be as simple as a one-click process rather than digging through the old website and using clunky PayPal, saving you a lot of time

What's not working quite so well:

  • Smartphone sign-in - I was told this would work with any iOS / Android device, but apparently this is only working on Android at the moment. They can't give me a time-frame as to when iOS (or even Windows) will be working sorry, but please see my solution below on this point as I believe this is a key feature to avoid queues at the iPad kiosk.
  • Credit balances - what I can see "behind the scenes" and also what I'm doing with my manual back-up register is 100% correct for everyone, but what you're seeing in your account, in the app and on the iPad check-in is sometimes not. The explanation I've been given is that if you're registered for say 2 sessions per week for the coming year (i.e. reserving your spot), that might be say 100 sessions. If you've got 20 credits, these will be assigned to the next 20 sessions, but will show that your balance is "zero remaining", meaning "zero remaining past the 20 you have paid for". I find this confusing personally and I am asking them to look into this as we speak. This also makes it challenging to pay for a wait-listed session if all of your credits have been allocated for the future. Please bear with me on this one as I see this as a major priority. 
  • Late cancellations - as we've always operated within the squad, I have disabled the setting to charge you for a missed session. However, the system has a known bug which is over-riding this. They've only just informed me of this, in fact, I am the one "geek" from over 64,000 business users who've found this glitch in their system! Don't panic though, I've been going into the back end after every session and "early cancelling" anyone who hasn't shown up. As people learn how to opt out up to 12 hours before the session, I'm hoping that this will be great for everyone as it gives enough notice time for those on the wait list to attend. Apologies if you received an email saying you have been charged, you haven't. We will run this until the start of November and I'll make a decision of whether it's a necessary requirement or not - I'm hoping not if you're able to "BLUK!", i.e. the purpose of the whole attendance management system.
  • US calendar - if you've tried cancelling a session you might have got an email back saying you've done this but for it to display in US calendar version, i.e. mm/dd/yy - this is very confusing (a pet peeve of mine) so I'm asking the developers to look into this for us.
  • Cookies - those of you running Safari as your browser on a MAC computer might have run into not being able to see the online portal properly (or at all). If this is you either: 1) go direct to this link; 2) enable your cookies within your Safari preferences to "Always Allow"; 3) try a different browser
  • Too many emails - if you're finding you're getting too many emails reminding you when you have a session coming up, you can turn this off in your Profile within your account by opting out of the reminder and equally changing how you receive that reminder - SMS and/or email
  • Bulk cancelling - this can be rather tedious if you have 6+ sessions to cancel. If you have 6+ sessions that need cancelling, may I suggest you send me over the inclusive dates that you will be away and I can do this for you. Depending on your settings in the point above, will determine whether or not you've received loads of emails for each individual cancellation.
  • Searching for 1-2-1 appointments - unfortunately the "browse for next available appointment" only searches for up to 2 months in the future. My bookings are always 3+ months in advance, so it's been hard for people to find a spot with me. In this instance, if you search forwards from 3 months, you should find a few coveted spots. Equally, Sally's availability is much sooner than mine, so don't neglect booking a session with Sally - she's fab!
  • Paying for 10, 25 or 50 credits in the app - this is not as intuitive as it should be and involves you finding a session that you want to sign up for and then selecting that for the payment option to pop up. The trouble is the vast majority of you are already signed up for the sessions you want to do, so this is proving frustrating. Solution # 1 is to wait for the automated email to come through when you're running low, or Solution # 2 is what might be possible with our efforts below

What we're doing about it:

  • Working around the clock - I have to say the MindBody support team have been nothing short of brilliant, giving me 24/7 support. The trouble is I've literally been using it and working through the night all week on many of these issues! I've told them that I appreciate their help but that some of these issues need resolving asap as many of you are feeling some of the angst that I've been feeling. They are working hard for some resolutions and even with 64,000 other business users, because our set-up is very unique, many of these issues haven't come to light until we've launched, so I can only apologise for the inconvenience this might have caused you.
  • A bespoke app - the MB Connect app which some of you are using has a nice feature in that it's connected to many other fitness and health businesses here in Perth, so some of you might have already benefitted from finding a new yoga or pilates class that you never knew existed. The trouble is, this generic framework is possibly working against our 'kooky' set-up as we may need some more specific functionality to make the process smoother for you all, especially on the checking balances and paying for new credits front. At 3am last night (!) I gave the green light for the team to build me a new specific "Swim Smooth Perth" version of the Connect app using the same technology but geared totally to us. This is not inexpensive and will take 2-3 weeks to build but will also allow SMS-like "push" notifications to come to your smartphone in the event of me needing to send out a quick key message, i.e. "pull is closed due to the storm". Currently I am paying an SMS service to do this, but it's expensive, the push notifications will replace that and are easily disabled by yourself if you find these prompts annoying. It will also solve the lack of Sign-in capability we have on iOS at the moment and have a much better interface as well. I'm excited! This will then replace the MB Connect app, but will still work with the same login, all being well. It should also improve sync-issues that Connect seems to have.
  • Working the conversions team into the ground - our use of PAYG credits works a little against how MindBody is currently configured, so the conversions team are working around the clock to give us a solution to make it easier for you to understand how many credits you have remaining etc. We might end up adapting our terminology to sync with MindBody, but rest assured you'll still have all your credits - I just want you to all be able to see them consistently and be in control like you were with the old paper cards!

Hope this is all useful info, and if you're still reading, thank you!


Monday, August 17, 2015

A few known teething issues, but rest assured we are working on them!

Rest assured, we're keeping full manual hand-written back-ups whilst we make the transition to the new system!

Dear Swimmers

Many thanks to those of you whom have already signed into your accounts and popped along this morning to use the new system for the first time. As suspected, there have been a few teething issues that we've become aware of and are working through things as we speak. I just wanted to apologise for any inconvenience, thank you for your support and let you know that all of your attendances are being tracked manually too at this stage to ensure accuracy. Cyndy is helping me out on the pool deck this week ensuring that I can get on with the coaching and you can all just enjoy your swimming! She's a legend!

If you haven't attended a session yet, I wouldn't worry about any of the below, but I've listed some tips which have come to light in this morning's first use, some of which we're working on, some of which might simply help set you straight if you've become stuck anywhere along the line. Like I say, no need to read unless you're interested - just know that we're working hard to resolve everything asap:

  1. NOT BEING ABLE TO SEE THE LOGIN WINDOW: if you're using the web browser "Safari" on an Apple computer, you might be seeing the error message "Cookies are required to access this site" when trying to login - that does not mean chocolate chip cookies (as grateful as the coaches would be for those!), but that your Privacy settings might be blocking this specific portal. If this is you, click on the word "Safari" in the top-left of your screen and on the drop-down select "Preferences…" and then the Privacy icon and ensure that "Allow from websites I visit" is checked. Now close this and re-open your browser window and type in into your browser window and select the "Get your account set up" option and either scroll all the way to the bottom of the text or click the blue "LOGIN / PAY" button at the top and hopefully this will now show the online portal. In about 7-10 days, I plan to remove the video landing page and also the long page of text showing you how to set-up your account as this is purely for information purposes in getting set-up.
  2. TROUBLE LOGGING IN: the username and password information I sent through seems to have caused a bit of confusion for some. Sorry if this was you. Your username is your email address and your default password is the word "swim" (without the parenthesis) followed by your mobile number, e.g. swim0431540980 - some of you missed off the word "swim" and some dialled in 0400000000 as your password, but this won't work!
  3. WHAT YOU SEE WHEN YOU'RE IN: once you're in, go ahead and change your password using the directions I sent through on Saturday. In about 7-10 days, I plan to get this page to automatically sign-in to your nominated sessions so that you can quickly and easily cancel out of any sessions if needs be. If you've tried doing this already, you'll know if can be a slightly tedious process for 6+ sessions that you might want to cancel out of (plus you get an email note for each one). Two solutions here: 1) if enough people complain I can turn-off the auto-email confirmation; 2) for long trips away, send me your dates of exactly which sessions you'll be missing and I can do this behind the scenes myself. Obviously the long-term goal is to make this self-managed as best as possible.
  4. CREDIT BALANCE NOT SHOWING: we are working our way through the fact that some of you are not seeing all of your credit balance and that your expiry date might be 2025! Rest assured, what we are seeing our end is correct and that we're using our manual records to cross-reference this repetitively - so much for reducing the admin time! But it will get better! Just continue to keep coming down and signing in and we'll rectify this little bug which I think has come via the data conversion process. This seems to be a slightly weird scenario as some people are seeing their balance on their computer, but not on their smartphone and then the number appears "off" on the iPad at the pool too. Don't panic, this is our biggest thing to get right. I'll keep you posted.
  5. NOT BEING ABLE TO SIGN-IN WITH THE APP: those of you "Cool Kids" who had already downloaded the app ( were having trouble "signing in" this morning. I believe this was purely my error, in that I had "auto sign-in" enabled. I have now disabled this and it should now allow you to sign-in on your smartphone from 12:01am on the day of the session. This should also ensure that those of you who are a "no show" don't get docked a credit for not showing up as you won't technically be signed in until you either show up and do it on the iPad or elect to do it on your smartphone. Apologies if you were on 3 credits this morning, didn't show, and then received an email saying you were down to 2 credits and need to top-up (the default reminder). I have re-instated that credit manually and we will test this again tomorrow. Down the line I am hoping that people become familiar with their account through the app or online portal and learn how to opt-out of a session up to 12 hours before.

Hope this all helps. If you've noticed anything else a little strange, please do let me know. Equally, I hope you can see the benefits in this new system for us and you once we have worked through the teething issues and thank you for your support and patience whilst we get it sorted.



Saturday, August 15, 2015

Houston, we have LIFT OFF!

Dear Swimmers

Finally, we got there and the wait is over!

Please use your username and password details from the email about 2 hours ago to login to the new Swim Smooth Perth website, at:

Start off by watching the 6 minute video and then completing the login tasks, starting with updating your password as a matter of immediacy. All-up, this one-off task should take you no more than 10-15 minutes and then we'll be all set!

Do please let me know if there are any discrepancies with your account balances etc. I have full records (as per last week) and am sure there might be a couple of discrepancies this week, so please just get in touch and we'll get things sorted as this week unfurls!

Right now I'm off for a well-deserved beer! This has been my labour of love for the last 14 weeks, and I really hope you enjoy it!


Friday, August 14, 2015

The SUN has got his hat on! Hip, hip, hip, hooray!

Dear Swimmers

Gorgeous day down at the pool today and tomorrow looks to be even better! I will be taking the 1-2pm Saturday Open Water Skills Session at Claremont Pool, so come on down if you fancy a good solid hit out with a lot of fun to boot! Remember, anyone with valid PAYG credits can attend this session (the more the merrier as it always works best with a bigger crew for this specific session), just head on down for about 12.50pm and we'll get cracking!

Oh yeah, and by the way - watch out tomorrow for the launch of the new system! Wahoo! The finishing touches are being made to the system as we speak with the crew over in Los Angeles. What will happen over the weekend is this:

  1. you'll receive an automated email direct to your email account welcoming you to the new system with your PAYG (BLUK!) account username and password - this will direct you to the brand new Swim Smooth Perth website which I've been building since early May (I hope you like - it's packed full of useful information, training articles and 100s of cool images taken over the last 8 years of all the fun and frivolity down at the pool!). 
  2. don't do anything just yet with your account username and password, wait until you receive a second email like this one here (a blog basically) tomorrow afternoon letting you know when the website is LIVE (it's not currently) telling you what to do next
  3. you'll be asked to watch a short (fun) 6 minute video clip explaining how the system works and then prompted to a specific page on the new website which will guide you through the set-up process which will take you no more than 10-15 minutes. This is a one-off very simple task and will give you the option to either a) carry on as you have been doing by buying credits online via your computer or laptop, but by logging into your account. Then, instead of having a paper card you'll just need to tap your name on the new iPad kiosk at the pool when you arrive each time (the Traditional Method), or b) download our new PAYG (BLUK!) app for your smartphone (details to follow) which will allow you to beat the queue for the kiosk and to register for new credits so much easier than before (the Cool Kid Method). These are not hard-fast options in that you are condemned to one method for the rest of eternity, as both link seamlessly to your unique account. If you don't have a smartphone then you'll have to go with the Traditional Method but this doesn't mean you'll lose the option to opt-out of sessions you can't attend ahead of time like the Cool Kid Method allows, you'll just need to login online to do so as opposed to tapping a simple button on your phone.
  4. after you've read this information and decided which method you're going to start off using (largely dictated by what technology you have to hand) you'll then be asked to login to your account given the information in the direct email (Point # 1 above) and check everything is as it should be. The PAYG status information from last week at will have been incorporated into your account, with any sessions you've attended since Sunday 9th August being deducted from your balance and any credits you've bought since (up to 3pm on Thursday 13th August) being added. Anyone who has bought credits since 3pm on Thursday 13th August will need to wait for the whole site to be live and for me to manually go in and add this information from the old payment method into the new. There are only a couple of you from 280+ in this scenario.
  5. you'll be asked to change your password immediately to one you'll be able to remember and will have the option to securely save your credit card information (using PCI Compliance Level 1 - the highest in the industry) for ease of re-loading your credits each time rather than having to hunt through the main Swim Smooth website and using the rather clunky PayPal e-commerce portal. For those of you whom are quite patriotic, you'll be pleased to know we'll now be using a home-grown payment provider (EziDebit) to handle payments automatically through your account so you'll always know where you're at.
  6. that's it! Keep popping down as you always do. Let us know easily and automatically when you can't via your account or the app as opposed to an email / call / SMS. This automatically frees up your spot to someone on the wait list and alleviates you of any "guilt" for not showing up. This allows us to maintain this super-flexible PAYG option without the risk of the super-quiet attendance we've seen in the last 8-10 weeks*. You can top-up your credits seamlessly when you need it. See a live schedule of available 1-2-1 sessions with myself and Sally and book them immediately rather than awaiting correspondence from us. We can be "green" and free of wasting paper cards that get lost and soggy anyway! But most importantly of all…


Cheers (from a rather excited and somewhat drained)


*as we've seen this week, attendance has started to pick up again which is great! Thank you, thank you! I predicted busier sessions 10 weeks ago when we released the Winter Class List, but then never got it. However, I am expecting now that we're crawling out of winter that this will be the case. Well done to those of you who attended during this unprecedented quiet period - I hope you really benefitted from the additional space / coaching. If all pans out well with the new system, our strategy for busier sessions will be to employ additional coaches to be on pool deck with me and to re-visit the option for a 730am Tuesday / Friday session. Of course the new system will give us all the information we need to be able to accurately assess this - right now, we're just flying blind. Thanks for all your support and patience over the last 3 months, it means a lot to me.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Here's How We Are Rewarding You For Your Patience & Support! Extensions to Your PAYG Expiry Dates!

Dear Swimmers

I figure not everyone will want / feel the need to read this full update of the new system, so if that's you, please just check your PAYG Status at and take the appropriate action if you are running low on credits, by topping up here still:

The Update:

For those of you who are at least 10% as keen and excited as I am about the new system, I just wanted to brief you with where we're at with the new PAYG (BLUK!) system. It has taken us a little longer than expected to source all the data from everyone's old PAYG cards as many people have been away on holidays etc. As we've secured the services of a data conversion team to take what I have prepared (see link below) and transfer this into the new system, we wanted to ensure that we had as much full, clean data to give them as possible due to the expense of converting 277 member's data from manual cards to the new digitised system, otherwise we'd just be doubling up on workload.

The data conversion team is due to take and convert all my raw data on Tuesday this week, with the view to us being ready to launch on Monday 17th August. Hopefully! In the meantime, just keep coming down to the squad as you have been the last two weeks and we will mark your attendance manually and deduct from your credit balance.

Your PAYG Status:

Your current credit balance can be seen here:

…this is reflective of any credits you might have purchased in the last couple of weeks (including the recent Winter Savings offer) up until 10.30pm on Saturday 8th August 2015.

I have tried to colour code this for easy reference as such:

  • RED = you are on zero (or less!) credits and need to please re-charge* as soon as possible
  • ORANGE = you are on 4 or less credits and would be recommended to re-charge* soon
  • YELLOW = you have still to send me your PAYG credit information - please do so as soon as you can
  • GREEN = you normally elect to pay casually - remember, as of 25th July 2015, the casual rate was increased to $20 per session, so you might like to consider the PAYG credits system* which will save you up to $7.72 per session!
  • BLUE = you have nominated and been allocated for a session(s) but have yet to attend since we set-up the Winter Squad List on 18th June 2015 (nearly 8 weeks). Please notify us immediately if you no longer wish to hold these sessions, as we have many people on the waiting list wishing to attend asap
  • MAUVE = you are on the wait list and waiting to be called up for a session(s)
  • CLEAR = no action required, you're ticking along smoothly!

*until the new system is released, if you need more PAYG credits, please order them using the following link and we'll manually add these credits to your account: (it would be appreciated if those of you in the RED and ORANGE categories could do this as soon as possible to allow us to credit your new account with a positive balance - many thanks for your support!).

If you believe any of this information to be incorrect, please notify us as soon as possible. We have checked, double-checked and triple-checked this information, so believe that it is an accurate reflection of your current credit balance.

This week I'll be registering you all for your nominated sessions from the Squad List here: and manually checking you off within the app as you arrive. Please let me know of any discrepancies in these allocations. This will ensure that the sessions you attend this coming week will be automatically deducted from the raw data that I have prepared for the data conversion team.

Your PAYG Expiry Status:

In receiving everyone's cards, it appears that 16.6% of the squad's cards have expired based on purchase date, some by many months!! Nearly half of these swimmers however have notified me that they will be away and that they will run over their expiry period due to extended holidays etc. Thank you for this!

We don't want any of you to panic about losing out on your credits. As a token of our appreciation for you a) being patient whilst we put the new system in place, and b) taking the 10 to 15 minutes I will require you each to spend to set up your accounts when I send the necessary information through next week, and c) for all your continued support over the years, we have decided to extend everyone's credit expiry so no-one will lose out. In short, we want you to all go into the new online PAYG (BLUK!) system with a healthy credit balance.

The new expiry has been calculated as the number of credits you have remaining on your card, divided by the number of credits in the block you purchased (10, 25 or 50), multiplied by the standard expiry rate of 3 months for 10 session credits, 4 months for 25 session credits, and 6 months for 50 sessions credits*, and all starting from Monday 7th September. Why Monday 7th September? We wanted to offer everyone a further 2 week extension on their PAYG credit status to cover the 2 weeks that the pool was closed at the start of June this year, plus another week for "good luck". You can see this information to the right of your name at

*please note, we have also decided to extend the expiry date on the 50 session credit option to 6 months, from the standard 5, which might help more of you tap into this bulk saving option.

We hope this is favourable to everyone. No doubt there will be a couple of teething issues along the way, but we are hoping to keep things as smooth as possible and want you to all know that we'll be keeping manual back-ups in the first month to know that everything is working as it should.

PAYG Expiries going forwards:

The new PAYG (BLUK!) system is all geared up to run automatically, up until a point! Going forwards, if you start to run close to either running out of credits, or the expiry date for your credit block, an email and/or SMS will be sent to remind you of this. Equally though, if you know you are going to be away for an extended period (longer than 4 weeks*), or have maybe been injured and can no longer attend for a certain period, please just drop me an email going forwards and I will suspend your account during this period, a little like a gym might. All being well we should be able to get you back in and up to speed upon your return as the system will have offered your place to someone on the waiting list in the interim period.

*there will be no need to email and ask for your account to be suspended for periods of less than 4 weeks, only for more than 4 weeks.

In the standard day-2-day running of the squad, the expiry periods of: 

  • 3 months for 10 sessions
  • 4 months for 25 sessions
  • 6 months for 50 sessions (a new extension of 1 month on this option)

…will apply. However, note that these expiry periods will only commence when you use the first credit from that block, not when you physically purchase it.

OK, I hope that all briefs you on where we're at with everything and helps set your mind at ease, especially with the extension to the expiry periods we are offering. Have a great Sunday and see you at the pool this week!


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A little giggle on a Tuesday in honour of a great entertainer!

Dear Swimmers

Many of you will no doubt have heard of the passing of English entertainer Cilla Black at the weekend at the age of 72. This was very sad news of course. I personally met Cilla in 2001 as you will see in the video clip below - she even pinched my bum in my Speedo skin suit!! (that's my claim to fame anyway!). 

So in honour of a great lady, here's when I met Cilla in front of a live TV audience that then went out as a Christmas Special in 2001 to a viewing audience of 20 million (their biggest ratings!). Yes, I have no shame!

Have a great week and see you down on the pool deck soon. It's wonderful now the weather seems to be turning!!