Monday, October 19, 2015

October News Letter - please read!

Dear Swimmers

Hope all is ticking along nicely in your world this week! 

In this month's newsletter we'll be covering:

  1. Race Results from squad members around the world!
  2. Sorting out the "Pecking Order" within the lanes - please read this if nothing else! Or check out the link here:
  3. Just how does the Wait List work on the new app? Tips on how to pick up squad spots where you thought there weren't any!
  4. Paul away in the UK (Thursday 22nd October to Tuesday 10th November inclusive)


World Duathlon Championships:

I'm just seeing some wonderful podium / Top-10 results from members of the squad filtering through from the World Duathlon Championships last weekend - well done all who competed and well done especially to:

  • Carrie Anderson (Bronze, 50-54 AG, Standard Distance)
  • Brad Kaye (Bronze, 40-44 AG, Sprint Distance)
  • Deb Kempe (Silver, 55-59 AG, Sprint Distance)
  • Gina Grayson-Cassey (Gold, 40-44 AG, Standard Distance)
  • Janet Ferguson (Silver, 50-54 AG, Standard Distance)
  • Jane Davis (7th, 55-59 AG, Standard Distance)
  • Jones Sammut (12th, Junior Men, Standard Distance)
  • Claire McLean (Silver, Para-TRI, Standard Distance)

…even though Duathlon doesn't contain any swimming (run-bike-run Sprint = 5k/20k/2.5k and Standard = 10k/40k/5k) - having spent most of my Junior / U23 life racing both triathlon and duathlon, I can categorically state that duathlon is a MUCH harder sport! A veritable leg killer!

World Ironman Championships:

The word on the street is that it was a very tough day out in the lava fields and sadly many from Perth reported that they didn't have the race they were hoping for. Despite coming out of the water second in his AG and heading out onto the run in 4th, Graham Crocker sadly pulled a hammy as soon as he left T2 which ended his day immediately. This was very sad as I've never seen Croc prep for a race as well as this one, but sadly sometimes not everything goes according to plan. Pene Newitt did survive the lava fields but unfortunately due to a string of mishaps in training leading up to the event, she didn't perform as well as she had hoped - however, anyone who can swim 3.8k, bike 180k and then run a marathon in blistering 40ºC heat is a legend in my books! Well done Pene! We're very proud of you overcoming this year's adversities.

Asia / Pacific Ironman 70.3 Championships:

I'll lead this story with this:

…and then this:

…that's a 1:21/100m average pace and a massive PB for Janine Willis from the "back" on Lane 4 in the 530am squad! Why so excited I hear you ask? Could this be the first verified sign that the new lane structuring is working well? I think so! Here's why:

  • up until relatively recently Janine had only ever dabbled under the 30 minute mark for a 1.9km swim (1:34/100m)
  • more recently she's been notching along at what I estimate to be a CSS of 1:24-1:27/100m depending on how she's feeling
  • with the changes that we've brought in with the new dual group / same cycle time structure, Janine would be the first to say that she's typically one of the back-runners in her lane, however (and this is the point!), has the new chase more / draft less arrangement started to bring on performance enhancements from an already superbly well trained athlete? I think so!

The key to success in all of this? DO NOT PANIC IF YOU ARE THE SLOWEST IN YOUR GROUP AND START TO GET DROPPED IN A SESSION - THAT IS THE WHOLE POINT! Take a leaf from Janine's book - keep your cool, keep focused on you - and who knows what's possible!!

Key points to remember:

  1. don't set off too close (mind the gap!)
  2. don't cut corners (swim the full distance)
  3. avoid reaching for the security blanket of your pull buoy!
  4. don't fear "failure" - dropping off is not failing, it is to be expected!


So I spent the whole weekend liaising with our other coaches and looking at how we could possibly formalise the lane ordering to some extent so that everyone knows a "default" group and "pecking order" that they would be best advise dropping into on any given session now that we're fully into this new squad regime that is starting to elicit some really good results! Of course, knowing how dynamic the squad sessions can be, it's not always possible to fit to this exact ordering, but it is a good start. There will be still times when a certain set requires a stronger sprinter to come forwards, or you're having a bad day and need to move back within your coup, or only 3 people turn-up in your lane so we need to shuffle some people across from another lane etc, but knowing where to start from as a default is hopefully "diffusing" of any possible apprehension for you in the pool.

Here's the listings, we'll have these printed out and laminated on one of the white boards for easy reference going forwards:

Those of you with eagle-eyes will notice some disparity in the CSS pace and the associated RM 5 Cycle times between some sessions - these are not mistakes - the variance in some of these times is to account for differences in the variability of the estimated CSS pace of everyone within a group - those with a small range of difference will have an RM 5 Cycle very close to what it truly should be for the assigned CSS pace, those with a wider range from the front to the back of the group will have an RM 5 Cycle which is likely to feel more like RM 6 or 7 for the front runners. As we've been finding though, this is not a problem - being pitted against someone of equal speed to you coming at you from the opposite end of the pool is inciting competitive motivation like we've not seen before, so you'll just swim a bit quicker and end up having ~2s additional rest per 100m than you might otherwise have had. Not a deal breaker.


So you've got the new app for your iPhone or Android device and want to start tapping into the effectiveness of the wait list. Perhaps you want to try a session you've never done before? Here's how it works:

  1. we set a threshold number of people for a given session. This threshold is typically less than the total number of people showing in the Pecking Order link above, but this assumes (from our historical records) that we'll only have (at best) a 65-70% show-up rate. So in theory the threshold that we set for each session is a maximum that we'd like to see attend on any session, though it's still possible for the attendance to be higher than this if everyone (above) decides to show up. This hasn't changed of course with the new PAYG (BLUK!) system (in fact we've had busier peak sessions before the new system was put in place), but it does allow us to account for quieter sessions and seek more consistency in attendance which I'm sure you'll appreciate is happening.
  2. the permanent members of the squad have up until 12 hours before a given session to cancel out of that session and release their spot to someone else. This is called an Early Cancel. You are not charged for an Early Cancel as it allows us to find someone else to take your spot. Obviously the earlier you tell us, the better it is for everyone.
  3. if someone cancels within 12 hours of a session they will be a Late Cancel and will be charged as though they have attended. A couple of people have had medical emergencies in the last couple of weeks, so of course we can over-ride this charge in these cases, but do please ask that you respect the new process.
  4. if you have signed up for a wait list, you will be offered a spot up to 12 hrs before the session, but not after. This is because the system assumes that those who have a place will all then attend. So if you don't get a call up before 12 hrs prior to a session, you won't do. That being said, as I write this, eight people have just been offered spots within 5 minutes before that 12 hr window closes out - so be prepared for that last minute rush!
  5. please ensure that if you can no longer take the wait listed spot that you reply "N" to the SMS seeking your confirmation. You'll also receive an email to this extent too. Failing to do so will potentially make the system think you are still keen to attend and you may be docked a credit. Of course the best thing to do here is cancel our of any booked wait lists before this happens - just with a simple tap of a button!

Our current stats tell us that the following sessions are ranked from easy to hard in terms of accessing via the wait list if you were thinking of trying it out:

Very Easy / Almost Always Available:

Saturday 1-2pm

Tuesday 6.15pm

Waitlisted but A Good Chance of Getting in:

Monday 7am

Monday 930am

Tuesday 530am

Thursday 615pm

Friday 930am

Tough but Possible:

Tuesday 630am

Wednesday 930am

Friday 530am

Friday 630am

Almost Impossible (even selling your granny is often not enough!)

Wednesday 530am

Like anything though, you have to be in it to win it, right? So start getting some wait lists booked and cross your fingers! Plenty of people have already really benefitted from this process…in fact the only ones who might assume it's not functioning properly are the ones who've tried wait listing for the Wednesday 530am session, but then spots here haven't really opened up in the last few years. Funny really - it's a tough old mother of a session too!


I will be heading back to the motherland for a period of 3 weeks as of late this Wednesday evening. My last coached session will be this Wednesday's 9.30am session, and my first back will be Wednesday 11th November at 5.30am. I've got three important agenda items to do over there:

  • deliver two 3-day Coach Education Courses in Oxford and Lancaster and hand-pick the next batch of coaches who will come over to Perth 16-30 Jan and 6-20 Feb 2016 for official Swim Smooth training (two of whom have already been selected and are former Olympians - whoop!)
  • be the official wedding photographer for Adam (my business partner) as he weds the lovely Marietta this Saturday (double whoop!)
  • have a catch-up and beer with two of the world's best ever triathletes who themselves have names that sound like a baked dessert (triple whoop!)

It's going to be a great trip as usual! I'm particularly excited about a meet-up for the first time ever with the entire Swim Smooth Certified Coaching Team to discuss how the new PAYG (BLUK!) system can hopefully work well for them and also to meet up with a talented British swimmer who has transitioned into triathlon and last week in Kona swam 3 minutes faster than all the Pro women in the field! She's amazing and we hope to capture some really great footage of her swimming. I'm in awe!

As usual, I leave you in the extremely capable hands of the Swim Smooth Coaching Team as some of you have already seen within the app:

  • Monday 7am and 930am = Coach Sally
  • Tuesday 530am, 630am and 615pm = Coach Cyndy (with Coach Brad as her co-Coach on the early morning sessions)
  • Wednesday 530am = Coach Sally
  • Wednesday 930am = Coach Cyndy
  • Thursday 615pm = Coach Sally
  • Friday 530am and 630am = Coach Cyndy (with Coach Brad or Coach Marie as her co-Coaches)
  • Friday 930am = Coach Sally
  • Saturday 100pm = Coach Sally

…as you can see we've put on two excellent coaches for you at the busier sessions. You do not need to panic to rush and have cards issued anymore prior to me leaving, but whilst the option of paying cash / with a CC on pool deck is still there, the coaches would prefer online payment please so as to free up their time to concentrate on coaching you to the best of their ability.

Thanks for reading - see you at the pool!


No comments:

Post a Comment

Please add your comments here: