Monday, January 25, 2016

Cottesloe OR Bather's Beach for the month of March (9.30am squad) - you decide!

Dear Swimmers

We're rapidly approaching that time of year when Claremont Pool has it's carnival season and we are required to shift our 9.30am sessions either to another pool, or - as you frequently seem to prefer - to the open water!

Our choice in the past has always been Cottesloe Beach, for convenience and the fact that it's a really, really nice beach! However, I've also been scoping out Bather's Beach in Fremantle and tomorrow will head there with our coaches for the Australia Day fireworks.

Whilst Bather's Beach is a bit more of a trek away, it is a great venue and one which is potentially less susceptible to stingers and changeable weather conditions, amongst other "things".

So the question is - which would you prefer to swim at?

Answers on a "postcard" here please as soon as possible (it'll take you all of 30 seconds to complete this form - if you don't, well you can't say I never asked if we choose something you're not keen on!):

Once a diplomatic decision has been made on the majority, I will update the app so that you can quickly glance and remind yourself of which sessions are where and when. Here's the dates affected though for your diary now:

So in total there are 9 affected sessions, mainly Wednesday and Fridays. Whilst I appreciate that not everyone will like to swim in the open water (as fantastically fun as the sessions will be and a nice variation to the devil you know), if you're already looking at these sessions and thinking "no, that's not for me - in either location" please ensure you cancel out of these sessions as soon as possible in order to give those on the waitlist the opportunity to join if they so wish. Many thanks!

Swim Smooth - keeping it diplomatic since 2004!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Happy Australia Day (Mate!) and Wait-Listing for Squads...

Dear Swimmers

Australia Day is fast approaching - I'd just like to take this opportunity to wish you a really great day with your friends and families - hope you have a blast!

As you've probably seen within the app, there will be no squad swimming sessions this Tuesday 26th January - this includes the 5.30am, 6.30am and 6.15pm sessions - as the pool will be late opening and then having it's own celebratory fun events.

Of course there are a few events on this Tuesday instead which you might like to tap into instead:

Wait Listing for Squads:

Whilst you might at times add yourself to a squad wait list and see yourself billed at #12 and think "what's the point - I'll never get in!" - I do wish to reiterate that it is very much worthwhile adding yourself to the list as we're seeing a good majority of those who take the time and effort to click the "Add to Wait List" button get in, even when you might be quite low down the list when you initially add yourself. This is also how I make the decision about who and when I can offer a permanent place in the squad too*.

The app updates in real-time as well, so as people drop-out, so too do you move up the ranks! We are seeing on average 21 new faces per month who would ordinarily have been turned away without the wait list in place, so it's great to see so many new people getting the chance to access the squad sessions!

Remember, the system works by allowing you all to check-out of a session up to 12 hours before that session occurs. We usually see a little flurry of cancellations at ~5.15pm & ~6.15pm for the two early morning sessions and then again around 9.15pm for the later 9.30am sessions which then frees up places at the last moment. 

Whilst I would ideally encourage you all to check-out as soon as possible to free up your place to someone else and give them the maximum amount of notification time, I understand that this is not always possible. So, for those of you on a wait list, please check regularly closer to the 12-hr close-out window and you might just strike it lucky! Equally, if you no longer wish to wait list for a given session, please ensure you de-register for that list by cancelling your wait listed session within the app so as to not run the risk of being added unwittingly at the last moment and then being charged for a session you have effectively opted in for. We do require your own self-management of your wait listed sessions which can be done with the press of a button within the app - simple!

Here's a run down of which sessions are the easiest to access presently:

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

*How to snag a permanent spot on the squad?

The process is simple:

  1. everyone who was a permanent member of the squad when we started the new system in August 2015 was offered a permanent booking of all their selected sessions up to August 2016 as a thank you for their support over the years
  2. the squad is dynamic - some of these permanent members elect to drop-out of the squad for whatever reason (usually work commitments or moving overseas) and effectively this releases their place(s) when I bulk cancel them going forwards
  3. when this occurs, those at #1 on the wait list for that session are offered the released place
  4. I continue to monitor the squad sessions going forwards, ensuring that we do not exceed our maximum quota (since the new system has been in place and I have set these thresholds an over-subscribed squad has happened a grand total of ZERO times! That's not to say that in theory it can't still occur, but 6 months of rigorous use and testing is proving very reliable). Yes, we have had more consistently attended sessions, but not the huge variation in peaks and troughs that we used to have!
  5. if someone is regularly receiving a call-up from the wait list for a session, this tells me that there must be a space available for them permanently. In which case I contact them directly and offer them that golden ticket!
  6. until you get offered the golden ticket, the best suggestion is to keep using the wait list and as soon as I see that you've been added on a frequent basis, be ready for the email and equally don't be afraid to shimmy me with a request yourself directly if you feel this has been the case!

The squad is a very dynamic organism - as great as the automated system is, be assured that I'm still monitoring and tweaking things in the background all the time to ensure it's smooth running!

A couple of known issues:

  1. it has been reported this week that some of you - even with valid session credits - have been prompted to purchase more credits in order to be able to add yourself to a wait list. This shouldn't be required - I apologise if you've had this issue. I have reported this issue to the developers. They acknowledge a small bug in the system and so in order to temporarily fix this whilst we are waiting for a permanent fix, I have changed some of the restrictions which will now allow you to add yourself to any wait list. Initially we added this restriction as believe it or not we had a flurry of people from Lithuania, Uzbekistan, the USA and Manila adding themselves in for the squad sessions and then (unsurprisingly!) not showing up for the sessions, but effectively taking a spot!! Not ideal for anyone!! I will keep a close eye on this until a proper fix is created!
  2. sometimes you will get a flurry of SMS notifications that you have been added to a series of sessions from the wait list. This will happen if someone else has asked me to bulk cancel them for a period and you happen to be next in line for all those specific sessions. You tell me you can only reply "Y" to the very last SMS notification. The developers are also working on this for me. Technically, as you haven't de-registered for any of these wait lists when you receive the SMS, the system will by default add you into all those sessions, so if you see an SMS for a specific session you know you can no longer attend, please just cancel out of it to release that spot again.
  3. our little Push Notification system seems to have gone on the blink for all iOS (iPhone) users at the moment - this is the facility that allows me to send you out short reminders about specific things - again, they're working on a fix for this!
  4. despite me saying for the umpteenth time that the auto-sign-in feature should be working when you attend the pool and the system recognises that you're there to join the session (without then needing to use the iPad to check-in), this still isn't working properly! So sorry! Please continue to use the iPad or just allow me to check you in on busier mornings from my own phone portal. This one is dragging on for sure!

As ever, if you're:

…please just drop me an email and I will sort! The new system has been a resounding success all round it seems - you love using it and it's massively reduced my administration time, allowing me to focus on the stuff that really matters - coaching you all to the very best of my ability! Thanks for all your support whilst we continue to work on refining it further!

Kind regards

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Lightning Strikes!

**LIGHTNING STRIKES!** but don't panic, we didn't want you to feel like you've lost out with your good intentions of showing up so we've re-credited everyone in the 6.15pm session tonight for your 'loss'! Whoop!

Sorry for any inconvenience! I can control most technological things, but the weather I'm yet to fathom! ;-)


P.S you might like to do a make-up session this Saturday at 1pm and bring a mate along for $5 too - a great way to get the Ks ticked off and to have some real fun too!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Bring a mate for just $5 and develop some awesome open water skills too!

Dear Swimmers

It's getting to the pointy end of the open water season with Rotto now just 6 weeks away! To celebrate and help you in your final preparations for this event (and others!) we're inviting you bring a mate along to the Saturday 1-2pm open water skills session at Claremont Pool for just $5! 

All you need do is book yourself in as normal* using either the app (available at if you haven't already got it) or the old school way through this page:!register/c15q and rock up each Saturday over the next six weeks with a mate and five bucks and you can both enjoy the best session of the week down at Claremont Pool.

What's more, I'll personally be back on pool deck to deliver all six of these Saturday sessions in my usual hyped-up way, so you can be assured that I'm going to be working you hard whilst we all have some fun in the sunshine too! All 13 of our international coaches will be in attendance too - they might even hop in the water with you (two are former Olympians!).

During this session you will practice:

  • drafting skills
  • sighting skills
  • turning skills
  • high octane efforts
  • having fun in the sun!
*offer is valid with one full-fee paying swimmer per guest - you decide how you want to split the "extra" coffee money afterwards!

Thursday open water swims:

A group of now about 20 people is meeting every Thursday morning at the Claremont Jetty for an open water swim ranging between 2 and 10km. Not to leave those of you south of the river out, but a twin group is also meeting at 6am every Thursday morning on the opposite side of the river at Bicton Baths. You are more than welcome to join either (this is a free session). The question is - which group will finish their distance first - get your binoculars out to check!!

Time Trials:

We haven't run a series of 400 / 200 Time Trials in a while now. Don't worry, I haven't forgotten! The new format of a dual group in each lane essentially racing against each other on the harder sessions is proving to be an excellent breeding ground for improvement and we've seen some awesome results from the squad in races already this year because of this change. This doesn't necessarily make the time trials redundant per se, but I am finding that people are getting more improvement from consistently attending these sessions as full 1.6-2.2km main sets as opposed to just a total of 600m hard work. Equally, many of the harder sessions actually feature time-trial-like efforts now anyway. That may come as a blessed relief to many of you, but if you're one of the diehards who is really missing the CSS Test at the moment, please do drop me some feedback by return email and we'll look at slotting in a testing session in the next month or so, possibly on a Saturday around the 1-2pm session. The results that people are getting is showing unequivocally that the new system is working very well indeed, even if you might feel a tad lost without an actual CSS time to cling onto at present.

Hope that helps explain!

Have a great day!


Monday, January 4, 2016

Please Welcome Our Next Round of International Swim Smooth Coaches!

Dear Swimmers

I see some of you have already settled back into your training routine now that the squad has re-started again for 2016 - well done!

I wanted to let you know how incredibly excited I am to be inviting 13 international coaches over to Perth in January and February as per previous years (see!about3/c53q ). 

This time around we will have a group of 6 coaches (per the details below) arriving from 16 to 30th January, and then a second group of 7 arriving 6 to 20th February:

16 to 30th January:

  • Anna-Karin Lundin, Sweden
  • Jason Tait, UK
  • Russel Smith, Jersey
  • David Knight, UK
  • Anne-Marie Munk, Singapore
  • Rob Kwaitaal, The Netherlands

6 to 20th February:

  • Bart Rolet, Canada
  • Seamus Bennett, UK
  • Gail Vickers, UK
  • Filip Rigole, Belgium
  • Shauqie Aziz, Malaysia
  • Merle Talviste, Dubai
  • Gemma Hollis, USA

All 13 coaches have been personally selected by myself and have already undergone 3 days of intensive coach education work on one of our 3-day Coach Education Courses. I can't wait to have them over and I'm sure you'll all feel the benefit of their assistance and input on pool deck too during the busier months of January and February leading up to the Rottnest Channel Swim.

We have managed to secure a great house on Davies Road for the coaches to share whilst they are over, meaning they'll have less than 600m to walk to the pool each day! Whoop!

Our Coach Education Tutor, Emma Brunning (seen above in her classic board shorts!) will also be in attendance over the entire period from 12th January until a couple of days after the Rottnest Channel Swim (which she'll again be competing in). Emma's role is to assist the development of the coaches over the 2 week period as they observe mine, Sally and Cyndy's coaching methods on pool deck. It's an absolute action-packed 2 weeks for the coaches (and us!) and Emma's help is vital in maintaining the high coaching standards that we have set for the program over the years. Emma continues to mentor the coaches as well post-Perth as they submit their coursework and final assignments prior to becoming a fully certified Swim Smooth Coach and delivering a very similar program to what I run here in Perth.

Any room at the Inn?

Unfortunately it looks like Emma's previously arranged accommodation over the 7 weeks she'll be here has sadly fallen through, so if anyone knows of a room and/or house available within a 10km (or so) radius of the pool, please let us know. We can contribute to bills etc and any other associated costs for Emma's stay. Unfortunately we have a full house ourselves as Adam is coming back to Perth for the same period to oversee the program and also to introduce us all to his beautiful new wife Marietta who will be visiting Australia for the first time. I can't wait to have my best mate back in town again!

So all in all, it's going to be a fantastic lead-up to the Rottnest Channel Swim! Let's get it on!


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Happy New Year!

Dear Swimmers

Happy New Year from all the way over here in snowy Canada! I hope you had a great Christmas and are looking forwards to a great New Year and getting back into the swing of things with your swimming if you've had some time off. For those of you who've been keeping ticking over - well done! More than one little birdy has informed me that there's been a regular and veritable gaggle of die-hard squad members down at the pool over the Christmas period.

Just a reminder that we start back tomorrow morning with our 7am and 9.30am "Pure Technique" sessions (Monday 4th January) and all sessions thereafter will be back to normal. I will personally be back on pool deck from Friday at 5.30am - there's just the small issue of a mammoth plane ride via Hong Kong between then and now! Eeeek! Can't wait to see you all and catch up on the 'goss' - I'll be wearing my "moon tan"!

A Special Happy New Year's Get-My-Stroke-Right-Resolution Offer! Offer expires this Friday 8/1/2016 - act quickly!

I've scheduled a special 1-2-1 Video Analysis Offer to be sent out to you on Tuesday morning, but if you want to beat the rush and get ahead of the demand, you can access a 10% discount on a 75-minute 1-2-1 Video Analysis & Stroke Correction Session with myself by entering the promotion code swimsmooth2016 before Friday 8/1/2016*. That makes a First Session fee just $206.10 or $161.10 for a Follow-Up (within the last 12 months). 

Now that I've improved our booking system and also taken onboard an additional 2-3 sessions/wk, I have managed to reduce the waiting period for these sessions from 4-6 months down to just 4-6 weeks, so if you or your mates are keen for a session before the Rottnest Channel Swim at the end of February, that will still be possible if you act quickly. 

Tying in with the release of Version 2 of our at the end of this month, the first 30 applications for these sessions will also receive a 3-month complimentary pass to this great training program, worth $60.

*swimmers already working directly with Coach Sally will be receiving a direct email with a similar offer (this code will only work for sessions with myself FYI).

A couple of quick snaps if you will!

We've had a wonderful Christmas vacation starting off with a 8-hr stop-over in Hong Kong at the Disneyland there and then a couple of weeks visiting Michelle's family in Canada and the USA. It looked like all was lost on the snow front initially (it was 22ÂșC in New York on Christmas Eve for example - crazy warm!) but luckily we got a good dumping and chance to go skiing. My kids have never seen the snow before so this was an awesome experience for them to both try skiing for the first time. Here's a little clip of Jackson picking up skiing and going from absolute zero to black diamonds in 3-days! He had some great coaching from his Grandpa (not me!!!) - you might need to have a FaceBook account to view this video:

Here's the boy wonder going from absolute nought (as in 'never-even-seen-snow-before') to black diamond in 3 days thanks in no small part to Grandpa Dave Smith coaching and Mum Michelle Smith Newsome encouragement. Well done JJ!
Posted by Paul Newsome on Friday, January 1, 2016