Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Quick one about kit...

Dear Swimmers

Just a quick one as I sit here at the departure lounge waiting for our flight to the UK - it was lovely seeing some of you this morning at the 530am and 930am sessions and I hope you enjoyed the longer Christmas Cracker Session at 530am. My back us feeling so much better already it's just incredible! And yes, I will still take it steady of course whilst I am away!

A number of swimmers this morning noted that someone had maybe mistakenly walked off with their gear, namely Amanda's pull buoy and paddles, Anka's tempo trainer and Aaron's fins. I don't think this was the same person in all cases but if you are able to do a quick check of your gear that'd be great please. Interestingly all these items were marked up with their owner's names / details.

A good solution when there is so much kit on the pool deck is to look at getting a mesh kit bag where possible to help keep everything together. I personally love mine for this reason. Something for your Christmas stockings perhaps from your loved ones??

Also, generally the number of fins and pull buoys that we have for squad use has really dwindled just recently and if I could kindly ask you to remember to always return any kit you use after use, that'd be very much appreciated. My theory is that some of the public outside of the squad are possibly mistaking our gear as being available for public use so if you ever see this happening please offer a kind reminder that it is only for squad use.

Thanks for your help with any / all of the above, but if you do have some of Anka's, Amanda's or Aaron's gear by mistake please pop it down on Friday morning with Sally to swap things over. Thanks!

Dull, wet and windy England here we come!


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Bon voyage to Emma!

Dear Swimmers

All being well I will see a few of you on pool deck tomorrow (Wednesday 18th December) before I jet off to the UK for Christmas. My back operation has been a complete success and I'm feeling much happier about things going forwards now - yippee!

I just wanted to take this opportunity to formally thank Emma for all her help and support over the last 2+ months with the squads and helping to train our new wave of coaches etc - she's been great to have around and sharing her wisdom and experience. She's a bit gutted that she won't be here for Rotto this year but has asked that I get those of you on FaceBook to stay in touch with her at or if you're ever over in the UK next (UK) summer, drop her a line through and see what's she's up to.

Cheers and if I don't see you before, have a great Christmas.

P.S some of you have been asking what best to do over the official Christmas break after the 1-2pm session on Saturday 21st December and when we re-start on Monday 6th January and my honest answer is to allow yourself a little bit of time-out…even those of you doing the Rottnest Duo / Solo swims. If you've been following our Rotto program at you'll know that I baked in two steadier weeks over this period (as I always do) so as to almost cut the program in half to allow you to re-energise / re-focus for the final push to the start of the event. I believe this is always very important, always have. That's not to say you shouldn't do anything of course, but now would be a great time to get a little bit of open water practice done safely (in the river or ocean) and to do some steadier technique sets in the pool. Don't go overboard, enjoy the time with your families and if you want one simple session to do each week whilst I'm gone, I always find the Goldie Locks set a great one to keep a bit of fitness going:

  • 4 x 100
  • 1 x 200
  • 4 x 100
  • 1 x 300
  • 4 x 100
  • 1 x 400

…all at CSS pace, all with 1 beep recovery between each set.

Of course the "Red Mist" set is another favourite: and if you're down at 5.30am I have an excellent Christmas Cracker Set for you

…anyway, a few things to chose from and keep you busy there, but make sure you have a fun time and if you're feeling a little tired / jaded don't use this as a opportune time to cram more in, listen to your body, use the extra time for some R&R - your body (and family) will thank you for it!

Cheers (again!)


Friday, December 13, 2013

Houston...we no longer have a problem (hopefully!)!!

Not nervous at all (pre-op) - let's get this done!

Dear Swimmers

I thought I'd just take this opportunity to thank you all for your support over the last 5 months whilst I've been struggling with bad back pain and to let you know that my surgery yesterday went really well up at Joondalup Hospital with Professor Stephen Lewis. I had a micro discectomy in my lower back (L5, right side to be precise) and the early indications are great! My leg pain has completely gone (instantly) and all being well so too should my back pain as it starts to all heal up - whoop, whoop! 

Is this a good look on me? I think not!

I'm so elated after really struggling for so long - it's definitely been a year of contrasts from winning the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in June and feeling literally on top of the world to being totally incapable of putting my socks on in the morning and feeling 80+! Incredible. I'd like to thank you all for your support but especially to Dr Nathalie Laurendeau (chiro), Dr Peter Annear (orthopaedic surgeon), Dr Lorry Dembo (the man who makes things 'happen'!), Professor Stephen Lewis (legendary neurosurgeon), Christine Lowe (physio), Gemma (pilates) and my wife Michelle Smith (physio) for getting me physically through this period.

I would dearly like to at least pop down to the pool next Wednesday to say hi and wish you all a great Christmas, but will have to play it a little by ear. Sincere apologies if I don't! I have arranged some great coaching cover in my absence over the next few days and will definitely be back on the morning of Tuesday 7th January (with the squad officially starting back on Monday 6th January after the last session on Saturday 21st December at 1-2pm, both with Coach Sally).

Relaxing (post-op) with a pint of the finest Yorkshire Tea!

Thanks everyone - have a great Christmas and prosperous New Year!


Monday, December 2, 2013

Christmas swim training / holiday period

Dear Swimmers

Hope you're having a fab start to your week!

I'm starting to get a lot of questions about the Christmas holiday period so I figured it would be good to try to beat the rush as it were and let you know that between Sunday 22nd December and Sunday 5th January 2014 there will be no squad sessions for this 2 week period. Our last session will be Saturday 21st December with Coach Sally between 1 and 2pm (the super-fun open water skills session) and then the first session back will also be with Coach Sally on Monday 6th January 2014 at 7-8am and also 9.30-10.30am.

I will be heading back to my Motherland (sunny Yorkshire) from the 18th December and returning on Monday 6th January. It's going to be a great Christmas break with Mish and the kids and with any luck, the chance to see some snow as we'll be staying entirely in the North of England during our trip. I can't wait! Chance to unwind and relax with family - perfect!

As an update to my back situation (for your information), sadly, despite lots of excellent conservative physiotherapy management with Chris & Gemma at Horizon Physiotherapy and Mish, my back is still being a reluctant so-and-so and not getting any better. After 5 months of pain and having to get Mish up at 4am every morning just to put my socks and shoes on, two "Angels" in the form of Dr Peter Annear and Prof Stephen Lewis have come to my rescue and on the 12th December I will be having back surgery up at Joondalup Hospital to hopefully remedy the issue. I am having a micro discectomy at L5 (right side) done for all you medical boffins out there and I cannot thank Pete and Steve enough for helping to see me before my UK trip where I'll be able to recoup nicely all being well. 

I have however decided to pull out from another Rottnest Solo attempt this year which is a bit sad but I would only want to attempt to rock it at full strength and just don't feel like I'll be running on full power by that point. It'll give me chance to have some proper R&R back home and to also then focus solely on the squad members participating in Rotto and other events going forwards. I'm really pumped about this now that I've got my head around it all.

For your reference, I will miss this Wednesday's 9.30-10.30am session for my "pre-op" and then also Friday 13th December to Tuesday 17th December (inclusive) whilst I am in rehab. I am hoping to show my face on Wednesday 18th December at both the 5.30am and 9.30am sessions as my last before Christmas - I hope you will join me! All the sessions in my absence will still be operational, we are just finalising cover for this as we speak.

Cheers and have a great week!