Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday 4th April 9.30am beach session - CANCELLED! Also, Easter & ANZAC Day Notes...

Dear Swimmers

Well done to those of you who came down for the two 9.30am sessions this week on Wednesday and Friday - they were supposed to be in the 25m pool but both school carnivals were cancelled at the last moment and as such we were in the 50m pool as normal - yay! For those of you who came, you deserve a big pat on the back and a great big thank you from me as you came with the full acceptance that you'd be in the 25m pool, not your favoured 50m. You rolled with the punches, took the session for what it was, and as per the excellent feedback from last Wednesday's 25m session, really excelled and enjoyed yourself! Thank you. 

In any of part of the world, the 25m pool at Claremont Pool would simply be "world class" and super popular, but I do feel that we're a little spoiled over here with all the 50m pools available at our beck and call. One of the great things about the 25m pool is that for CSS type training with the beeper, there's absolutely no guestimation about whether you're exactly at the 25m marker or not, it's obvious of course. Another plus side is that you'll be ~1.5 seconds per 100m faster than in the 50m pool, which is always an encouraging thing! As it happens 3 out of the 6 supposed 25m sessions actually went ahead in the 50m pool, so it's always worth giving it a try - who knows what you might learn and enjoy as a bit of variety.

Anyway, enough about that - we have had definitive confirmation that the one remaining carnival which clashes with next Friday 4th April's 9.30am session will definitely proceed. We have been allocated a beach session for this session, however, given the relatively low interest at the session on Friday 7th March and little interest this week in this session, we have elected to cancel the session but instead encourage you to try the session below in your own time and perhaps at a different pool. I hope this helps:

Barring this session we are full steam ahead now, with no more disruptions other than Easter and ANZAC day on the horizon:

Good Friday 18th April - all sessions CANCELLED
Easter Saturday 19th April - all sessions CANCELLED
Easter Monday 21st April - all sessions CANCELLED
ANZAC Day Friday 25th April - the pool opens at 7am, so we have booked 4 lanes from 7am to 8.30am for an extended special session (applications will be sent out for this in the next 10 days) and will also have 3 lanes at 9.30am to 10.30am as well - I hope you can join us!

Thanks everyone - just a final reminder that you will only see me at the 9.30am sessions for the next 2 weeks. Coaches Sandy, Sally, Brad and Cyndy (the “Awesome Foursome”) will take my other sessions whilst Michelle is visiting her sick brother in Canada during this period. Thanks once again for all your lovely well wishes and messages of support - they were very much appreciated.


Friday, March 21, 2014

Hi Honey, I'm home!

Dear Swimmers

Well, I hope you've had a brilliant couple of weeks in my absence - if you didn't catch what I've been up to in the UK, you can read more about that here: and a little more below, demonstrating what the last week or so has entailed.

Thanks to the coaches who've stood in for me - Sally, Sandy, Brad and Cyndy - you guys have been simply brilliant and I am so proud to have you as an integral part of the team!

Firstly though, I have a little bit of bad news I'm afraid. Just before I left for the UK we found out that Michelle's younger brother has been diagnosed with cancer and has immediately started a course of chemotherapy. My initial stay in the UK was going to be 5 weeks, but given this news we curtailed it to 2.5 weeks, with Adam and Annie stepping up for me for two more major presentations we were due to do next weekend. He's such a great guy and only 38 years old with two kids the same age as ours. It's really quite sad and confronting and understandably Mish wants to go home and visit him in Vancouver, Canada to show morale support and assist with his day-2-day care in the short-term. His diagnosis has improved a lot since we first found out about it (B-cell lymphoma), but even still Mish wants to of course do everything she can to support him at this tough time. She will be leaving for Canada late on Friday 28th March and arrive home early on Sunday 13th April. 

This does have repercussions for you all in the squad as (given that we have no family support ourselves over here - just some bloody awesome friends though it has to be said!), I will be stepping back down again from the early morning squad sessions in order to take Jackson to school (5 days/wk) and Isla to daycare (2 days/wk - Monday & Wednesday) and simply be there for my family in this time of need. I do hope you will all understand - it's not a decision we've taken lightly given how I've already been away in the UK for other coaching purposes this month.

As such, I plan to be there for Monday & Wednesday 9.30am squad sessions (as per usual) and for the Friday 11th April 9.30am squad session - one of the other coaches (TBC) will take the Friday 4th April 9.30am session down at Cottesloe Beach as originally prescribed (and yes, thank god, we're nearly through the whole 25m/50m pool and beach shuffle on these sessions - thanks so much for your patience and support here, the coaches have told me you've done great considering!). I will be shifting all my 1-2-1 sessions to after the 9.30am squads and before school pick-up. 

So for this 2 week period starting, Monday 31st March, we will have a similar coaching roster to what you've just experienced in my absence, with one full week (next week) entirely back to normal with me at the helm on each session. Clear as mud? I thought so! It feels a little like that myself!

The main point is that I hope you can support us in this period with your attendance and I do appreciate and recognise the fact that this brings with it a little bit of an unsettled period where I had originally promised consistency and stability. In 12 years of living and coaching in Perth I've been fortunate enough that even without any extended family here, I've never once had to make adjustments to my coaching schedule for anything out of the blue like this due in no small part to Mish's brilliance as a mother - but in this scenario my family has to come first and I will do everything I can possible to make that up for you once we're all back to normal following Easter. Sound OK?

Alright, so briefly then the last week and a bit in the UK went really well. We did another Triathlon Show in Manchester and again had two major presentations to deliver, some Endless Pool coaching sessions with Zoggs UK and also chance to meet and greet literally thousands of our Swim Smooth followers - it was great!

Then, just last weekend we were in Loughborough delivering one of our 3-day Coach Education Courses to 14 international coaches whom we had previously selected from over 100 suitably-qualified applicants for the course. On the final day we had 14 swimmers come in to join those 14 coaches which gave the coaches immediate hands-on experience of working with our methods and recognising how to use our Swim Types system to it's utmost best. I felt it was the best course we have ever delivered and to end on more of a cheery-note, here we all are "jazz-hands" at the ready (minus Arnar from Iceland who had to fly home early) - see you in 30 minutes down on pool deck! Friday 5.30am squad beckons (jet-lagged to the max!):

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

It's going A-M-A-Z-I-N-G in the UK right now!

Dear Swimmers

Hope you've all had a brilliant weekend and are enjoying a change of scenery from my ugly mug each morning! I wanted to write and tell you about how it's all going here in the UK and also to show you some photos too - enjoy!

We kicked off at the annual Triathlon Show in London on Friday where I hosted a Q & A with 6-time Ironman Champion, Mr Dave Scott - what a legend! 

Here's Dave with part of our UK Swim Smooth team of Emma, Adam, Annie, Dave Scott, me, Fiona, my Mum Linda (or "Mother Smooth" as she's now widely known), and my step-Dad Steve:

Everyone is buzzing around such a legend! I even got to do two swim sessions with Dave at early-o'clock each day too which was a bonus!

Next up we finished the first day with a 1-2-1 stroke correction session for a lady called Kirsty in front of a group of 100+ onlookers in an Endless Pool flume tank - lots of fun!!!

On Saturday we started with a new presentation that I've been working on for our Swim Types system and invited Olympic Silver Medallist in the 2008 10km open water event, David Davies, to stand up and say a few words about how his stroke style (being very much of the Swinger persuasion) having been totally the right style for him. Other coaches tried to change him over the years, but it always slowed him down (he says), but his original coach, Dave Hala, in Cardiff knew exactly what he needed and capitalised on that - his results speak for themselves:

"People used to say I looked horrible - like a spider, but when I tried to lengthen out and slow down my stroke rate I simply became slower, not more efficient - being like Sun Yang just didn't work for me!"

This was the busiest presentation of the entire weekend from any presenter with over 300 people in attendance (standing room only) - I was super chuffed!

Standing room only!

I then did the second Q & A of the weekend with Ironman legend Dave Scott which went down equally well. Dave is such a smooth operator and really entertained the crowd with discussions on nutrition and training etc. I had to pinch myself at least eighteen times to get a full grasp of where I was and with whom!

Immediately afterwards we called in the "Big Guns" and ran a "Swinger vs Smooth Smackdown" in the two Endless Pools to a huge record crowd between Olympic Silver (2008, 10km) & Bronze (2004, 1500m) medallist David Davies and double Commonwealth Gold medallist (200m freestyle and 4 x 200m freestyle) Ross Davenport. It was arguably the highlight of my entire coaching career and a real milepost in Swim Smooth's nearly-10-year history:

Swinger .vs. Smooth "Smackdown" in front a huge audience at the 2014 "220 Triathlon Show"

We used Dave and Ross to showcase their completely different, but equally valid and effective, stroke styles - and let's face it: who can argue with their credentials! It just goes to show that there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to swim technique:

Arm recovery action is NOT a key determinant of swimming efficiency!

Sandwiched between two British heroes!

What a legend: Britain's most successful ever swimmer, David Davies, who's won Olympic medals in the pool AND open water was our guest for the Saturday, just one week after his second daughter was born too!

Weak at the knees in the presence of such swimming greatness!

We finished the day with some video filming of Dave Davies's stroke at a local pool - man machine!

Adam, Fiona, Dave Davies, Annie and me post filming

On our Swim Smooth booth with my Mum and step-Dad Stevie - we've come a long way in 10 years and we're only just getting started!

Yet another milestone: we released our Mr Smooth .vs. Miss Swinger App on the iTunes App Store on Saturday too - get your copy here:

On Saturday night for the second year running we won the "Best Wetsuit Brand" annual award with our HUUB range: for which Dave Scott is now a brand Ambassador along with Olympic Gold and Bronze medallist Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee - sweet! HUUB owner Dean Jackson was so proud - rightly so!

On Sunday I delivered our second presentation on the topic of CSS Training & Development and led with this story: which was really well received despite it being a relatively "dry" subject. It was then back into the pool to deliver a jam-packed 1-2-1 Video Analysis and Stroke Correction session with the 220 Triathlon Show's Editor, Helen Webster:

Now that's an audience!

Helen enjoying her feedback despite the obvious self-consciousness that anyone would feel with so many people looking over your shoulder!

Back in the pool for some stroke correction immediately afterwards!

All-in-all the show went amazingly well. We have all worked so hard on putting these presentations and demonstrations together over the last 3 months so it felt like a great reward to have so many people's attention for so long over the weekend and we thank them all for their interest!

Now, we're on our way up to Manchester for the second Triathlon Show this Saturday and Sunday via a pitstop in Birmingham whilst we continue to work on a truly ground-breaking piece of work which will hopefully be a real game-changer come May / June - watch this space!!

We finish with a 3-day Coach Education Course at Loughborough University on the 14th to 16th March before I high-tail it back to Perth before Mish and the kids realise I've been gone! ;-)

See you all soon and thanks for allowing me this opportunity to head over to the UK and to deliver such an exciting Tour de Swim Smooth!