Friday, March 23, 2018

Unforeseen pool closure

Dear Swimmers

I have just been contacted by the Centre Manager at Claremont Pool to inform me of an issue with the filtration system which they are concerned may not be able to be fixed in entirety until Tuesday afternoon next week (27th March), with a hopeful re-opening of the pool on Wednesday 28th March.

I don't wish to jump the gun (knowing that they are at work right now) so at this stage, please simply be advised that our squad sessions may need to be cancelled at short notice and our 1-2-1 Video Analysis Sessions rescheduled.

I do sincerely apologise for this issue. I am coming up to almost exactly 10 years at Claremont Pool (May 2018) with the current squad structure, and despite disruptions beyond control (thunderstorms) and the redevelopment of the centre (2010), this is the very first time anything like this has occurred - which is a pretty amazing run indicating just how great a pool facility we have at Davies Road!

I will be closely monitoring this situation over the weekend and also looking at possible alternatives like an ocean / river swim session to replace the Monday / Tuesday squad sessions. To whet your appetite for that possibility, here's two videos we created just yesterday with the drone during such a swim session:

Here's some food for thought too:

I have reached out to my 1-2-1 clients for Monday and Tuesday (mostly leaving voicemails given the weekend), but please do feel free to reach me on 0431540980 with any concerns. I am hopeful we can reschedule very soon in the event of a cancellation here.

I will endeavour to keep you all posted. Thanks for your support!


Sunday, March 11, 2018

It's that time of year again...!

Dear Swimmers

Firstly, apologies for two random emails that went out over the weekend (1st = about the Quokka Club for young kids; 2nd = about Julie Isbill swimming the Catalina Channel next week - which of course she's already done!). I am investigating where these gremlins have come from so apologies for any inconvenience caused.

10 coaches on pool deck every session for the next 2 weeks - wahoo!

Secondly, it's that time of year again when for the next 2 weeks we welcome our next round of 7 soon-to-be-Certified-Swim-Smooth-Coaches to the Perth Squad. We have a great crew lined up this year:

  • Heiko (originally from South Africa, most recently in Germany but now based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
  • Tim (originally from the UK but soon to be based out of sunny Mallorca, Spain)
  • Karyn from Florida, USA
  • Gretchan from Portland, USA
  • Riana from South Africa
  • Ron (originally based out of Chile, but now in California, USA)
  • Simon (originally from the UK but now based out of Toronto, Canada)

…so we really hope that you make them feel as welcome as you always have with the other coaches we've had with us over the last 7 years (wow, time flies!). They'll be assisting and getting involved with our sessions on pool deck and lots more extra-curriculum mentoring besides!

On that note, if anyone is seeking either an additional swimmer - or support crew / coach - for this coming weekend's Port-2-Pub swim, please let me know as I am sure they'll be keen to help out!

Open Water Sessions:

We have two great open water sessions lined up in the next 2 weeks (Monday 12th March and Friday 23rd March, both at 9.30am) where we have plenty of spots available for you to join in if you can make it and fancy a little bit of extra open water training / tuition. Just sign up in the blog. We'll have the 7 coaches named above as well as Adam and Emma from the UK both in attendance, so you can be assured of plenty of support and encouragement with 10 of us to assist.

Rottnest SwimRun:

A big well done again to the aptly named duo of Gary Couanis and Emily Loughnan, Back-2-Back, for their back to back win at yesterday's Rottnest SwimRun event as well as a new record. It was a great event that I was stoked to be a part of again and together with last weekend's Rottnest Channel Swim Solo 2nd place getter, Brad Smith, am pleased to say we picked up the silver in the men's division and 3rd place overall, going almost 20 minutes quicker than last year. I haven't had any official photos through from Gary and Emily yet but here's a quick grab from FaceBook showing their massive lead on the rest of the field and a few of my Instagram posts telling a little bit more of the story of the day:

Last but not least…

I'm very excited, honoured and super proud to say that 2-time world triathlon champion and current Ironman world record holder, Tim Don, along with 2007 Formula One world champion, Jenson Button, have invited myself and Adam along to the Bahamas at the end of May for an exclusive triathlon training camp (details at ) at the Island House. Many of you will recall that Tim was knocked off his bike 2 days before the Hawaii Ironman World Championships last October and broke his neck in the process. Despite such a terrible accident, Tim is making a terrific comeback so it will be an amazing privilege for me to assist Tim with his journey back with the running of this camp. I'm just a tad excited 😊 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Rottnest Channel Swim Results 2018

Dear Swimmers

It's great to be back in Perth and to be hearing about all your exploits in last weekend's Rottnest Channel Swim. This is the first time I've missed the event since it was cancelled in 2007 (prior to moving back to Perth later that summer). I managed to stay up to about 3am watching the vent whilst over in the UK as one of the keynote speakers at the London Triathlon Show which saw 51,000 people attend the show and listen into our talks, demos and elite showcasing (more pics at the end of this report). Normally the show falls on the weekend after the Rottnest Channel Swim, so I was very sad to miss the swim this year, such is our commitment to writing the coaching curriculum for British Triathlon (which of course we are proud and honoured to do as well!).

I do however, believe I tempted fate with this slide in my first presentation on Friday (just 5 hours before you started the Rottnest swim here in Perth):

So I'm very sorry if you were one of the solos, duos or team members who were pulled from the water due to the shark sighting, and to those of you who made it across - bravo! What an amazingly quick year!! We were disappointed that Brad Smith did not take the win of course, but his time of 4h08m is the 4th fastest time ever across the channel - top work Brad! Young Byron did an amazing job with Tim Hewitt to take out the duo prize this year, a good margin ahead of 2nd place which featured a 2000 Olympic Games gold medallist in Chris Fydler.

The full results can be seen here:

But here are our squad / 121 summaries for your reference (click to enlarge) - please let me know if I've mistakenly missed you:





So overall we had fewer swimmers than in previous years, but I think it's fair to say that as the squad matures, many of you are now looking beyond Rottnest to events like the Port-2-Pub, the various Ironman events and of course next weekend's Rottnest SwimRun event to tickle your tastebuds! In fact, when I reflect back to 2007/8 and compare the number of events on the calendar then to the choice you have today, there's hardly any wonder that marketing statistics suggest that these days a certain discipline / event is only holding the attention of an athlete for an average of 2.5 years. Hopefully though, with things like the regular routine of our squad etc, your day-2-day exercising habits remain unchanged as you continue to lead an active and healthy lifestyle (which is what it's all about of course!) even if you aren't necessarily undertaking a huge event every year. I know that's certainly how I feel I'm operating these days!

Anyway, well done everyone who competed!

Squad swimmer JT has provided this following summary which I think works nicely as a review - thanks JT!

"…suffice to say it was the best conditions for fast crossings possible. A strong easterly wind throughout, with little or no current that I was aware of. I don't think I noticed the 4,7 and 10km markers but we almost touched each marker from 14km onwards. The swell was only 1-2 metres but it was a bit choppy. Quite a few paddlers capsized and it was quite hard to breathe both sides without getting some splash in your mouth but these were minor issues and dwarfed by the helpful wind.
From a personal point of view it was a massive relief to have good conditions…it also means that I've sneaked up to 10 solos and so can join Rob Herkes and John Edwards in 'semi-retirement'. I like the idea of doing 'casual' crossings with John E, Andy M, Rusty etc without the pressure of events.
As for the event itself, I've just had a look at the results online. 376 soloists listed, 294 finished, 68 DNF and 14 DNS
The last 4 finishers were as follows;
291st. 7hr27min
292nd   7hr32min
Then a 1hr38min gap to ….
293rd  9hr10min
294th  9hr16min
It looks like 2 swimmers right at the back of the field were slow enough not to have reached the 'shark zone', which wiped out the 68 swimmers just in front of them, give or take 1 or 2 who might have DNF-ed for other reasons.
Assuming I've got this right, the 68 shark-caused DNFers should all have clocked between 7hr32 and 9hr10, assuming everyone kept a steady pace.
It's a real shame that for the slow end of the field, they had dream conditions and would have been tracking beautifully up until 12km, when they were forced to abort. Hopefully some of them can enter P2P and get similar conditions, but without the shark.
Finally, my usual stats on my history.
The fact that I'm slower (in training) than previous years should have had me moving down the field. The fact that I stayed around the 40% mark must probably means that the 'extra' 100 swimmers that entered this year were, on average, slower than the 'normal' field.

London Triathlon Show

And finally, some pics from the London Triathlon Show for your viewing pleasure 😉 see you back on pool deck tomorrow!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Weather / water predictions for the Rottnest Channel Swim 2018 - good luck!

Dear Swimmers

I hope you are all doing well and if you're racing tomorrow at the 2018 Rottnest Channel Swim are excited and confident in your abilities to get the job done.

This is the first year since 2007 I have been absent from the race (I'm currently over in Europe coaching until I return to the pool deck this coming Wednesday), so it's a bit strange to be missing out on some of the hype of the weather forecasts in the week leading up to the race. This is why I have tried my best to remain a little quiet and patient on these predictions until we got a little closer to the event. Given that in under 24 hours most of you will have left Cottesloe Beach heading for Thomson's Bay, I feel "safer" in passing on these predictions at this, the 11th hour, so here goes:

This suggests that the wind will be mostly behind you, pushing you across to Rottnest with what I would suspect will be relatively calm waters, with little chance of a sou'wester kicking in around mid to late morning. For most, this is good news!!

The WindGuru confirms what BOM is telling us about a strong easterly blowing in the morning. It also shows that the wave direction is running in opposition (thereabouts) to the wind, which might make for mildly turbulent waters beyond the 3-4km mark…definitely make sure you've had your Qwells just to be on the safe side!

The data above is realtime (8am Friday 23rd February) as opposed to predictive (tomorrow morning), but you can certainly visit this page for an up-to-date analysis as the race closes in. The arrows indicate a very mild south to north current flowing right now.

This information is also in realtime and probably a good website to keep an eye on. It also shows a south to north current is currently running in the channel.


I'd highly recommend downloading and following the instructions to add in your race number (please be so kind as to forward me that on so I can track you from over here in Londontown!). Within this app you can actually set various waypoints depending on where you'd like to trend. 

My best advice would be to select the Rottnest South option based on all the information above (subject to change of course). If you'd like to play it safe, Rottnest Direct would be the way to go, but if it were me, I'd be hedging on south tomorrow. This would also mean that your support boat and paddler would be wanting to line up on the south side of the course and for you to also line up on the south side of the race start. Of course, if everyone follows this advice, then that's going to make for a fair degree of congestion, but based on all the information that we currently have to hand, this would be my best recommendation.

Final tips:

These sage words from 6 years ago will serve you well if you're concerned about your shoulders on race day: 

I do wish you the very best of luck everyone. So sorry I can't be with you over these this year, but rest assured I will be watching until the early hours of the Saturday morning (UK time) to see how you get on, despite having to be up early to entertain and lecture in front of up to 51,000 people attending the world's largest triathlon expo where I've been invited to be the proud guest speaker for swimming for the 7th year in a row. Here's a couple of pics - see you next week to relive your war stories of the great day with you!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Congratulations to Byron and good luck to Julie!

Dear Swimmers

Hope you're doing well this fine Thursday!

Bravo Byron!

I'd like to start off by congratulating newly turned-16yo squad swimmer Byron Kimber for last week picking up a Bronze medal in the Australian National 17&Under Open Water 5km championships. This is a huge a very well deserving achievement for Byron, so next time you see him whizzing past on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday morning, remember that this is literally one of the best open water swimmers in the country right now! We believe that Byron has a very bright future ahead of him, so well done to him - here's to the future!

Another Channel for Jules:

If you tune in to from 2.50am tomorrow morning (perhaps over your Wheaties before the squad session?) you'll hopefully see squad swimmer Julie Isbill complete yet another Channel swim to add to her Triple Crown of the English Channel, Manhattan and also Catalina. Tomorrow Jules will embark on a crossing from north to south of the Cook Straight in New Zealand! We wish her the very best of luck, here she is getting all prepped up:

Paul Away (15 to 27 February inclusive):

Unfortunately this year due to a clash of dates with the annual London Triathlon Show which attracts over 50,000 swimmers and triathletes over the course of the weekend to the world's biggest expo on swimming and triathlon, I will unfortunately miss this year's Rottnest Channel Swim. For the 7th year running we've been invited back as the keynote speakers and lead coaches for the fabulous event. It normally occurs the week after Rottnest, but this year falls on the same weekend, so whilst I won't be here in body I'll definitely be here in spirit and will be sending you over some last minute preparation tips as usual to assist with your final 7-10 days.

We will also be taking the opportunity whilst in Europe to finalise the filming and development of the Swim Smooth Kids program we've been developing with our coach Gabi in Prague, Czech Republic over the last 4 years, so it's going to be a very busy and exciting 10 days away from home but time that will be very well spent for bringing something really beneficial to the world of swimming. Watch this space!



Monday, February 5, 2018

Disappointed with your Swanny Swim time? Perhaps you shouldn’t be...

Hope these reflections help sooth some of your sorrows this Monday morning...😉👍

Friday, February 2, 2018

Forgetting Everything's All Right?

Dear Swimmers

Here's a little food for thought this weekend as a re-post from our main blog - enjoy!


For a lot of swimmers it's their self confidence that is holding them back. They tend to doubt their abilities, fearing at some point they'll look stupid or be shown to be a fraud and end up embarrassing themselves in front of everyone: I'm really not very good!

Oftentimes this can stem from trying to fit into what we think others expect of us:

I should be able to swim like an Olympian, always look good, always be smiling, find it easy to train hard, be thin, have the skin on a 19 year old, be strong, reliable and happy, and never have an off-day.

Of course none of us can ever measure up to that ideal so we end up feeling bad about ourselves. And since this expectation of perfection is constantly re-enforced by western society wherever we look, it can be a difficult pattern of thinking to break away from.

But here's a way to try. Seriously ask yourself this question:

Setting the negatives aside for a moment, what is it you are most PROUD about with
your swimming (or sport, or life in general)?

Obviously this is very personal to you but your answer might be something along the lines of:

"I'm a mum of three kids, I work full time, I didn't start this sport until I was 40 years old. Life's thrown a few things at me but I'm a survivor. I think I'm more motivated than most and certainly more organised, I work hard and I just love that buzz when I achieve a goal."

That right there is a positive identity that you can build from and face off those doubts. Something you can be proud of and live up to.

Someone once said that most of the time fear is just Forgetting Everything's All Right and perhaps it is. You're doing this because you enjoy it and because it's a positive in your life. So let's keep it real - all things considered you're actually doing just fine thanks very much!

Swim Smooth!