1 Mile Timed Swim – 24th July 2014.

Great times from last nights 1 mile training timed swims. It has been great to see the swimmers make such improvements over the season. As well as people from across the world trying the Lakes for the first time. Well Done to everyone and great to see you all there.

Brockhole Coaching 1

Name Time
Matt Glenn 25.35.56
Rob Sandilands 25.49.31
Paul Ainsworth ** 30.08.42
Sarka Jo Cole 30.15.03
Paddy Finn 30.48.03
Matt Emery 31.04.09
Sarah Jardine 31.21.49
Paul McKenny 31.24.94
Gerard Cowie 32.10.21
Robert Bramall 33.13.39
Neal Mathias 39.29.96
Laura Miller 34.23.31
Paul Wilson 38.11.39
Ruth Corfield 41.12.06
Rowena Harding 41.32.09
Helen Gilliband 41.43.71
Paul Jackson 42.06.06
Judith Anders 42.07.92
Maria Galvin 43.12.57
Sue Cummins 43.17.64
Rachel Woodwood 44.16.81
j. Dawson 44.24.49
Carol Lewis 46.53.31

26th June 1 Mile Training Swim and Squad Results – Fantastic Improvements.

Open Water Squad Results and 1 Mile Timed Training Swim.

Thursday 26th June 2014.


Well Done to the squad – After just 5 weeks of training making such improvements. Amazing Time Reductions in such a short amount of time.


NEW Open Water Squad Starting 5pm – 6pm: 10th July – Sign up now.

Name 400m 200m CSS Week 1 400m 200m CSS Week 5
Neil Akinson 10.25 4.40 2.45 10.16 4.48 2.43
Paddy Finn 7.33 3.38 1.57 n/a n/a n/a
Sheona Southern 8.58 4.39 2.09 8.07 3.51 2.08
Jane Senior 7.57 3.44 2.06 Racing Racing Racing
Kathy Wragg 8.48 3.57 2.25 8.43 3.57 2.23
Caroline R 8.51 4.11 2.19 Away Away Away
Rob Sandilands 6.33 3.11 1.41 6.22 3.06 1.38
Steve Whipp 9.41 4.57 2.21 Away Away Away
Emma P 7.35 3.39 1.57 7.36 3.38 1.59

1 Mile Training Swim.


Well done to everyone that swam the 1 mile training swim last night – The weather was great and the water calm. People posted good times – However remember this is a training course – Which means it could be slower then a race course – This is so that you practice your sighting, turns and drafting as much as you can.

Train using your OW Skills  = Well prepared for racing.


Gareth  T Brown 26.54.06
Sam Ploutarhod 30.21.09
Andy Birkett 30.24.13
Claire Wickham 30.35.27
Sarah Jardine 30.37.01
David Cole 32.30.61
Natalie Perumal 32.41.60
Chris  Meth – Cohn 32.46.35
A.Ju 32.59.35
Sarah Fishwick 33.22.43
Maria Galvin 34.10.35
Chris Lumb 34.50.35
Kerry Howarth 34.57.64
Stuart J 35.19.25
Robert Bramall 35.37.03
Jessie James 36.03.35
Chris Kay 36.14.20
Lesley Wallace 38.00.42
Tim Miles 38.48.13
Duncan Fishwick 38.49.18
Kate Formstone 39.10.56
Paul Ainsworth 39.24.10
P.Willson 39.28.89
Rob Jebb 40.48.70
Sue Woods 40.55.71
Helen Gillibrand 41.47.20
Andrew Morgan 42.32.42
Chris Clinch 43.14.70
Tori Sandilands 45.06.03
Barry Powell 46.00.18
Mark Partington


The Ripple Effect….

The ripple effect…. The Great North Swim. 

It is Tuesday Morning on the 17th June 2014 and I feel absolutely inspired, proud and amazed at what I witness over this weekend.
After a weekend commentating at the Great North Swim, I am compelled to write and congratulate everyone that took part. 10,000 swimmers took to Windermere over a 3 day period, all challenging themselves in different events from the half mile swim up to a 5km elite event on the Sunday.
Standing at the finish, I got to see people cross the line and witness first hand the amazing smiles and sense of achievement on peoples faces. Most people had never actually swam the distance in the open water before and others were swimming for a cause close to their hearts.
What ever the reason you took to the water, the Ripple effect is enormous. So keep celebrating your achievements, talk about how well you did, as you are all truly inspirational. By talking about your success it will allow others to take that step and challenge themselves…..You can not underestimate the power your passion and commitment has on everyone around you
So think: 
  •  So if you have been considering something – Do it.
  • If you are worried you may fail – Its worth a try.
  • If you need support – Ask someone.
We live one life and it is important we make the most of it, do the things that challenge you. Keep healthy and happy and surround yourself by good people along the way.
 So sending you all a MASSIVE well done and Congratulations to every single person that took to the water this weekend, Celebrate well. 
Remember anything is possible, just believe in yourself.
Your Coach – Emma
NEW Active Blu Aquathlon Series – www.activeblu.co.uk

Secrets from the pool deck – 10 weeks of squad training.

What difference – 10 Weeks of Squad Training !! 
10 weeks ago 20 people joined me in starting up my New Swim squad. This training is designed for Triathletes and Open Water Swimmers alike. The prerequisite for the group was that people could swim a continuous 200m of freestyle.
As people signed up, I had many conversations with them, a few concerned about their fitness, swimming style or general enjoyment for the water. It was clear at this point my job was to help create the right training environment to allow these Triathletes and Swimmers to flourish, achieve their goals, whilst monitoring their progress.
On the first week, we put everyone through their CSS, which basically means: The time you can sustain every 100m for a 1500m swim. An example of this being Triathlete ‘James’, who’s CSS on the first week was: 1 mins 55 sec per 100m for 1500m, which gives him a 28min 45sec 1500m time.
More information on CSS and how we do the testing: check out this link.
 The reason why we do our CSS is to give each of the swimmers an individual time to help monitor each of their sessions and therefore allow them to track progress. Basically it draws a line in the sand….Saying this is where I started and allows you to see the reduction in times over the weeks.
One of the hardest things as a swimmer unless you are finely tuned at pacing and speed, is monitoring progress just by feel. Many swimmers will be unaware of just how much they have progressed over a period of time. This is where CSS times start to really work well, as it gives every individual something to work on, which is personal and achievable for you. The results below are a great example, showing many of the squad making significant improvements over the 10 weeks.
 So how did we train?
We kept it simple, consistent and sustainable.
We had 1 coached session a week and 2 additional sessions that I sent out. None of them over complicated, but they focused on Endurance, improving your CSS and Technique. These were delivered in many ways and included Open Water skills too.
3 sessions a week – with 3 focuses – How did they go?
Five Facts.
Fact 1  = 20 people started and 14 people have retested. The others have not yet completed their second CSS. Data still to come.
Fact 2 = In 10 weeks 14 people lost a total of 130 secs per 100m when swimming 1500m. Losing 32.5 Mins overall for their 1500m times.
Fact 3 = The biggest loser lost 26 sec per 100m for a 1500m swim. Which means he is now 6.5 mins faster over his previous 1500m time 10 weeks ago.
Fact 4 = No one did every session, but the biggest losers were most consistent.
Fact 5 = Even if peoples CSS time did not reduce massively, their split times did.
Top 10 – Biggest Loser Score Board.
Gary – 26 sec per 100m for 1500m swim.
Kath – 19 Sec per 100m for 1500m swim.
Tim – 18 Sec per 100m for 1500m Swim.
Tony – 17 sec per 100m for 1500m Swim.
Kathrine – 13 Sec per 100m for 1500m swim.
Nigel – 12 Sec per 100m for 1500m Swim.
James – 10 Sec per 100m for 1500m Swim.
John – 4 sec per 100m for 1500m Swim.
Rob – 4 sec per 100m for 1500m Swim.
Adam 3 sec per 100m for 1500m Swim.
 How have some people lost so much?
The answer is, the biggest losers trained every week and kept it consistant. They worked on a balanced training week and developing areas of weakness, (not ignoring the sessions they liked least) They made sure the sessions had focus and structure and this really developed their individual times and efficiency in the water.
Interested? There is still time to prepare for your season, whether it be Triathlon or Open Water!!
If you are keen to get involved email emma@activeblu.co.uk
New Open Water Development Squad starting in May. At the Windermere office 🙂
Want to hear what the squad had to say:
 “The squad has really developed my confidence in the water, and I am now able to comfortably swim distances that I would have struggled 50% of before. I am at the slow end of the squad, but have always felt encouraged and supported by Emma and Paddy, and their focus on personal improvement from your own starting point rather than trying to meet some arbitrary time goal or comparison to others has kept my spirits up. It has also been great to meet other swimmers and make new friends, and my lane buddies have been very supportive”. Katherine 2014
 “I started ‘proper’ swimming just over a year ago and joined Emma swim squad at the end of 2013 – I needed to know that before I started worked on fitness and learning a new skill I had to learn the right technique from the start. The swim squad sessions have provided both and the lane groupings means there is no pressure from anybody other than you – no worries about being the slowest. Improvements come in different ways – if its’ numbers then I’ve knocked off 18 secs per 100m over 10 weeks but perhaps the best improvement is starting to feel changes in the way I swim. The future is bright the future is Blu”. Tim 2014
“The squad has been great for me.  It is the first time that I have had focussed coached training with a regular group of swimmers.  As a good swimmer with lots of bad habits it has been hard to increase my pace and my swimming has plateaued for years.  Over the last ten weeks I have seen a significant increase in may pace and endurance.  I have enjoyed the structure of the programme and it has ensured that even in my solo sessions I have pushed myself harder.  Squad members are friendly and everyone is there to develop, it has been good to swim with people who push me.  Emma and Paddy have created an environment which effectively balances fun with a focussed hard work out.  Join us you know it makes sense”… Jane 2014
“The squad is hard work, I won’t lie!  But if you commit to the main sessions and the ‘homework’ sessions, your work will be rewarded – I have absolutely no doubt about that.  The best thing about the squad, apart from the massive potential improvements are the drills; they target specific areas of the stroke, allowing you to understand how each element should feel when done properly and highlighting where your main improvements need to be made.  The experience, atmosphere and most of all the improvements have been great and that has been lead by the coaches, that’s why i’ve just signed up for another ten weeks! ” Rob 2014
At this point I want to say a massive well done to everyone in the squad, as a coach I am proud of everyone and looking forward to supporting you over the coming season.

2014 Tri Show – What we got up to over the weekend


Last weekend we hit the 2014 Tri show: check out Swim Smooths account of our work down at the show.

Last week on the blog we previewed our visit to the220 Triathlon Show in London and our Swinger vs Smooth Smackdown which featured Olympic Silver medallist David Davies and Double Commonwealth Gold Medallist Ross Davenport.

We heard from many of you from all corners of the globe who would have loved to have been there so here’s our picture and video highlights of the weekend to enjoy. If you can, come and join us at theBike And Tri Show in Manchester this weekend for more seminars and endless pool sessions (timetable at the end of this post).

On the first day in London Paul Newsome hosted the show-headlining Q&A with 6x Ironman World Champion Dave Scott. Dave is a real smooth operator and entertained the crowd with inside stories on his victories and discussions on nutrition and training methods:

Dave’s views on swim coaching are very much in alignment with our own and it was great to hear him speak about how he got the best out of his own swimming using the Swinger style. It was a real honour to work with Dave again over the weekend, here’s ‘Mr October’ with some of the members of the Swim Smooth UK team:

L-R: Emma Brunning, Adam Young, Annie Oberlin-Harris, Dave Scott
Paul Newsome, Fiona Ford, Linda Newsome (aka Mother Smooth!) & Stevie Akred

Next Paul presented a new presentation he’s been working on about our Swim Types system with special guest David Davies, Olympic Silver Medallist in the 10km Open Water Event. It was fascinating to hear Dave speak about hisSwinger stroke style and how coaches tried to change him over the years, but it always slowed him down. His original coach Dave Haller 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 with over 300 people in attendance:

Standing room only!

Immediately afterwards we ran the much heralded Swinger vs Smooth Smackdown in the Zoggs Swim Zone between Silver (2008, 10km) & Bronze (2004, 1500m) Olympic Medallist David Davies and double Commonwealth Gold Medallist (200m freestyle & 4 x 200m freestyle) Ross Davenport:

Paul Newsome demonstrates arm recovery styles to the audience with David Davies (nearest)
and Ross Davenport (far side) in the Zoggs endless pools

Of course we filmed the session for you but are saving that for future viewing! Suffice to say, Ross’ and David’s differing stroke styles were immediately apparent for the 300+ audience to see. David (right) uses the straighter arm style of the Swinger whilst Ross (left) uses the higher elbow of the Smooth:

Who won? Well unfortunately we couldn’t have a real race because these particular endless pools weren’t configured to go fast enough for elite swimmers at race speeds but the real lesson here is that both are brilliant swimmers and both styles are equally valid. Simply put there’s no one right way for all swimmers to swim. Choose your own stroke style based on what naturally works best for you and the environment in which you are swimming.

Paul with Ross and David after the swim:

And a little later when we filmed David’s stroke properly:

Adam, Fiona, David Davies, Annie and Paul post filming

As if that wasn’t enough, on Saturday night we won the prestigious 220 Best Wetsuit Brand award with our HUUB range for the second year running! (www.swimsmooth.com/huub). Dave Scott is now a brand ambassador for HUUB along with Olympic Gold and Bronze medallists Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee. A fantastic result and big congratulations from us to Deano Jackson and the whole HUUB team!

On Sunday it was back into the pool to deliver a jam-packed Video Analysis and Stroke Correction session with the 220 Triathlon Magazine Editor, Helen Webster:




Helen has only just learnt to swim but did brilliantly. You can only imagine how she felt doing a session in front 150 people – thanks for being so awesome Helen!

Also thanks to all of you who came and said hi to us during the show. If you’re planning to visit the Manchester show this weekend don’t forget to bring your video footage of your stroke on a USB drive so our team can give you some feedback on your stroke:

Swim Smooth!

Aquatic Functional Strength Training

Aquatic Functional Strength Training 

 About a month ago I started on a functional Strength Training Programme at 315 Health Club – Lancaster. The sessions are run by Glen Robinson a Great Britain Water Polo player, who represented   GB at London 2012 Olympics. As well as being a full time athlete, Glen also works at 315 and has designed strength training for those wanting to develop their aquatic ability.

 There are many reasons for people to embark on such a programme, anything from weight loss, strength, endurance to performance. The sessions comprise of pool based swims and strengthening work, utilising your own body weight.

  I decided to give the programme a go, as a way of re-hab. I approached Glen with “I may be a little Broken” he was very professional in his approach and although limited to what I am able to do, has designed a programme that suits me, which is both progressive and achievable.

 A difference a few weeks makes!!! After a small amount of frequent repetitive exercises, what has been really noticeable is my awareness of my smaller muscles groups. I can already feel the difference when exercising and in general day to day activities. Having started to develop key areas, my injuries are much less painful.

 In the pool, I am now really aware of the engagement of my core during my swim sets, this has allowed my swim times to drop and I generally feel a lot stronger in the water.

 I still have over half way to go with the programme and already I perform the exercises more confidently, stronger and have more bodily awareness.

 If you are interested in the above programme or wish to discuss your needs with Glen, contact him at 315 Health Club on: 015242 37315, alternatively email: glenrob89@hotmail.co.uk

Looking into 2014

As we build up to the New Year, now is the perfect time to look back on the last 12 months, have a reflect on everything that happened, good and bad, make some plans and set some goals for 2014.

Swim Smooth Coach Emma Brunning recently made her second trip out from the UK to Perth after a gap of around 6 months and has some really interesting reflections on how different athletes improved within the Swim Smooth Squads whilst she was away and how they did it.

Wherever you are at right now with your swimming, hopefully it will kick start a few thoughts and ideas in your own mind about how you can take things to the next level in 2014.

Emma’s Reflections: My time in Perth

I am one of the UK Certified Coaches lucky enough to run my own business Active Blu on Lake Windermere in the beautiful surrounds of the Lake District National Park. This year and last I’ve had the opportunity to escape the dark and wet British winter for a few months to visit Australia, and as you can imagine I grasped it with both hands!

Perth is a fantastic place to visit and the work is really interesting too, I have been coaching in the extensive Swim Smooth squads and supporting our Coach Development Programme working with the latest group of certified coaches in training.

Lane 1: My favourite lane to work with!

I’m typing this on the flight back from Australia right now and thinking back to everything I saw over the last 3 months in Perth. It was really evident just how many of the squad had improved since last winter, not just in performance but also in confidence. As a passionate coach that likes to see people achieving their goals and dreams, I wanted to share my reflections with you to help make your training more enjoyable, useful and rewarding.

It seems to me there are several key areas which helped motivate and encourage the swimmers: 

1. Create A Routine That Fits Your Life

The majority of us have significant family commitments and jobs, and we all have differing goals for participating in our sports. This means the commitment we can give, the way we train and the outcomes we desire differ slightly to the next person. Whatever your situation it is important that we recognise what we can do, rather then focus on what we can’t:

Emma with the amazing Sue Oldham from our squad
– the oldest woman to have swum the English Channel!

– Be realistic with your time commitments, it is far better to train slightly within yourself but very consistently than go through a boom-and-bust cycle of training as you overcommit and life bites you back.
– Whatever your level of swimming and level of commitment, recognise at the end of the day it’s about enjoyment so make sure that you enjoy the routine you create and that you don’t put too much pressure on yourself. If you’re a ‘highly strung’ person then often less pressure brings better results.

– It is a lot of fun (and great motivation) to train in a well organised squad and the group dynamic can really push your swimming forwards. These days squads often cater for all levels of ability and if at all possible I’d recommend you try a few sessions with a local group to see how you get on.

The group camaraderie in the squads in Perth is incredible and whilst us certified coaches can’t bring the Perth sunshine to your area, we do actively nurture that same positive, motivating and athlete centred approach in all our own local squads. Being part of a group like that can make an incredible difference to your swimming, don’t miss any opportunity you have to join one!

2. Keeping It Simple And Measure Your Progress

Something that is really obvious with the athletes in Perth who really kicked on whilst I was away was how they kept their swimming routine really simple. There is so much conflicting advice out there, but following a few simple guidelines on your training week will help you to be successful, without over complicating it:

It’s not all hard work on the pool-deck.

– Follow the same structure every week, for example: Monday- CSS training set. Wed – Technique session. Friday – Endurance session. Keep a routine like that rolling for months on end and you can’t help but improve.
– Be really clear in your mind what the goal of each session is and how it will help you improve.

– Work out your CSS and monitor your progress to gain motivation as you improve. You would be amazed how often swimmers take big strides forwards but don’t realise it and struggle with motivation or even quit just when it is coming together! In Perth we normally conduct some sort of timetrial or a CSS test every 8 weeks so every swimmer can see how they are progressing, you should do the same.

– For more on keeping it simple, see my blog post here: activeblu.blogspot.com.au/2013/11/keeping-it-simple.html

3. Consistency Is The Key

Once you have a training plan that is achievable, progressive and you understand it, then stick to it! Perhaps easier said than done but so so important. Every swimmer who I ever spoke to who got significantly faster recognised that relentless consistency was the key to their success:
– Keep a training log so you can track your consistency over time.

– Recognise that you can only move your fitness forwards slightly from each individual session but from a series of 20, 30, 50 or 100 sessions over many months (and even years) you can really move mountains. So see the goal as completing a block of training rather than attempting world-records in a single session.
– If you’re training hard then schedule recovery and lower intensity weeks to avoid burn-out.

– As a great example of consistency at work, check out Paul Newsome’s 50 training sessions he completed before winning the 46km Manhattan Island Swim – all around a full time job and a young family: swimsmooth.com/paul-mims-training.html

Find out more about Emma’s coaching at
activeblu.co.uk and find your nearest Swim
Smooth coach at: swimsmooth.com/certifiedcoaches

4. Essential Components

Here’s some other specifics that I’ve also observed to be critical to improvement:

– Your training needs to include your race skills. If you are a triathlete or open water swimmer that means practising open water specifics such as drafting, sighting and developing a symmetrical stroke to swim straight. You can put a huge amount of effort into improving your basic stroke technique and fitness but it will all go to waste if you can’t execute well in your race environment.

– Practice what you least like as these are probably the areas that need most work!

– Do not underestimate the importance of breathing drills, no matter what level you are at with your swimming.

OK, I hope that triggers some thoughts to reflect on with your own swimming and how you might go about improving things for yourself in 2014. Think of some new challenges and know that with the right support, training and advice almost anything is possible!

Best wishes and have a fantastic New Year!

Emma Brunning
Swim Smooth Certified Coach

PS. One final thought, it’s striking how often we forget to celebrate our successes. So if you have had a great 2013 or achieved something you never thought you could over the last 12 months then make sure you take the time to reflect on that and enjoy the moment. And at this time of year there’s no harm in rewarding yourself with an extra mince pie or glass of red, you’ll soon burn that off when Swim Smooth gets to work on you in January! 😉

PPS. Let me know your thoughts and how you are getting on by tweeting me@ActiveBlu

Dream Big

Dream Big – A Year of Achievements – 12 Months of Success.

Dream Big.
Well it has been a while now since arriving back in the UK after my second visit to Perth, working with the coaches and squads, in Sunny Australia.
I had a fantastic welcome home, not only from friends and family, but also squad members and swimmers excited to tell me about their next challenge.
As I plan the year ahead, I can not help but look back over the last 12 months and celebrate what I have witnessed from the people around me. I am definitely humbled most days by the stories and achievements people have accomplished, and delighted to be part of their journey.
I am lucky enough to work on a day to day basis with Swimmers and Coaches alike. So I get to see their progression, development and passion they have for the sport we are involved in.
Often we over look our achievements, so I decided to reflect back on the year past and do it for you.
12 Months of Mind Blowing Achievements.
January 2013.
I met Sue Oldham – She is the oldest women to swim the English Channel and a beautiful person. She is modest and what she has achieved in a short time of swimming should be an inspiration to all. I coached Sue whilst out in Perth and keep in touch as she has big plans brewing….watch this space.
Sue Oldham.
February 2013.
The Rottnest Channel Swim : An amazing achievement for so many of the squad members out in Perth. The the completion of the Rotto 20km channel Swim involves swimming from main land Perth out to an island 20km off shore, contending with an ocean of Sharks, jelly fish and any weather that may be thrown your way. This takes great dedication of at least 6 months of regular training. Well Done Team.
The start line before the 20km Ocean Swim.
March 2013.
This month is deicated to all the coaches that attending the Swim Smooth clinic in Ireland. These coaches showed amazing enthusiasuim to develop their personal swim coaching, as well as supporting the clubs and swimmers they work with.
Coaches in Ireland.
April 2013.
Video Analysis started back in the UK. As a coach, working with progression, this month was an outstanding. We all know how frustrating it as a swimmer or triathlete when we reach a plateau, or that we are not progressing. Helping swimmers see whats holding them back in the water, then giving them drills and training to progress, showed that the right changes = big improvements.
May 2013. 
This month goes to an amazing man called Tom, who in his 80s decided for charity to swim the 1 mile event at the Great North Swim. He came to Active Blu for an Open Water Training sessions and although at times we had our uncertainties, he trained and trained and achieved his goal. Best hug ever was on the finish line after his mile. Well Done Tom.
Tom and Lisa – Before his 1 Mile swim
June 2013.
This month goes to Paul Newsome for winning the Manhattan swim. The commitment and dedication it took to achieve this dream is absolutely amazing. Congratulations Paul.
Paul Celebrates his Win.
July 2013.
This month goes to an Active Blu swimmer Sue C, who continues to show dedication to every training session we do in Windermere. Then sneakily entering events and telling me “Emma I just got a personal best”. The most modest lady ever. Well done Sue.
Active Blu – Training Nights – Well done Sue
August 2013.
Swim Smooth and Triathlon England celebrated the end of a successful first year, running Open water training days across the UK for Coaches and Swimmers of all abilities. I manage the Open water days from the Swim Smooth side and was delighted with how the days went and the progress the swimmers made.
Coaching some swimmers in Yorkshire.
September 2013.
 I was asked to do my British Triathlon Coaching Training to become a tutor for Triathlon England. During this process I met so many talented coaches, with such a wealth of experience and reasons for tutoring. It made me realise what great people we have coaching with in the sport. I am excited to share my knowledge.
Class room  – Pre session talk
October 2013.
 Headed back out to the Perth Squad to the overwhelming sense of just how much the swimmers in the squad had improved since last coaching there. It was remarkable to see the difference in peoples performance. Achieved by their constancy over the months. Mind blowing – Well done guys and keep going.
Perth Squads Progression was Amazing
November 2013.
The New Swim Smooth Coaches arrive in Perth, commiting to two weeks of long days and hard training on pool deck, followed by 6 or more months of coaching and collecting evidence of their work, before becoming certified. These coaches were inspirational, travelling from across the world to come and work and learn with the squads. I was supporting the coach education process and extremely lucky to have such an amazing job and meet such enthusiastic people.
Video Analysis Training
December 2013.
This is a personal and massive ‘keep going’ to 3 very special Ladies.
Megan, Jane and Sally. All three of these girls decided to take on the 20km Rottnest Channel Swim. Now as you imagine they all have a bit of a story, as we all do. From not being able to swim too far a few years ago, to finding the cold too hard to manage. These ladies decided to take on the challenge and swim the event, which is held at the end of this month. I wish them all the best of luck. They have shown such dedication and commitment through out the many months leading up to the event. Wish I was going to be there to watch you cross the finish line.
Sally and Megan at the Jetty – 10km training swim.

I wanted to share some of the peoples achievements from last year, with so many inspirational stories and experiences it was hard to choose.  I would like to thank everyone that I have met along the way. I have learnt a lot and look forward to sharing this with you all soon.

So Think BIG…..go for your Dreams and Celebrate well after.

Happy Swimming


Keep It Simple.

Swim Smooth Squad – Perth   

                                  Today on Poolside – CSS Set – Week 9 of 10.

 Returning onto pool deck in Perth, after 6 months back in the UK was a fantastic opportunity to see just how much the swimmers had improved over their winter period. It was insightful and also encouraging to see just how many of the squad had developed.

Many of the swimmers had not only improved their technique and swim times, they also had increased their confidence whilst in the open water. 

So the question is: How did they do this and how can we achieve those results? 

Firstly, it is good to know these people are normal, they have families, hold down jobs and have every day commitments.

                                               Squad Session – Perth. 

The key: Is KEEP IT SIMPLE – get your training right and being consistent with it.

If we look at the Perth Squads, we can identify how their training week works and make sure that you too are ready for next years Open Water and Triathlon season.

Answer These Questions:

1 – Work out your CSS – http://activeblu.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/css-your-new-year.html

2 – Work out the realistic and achievable time you can commit to your swim training.

3 – Keep to the plan and keep consistent.

Based on training 3 times a week – Your ideal training week will consist of:

1 x Endurance Based Session.

1 x Threshold / CSS session.

1 x Technique Session. 

Within these 3 sessions each will contain some aspects of the following, dependant on the theme of the training session: Open water, fitness and technique.  

                             Technique Session focusing on Alignment and Stroke Rate.

Keep it Simple.

Endurance – This could mean a long open water swim a week, or a longer pool swim.

CSS Set – Using your CSS – Check these sessions out. http://www.swimsmooth.com/training.html 

Technique – Identify the drills that will help support your swimming, remember the drills you find hardest are usually the ones you need to work on the most to improve your stroke.

The distance of the sets will depend on what you are training for, but ideally around 2.5km – 5km.

By following these 3 sessions will help you monitor and see the progression in the water – Remember to still make this progressive by increasing the distance over time on your long swim and decreasing the time when doing your CSS sessions.

Check this out for further reading: http://www.feelforthewater.com/2013/01/becoming-diesel-engine.html

Enjoy your Swimming.



Anxiety on the start line.

Open Water Swim Series WA.

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 It is the morning of my first ocean swim since arriving in Perth. I have not slept in 4 days through jet lag and although I am feeling bit tired, I am very calm about the 2.5km swim ahead of me. The last time I left this beach was when I was setting off to swim the 20km to Rottnest Island.

My only concern with racing in the Ocean in WA are the stingers, however I had been informed that it was too cold for them and no one had been stung this season. This reassured me as last year I found myself in hospital after having an allergic reaction.

Once registered, I met with some friends as we started to notice people rushing out the water crying in pain…The stingers were back.

This left me with an interesting dilemma, I suddenly went from a very calm state, to considering whether to drop out of the ocean swim altogether. It was not because of the pain the stingers cause, it was more the responsibility I felt to everyone else and an overwhelming desire not to get sick again.

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Megan Helping on the start line.

I decided to to apply the wool fat, which basically means cover every part of my body in fat, so that you have a protective barrier from you and the stingers. I hoped this would be the answer and made the decision to continue. Remembering – Just stick to the plan.

We all entered the water for the deep water start, conditions were perfect, warm water, with a slight swell. I had forgotten how competitive these races can be, as the race started there were lots of pulling, pushing and people getting swam over on the start line.

I soon found some feet and hoped to settle into a pace, but this did not happen, at the buoys stray kicks were being felt among the swimmers, the lead pack had broken away and myself and 4 others were leading the second group, I remember smiling to myself as we all were swimming so close together but syncing nicely not to have too many clashes. However I did end up with my goggles full of water, from a cracking right hander.

I was aware of the stings I was getting, I kept in mind the importance of positive thinking and relaxed breathing. I found myself just focusing on the internal aspects of the swim I could control, such as sighting, drafting, pacing and breathing patterns.

The race eventually came down to a 100m sprint to the shore where we surfed the wave in and ran the 20m to the finish line. It was fun, exciting and I am glad I decided to take my own advice and enjoy the swim by focusing on the aspects I could control.

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Emma at the finish Line.

I am writing this as I learnt a lot from this experience, it highlighted the importance of the right advice and training, whilst having the confidence and knowledge that you have made the right decisions within the race.

On reflection, the key points I learnt from this experience were:

  • Stick to the plan.
  • Do not worry about the things you can not control. (weather, swell, other competitors)
  • Be a selfish swimmer – Meaning focus on yourself. (breathing, sighting, pacing)
  • Listen to your instincts.
  • Have confidence you have done everything you can to prepare for the event.
  • Enjoy what you do, most of us are doing this for fun.
  • Learn from past experiences. Apply an action plan..what if…
  • Lastly….practice these skills in training, get your coach to do OW sessions in the pool, practice drafting, mass starts,sighting, turning, swimming without your goggles. This will all help when it comes to next season and allow you to deal with the unexpected.

Most importantly make sure you do NOT miss any parts of your body when applying the wool fat. OUCH 🙂