Friday, January 30, 2015

The "Pull-Setup-Release" Drill Sequence

Everything you need to transform your swimming:

The New SS Coaching System




Upcoming Swim Smooth Clinics / Camps:

Dubai Video Analysis
March 2015

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New Forrest Clinic
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Dorset Clinic March 7th
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West Lothian
Video Analysis

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Prague Junior Swim Club
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Richmond SS Squad
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Acton Video Analysis
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Swim/Tri Camps Alicante
All year round
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Richmond/Wimbledon Workshops
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Salisbury 1to1 Analysis
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Ringwood SS Squad
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Twickenham Video Analysis
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Analysis Consultations

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For more info on SS Certified Coaches see here
Here's a neat drill sequence to try the next time you swim.

Grab a pull-buoy and swim the following 50m straight through:
12½m Scull #1
12½m Doggy Paddle
12½m Swim (with pull-buoy)
12½m Swim but release the pull-buoy and let it slip out without
breaking the stroke
As you release the pull-buoy in the final section, introduce a gentle kick behind you. Feel the majority of the propulsion coming from your arms and the light kick keeping your legs high in the water. The pull-buoy will float away but you can collect it afterwards.

(You can see demonstrations of the Sculling and Doggy Paddle drills here and here - and full instructions in Swim Smooth Coaching System here and here.)


Sculling is a great way to improve your catch and feel for the water.

This drill sequence is fantastic for combining a better kicking technique - to reduce drag and effort - and improving the effectiveness of your upper body propulsion. Both these things will act to have you travelling more quickly and easily through the water. Give it a try the next time you're at the pool, repeating it 4 times through.

Whilst this sequence is beneficial for any swimmer, it's particularly effective for Kicktastics and Arnies:

As a Kicktastic, use it to tame the power of your leg kick and shift your propulsion towards the upper body. You should notice a drop in your effort levels and breathing rate as you moderate your kick and improve your catch technique.

For Arnies, use it to work on keeping the legs higher in the water. As you start kicking, keep the legs nice and straight, and press the water backwards (not downwards) in front of the head.

Swim Smooth!

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Ultimate Secret To Improving Your Swimming?

Everything you need to transform your swimming:

The New SS Coaching System




Dorset Clinic March 7th
Full information here

West Lothian
Video Analysis

Full information here

Prague Junior Swim Club
Full information here

Richmond SS Squad
Full information here and here

Acton Video Analysis
Full information here

Swim/Tri Camps Alicante
All year round
Full information: here

Upcoming Swim Smooth Clinics / Camps:

Dubai Video Analysis Dec 2014
Full information here

Dubai/Richmond/Wimbledon Workshops
Full information here

Salisbury 1to1 Analysis
Full information here

Salisbury SS Squad
Full information here

Twickenham Video Analysis
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Lancaster SS Squad
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Lancaster Video
Analysis Consultations

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For more info on SS Certified Coaches see here
What's the ultimate secret to improving your swimming? You know, it could be that you just need to try to enjoy it more.

Contrast these two short video clips.

Jackson, aged 5 (son of SS Head Coach Paul Newsome):



Jackson claims that he wants to be a "floating coach" when he gets older on account of his love for lying on his back and floating like a starfish.

Stephen, aged 55:



Who is more likely to improve their swimming significantly in the future?

If like Stephen you don't enjoy swimming, take a leaf out of Jackson's book. Take the pressure off yourself, simply enjoy the experience of being in the water and start playing around a bit. You'll be down the pool (or jumping in the ocean) more often, you'll be more relaxed and start to feel things you never noticed before.

Have fun. Think less. Do more. Then the improvements will start to come.

Swim Smooth!

PS. After his session with Paul, Stephen said: Thanks for introducing me to my new best friend - the beeper! This has made my swims a lot more focused and interesting, with challenging "beat the beeper" sets. Combined with some stroke technique improvements during our one to one sessions, it has really motivated me to get into the water to practice.

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Causes Of Neck Pain In Swimming

Everything you need to transform your swimming:

The New SS Coaching System



Dorset Clinic March 7th
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Abingdon Clinic Jan 24th
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West Lothian
Video Analysis

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Prague Junior Swim Club
Full information here

Richmond SS Squad
Full information here and here

Acton Video Analysis
Full information here

Swim/Tri Camps Alicante
All year round
Full information: here

Upcoming Swim Smooth Clinics / Camps:

Dubai Video Analysis Dec 2014
Full information here

Dubai/Richmond/Wimbledon Workshops
Full information here

Salisbury 1to1 Analysis
Full information here

Salisbury SS Squad
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Twickenham Video Analysis
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Lancaster SS Squad
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Lancaster Video
Analysis Consultations

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For more info on SS Certified Coaches see here
Our friends at Level Water have launched a new fundraising initiative to get 50 more disabled children swimming in 2015. To support this great charity and get inspired yourself, visit: 50.levelwater.org/


If you suffer from neck tension or pain after swimming you'll know how annoying it is but have you considered it might be something in your stroke technique causing it?

Here's three classic stroke flaws that place a large load on the muscles in your neck, which commonly lead to pain and discomfort in the neck or trapezius muscles.


1. Looking Skywards Whilst Breathing

Here's Clare looking straight up towards the sky (or pool ceiling) when breathing in an effort to find clear air:


Having to twist the neck this far round places a lot of stress on the neck, which can easily lead to soreness after swimming. This is a very common stroke fault amongst Bambinos (and also extreme Overgliders with very low stroke rates).

When we swim we should use the bow wave created by the head as it passes through the water, the bow wave shape creates a trough by the side of the head which we should be breathing into straight across the pool in position A.


Here's Swim Smooth Coach Steve Bailey demonstrating this technique to good effect, angling his mouth to the side ('Pop-eye Breathing') to allow him to keep his head really low:


Notice how Steve's lower goggle is in the water and he's looking across the surface of the pool, not twisting and looking skywards.

If you're quite new to freestyle, keeping your head this low can take a little getting used to but it's an essential skill to master to make breathing comfortable and relaxed. Try developing it whilst swimming with a pair of fins on, you'll be more relaxed with the fins on and your extra speed through the water will exaggerate the size of the bow-wave.


2. Breathing Too Far Forwards

The bow-wave trough only becomes deep in the area directly alongside the mouth, which is why we should be breathing directly to the side in position A:


If you try to breathe further forwards of this point in position B then the surface of the water is much higher and you will have to crane your mouth and head upwards to find air.



This craning position places a large stress on the neck, quickly leading to a sense of fatigue. Practise breathing in position A and you'll immediately feel relief.


3. Lifting The Head To Breathe

Did you know your head weighs around 5kg (11 pounds)? That's a heavy weight to lift out of the water every time you breathe and the effort of doing so places a lot of stress on your neck and trapezius muscles:


Lifting the head out of the water like this actually stops the bow-wave forming, so that trough beside your head disappears - making it feel like you have to lift it up that much or you'll swallow water! Trust that when you keep the top of your head in the water the trough will be there for you and you can keep your head much lower.


Additional: If you're subscribed to the Swim Smooth Coaching System you can follow our full stroke correction process for these faults here: app.swimsmooth.com/sequence/cpq/lifting-head-to-breathe/


Swim Smooth!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Everything You Want Is On The Other Side Of Fear

Everything you need to transform your swimming:

The New SS Coaching System




Lancaster Video
Analysis Consultations

Full information here

Abingdon Clinic Jan 24th
Full information here

West Lothian
Video Analysis

Full information here

Prague Junior Swim Club
Full information here

Richmond SS Squad
Full information here and here

Acton Video Analysis
Full information here

Swim/Tri Camps Alicante
All year round
Full information: here

Upcoming Swim Smooth Clinics / Camps:

Dubai Video Analysis Dec 2014
Full information here

Dubai/Richmond/Wimbledon Workshops
Full information here

Salisbury 1to1 Analysis
Full information here

Salisbury SS Squad
Full information here

Twickenham Video Analysis
Full information here

Lancaster SS Squad
Full information here




For more info on SS Certified Coaches see here
It's that time of year again when we start thinking about our goals for the year ahead and how to make improvements to our performances. You might consider how to develop your training routine or improve your diet, but have you thought about the mental side of your training and racing, and if it is holding you back?

With that in mind, here's a brilliant post by London based Swim Smooth Coach Julian Nagi, the original taken from his coaching blog at: www.juliannagicoaching.com/?page_id=257

It's called:

Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable



As we approach the New Year I have to admit I start getting pretty excited about what is to come from the athletes that I coach. We had some amazing success in 2014 and each year I like to see everyone raising the bar further still, I try to do this with my coaching each year and expect my athletes to do the same.

Without doubt at this time of year most athletes are raring to go and are looking to start ticking the sessions off one at a time with great consistency moving forwards. But why not stop to ask yourself, where are the biggest gains to be made? For each athlete this will be different but its important to recognise your strengths and in particular your weaknesses so you can formulate a plan.

Without question, the area I personally think that most triathletes have the biggest scope for improvement is the mental side of training and racing. Unfortunately though it's the area most seem to neglect. They are often far too concerned with accumulating numbers, spending far too much time uploading & downloading data that for most of the time offer no substantial value to them or myself as a coach.

Sure this data will then look good in a spreadsheet but what is it really telling us about the training session that the athlete has just experienced if left poorly described? When I see athletes wasting 5-10mins during a session pressing buttons on their all singing all dancing watches there is a huge disconnection from the workout goal because you are too focused at looking at the numbers.

Learn to embrace the moment and feel. Gadgets have a place but know when and how to use them. I still find it astonishing how many athletes I see on a daily basis that time their warm up, cool down, technique sets and then check their watch at the end of every length to ensure they are on pace, I've even seen this done in time trials!

What I love in spreadsheets (yes I do use them!) are descriptions such as how the session feels, what hurdles were overcome, how did you react to this and how do you think you could do it better next time? Or simply if you just nailed the session then great – job done! This kind of intuitive information is like coaching gold-dust because it tells me that the athlete is really thinking about how they feel and their perception of effort.

I also like to speak to my athletes as much as possible because the look in their eyes, the sound of their voice and seeing how they move tells me more than any data file. It is also important to note that data can actually serve to demotivate triathletes if they are slower that the previous weeks session.

As coaches we understand that in training there are no two weeks or two sessions that are ever the same as there are too many factors to account for. Some sessions will be great others will feel like you are banging your head against a brick wall… that's ok! Don't look back to a bad session just keep looking forwards to the next one, which could be so much different.

Find out more about Julian and his coaching
at: www.juliannagicoaching.com
I think there is a healthy balance to be gained from using gadgets and numbers but your training shouldn't solely rely on it. Learn how to develop your feel for pacing and intensity because this is what will help to develop your racing instinct. You won't find a function for this on any watch.

As a coach that specialises in Ironman triathlon coaching I often hear the question asked – “How much of being good at Ironman is the mental aspect compared to the physical?” I often hear numbers that Ironman is 90% mental versus 10% physical, I'm not sure I buy into this. I would rather say that each and every athlete has a certain make up and the ratio will be different from person to person depending on his or her ability. One thing for sure is both need to be developed simultaneously if an athlete is to be successful, you can't have one without having the other.

The reason I think most triathlete's neglect this side of their training is because its takes true self-reflection to understand who you are as a person and as an athlete. The person you really are is usually only revealed during your deepest and darkest moments of your training and racing. It can be a scary place to look because it's ultimately about being honest with yourself and accepting your weaknesses, and standing up to your fears and failures.

Its also about asking yourself the hard questions, accepting the answers and then being able to do formulate a plan to do things better next time. Any athlete that wants to improve their performance year by year needs to go through process of self reflection frequently - on a daily basis - and never more so important than just after a race.

But what does true reflection really mean?

For me it is epitomised by two of the greatest triathletes the world has ever seen – Mark Allen and Chris McCormack. Both multiple World Champions at short course and long course with Mark winning 6 Hawaii Ironman titles and Chris winning 2. Just because you are an age grouper doesn't mean to say these guys are so dramatically different to you, they aren't and the same lessons are applicable to all. You can still learn from their mistakes and apply it to your own training and racing.

What is truly enlightening is the process of self-evaluation both athletes needed to undertake to win the coveted World Championship titles in Hawaii. Both of them failed time and time again before they were ever able to come through and win. Never forget that all champions have experienced failure first before they ever achieved the success we take for granted:

"I missed more than 9000 shots in my career. 26 times I was trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over again in my life. And that's why I succeeded." Michael Jordan


The reason I chose these Mark and Chris is because they couldn't be anymore diametrically opposed as people. Chris is a real extrovert known for his smack talking and outspoken nature, while Mark is much introverted, calm and thoughtful in comparison. Both led the race in Hawaii many times but ultimately fell apart: a very painful and humbling experience for them when they were expected to win.

But what they didn't do was give up. In Mark's case, he failed 6 times before he actually went on to win in what is regarded as the greatest race of all time in 1989, now known as the Iron War. This eventually led to Mark winning a total of 6 Ironman World championships titles in following years.

But why did two of the greatest athletes in the world fail so many times? Quite simply, they weren't mentally strong enough to win. Physically they were in the best shape of their lives but neither were mentally strong enough in the latter stages of the race to come through and win. The pressure, the race, the conditions all served up one big knock out punch to beat them.


"I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying again." Michael Jordan

Both wanted the title badly and would do whatever it took to go back there and win it. This would require them to ask the hard questions about why they were failing so that they could formulate a plan to deal with it. Both athletes realised they had to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, in fact more uncomfortable than they had ever been before because this is what it would take for them to win.

Chris' journey took him on a path of self-reflection with his inner circle (coach & family), which led him to question everything about how he was mentally dealing with his training. What he realised was how incredibly negative he was being in those deep dark moments during hard training sessions when the tough questions were being asked.

He was astute enough to realise that his thoughts were far from positive, he spent too much time focusing on the negatives: "This sucks... it hurts so much... cant wait to get this session over". When really what he should have been doing was learning to deal with these moments in a more positive light. It is in these crucial tough moments in training that he realised he needed to embrace his fear of un-comfortableness so he wouldn't fear it so much when he raced. It was his fear of the uncontrollable that had been holding him back and he had to learn how to let go and break through it.

What's really interesting is how he overcame this, firstly he learned how to "smile" when he reached these moments, sounds too simple doesn't it? But that's what he did, he would realise when these moments were upon him and simply smile to himself and welcome them in like an old friend. He knew this would be one of the small tests he would have to continually pass that would contribute to making him a champion.

He also coined a phrase "embrace the suck" which simply means rather than fearing pain and suffering, welcome it in and relish the challenge of it. If you can teach yourself to do this you will ultimately become a stronger and more mentally tough athlete.




Mark on the other hand was incredibly spiritual, this led him to seek outside assistance from a Shaman called Brandt Sucunda. He began studying the teachings & practices of Shamanism. In it he found the tools for personal transformation that helped him change pain into joy, inner struggle into gratitude, and impatience and fear into calm and courage. Mark also learned how to think of fitness more broadly, in terms of his spirit and emotions and how to become the champion he to aspired to be.

Some of the key principles he developed were to:

1- See reward not negativity in repetition
Doing one thing right in training is a positive, then repeat it time and time again to get an even deeper reward. Practice makes perfect. Learn to embrace the sets or sessions you hate because these are just dress rehearsals for those tough moments in racing when you want to give up.

2- Quiet your mind
Turn off the internal negative mental chatter when the going gets tough. Put it back in the box and don't let it back out. Focus on the positives.

3 – Focus on the joy
This is my favourite principle because I always tell my athletes to smell the roses while out there training and racing. Take in the beauty of nature and realise how lucky you are to be able to being doing what you are doing. This will counteract any negativity you are experiencing. The world can be a beautiful place when you look at it with big eyes particularly when you are suffering.

4 – Slow down to get faster
Its not all about high intensity hard training, get the balance right between mainly aerobic training, a smaller amount of harder training and make good recovery of paramount importance.

5 – Embrace your inner tortoise
This means learn how to pace yourself and don't follow what others do. There is tremendous strength to be gained from this. An Ironman is a long race and it's amazing what can happen if you can pace yourself correctly in the early stages.



These are two remarkable personal journeys which although very different in nature are also very similar in many ways. They are about two athletes who accepted they had weaknesses and were prepared to meet them head on to become better athletes. Each and every athlete is capable of doing this if you are prepared to look deep within yourself and face the truth.

For me, mental training starts in day to day training. Each and every training session will present a certain challenge to you albeit some more difficult than others. Some sessions will just be about execution whereas others will be about pushing your boundaries and testing yourself physically and mentally. Ask yourself if you are up for this and how you are next going to react when that fear arises in you? Will you meet it head on or will you let it beat you? Will you react negatively or will you react positively? It is entirely down to you.

Each and every time you over come these moments you get a step closer to becoming the athlete you really want to be:

“This session is the one that makes you who you are. Defines what you want to be and gives enlightenment to the individual of oneself. You only ever grow as a human being if you're outside your comfort zone." Percy Cerrutti

So start to think with your head during training sessions, do it day in day out. Realise that if you want to get good you have to commit to excellence at all times. Make the most of every sessions no matter how easy or hard because ultimately you will become empowered by this. Look for a better version of yourself in the deepest darkest moments because you can and will find it if you look hard enough.

If you are sitting there reading this thinking you give 100% to your training then you are wrong because there is always an area that can be improved. That's what drives on champions day after a day - they don't rest on their laurels, they have to think outside of the box to stay ahead of the game. Remember the training doesn't just involve the swim, bike and run accumulation this is just part of it - recovery, nutrition and also mental training have an equally large part to play. Don't be a volume junkie, the accumulation of miles doesn't equal training success. Do things right and be smart with your training.

Remember its not your times or results that define you as an athlete, its the journey of self transformation you decide to go on that will ultimately tell you about the person you really are and what kind of athlete you can become.

All the very best for an outstanding 2015!

Julian

Coach Julian Nagi
First Ironman Coaching & Swim Smooth Coach
www.juliannagicoaching.com

Friday, January 2, 2015

Nick Baldwin: Addressing My Weakness With Swim Smooth

Everything you need to transform your swimming:

The New SS Coaching System




Lancaster SS Squad
Full information here

Lancaster UK, Video
Analysis Consultations

Full information here

Abingdon Clinic Jan 24th
Full information here

West Lothian
Video Analysis

Full information here

Prague Junior Swim Club
Full information here

Richmond SS Squad
Full information here and here

Acton Video Analysis
Full information here

Swim/Tri Camps Alicante
All year round
Full information: here

Upcoming Swim Smooth Clinics / Camps:

Dubai Video Analysis Dec 2014
Full information here

Dubai/Richmond/Wimbledon Workshops
Full information here

Salisbury 1to1 Analysis
Full information here

Salisbury SS Squad
Full information here

Twickenham Video Analysis
Full information here




For more info on SS Certified Coaches see here
What could you achieve with 8 weeks of focus on your swimming? This was the challenge that Pro Ironman Triathlete Nick Baldwin set himself in November and December when he came to Perth to work with Swim Smooth Head Coach Paul Newsome.

Nick's a fantastic cyclist and runner but his overall performances were always let down by his swim. In his own words: "Like many triathletes, I've never given my swim the attention it deserves... until now". As you read Nick's report below on how he got on, ask yourself the question: What if I too committed to 8 weeks of focus on my swimming, what could I achieve?


Nick Baldwin: Addressing My Weakness With Swim Smooth


My swim training has often been sporadic, with motivation occasionally dwindling as I've searched for excuses to either miss swim sessions completely or cut them short. However, in the last two years of racing as a professional I've learned one thing – the swim matters. For myself as a second pack swimmer, it's not necessarily the time I lose to the leaders that's the biggest factor, but the impact that it has on the dynamic of the remainder of the race. I wanted – and still want – to be a better swimmer, but I knew that something had to change. My coach Brian recognised this also and we planned to spend the winter focussing on swimming. Addressing my weakness seemed logical, but in reality I knew it would be difficult to shift focus towards my least favourite of the three disciplines.


Nick finishing fourth at Ironman Sweden

We briefly looked into some options, which included Europe, the US and Australia. There was one option that I kept coming back to – going to Australia to train with renowned triathlon and open water swim coach Paul Newsome (of Swim Smooth). Having worked with countless triathletes who have come away with big improvements, I had no doubt that his expertise would have a positive impact on my swim. After chatting with Paul he convinced me that if I was committed I would come away a better swimmer. Just how much better would depend on me. Having friends in Perth made the decision an easy one - I booked the trip and two months of swim training awaited. I immediately recognised what a fantastic opportunity this was and was determined to make the most of it. I focussed on doing just two things: turning up and working hard. If I could do that then I trusted the improvement would take care of itself.




After arriving the first task was to establish my CSS (Critical Swim Speed), which was done by completing a 400m and 200m time trial. That gave us a benchmark to use in training, with most of the sessions using the beeper (Finis Tempo Trainer), giving you instant feedback of how fast you're swimming. Throughout the week the emphasis was on specific sets rather than drills and technique, although Monday's session was always an easier one, incorporating a number of drills. One session which never changed was Tuesday's 10x 400m, which gave me a good indication of how my swim was progressing as the weeks went by. Wednesday and Friday varied each week - one session had a threshold pace main set and the other a longer endurance main set. We also did one open water session every week, swimming in the Swan River from Claremont jetty:


L-R: Nick, fellow 2nd Place Kona Finisher Rachel Joyce and Paul

Initially it was hard, really hard. I was struggling towards the end of sessions and it took almost two weeks until I was able to complete a main set at my target pace. After that initial period, the improvements started coming. Using the 10x 400m set as a benchmark was fantastic and seeing the times come down week on week was really motivating. Paul analysed my stroke with video and talked me through it, clearly explaining the elements to address as well as pointing out the positives. My stroke didn't need completely tearing apart, but there was definitely room for refinement.

The work continued as the weeks ticked by. I turned up and worked hard, just as I promised myself. For the first time ever I actually enjoyed swimming. There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, we were swimming in some fantastic pools. Whether it was the outdoor pool at Claremont or one of the three 50m pools at Challenge Stadium, the swim facilities were excellent. Secondly, there was a really great group of people swimming together and we had fun outside of swimming. Finally, Paul was always so positive and enthusiastic, it was difficult not to get excited about swimming!

Before arriving in Perth, Brian and I agreed that my bike and run training would take a back seat, allowing me to focus on executing the swim sessions to the best of my ability. Monday to Friday's bike training consisted of commuting to/from the pool (a 50km round trip), with one longer ride on Saturday. Similarly, run training dropped off slightly, getting in some aerobic runs during the week and a longer trail run on Sunday. We of course knew that my bike and run fitness would regress with this schedule, but we were confident that it would soon return with regular training. The important thing was that my swim was improving in training, and an opportunity to test it in a race environment was just around the corner. With Busselton being just a 2.5 hour drive away, I entered Ironman Western Australia with no expectations. Four Ironman/Challenge races between April and September this year was tough and I was unsure how my body would handle the prospect of another. Given the low volume of bike and run training – and absence of any specific training sessions – I couldn't expect to compete for the top spots against the strong pro field that lined up for the race. I put my pride aside and accepted that for the first time in my triathlon career my day would likely end before reaching the finish line.


Nick reflecting before Ironman WA

The gun fired and the pace was on right from the get-go. I'm fairly certain I set a new 100m PB from the start, with the subsequent few hundred metres not getting any easier. As we approached 1km things seemed to spread out a little and there were some gaps starting to form up ahead. I'd been red-lining since the start and was giving it absolutely everything, but the front group of guys were pulling away. Just before halfway I moved to the front of our group and got a small gap, although the leaders ahead continued to swim into the distance. The last 2km was a solo effort as I found myself stranded between groups, eventually coming out the water in 49:52. The rest of the race went mostly as expected – I biked a 4:34 which lost time to the lead group and ran a gratuitous 3km before pulling to the side of the road and taking off my timing chip. There wasn't a moment of hesitation in stopping – I'd made peace with the decision around 120km into the bike. I've raced enough of these to know that you have to be mentally prepared and willing to push your body to the limit, but on that day, I wasn't prepared – or able – to do that. The rest of the afternoon was spent on the sidelines cheering on the other athletes which was great fun! The post-race analysis of the swim was really positive. Sneaking under 50 minutes for the first time and losing just 3.5 minutes to the lead swimmer was definitely a step in the right direction (for comparison, this season I've consistently lost 5-7 minutes to the lead swimmer). The main front pack still eluded me by 2.5 minutes, but that's a time gap that I hope will continue to come down.




Was I satisfied with the improvements during the two months? Absolutely. In the 10x 400m sessions my times improved by 7s/100m over 8 weeks, I progressed up to 8km in the open water averaging 1:19/100m (courtesy of drafting Mr Newsome!) and I had my best ever swim in a race. I got everything I hoped out of the experience and more. There's certainly a lot of work ahead to get closer to the front pack, but my time in Perth proved that with the right focus, I have the aptitude to commit to swimming – something I wasn't sure about previously.




As I write this at 40,000 feet on my final flight of 2015, I leave Perth grateful for an amazing couple of months. Just like their coffee, the Australian lifestyle is tough to beat and is something I'll really miss. That being said, it's the people around you that turn good experiences into great ones, and I'm lucky to have an amazing group of friends who made this trip a great end to the year.  

Nick

You can find out more about Nick on his website here and follow him on twitter here.

And a few final thoughts from Paul:

The number of pros visiting us in Perth to work on their swimming is ever increasing. I personally love working with these athletes and despite having a low perception of their swimming abilities, with a few simple tweaks to their stroke and a little hard work, they all take large strides forwards.

Nick's first session with us was our infamous 10x400 "Red Mist" session and it's fair to say he really struggled with this first session, to the point where I initially doubted he might show up again as I have seen this session crack the souls of some of the hardiest athletes out there. I needn't have worried though, Nick's commitment and positive attitude was something I came to appreciate very quickly and with it his improvements too. It was staggering to see such improvement coming week-in, week-out and what was really cool was how his elite peers also recognised this as well. 

Every Thursday we'd do an open water swim in the river. One of Nick's first was in very challenging conditions which he swam with Rachel Joyce. Nick managed to complete 4k that day in the same time I completed 5k, so you can imagine how impressed I was when the following week in smoother conditions he hung onto my feet for 4k, then the next week 6k and the final week 8k! These were all performed at sub-50 minute 3.8k iron distance pace and 5 seconds per 100m quicker than his (non wetsuit) CSS pace - incredibly. This signified to me he was going to have a great swim at Ironman WA. 

It has been a pleasure working with an athlete who personifies the term "professional" in his approach to what he does best. Nick will now continue to work closely with me utilising the new Swim Smooth Coaching System web-app to track his progress and ensure he keeps up the great work from Perth. I'm expecting big things for 2015!"

If you're looking to taking some big jumps forward with your swimming in 2015 then I'd highly recommend our new coaching system to do that. It contains all the same training, technique and open water skills I oversaw with Nick, all set at the right level for you as an individual. Check it out here:


Swim Smooth!

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Shoulder Pain Checklist





Twickenham Video Analysis
Full information here

Lancaster SS Squad
Full information here

Lancaster UK, Video
Analysis Consultations

Full information here

Abingdon Clinic Jan 24th
Full information here

West Lothian
Video Analysis

Full information here

Prague Junior Swim Club
Full information here

Richmond SS Squad
Full information here and here

Acton Video Analysis
Full information here

Swim/Tri Camps Alicante
All year round
Full information: here

Upcoming Swim Smooth Clinics / Camps:

Dubai Video Analysis Dec 2014
Full information here

Dubai/Richmond/Wimbledon Workshops
Full information here

Salisbury 1to1 Analysis
Full information here

Salisbury SS Squad
Full information here




For more info on SS Certified Coaches see here
So the festive season is well underway and you're probably starting to think a little about the 2015 season ahead and what you can do to get yourself off to a flying start. It has been estimated that 80% of the adult swimming population will suffer from some degree of shoulder pain during their swimming life to the extent that it might cause you to stop swimming for one or more sessions at a time.

As you may have read from our popular blog post Is Your Swim Fitness in a Permanent State of Snakes and Ladders? anything that causes disruption to the consistency of your training is well worth addressing, especially when this particular issue of shoulder pain management is relatively easy to fix with a few key areas to remain aware of whilst you're swimming.

We've discussed the causes of shoulder pain in various posts (e.g. here and here) in the past but today we wanted to just focus on four points which we'll call our "Shoulder Pain Checklist" that you can easily incorporate into any session from today as you swim.

These simple points will be especially beneficial to you if you start to feel some discomfort. With the estimate that 80% of us will experience some shoulder pain when swimming at some point in our lives, the chances are you've already experienced some discomfort. So let's get cracking!

The Shoulder Pain Checklist

As soon as you feel any discomfort, try these in order:

1) Check your stroke for a thumb-first hand entry and/or a midline cross-over as you enter into the water - the two leading causes of shoulder soreness in swimming. Your hand entry should be finger-tips first and for the middle finger to be extending forwards in front of the same shoulder, not across. Watch this video clip for a great demo of how to do this properly: www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3HhNlysFDs

2) Whichever shoulder is giving you trouble, try breathing more frequently to that side for several hundred meters. This will force you to rotate better to that side and consequently reduce some of the pressure on that shoulder. Even just being conscious of rotating more to that side will help.

3) Try shortening the stroke just a smidgen (5cm less reach - whilst hardly noticeable - can make a big difference for those with overly long strokes), spearing a little deeper and elevating the stroke rate just a touch puts little less load through each stroke cycle.

Many swimmers have been taught - or led to believe - that by actively gliding at the front of the stroke they will be more efficient. Unfortunately this stochastic stop-start type of stroke leaves the shoulder in a very vulnerable position stretched out under load in front of the head in full shoulder flexion. Swimmers who wait patiently with their hand out in front of the head until the next stroke almost catches up tend to be in a totally flattened body roll position by the time they commence the catch. This puts significant stress on the rotator cuff muscles and is exactly what we want to minimise. Even if you don't feel like you have any pause-and-glide in your stroke, try spearing a little deeper and lifting the stroke rate, you might be surprised how much this will help.

4) Try straightening the arm a touch during the recovery phase over the top of the water rather than aiming for the classic high elbow recovery with the elbow pointed to the sky and the finger tips trailing over the surface of the water. Whilst this goes against conventional wisdom, a straighter arm recovery for many swimmers with reduced flexibility and less experience in the water can actually be more efficient and less injurious to the shoulder. Combine a slightly straighter arm with a focus on loose shoulders and good mobilisation of the shoulder socket.

Remember, most swimmers do experience some degree of shoulder fatigue / soreness at some point in their swimming lives so rather than thinking of this as a fact of swimming life, take the steps above to counter the problem as soon as it starts occurring.

Of course booking in for a 1-2-1 video analysis session with one of our Swim Smooth Certified Coaches is not only the best way to improve your speed and efficiency but also the best way to identify and correct issues in your stroke that can cause injury - highly recommended for anyone experiencing any level of pain.

Here's to a great 2015 season - Swim Smooth!

Friday, December 19, 2014

The New Swim Smooth Coaching System Tour

Wow! Interest in the new Swim Smooth Coaching System has been amazing with over 1000 of you subscribing since the launch last week - way beyond what we could have ever hoped for! Creating the system has been a real labour of love for us and it's fantastic to hear your messages and comments about how much you're enjoying using the system.

If you haven't seen the system yet, check it out here: app.swimsmooth.com


** The special launch offer ends on December 22nd (Monday), don't miss out! **

To show you a little more how it works we've created a new tour video here:



The new Swim Smooth Coaching System brings all of Swim Smooth's coaching to your fingertips on your phone, tablet or computer - in fact anywhere you can access the internet. It's an intelligent system that tailors coaching and training sessions to your individual needs to improve your stroke technique, swim fitness and open water skills. 

Janine Willis, Champion Age Group Triathlete: "This app is amazing, there is so much info it feels like you literally have Paul there coaching you!"

FAQs

Here's the answers to your most common questions:

- Is there a tie in period when subscribing? No you can unsubscribe at any time at the click of a button in the Account Settings area. In fact if you are unhappy with the system you can contact us and claim a full refund in the first 14 days.

- Can I take a look around the system before subscribing? Sorry at the moment we don't have a trial which is why we created the tour video above for you.

- I'm a coach, what subscription do I need? You should use a normal single user license, either monthly or annual. Any user can switch between coach and swimmer modes at any time. If you are a club with multiple coaches, choose one of the group licenses instead.

- I'm on a slow connection, how do I lower the bandwidth of the videos? This should happen automatically on your phone or tablet but if you on a computer just go to the bottom right of any video and un-click the 'HD' button.

- Do I need an internet connection to use the system? Yes you do, unfortunately the content is just too extensive to download everything onto any current device.

- I can't view the website on Google Chrome on my PC! Sorry about that, we fixed this bug yesterday, it should work fine for you now.

If you have a question yourself, just send us a quick email to customerservice@swimsmooth.com and we'll get right back to you.

Subscribe here and start improving your swimming today: app.swimsmooth.com

Here's a small extract from the new web-app, which discusses how to initiate the catch at the front of the stroke for great propulsion. Discover this and over 250 other video clips to build your understanding and application of great freestyle swimming:


Swim Smooth!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Announcing: The All New Swim Smooth Coaching System - For Swimmers, Triathletes And Coaches!

Nothing happens if you do not first dream it… This was our dream, we hope you like it.

Swim Smooth are very proud to announce the launch of the new Swim Smooth Coaching System, a personal coach for swimmers, triathletes and coaches! Available for you to use wherever you are on any phone, tablet or computer - in fact anywhere you can access the internet:


Dive right in: app.swimsmooth.com

Featuring over 20 hours of never-seen-before Swim Smooth coaching video to work on all aspects of your swimming and over new 300 training sessions for you to follow, this unique web-app brings our whole award winning coaching system together in one place.


First the system cleverly configures itself to your level of swimming and individual Swim Type, then informs and inspires you on how to move forwards. Follow the simple step-by-step instructions and you will quickly make some big strides forwards with your freestyle swimming in the pool, open water and triathlon events!

The Swim Smooth Coaching System is a revolution in swim coaching resources, having everything at your fingertips from simple pointers and videos through to training plans and ideas makes this a must have for any coach, or swimmer who utilises Swim Smooth methods. I have found myself lost in the system (in a good way!) watching video after video and reading session plan after plan, which makes me think about how I can adapt, use and deliver some of the ideas in my sessions. This is all of Swim Smooth's ideas and philosophy put together in a seamless one-stop package with inbuilt intelligence to guide you smoothly through the system.
Jason Tait, Head Coach www.southwestswim.co.uk

It looks and feels like an app but it actually houses the entire Swim Smooth coaching system: training sessions, full training plans, instructional videos, swim type stroke correction and much more all at your fingertips! My only regret is that now everyone will have access to Swim Smooth's secrets!
Jeff Davis, Age-Group Triathlete, Australia


Whatever your level of swimming, it's your complete swim coaching solution.


** Don't delay in signing up - our special introductory offer ends on the 22nd December. **

Swim Smooth!




The Swim Smooth Coaching System Tour


The Coaching System dashboard (shown above) is the hub of everything you do in the web-app, providing the gateway to all of our coaching content and allowing you to track your development. You can also set race targets here and see quick links to your favourite videos and training sessions.

This was a great surprise to see when Swim Smooth took their extremely talented coaching philosophy and put it into an entire online library of drills, programs and fault fixers! I am a coach as well as an athlete and this system has given me great insight into some of the Swim Smooth nuances we cannot get from YouTube, the book (my bible) and even the DVDs! A job well done Swim Smooth!
Cody Novak, Head Coach www.proclub.com, Seattle, USA

Improving your freestyle stroke technique is a key part of becoming a faster more efficient swimmer. The coaching system embeds Swim Smooth's highly developed Swim Type correction processes to develop your stroke technique as a whole:


Each process is presented as simple step-by-step instructions to follow and tick off, linking in all the coaching videos, visualisations and drills to get to work on your individual needs as a swimmer. If you've been swimming for a while and become stuck on a plateau then it's likely you've been following generic coaching that isn't working on your weaknesses. Our Swim Type system will fix that and get you moving forwards again.

As well as the Swim Type system you'll also find our Fault-Fixer processes to correct any specific stroke flaw you need to work on. Here's the guide for swimmers who lift their head to breathe - each step expands to give you detailed tasks to apply what you are learning:


In total the system contains over 25 hours of unique Swim Smooth video, including over 20 hours which has never been released before, all shot in incredible HD*. Collating this much high quality footage has been a real labour of love over the last 2 years!

* If you are sometimes on a slow connection you can easily switch from HD to SD footage by clicking the small 'HD' button on the bottom right of each video.

As you'd expect the entire Swim Smooth Drill Set is here. Having all your favourite drills and coaching videos at your fingertips makes a huge practical difference compared to a DVD or book format:


Each drill can be viewed from up to 7 unique angles to get a real three dimensional appreciation of every position together with in-depth voice-over tutorials and summary points:


Of course we also have an extensive Open Water Skills section, explaining how to make you a faster and more effective swimmer in the great outdoors. We have skills, methods and practise sessions aplenty:



Extensive training plans for different goals and distances are a huge feature of the Coaching System. There are 12 complete plans to choose from, preparing you perfectly for any event from your first mile swim right through Sprint, Olympic, Half and Full Ironman triathlons, and even 5km, 10km and marathon swims:


If you're new to freestyle and not ready for a full training plan yet then try our special Swim Type Follow-On Plan to build you up to swimming 400m (and further) without stopping.

Of course, all the drills and visualisations are fully integrated within the training sessions so you can stay immersed in the session detail without having to constantly refer back to other sections of the web-app:


You can print out any session to take poolside or if you're a coach, slip your device into a waterproof housing and connect to wi-fi for instant access to everything.

Oh and if you fancy a real challenge we've also included our extensive new guide to Marathon and Channel Swimming written by our very own 46km Manhattan Island Marathon Swim Champion Paul Newsome!

Another innovative feature is the integrated use of the Finis Tempo Trainer Pro. Start in the MyCSS section and enter your CSS swim test results to get a full analysis of your fitness:


Your resultant CSS pace is then used throughout the app, prescribing you the perfect pace you need to swim in every session for maximum benefit. In fact we tell you exactly what to enter into the Tempo Trainer Pro every time (in true dummies-guide style!) :


Biggest plus for me is the video vault, especially the drills as I find it hard to do from just a description. Overall it's easy to manoeuvre and I really love how the training plans automatically set themselves to your CSS. Simples. Definitely more than worth the money.
James Cliff, Swimmer, UK

In total there are over 300 sessions in the web-app covering all levels of ability from beginner to elite competitor. There's an extensive session library too, so if you're a coach looking for a CSS session for your squad that evening or a swimmer looking for a technique session, it's all there at your fingertips!

The whole system, set up and ease of use is typical of Swim Smooth's approach and philosophy on coaching.
Martin Wood, Head Coach, Lincoln Tri, UK


Over the last two years we've been busy expanding our archive of elite swimmers with 15 world class swimmers and triathletes included, each specially filmed and analysed by Swim Smooth. There's such much to learn by watching these guys! Here's Double Olympic Champion Rebecca Adlington in action showing us her incredible stroke:


Watch each athlete up-close and from every conceivable angle to give you an amazing insight into why they are so quick through the water. As well as Rebecca the set includes the world’s fastest triathlon Swimmer Richard Varga, Olympian Jono Van Hazel (aka Mr Smooth himself), World Triathlon Champion Tim Don and 7 Times Word Marathon Swimming Champion Shelley Taylor Smith.

I think the web-app is great!! The way I like to use it is to watch a focus area, try and practice it and then go to the elite page and watch each person and how they do it. I think it has the fab combo of using all the different techniques of learning -so it appeals to everyone: there are reading bits; things to out in practice; clips to visually watch it in action; and training aids discussed to help people feel it. You couldn’t have made it easier to use and the training plans are fab! This is online coaching hitting a whole new level. I love it!
Emma Pallant, British Elite Triathlon Champion

Our award winning Catch Masterclass program is also included for completeness (previously available on DVD) which has already helping thousands of swimmers to improve their catch and propulsive technique:


The system is also the ultimate resource for clubs and coaches. In fact if you tell the system you are a coach it provides you with a bespoke dashboard layout to more quickly access essential coaching tools such as the Swim Smooth drill set, our elite swimmer footage, the CSS calculator and your collection of favourites:


An absolute compendium of freestyle swimming information for triathletes, open water swimmers and coaches. I feel it will be very well suited to the many triathletes that train solo or only with a few friends of a similar standard. They want to improve so here is the knowledge. Easy to follow with both written and video explanations. No searching Google and Youtube its all here trust-worthy and consistent.
Graham Williams, Head Coach www.swim-tech.co.uk 

Swim Smooth offers you the most highly developed and respected coaching system in the world used by British Triathlon, Triathlon England, The ASA (Open Water) and The International Triathlon Union governing bodies for their coach education.

If you're coaching under one of these governing bodies yourself the new web-app based system makes the perfect companion tool to develop your coaching knowledge and skills.

As an athlete, it tells me what paces I need to be training at - there's no hiding from the numbers! It also allows me to access so many training sessions that the possibility of boredom no longer exists. Keeping this Smooth motivated is no mean feat!! As a coach, It's the single best tool in coaching my triathletes to become better swimmers. It helps me know where they're at and how to make improvements. For my athletes it helps them better understand their swimming style, the drills needed to improve their biomechanics and the type of training needed to improve!! It covers all area's and ultimately makes me a better coach!!
Guy Crawford, Pro Triathlete and Coach, New Zealand / USA

Pricing Plans

If you're quick you can subscribe to the Swim Smooth Coaching System from just GB £6.99 / US$10.99 per month* as a swimmer or coach. Annual and group license plans (ideal for clubs) are also available, for more information see our price plans on the bottom of this page: app.swimsmooth.com

* Our 3 month special introductory offer ends of December 22nd!

For more information and to signup visit: app.swimsmooth.com

If you have a question about the system or which plan is right for you then don't hesitate to send us an email to customerservice@swimsmooth.com and we'll get right back to you.

Swim Smooth!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Swim Smooth's 10 Year Anniversary - The Journey Is Just Beginning!


Last Xmas shipping dates in the Swim Smooth Shop:

3rd Dec: Asia, Far East, Aus, NZ 5th Dec: Africa, Caribbean, South & Central America, Middle East 8th Dec: Canada and Eastern Europe 12th Dec: USA 13th Dec: Western Europe 19th Dec: UK




Salisbury SS Squad
Full information here

Twickenham Video Analysis
Full information here

Lancaster SS Squad
Full information here

Lancaster UK, Video
Analysis Consultations

Full information here

Abingdon Clinic Jan 24th
Full information here

West Lothian
Video Analysis

Full information here

Prague Junior Swim Club
Full information here

Richmond SS Squad
Full information here and here

Acton Video Analysis
Full information here

Swim/Tri Camps Alicante
All year round
Full information: here

Upcoming Swim Smooth Clinics / Camps:

Dubai Video Analysis Dec 2014
Full information here

Dubai/Richmond/Wimbledon Workshops
Full information here

Salisbury 1to1 Analysis
Full information here




For more info on SS Certified Coaches see here
This week marks 10 years since the release of the original Swim Smooth website and the launch of our original DVD Boxset!


We've dedicated the blog this week to indulge in a little nostalgia looking back at our beginnings and giving you an insight into how we've grown to be recognised as the world's leading coaching company for swimmers and triathletes. But as you'll see over the next weeks and months, the journey is only just beginning!

Our founder Paul Newsome takes up the story:

Paul (left) was king of the sideburns, even at age 6.

I had always been interested in video analysis and stroke correction as a young swimmer at the Hull Olympic Club when B-Squad coach Eric Elbourne told me that I’d really benefit seeing my “Steam Boat Willy” stroke on video. Sadly that opportunity never came about but a seed was planted that would see me attend the University of Bath's Sport & Exercise Science program and make biomechanics and coaching my studies of choice.

Upon graduation in 2001 (and after a rather embarrassing stint on “Blind Date”)...

It's number 3, Paul from Yorkshire!
...I packed my bags and left my pursuits of professional triathlon behind me heading for the golden beaches of Australia.

Here in Perth I started my coaching career running the coaching program for Western Australia’s largest triathlon club, Stadium Triathlon. I began utilising the knowledge I'd taken on from university by applying this to coaching in the real world, working with athletes of a huge variety of ability and swimming experience. It was swim coaching, and particularly the video analysis, that really enthused me as a coach.

I stayed working with the club for 3 years and gained massive insight into the need for an individual approach to a swimmer's development, which in hindsight became the foundations of what we now know as our Swim Types system.



In March 2004 my parents visited from the UK and I can vividly recall excitedly telling them about a plan that I had to create a DVD to showcase some of the drills and techniques that I'd been developing in Perth with the primary goal of being able to educate swimmers in the squad as to the how and why to do certain drills to help refine their strokes.

I was also excited about the prospect of drawing upon the training foundations I'd learned as an athlete in the UK on the World Class Triathlon Performance Program under Chris Jones, and how to adapt the freestyle stroke most effectively to the open water through early tuition from Robin Brew.

Mum (aka "Mother Smooth" who is still a much loved member of our team to this day) and Steve loaned me the finances to start this project and we set about a six month project of filming all the information I wanted to cover.

I toyed with different names for the DVD / business, 'Swim Clean' , 'Swim Fresh' and 'Swim Smooth', before finally settling on the latter of course! The 'clean' element got a look-in though with the tag-line 'Clean-up Your Stroke', basing the original logo and packaging off a laundry detergent box! :



The whole project was run on a (very) shoe-string budget (including the original three versions of the website) but from small things did big things grow and this DVD Boxset has continued to be one of our best selling items. Sometimes you just have to start an idea rather than wait until you feel all the moons and planets are perfectly in alignment - procrastination has been the killer of many a great idea.

The website and DVD Boxset featuring Olympic Gold Medallist Bill Kirby OAM was launched on 21st December 2004 to a highly eager audience at the famous Challenge Stadium in Perth. We ran this in conjunction with a gadget manufacturer called Wetronome (whose product you might remember!) who we worked with for many years to come.





2005 saw the expiry of my Australian visa and a decision to literally try and take Swim Smooth to the world but it wasn’t plain sailing from the get-go! These days our clinic series sell out in our 15 minutes but in stark contrast our very first clinic in Ealing, London (UK) attracted just two swimmers!

My girlfriend (now wife) Michelle and I battled on, attending races and events all across the UK and Europe in our beloved Swim Smooth “bus” affectionately named Sid. We even followed the Tour de France around in the hope of some coverage on French Television. Sadly this did not occur - c’est la vie!






We rounded out 2005 with a successful clinic series in Ireland which thankfully fuelled the fire of possibility going forwards.



In 2006 after a six month stint in the UK & Europe, we decided to try our luck in Canada but as you’ll see from the image below, this was even less successful than the UK.

Of course this was before the swimmers arrived.
Looking back now 2006 was a foundational year as I invested a lot of time into helping swimmers understand swimming better and improve their efficiency in the water on various swimming and triathlon forums. I acted as an Agony Aunt for people's swimming woes and loved the challenge of trying to simplify what is otherwise regarded as a very technically challenging sport.

In 2007 Michelle and I decided to head back down-under with the view to establishing a swimming and triathlon squad in Claremont, Western Australia. Again this proved to be struggle-town initially but I began the lengthy process of developing a sophisticated 1-2-1 Video Analysis and Stroke Correction service to aid swimmers of all abilities to "discover, understand and apply", improving their efficiency and speed in the water.



Then a very fortunate cyber-meeting occurred via the chat forum www.tritalk.co.uk with resident bike / run expert Adam Young (aka “YoungGun”) as we chatted about our shared interest in photography. This lead to discussions about coming out to Perth and learning a little more about what we do and the rest, as they say, is history! We hit it off immediately and as I felt I needed assistance with some big plans for Swim Smooth asked Adam to partner up with me. It goes without saying that this has proven to be the single biggest decision in Swim Smooth’s 10 year history!



In early 2008 I ran the idea of an individualised stroke correction system by Adam which I wanted to call “Swim Types”. I’d been noticing trends in the way people swam based on their height, build, gender, swimming experience and even personality. It wasn’t embraced immediately so we parked the idea for a couple of years whilst continuing to develop and refine it in Perth. Sometimes you can’t rush a good idea and the time invested in the development of this project proved to be well worthwhile in the end.

We did however produce our second DVD, Learn-2-Swim From Scratch, in a little backyard pool in a quaint village in Essex which has subsequently gone on to become the foundation for the British Triathlon’s “Teach To Swim” coaching module.



Work also began on the 9-month task of writing the current day www.swimsmooth.com website - a task which seemed tortuous and endless at the time but which has gone on to become the most popular swim coaching website in the world with over 15 million lifetime visitors. In fact if you're reading this blog, you probably heard about us because of that website.

In 2009 in conjunction with the launch of the newly revamped website, Adam had the brainwave to create an animated swimmer to demonstrate an effective freestyle swim stroke from a range of angles above and below the water. Initially the plan was for this to be nothing more of a glorified stick figure, but you know how it goes: I knew a man, who knew a girl, who had a cousin, who was dating a guy who was an animator and before we knew it we had this very cool guy, Mr Smooth, which we gave away for free to every new subscriber to the www.feelforthewater.com blog.



He’s proven to be the second best decision we’ve made in the last ten years! (A special thanks must go out to the very talented Jon Allen and Noel Hinton for their work on this project).

2009 also saw me complete my first channel swim, the 20km Rottnest Channel Swim and with it learning a lot about this new world of marathon swimming. If you fancy a real swimming challenge, you can't get better than this incredible race here in Perth.








In 2010 we were approached by the governing body for triathlon in the UK, British Triathlon, to help them re-write their swimming curriculum for coaching levels 1, 2 and 3. This relationship has been incredibly important to us and we still feel flattered that BT chose us for this important role - thanks guys.

Of course this relationship has paved the way to significant recognition of our coaching in the UK. In fact, if you’re in the UK yourself it is highly likely that your local triathlon club coach has received direct tutelage in our methods and be sharing them with you, perhaps without you even realising it.

After 2 years of development we also published our finished Swim Types coaching system and launched it to the 12 coaches on our inaugural 3-day Swim Smooth Coach Education Course. We now run this intensive course all over the world with 210 selected coaches having completed it.




As you can probably tell things were really accelerating and 2011 proved to be a very fruitful year. Firstly I achieved my boyhood dream of swimming the English Channel in appalling conditions, in fact so bad the CSA ratified them as the worst that whole season! (Putting on the 15kg of necessary insulation was fun too..)





And secondly we finished training our very first wave of Certified Swim Smooth Coaches of whom we're enormously proud (if you've been coached by one, you'll know why):





We also formed a new partnership with perhaps the most passionate wetsuit designer in the world and the world's top swimming sports scientist, with the mission of creating the world's fastest wetsuits.

Dean Jackson and Professor Huub Toussaint had ambitious ideas to set the wetsuit world alight and came to us for our expertise of how different swimmers require different wetsuits according to their buoyancy and flexibility profiles, and their individual stroke technique. Using our combined knowledge we set about creating what has widely become regarded as the world’s most innovative wetsuit lineup, with many others now trying to catch up with these ideas.

We also released our best-selling DVD, Catch Masterclass, and I had the absolute privilege of being able to film my favourite swimmer of all time, Miss Rebecca Adlington at The Park Club in London, courtesy of Swim Smooth Coach Julian Nagi.



 



Prof. Huub might have the biggest head in the world?!

In 2011 we were approached by publisher Wiley & Son to write a book on swimming to help swimmers like you improve their efficiency in the water. A book is a very person thing to write and for that reason this was my favourite project so far. When we released it in 2012 it sold over 2,000 copies on the first day of release and continues to be a best-seller to this day.

Outside of pool-deck coaching, at this point in time we only had three people in the core company team - myself, Adam and Linda (Mother Smooth) but in 2012 we expanded to four in the form of a bubbly and ambitious swimming coach Annie Oberlin-Harris. Annie's main role has been leading a top-secret project that we'll be revealing next week... we can't wait to share that with you.




For me personally, 2013 was all about a very, very long swim - the world’s longest marathon swimming event to be precise - a 28.5 mile (46km) circumnavigation of the city of Manhattan, New York. Long hailed as the most “scenic” of all marathon swim events, the course takes you up the East River with the pushing tide, through the ominous Hell’s Gate, up the Harlem River, before a 20km stretch back down the Hudson River. All up it takes around 7+ hours to complete the swim at an average pace of sub-60 seconds per 100m! Crazy quick and super exhilarating.

After 9 years of extorting all the virtues of what it takes to swim efficiently in the open water, I felt it best to put my money where my mouth is and to walk-the-walk as well as simply talking-the-talk. The result? A first place finish in an international invitational field - I couldn’t have been happier. It wasn’t the win itself that I took greatest pleasure in, but the knowledge that if you stick to your goals, practice diligently and consistently day-in, day-out, literally anything is possible.





We took the opportunity to take a road-trip right across the US of A, culminating with a visit to see innovative swim company Finis Inc in California and run our very first 3-day Coach Education Course away from the UK, hosted by CEO John Mix and his wonderful team.

By now we'd mastered the cheesy thumbs up!

In 2014 we have been hard at work developing the partnership with the world governing body for triathlon, The International Triathlon Union, which will soon see Swim Smooth’s methodology being put into practice through 119 country’s respective governing bodies. We hope you are as excited about the future of swim coaching as we are!

Whatever happens around the world though, the heart and soul of Swim Smooth is our core group right here in Perth where we build the real foundations of our coaching system. We hope one day you get to visit us out here and join in the fun for a while:

















Now of course the real challenge is to let you be even more closely connected to what we do, to provide you with a platform that allows you to receive all the great coaching that our 450 lucky squad-ettes do here in Perth. How can we make that happen…? Erm, sorry, I’m over my word count (again!!) so that’ll just have to wait for next week… here's a sneaky peak of some of the planning - can you guess what it is yet?!


I just want to finish up by saying thanks for following everything we do at Swim Smooth. It's fantastic to have your support in spreading the word about better swim coaching and even better to get your emails, tweets and posts telling us how you're getting along and the difference it's making to your swimming.

Here's to the next 10 years!

Paul Newsome

I should also offer a special thanks to the whole Swim Smooth Coaching Team for all your fantastic work, it's been an honour working with you all: Adam, Linda, Annie, Michelle, Cyndy, Martin, Sally, Gabi, Fiona, Emma, Alan, Stacee, Julian, Steve, Brad, Morgan, Dominic, Cath, Sandy, Sinead, Gavin, Lance and Marie.