Friday, November 14, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Friday, October 24, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday, October 03, 2008

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Session 85 & 86

Session 86 - Tuesday 9th September:

W/Up: 400 f/s + 300 fins (as 25 L-arm + 25 R-arm + 50 f/s) + 200 pull + 100 Torpedo Kick (no fins)

Main: 200 fins as 6/1/6 + f/s, 400 pull and paddles, 800 f/s moderate pace, 400 pull and paddles, 200 fins as 6/3/6 + f/s

CD: 200 choice

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Session 84

W/UP: 300 steady f/s + 200 fins as 2 x (50m 6/3/6 + 50m f/s) + 100 pull bouy + 4 x 50 as 25m fast + 25m easy + 10s rest.
MAIN: 5 x 3 or 400m + 30s rest, do as:
1) Steady F/S
2) Fins as 3 or 4 x (25m L-arm UNCO + 25m f/s + 25m R-arm UNCO + 25m f/s)
3) Moderate F/S - aim to go 10-15s faster than Set 1)
4) Pull Bouy and Paddles
5) Moderate - Fast F/S - aim to go 10-15s faster than Set 3)
CD: 200m choice. Job done.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Session 82

Quite a steady session today as we're on a recovery week here in Perth!

W/UP: 3 or 400 easy f/s

PULL: 3 or 400 pull bouy working on good roll

FINS: 2 x (2 or 300m alternating 50m drill* + 50m f/s, 4 x 50m stroke count + 10s rest)

* set 1 = 6/1/6, set 2 = Doggy Paddle Extension

MAIN: 2 x 4 or 500m steady f/s focusing on relaxing and simply enjoying being in the water!

CD: 200 easy.

As ever, enjoy!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Friday, August 15, 2008

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Session 78

Welcome back!
Today's set was as such:
W/up: 200 f/s + 200 pull + 200 fins (as 50 Popov + 50 f/s x 2) + 200 pull + 200 f/s
Build: 2 x 50m as 15m scull # 1 + 35m f/s + 10 s. Then do 2 x 200m fins f/s breathing 3/5/7/3. Then finish with 2 x 50m as 15m doggy paddle + 35m f/s + 10s rest.
Main: 3, 4 or 5 x 400m aerobic endurance swim aiming to hold consistent pace. Take 30s rest between each. Lane 3 were hitting 5.35s on 6.30, lane 2 were hitting 6.25s on 7.30 and lane 1 were hitting 7.40s on 9.00.
C/D: 200 choice.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Blog Sessions put "on hold" till August!

Dear All
Owing to our July series of Swim Smooth Clinics across the UK, we will not be posting any further Blog Swim Sessions until August 5th 2008. However, don't panic! If you have a copy of the Swim Smooth DVD and 8 Week Training Program, we'd suggest you complete the following swim sessions in this order:
From Wednesday 25th June and then every Friday, Tuesday and Wednesday thereafter:
  1. Session 5
  2. Session 6
  3. Session 13
  4. Session 19
  5. Session 7
  6. Session 22
  7. Session 23
  8. Paolo's Swim
  9. Session 2
  10. Session 13
  11. Session 15
  12. Session 16
  13. Session 10
  14. Session 4
If you haven't got a copy of the Swim Smooth DVD Boxset, you can order yours here today:

Session 75, 76 and 77

Its been a busy week over here in Perth - so apologies for the delay in listing these sessions!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Session # 72

Tuesday 10th June:
Unfortunately the board was so wet from the rain last night that we are unable to post a snap-shot of today's session, however, this is what we did:
W/UP: 4, 5 or 600m steady f/s focus on a relaxed, steady exhale in the you are humming.
FINS: 2 or 3 x 200m as 2 x (50m drill + 50m f/s). Set 1 = 6/1/6, Set 2 = 4/1/4, Set 3 = 2/1/2 + 15s rest. As the set progresses the amount of time you spend kicking on the side decreases, giving you less chance to think about swimming "proud" with your shoulders back and chest forward (basic scapular retraction). Doing this prompts you to become more efficient at doing this more readily.
NEXT: 4, 5 or 600 steady f/s breathing every 3 for 50m then every 5 for 50m.
PULL: 4, 5 or 6 x 100m on 1.45 or 2.00 or 2.15 with a pull buoy working on excellent body rotation.
THEN: 4, 5 or 600m f/s (again with fins) starting off with the first 50m as the "corpse kick" drill, then work on rotation through from the hips / core.
LASTLY: 4 x 50 at ~80% effort, aiming to hold good form on 60s.
CD: 200 easy.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Session # 71

A spicy little 'number' this morning - enjoy!
Take 20s rest between the fast 50s and really knock these out!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Session # 68

My favourite!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Define your optimal Stroke Rate!

How fast can you swim?

Determing how fast you swim can be achieved by looking at two simple variables - stroke length and stroke rate. Increasing either whilst keeping the other constant will mean you will swim faster. Simple.

But, what Stroke Length / Rate "Combo" is Right for You?

Your Stroke-Length is how far you travel with every arm stroke. Because it's hard to use a tape measure while you're swimming, we count the number of strokes you take to cover a length of the pool. The lower this number, the longer your stroke.

Your Stroke-Rate is simply how many strokes you take in a minute, counting both arms. For example, 40 Strokes Per Minute (SPM) would be a slow stroke rate. A high stroke rate would be 70 SPM.

Think about this like the gears on a bicycle:

Swim Smooth has some unique ways to help swimmers find their best Stroke Rate - it's one of the exciting things that makes our Swim Program unique.

Here is our Stroke Rate Chart to help you. It is a diagram of how fast you are swimming on the bottom axis versus your Stroke Rate per minute on the vertical axis. To find your Stroke Rate, all you need to do is count how many strokes you take when swimming for a minute - if you find this tricky to do whilst swimming, ask a friend or coach to do this for you.

Where do you lie on the chart? You can look at it for any effort level - easy, steady or hard swimming - it works for all speeds.

Hopefully this is a real thought starter and gives you some very strong clues as to what you need to do to become a better swimmer. By the way, we have nick-named this the "BMI Chart" because it reminds us of the Body Mass Index charts you find in a doctors surgery.

To read the full article on how to improve your Stroke Rate to lead to a more rhytmical freestyle stroke, follow this link:



Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Today's hot tip - "learn to sink before you learn to swim!"

What is the MOST important aspect of your stroke to get right? Something we ALL must be doing correctly if we are to swim well? Is it the catch? No. Is it the body roll? No. Is it body position? No. All these things are important obviously, they're what we should be working on in every session to refine your technique, but I'm thinking of something even more basic than that: BREATHING.

Now, we're not going to get into a debate about the benefits of bilateral breathing over unilateral breathing or whether you should be breathing every 2, 3, 4, or 5+ strokes (but if you want to read-up more on this you can at ), but I do want to pose a simple question, the answer to which can be quite enlightening for the potential of your swimming:

Q: Are you AWARE that you are exhaling when your face is in the water?

There are 3 possible answers obviously (yes, no, not sure). What is your answer?

I would say that ~80% of the people that I have coached over the years (including many elite swimmers and triathletes) cannot give me a definitive answer to this question. Either this is because instinctively they DO exhale under the water, or that they simply aren't consciously aware either way. Under-water video analysis or asking a friend to watch you from under the water soon provides the answer.

Whatever your response, you stand to gain some benefits from listening up to this simple piece of advice and trying this little drill set (as silly as it seems) to help develop this aspect of your stroke. After all, if this part of your stroke is not great, nothing else will matter – you'll simply be turning what should be a very aerobic activity (with oxygen) into an "anaerobic" one (without oxygen). Anyone who has done anaerobic sprint training knows there's only so long you can keep going with this!
I guarantee that if you're struggling to complete continuous laps of freestyle, THIS is your main problem.

On dry land, inhalation and exhalation are both subconscious exercises – you do them automatically. When was the last time you went for a hard run and held your breath at any point? You didn't. You either breathe in, or you breathe out. This helps to keep the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide (CO2) in your lungs regular and prevent the feeling of hypoxia occurring. Your body needs the oxygen for your muscles to function properly, but if you hold onto the CO2 the brain picks up on this and starts to raise the alarm bells by quickening your heart rate and initializing a "gasp response". However, I guarantee that if you are not aware of whether you are freely exhaling under the water, that it's quite likely you ARE holding your breath. Some people hold onto it until they are just about to take the next breath in and let it go explosively. In doing so, they are probably still exhaling when they have the small window of opportunity to actually breathe in. Some don't breathe out at all. Both methods are very ineffective.

One swimmer told me last week that he purposefully holds his breath because he was instructed that doing so would increase his buoyancy. Think about it though – where are your lungs? In your chest obviously. Why was this guy being told that he needed more buoyancy? Because his legs sank. What will increasing the buoyancy in your chest do to the rest of your body from stomach down? That's right – exacerbate a low-leg condition! You simply must NOT hold onto your breath! It's bad for your relaxation in the water and it's also bad for your technique!

TASK # 1:

So, if we know that your lungs are like balloons in that the fuller they are, the better they'll float, a quick exercise in how well you can SINK will determine just how freely and comfortable you feel with exhaling in the water. We'll then transfer this skill into your swim stroke in Task # 2.
With a friend or a coach and under correct life-guard supervision, take yourself down to the deep-end of the pool. I'd recommend being in water of ~1.8 to 2.0m deep and within easy reach of the wall. Holding onto the wall take a big breath in and then start blowing out almost like you're humming a song as you pop your face under water. Initially, you'll be fighting to keep your head under as your buoyancy is so great, but as you start to run low on air, you'll start to sink. DON'T PANIC! Drop down and come straight back up. Do this a few times until you feel confident in your ability. You'll find that the easiest position to be in to sink is standing straight up and down like a pencil. A strong, forceful exhale will see you sink much quicker than a little trickle.


Assuming you have familiarised yourself with that and you and your partner are ready to move on, now move 1 foot away from the wall (still within easy reach) so that you are treading water. Now take a big breath in and then start to exhale. If you are comfortable with this 'simple' task you'll sink straight down, if not you'll drop momentarily and then bob back up to the surface worrying that if you keep blowing out you will going to sink and won't be able to get back up! The trick here (and whole purpose of this exercise) is to get over this "hump" or "panic threshold" and keep exhaling – if you do so, you WILL sink. DON'T PANIC! Touch the floor and come straight back up. Getting over this hurdle is such a key point for your swimming and learning to "play around" in the water and control your breathing in this manner will have some massive knock-on effects for your swimming.

TASK # 2:

Make sure you have repeated the second part of TASK # 1 several times and have experimented with exhaling through your mouth and/or through your nose (there is no right or wrong, do whatever works best for you!). Extend yourself each time by trying to sit on the bottom of the pool and then lie, or going from a mushroom float (i.e. knee tucked up) rather than a vertical "pencil". Listen to your humming as you exhale and take time to enjoy this underwater environment. The more you enjoy it, the better you will swim. Now simply push-off for a lap or two of steady freestyle focusing entirely on exhaling freely in the water just as you have been doing. It doesn't need to be a forced thing, just keep on HUMMING! Notice how you start to feel more relaxed, breathing in happens automatically rather than gasping for air, and your legs start to sit up higher too! Bonus!
Simple stuff, done well.


Most of you hold onto your breath for fear of running out, we're going to turn this around and say that unless you have exhaled in the water, you're never really going to get a full breath IN. If you continue holding, you will always panic in the water, will never be fully relaxed and will always be swimming "anaerobically". Think less about breathing IN and more about breathing OUT! It'll make a BIG difference to your relaxation and to your technique.

Lastly, what's the first thing you do when your face hits cold water or you are worried about 500 other triathletes swimming all over you? Yup, you hold your breath. That's why you panic and that's why you hate mass-start races. Work on these exhalation drills and you'll be better in the open water too!

So lets heare your thoughts - are you a sinker or are you a floater?



Session 67

Don't go too hard on those steady aerobic blocks in the main set (i.e. 3,4 or 500m)!!!
Apologies for the slight blur on today's snapshot!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Sessions 64 & 65

Here are the two swim sessions from this week (Friday's to follow tomorrow). Apologies for being late! Its been a beautiful week of weather here in WA, cold crisp mornings with mist on the pool in the mornings and warming up to 25 degrees in the daytime.
Session # 64 = a good solid aerobic swim set, which if you have the benefit of swimming with a partner, should be swam on the last 600m as a drafting challenge...we had 8 to a lane that morning and was perfect as we "chain-ganged" down the pool.
Session # 65 = a "real" workout - 16 x 100 at threshold pace...trying to be as consistent with your timing as possible. I was lucky to have 3 swimmers join me for when I personally did that set and we held 1.15 to 1.16 all the way through which I was quite happy about given the current lack of fitness!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Friday, May 09, 2008

Session # 62:

Quite a nice mix today of some longer, aerobic swimming mixed with a couple of short, fast efforts to keep you "fresh and fruity"!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Make that long stroke FASTER!

You're probably well versed in what makes a good, efficient freestyle stroke...the longer and smoother the better, right? Hmmm, not necessarily, at least not in all scenarios.
Length and smoothness is key, yes, but from working with thousands of swimmers who have tried diligently to develop the absolutely longest stroke possible only to become dispondent when their times start to plateau, there is clearly something else required. That something is the development of your stroke rate.
In a nutshell the two factors that ultimately determine how fast you swim is the product of how long your stroke is and how fast you turn that stroke over. Most people know how to develop the first aspect (i.e. working to reduce the number of strokes per length), but how many of you can conciously say you've worked to develop that other key aspect, stroke rate.
Up until now, developing your stroke rate has been a hard and laborious task involving complicated equipment and quite a bit of maths. Introducing the Wetronome - the simplest way to ensure that you continue to develop the rhythm and timing of your freestyle stroke to better prepare you for that next event!
Its so easy to use, take a look at some of these video clips to show you how you can make your long stroke FASTER! Conversely, you'll also see how to make a short, scrappy stroke which "fights the water" much longer and smoother. Thats why the Wetronome really is so beneficial to so many swimmers.
Don't get bogged-down with a really long stroke, if it means you have a really SLOW stroke - address the balance between your stroke rate and stroke length to really lift your performances!


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Session # 60

Sorry its a few days late!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Session # 59:

The bit at the end is a 400m I.M challenge set - are you keen?!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Session # 58:

An interesting little set today. The swimmers in the squad were told that they would not see the next part of the session until they had completed the current set. Doing so allowed for no-one to anticipate what was coming next. All swimmers were instructed to do a 400m time trial but at 1900m pace (half ironman). Results were recorded. Swimmers then spent 8 x 50m doing some recovery work and then instructed to do a 400m time trial as hard as possible. Interestingly, whilst some went faster in the 2nd 400m, it wasn't by much but with a massive increase in both their perceived exertion and heart rate. The quote of the day went to Helen:
"I P.B'd on the first 400m and it felt so easy - I think I actually swim better when I don't try quite so hard!"
Wise words.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Session 56: Lightening Strikes!

It sometimes happens over here in Perth, but never before has it caused me to officially cancel a session due to the dangers of swimming in an outdoor pool during an intense electricial storm!
Congrats to Mish, Karlee, Gaye, Kay, Wayne, CJ, Helen and Andrew for making the effort to attend this morning - sorry you didn't get chance to swim.
Myself, CJ (visiting TRI TALKER) and Wayne popped over to the Claremont Pool where CJ promptly kicked my behind into touch with a set of 8 x 200m swims on 3.15...aiming for ~ CSS pace (in this case ~ 2.40 ish). Give this set a go today after a choice w/up of ~800 to 1000m. Aim to be consistent - unlike me of course who was struggling having been a bit slack on the swimming front recently!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Session # 55:

Here's a cool broken-1500m set to enjoy!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Further Musings of Stroke Rate Training for Triathletes

Dear All
I came across this review of a presentation in March 2006 given by renowned swim coach and author Ernest Maglischo which some of you may find quite interesting with respect to our discussion last week about optimal stroke rates for triathlon and particularly based upon your own unique attributes and biomechanical make-up. Read the review here:

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Session # 53:

Here's todays fun session!