Friday, January 26, 2018

Coaches: We're Coming Back To Mallorca In May - Join Us There!

Dear Coaches,

We hope you are all well and enjoying a great start to 2018! After a super successful course at the Best Centre, Mallorca last May (review and photos here), we are very pleased to announce that we are returning to this fantastic venue on the Balearic Islands from 24-26th May 2018.

We've seen massive demand for the Swim Smooth methodology building across the world over the last few years. That's great but we're going to need plenty more excellent coaches on the ground to assist with this task and we'd like to offer you the chance to apply for one of the coveted spots on the Mallorca course.

We're looking for applicants from across Europe (and even worldwide) for this course. This is the only 3 day course we are going to be running Europe in 2018 - don't miss out!

Full information is here:

And apply on our website here:

Mallora: The Class Of 2017

The Swim Smooth 3 Day Coach Education Course

Since we ran our first 3-day Coach Education Course in Birmingham in June 2010 we've had over 400 international coaches complete the course from over 2,400 applicants.

Such is the demand that getting onto the course is not easy but those who are successful epitomise what Swim Smooth is all about - you don't necessarily need to be the most experienced coach to be offered a spot, but you do need to show us your passion, commitment and vision for your own swimming and coaching in general.

Live stroke correction by Head Coach Paul Newsome is one of the highlights of the course.

The course covers:

- Advanced freestyle stroke technique correction methods. Identification of underlying issues in a swimmer's stroke technique and best practise to correct. This covers all levels of swimmer from beginner to elite.

- Detailed discussion of each component of the freestyle stroke. A modern perspective on what is considered ideal for distance freestyle at different levels of competition.

- An appreciation of the effectiveness of different styles of different swimmers and in what direction to lead individual swimmers.

- In depth insight into our coaching system which allows coaches to quickly understand a swimmer's style of swimming - and the fundamental technique issues and personalities behind each style.

- Developing a swimmer's catch and feel for the water. Detailed discussion of why this is so hard to do and different approaches for different levels of swimmer.

- Observation skills on the pooldeck. How to spot underlying stroke technique issues that are easily missed.

- Live stroke correction sessions with volunteer swimmers during the course.

- How to use stroke rate to optimise your swimmer's efficiency in the water.

- Best practise video analysis of swimmers - equipment to use, best practise filming techniques and analysis of footage.

- Improving the effectiveness of your communication with athletes.

- How to coach and improve the stroke technique of those swimmers who never seem to improve.

- What to do with swimmers who have seemingly perfect technique.

- Running a squad program and best practise structure and training sessions to develop your swimmers.

- Using Critical Swim Speed (CSS) to develop the sustainable threshold of your swimmers and to encourage better pacing technique for distance events.

- The course has a main focus on distance freestyle coaching of adult swimmers and triathletes but will touch on the other three strokes, sprint, junior and elite coaching.

Stay on for the Best Fest Swimming Festival after the course and get even more from this swimming paradise

Going On To Become A Swim Smooth Coach

Becoming a fully-fledged Swim Smooth Coach takes substantially more than attending a 3 day course. Whilst we know that other coaching programs around the world allow easy accreditation for anyone and everyone that applies, we fundamentally believe that to become a Swim Smooth Coach requires a much greater insight than what we could ever provide in just three days or even a week.

The beauty of the 3 day course is that it's noncommittal towards seeking full certification, in fact many coaches attend purely for their own CPD and that's just fine with us. What's also great is that as the course is not assessed in any way so you can feel free to really relax, enjoy and soak up all the great nuggets of information and learned insight without the worry of an end of course exam.

In this way, the 3-day Swim Smooth Coach Education Course either forms the start of a great new journey with Swim Smooth, or simply the start of newly ignited passion for refining your coaching skills to help others improve their swimming!

Every Swim Smooth coach has attended the 3 day course as their starting point and you must do the same. Find further information on becoming a Swim Smooth Coach here:

A Little More About Perth

Of course if you are interested in becoming a Swim Smooth Coach and are selected for certification then you will be making the big trip to our coaching base in Perth, Western Australia. What's it like out there?

Coach Colin Reynolds recently visited us out there. Colin's not a Swim Smooth coach so is able to give a truly independent review of the place and the Perth squad setup. Find out more in his article for Outdoor Fitness magazine here:

Thanks for the write-up Colin!

So Go Ahead And Apply Now

A rare opportunity to get on the perfect course, with a great group of people in the perfect venue! What's stopping you appling today?

We look forwards to working with you there!

Swim Smooth!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

How Are Your 2018 Training / Racing / Well=being Plans Shaping Up For 2018?

Clinics, Camps and 1to1s:

North America

South Carolina Video Analysis

Calgary Squads

Calgary Video Analysis

San Diego Camp Feb 24-25

New Oceanside CA Squad starting July 26th

Solana Beach / Oceanside / Carlsbad Video Analysis

Chicago Video Analysis

Chicago Squads

Montreal Squads

Montreal Video Analysis

The Woodlands TX, Swim Squad

SS Clinics Chicago

Providence / Boston Video Analysis

Asia / Middle East / Australia / Africa


Hong Kong Squads & Video Analysis

Perth Squads

Perth Video Analysis

Kuala Lumpur Swim Squad

NEW Johannesburg Video Analysis

NEW Johannesburg Squads

Kuala Lumpur Video Analysis


Nijmegen Squads

Prague Junior Swim Club

Prague Junior Swim Club

Prague Video Analysis

Nijmegen Video Analysis.  & Stroke Correction

City Of Elche Video Analysis / Squads

SS Camp Lanzarote Mar/Apr 2018 (English - Dutch)

United Kingdom

NEW Salisbury Squad

NEW Bournemouth Squad

Manchester Squad

West Lothian Video Analysis

Richmond London SS Squad

SW London Swim Workshops

Twickenham Video Analysis

Lancaster SS Squad

Swindon/Cotswolds Video Analysis

Lancaster Video Analysis

Northampton Swim Squad

Millfield Stroke Correction Clinic

Swindon SS Squad (joining offers!)

Felixstowe Video Analysis

Stratford upon Avon & Birmingham/Coventry Squads

Felixstowe Squads

Heston West London Video Analysis

Cardiff Video Analysis Clinic

Northampton Video Analysis Clinic

Guernsey SS Squads

Guernsey Video Analysis

Yorkshire Squads (Pool & OW)

Yorkshire Video Analysis

Swim Smooth Kent Squad

Swim Smooth Kent Video analysis

Luton SS Squad Wed/Sat

St Albans SS Squad Saturdays
The Golden Rules by Bob Bowman (Michael Phelps' coach) is an excellent read
(Jackson, aged 8, performing his best Phelps dive over a flamingo… of course!)

Dear swimmers,

I had an interesting conversation with a Perth squad swimmer this morning who really confirmed some of the thoughts and rumination within a great book I've just finished reading by Bob Bowman - coach to 23-time Olympic Gold Medallist, Michael Phelps. This swimmer was keen to let me know about some of their lofty goals for the next couple of years from a health and competition perspective, claiming that if they did so at least it would then be "out of the bag" and that simply by letting one person know (and the Universe...) they'd be somewhat more motivated to pursue the challenges they had set themselves. I couldn't agree more - accountability is a powerful thing!

Ironically enough, only last month I decided to follow Bowman's sage (but simple) advice to turn back the clock and start to document not only my goals and aspirations for what is now my 40th year, but also the training plan that would get me there. This is probably not new to some of you who keep online records through your Garmins, Strava, Training Peaks and the like, but in the same manner as Bowman I have decided to go a little "rustic" and to start keeping a simple hardcopy training diary to plot my exploits. And you know what, it's really working out well!

With this simple method of planning things out, recording how I feel, projecting what I should do next, I feel accountable for the first time in a good number of years. It feels great. Given the rather crappy 2017 I had where the stress from plagiarism and large copyright infringements took precedence over my own health, I'm determined to prioritise my health and well-being in 2018 and hope you will also join me in that quest for yourselves if you're feeling like you need to crank things up a bit again?

Let us know what you're up to in 2018...

So what training / racing / well-being plans do you have for this year? Have you written them down yet? Have you told anyone? Don't be shy - post them onto the blog comments here or out to your friends on social media.

When you're in the midst of a training for an event it can sometimes feel like a "grind" of endless sessions. And whilst I wouldn't ever dissuade you from keeping some variety to what you are doing, the over-riding message from Bowman's book was how he rates Phelp's consistency and stoicism as the key attributes as to why he was so successful.

Stoicism: The endurance of pain or hardship without the display of feelings and without complaint.

And if it makes you feel any better at all, have a little laugh to yourself the next time you're feeling a little hard pressed during the grind of a tough Red Mist or CSS session by reading the comments in one of my Instagram posts below - imagine ONLY swimming Red Mist Sessions FIVE TIMES PER WEEK for 12-14 weeks:

It pays to read the instructions - imagine the motivation required to do 60+
Red Mist Sessions in a row without any other training to balance things out?!

What I'm Up To In 2018

As mentioned, I will be turning 40 in September this year, and in true mid-life crisis fashion and given the rather rubbish 2017 I had, this year I'm setting myself some lofty goals.

On March 10 I will be partnering up with Brad Smith (12yrs my junior) and Rottnest Solo 2nd, 3rd and 4th place finisher as well as reigning recorder holder for the Port-2-Pub 25km swim to do the second where I placed 4th last year with another Brad (Hosking). Brad Smith might be seen as a pure swimmer, but we've been training back on the bike and run together for the last 6 months or so and I have to say he's a bit of a weapon in both those two disciplines as well. Brad is a great training partner and someone I really admire as an athlete too, so let's see what we can do this year.

As if 42km wasn't enough of a SwimRun around Rottnest Island, following on from this I'm hoping to qualify for the World Championships in Sweden in September (birthday weekend and all…) and put myself through the following 10km of open water swimming and 65km of hardcore trail running as brilliantly depicted in this video below:

Mates Reunited…

But here's the best part, my best mate from my University days Andy Blow (British triathlon team member and partner in crime as you'll aptly discover in the photos below) will be my partner (injuries, wellness and qualification permitting) for the event. It's fair to say that Andy has kept himself in WAAAAYYYYYY better shape than I have in the ensuing 17 years since we each graduated with a bachelors in Sport & Exercise Science, so again, I'll be playing second fiddle and hoping to not let anyone down! Andy has already finished Top-10 in the World Championships in Sweden with another of our former uni-mates, so the challenge will be really on!

Here's some fun photos for you to laugh at (and me to cringe over, (all in the name of you thinking similarly about how you might wind back the wellness clock this year 😉). You can probably see why we had the nickname "Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum":

Embarrassing triathlon outfit # 1 (circa 1998) - Andy (L), Paul (R)

Embarrassing triathlon outfit # 2 (circa 1998) - I was so proud to be
riding for Giant that year after having posted out >150 sponsorship
applications and only hearing back from Giant! - Andy (L), Paul (R)

Celebrating at the "Blues Award Night" - the only
two triathletes to have ever received a "Full Blue" for
international triathlon representation (circa 2000)

How To Crank The Wheels Into Motion…

If you get chance to read Bob Bowman's book I'd really recommend it. He's very much of the belief that a plan is not a plan unless it's written down.

What does your plan look like? Have you written it down? Here's mine...

  • Monday - 10 x 300 in the pool at 5:45am followed by an hour or so "zwifting" (see below) at 730pm (when the kids are in bed)
  • Tuesday - repeat of the Technique / Endurance session you all do at 5:30/6:30am but at 11:30am followed by some running intervals on grass / sand / hills before dinner
  • Wednesday - repeat of the CSS Development session you all do at 9:30am but at 11:30am followed by a longer aerobic run through Bold Park before dinner
  • Thursday - early morning SwimRun practice down at Claremont Jetty followed by another hour or so "zwifting" at 7:30pm (when the kids are in bed)
  • Friday - a lovely restorative yoga routine at 12-1pm at 
  • Saturday - a long run and / or Zwift ride at some point during the day (around kid's activities)
  • Sunday - 2nd SwimRun session of the week - having some fun in the morning exploring Perth from this unique perspective
For me, getting creative as to when I do these sessions around work and family commitments is key (nothing new there to some of you), but here's the kicker for me and something you might want to ponder over yourself too:

I'm going to (try to) be satisfied with 80%…

I find it's so easy at the start of a program to be gung-ho but find that you're injured or sick when you really wish you were still cranking along. This concept of being satisfied with 80% is nothing fancy, in fact I read somewhere that a small community in Japan (Okinawa) which contains some of the oldest living people in the world, attribute their longevity to this life of moderation, especially with respect to not over-eating, its called Hara hachi bun me:

I've always been a 110% kind of a guy (and yet ironically tend to have much more sensibilities towards my athletes commitments, ailments and goals), so this year I'm going to aim to embrace some of the above and see what happens.

Would you benefit from this too perhaps? Not just in training, but in other aspects of your life?

Zwifting - the future of efficient practice and time constrained athletes:

As much as I'd love to push out my chest and say "yeah, I can run 65km trail for the ötillö no problem", this is definitely not the case. I haven't even run a marathon despite having swum many! To this end, for the last six months I've been back on my bike long before I started taking my first few running steps again. The idea has been to build up a little core stability in a non-impactful way and to simply get my lower body moving again properly. It's not been easy - I'm as stiff as a board these days it seems (hence the yoga on a Friday!). I overheard a few of you talking about this thing and was lucky enough to then have Sean Webb lone me his Kickr to give it a try.

If you have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about, Zwift is basically something that allows you to ride stationary in your tin shed when it's 0C outside, sweat buckets and move absolutely nowhere. Sound inspiring right? Well it's enough for over 400,000 people around the world to sign up apparently. You hook your "smart" wind trainer (mine is a Tacx Neo Smart for reference) up to a screen via your iPhone and you pedal away like mad training and racing with people right around the world, all represented as computer animated avatars.

Still not flicking your switch? As you race around the streets of London, Richmond USA or the virtual world of Watopia in gloriously defined gaming graphics, you and all your buddies (wherever they are in the world) can be on there too! I can now hop on with John in San Diego (5am), Adam in Cambridge (midday) and me in Perth (8pm) and we can all ride around these courses, all experiencing the same gradients which transmit and control your smart trainer accordingly and even chat as though we would on a normal ride right in the "comfort" (and safety!) of our respective tin sheds.

Maybe I'm just an "anorak" but the experience is amazing - 45 to 60 mins of quality "no soft pedalling" training easily being worth 1.5hrs on the road. What's more, it cranks your competitive juices as well (something that totally gets me motivated) - I just need to be careful about heeding my own 80% rule advice!

For more, watch this 1m20s video - I think you'll see why I'm hooked:

Back on the bike in my sweat shack pain cave using
the very brilliant riding application

Earning my stripes (polka dots actually) for my first K.O.M polka dot jersey on the Epic K.O.M climb

Zwift is great - you can ride with your mates all around the world  This was
a short sprints 60 mins workout at 3am Perth time with 2nd place Kona Ironman, Lucy Charles
(and about 150 other riders all simultaneously doing the same session - very cool!) is great - you can ride with your mates all around the world - this was a short sprints 60 mins workout at 3am Perth time with 2nd place Kona Ironman, Lucy Charles (and about 150 other riders all simultaneously doing the same session - very cool!)

Getting prepped the right way and ready for a reward - Andy's company is the key nutrition sponsor for the ötillö race series in 2017/2018

Moving on…

So take 15-30 minutes for yourself this week, jot down what some of your hopes and aspirations for 2018 are and (if it helps) flick them across to me via email - I'd love to hear what challenges you are taking on, in or out of the pool!

Getting some help down at the squad sessions with my budding 6yo coach who'll no doubt
be helping you all out in let's say...10-12 years time?!

We'll be adding a little more bite to 2018's Red Mist Sessions - watch out!

Have an awesome 2018!

Paul Newsome - Swim Smooth