All Swim Smooth’ed up.
This is a little blog about my journey so far on the Swim Smooth certification path. The trip has been looming since my selection last year, a very privileged opportunity offered to only a few coaches out of thousands worldwide enabling me to learn from, in my opinion, the best technical coach for freestyle in the world, especially in the context of triathlon and open water swimming.
The Swim Smooth certified process is comprehensive and absorbing, starting with a 3 day intense education course in the UK where you get a taste of the swim smooth methods. Then a pre-application and then application and (hopeful) selection to take on the full certification, in the warmer and certainly sunnier climate of Perth, Australia.
I started my travels on Thursday
with David from Do3 coaching, arriving midnight Friday (Aus time), a long flight especially if you’re not that keen on flying. However the flights were good with a smooth ride to Hong Kong and then a final 8 hour stint to Perth (which after a 11 hour flight seemed like a short ride).
The official start of the course was Monday, but we were straight at it on the Saturday by choice, taking the short walk to the pool to check out the facilities and the exhilarating open water pool set taken by Swim Smooth head coach Paul Newsome. It was great to see this in action with many of the drills and practices we do in our South West Swim Sessions also being thrashed out on this side of the world, albeit with some different twists and ideas. The pool facilities are a little different though, 8 lanes of 50m open air pool under the hot sunshine (around 37 degrees that day), facilities we can only dream of in the UK that seem to be two a penny in Perth.
The following day we fought off the jet lag to view another session an hour up the coastline in the sea. This was a Swim WA initiative to introduce people to open water swimming and it was great to see so many children involved. The smiles were gleaming on kids and adults alike as they started to enjoy the open water and learn the basic skills of swimming in the ocean and choppier seas, with full safety cover by those famous Aussie life guards. Jet lag looming we then retired to the house to relax before heading out to try
that wonderful pool ourselves, meeting up with our fellow coaches from around the world, most jet lagged but eager to get going.
Our course started properly on Monday morning. The first week will be spent mainly observing and absorbing the coaching practices that go on as part of the famous Swim Smooth Perth squad, along with the precise and in-depth video analysis sessions that Paul offers. Like our South West Swim squads the range of ability in any one session ranges from very early starters and beginners through to the faster athletes training for Triathlon and Open water events. The sessions are broken down into their different types, from open water through to technique and then there is the famous red mist sets (and al in between). Swim Smooth Perth Squad are lucky enough to have 12 sessions per week in the 50metre pool and every session is oversubscribed.
Wednesdays CSS development and red mist sets allowed me to get stuck into the day job of coaching again. It was great to be back poolside and coaching in this fast paced environment, it felt like I was at home again and got some great feedback from the swimmers in the lane. Its always good to know what you have set out to do has delivered the goods, especially when connecting with swimmers you have not seen before.
Thursday was one of our busier days, starting with another early wake up call with a swim in Swan River with fellow coach Russ, with Paul and the other coaches looking on from the shoreline. Jelly fish were all over the place and the water was salty, although the locals described it as fresh water (its certainly not a cotswold lake). We set off from the jetty with a group of swimmers, some from the swim smooth squads, all of which were fast. Swimming seems to be hugely popular here (as we know from their success of their teams in the past) and there are an abundance of super fast swimmers and some great open water swimmers, from all ages.
The big thing that has caught me about Australia (or Perth) is that an early rising, active lifestyle is massively common where sport seems to be commonplace and the norm. Claremont pool opens at 5:30am and is then full within a few minutes with either coached sessions or pubic swimming. The school swimming sessions (I have seen) resemble that of the equivalent of a successful UK swim club (and the kids actually get to swim most of the time apparently and not just for a few weeks a year as per a UK school swim offering) and the LTS programmes seem well organised and busy. It seems a very active place and with the summer heat the early risers have a relative paradise of running, cycling and swimming that some of the South West Swim triathletes and swimmers would love.
So as we approach the end of the working week we have another full on day tomorrow, starting poolside at 5:30am all the way through to 1pm, then a little swim ourselves, I have even been embracing the Aussie lifestyle and gone for a run in the afternoons.
Next week is more of the same but with greater involvement in delivering the sessions, we will also have Adam Young joining us, so along with Emma Brunning thats the SwimSmooth Dream team of teaching completed.
I will keep you posted of my adventure down under.
(Sadly I am unable to upload any images to this blog post due to data limitations)