Archives for the month of: December, 2014

It’s been very cold recently but we are past the shortest day of the year and can look forward to the start of the triathlon season that will be on us before we know it. So how are you progressing with your swimming goals for this Winter? Are you making the changes to your stroke you believe will help? Are you doing enough of the right sort of practice to make the changes you want?

On Saturday mornings I am planning to continue with the main themes we started in the Autumn, namely:

  • Doing time trials in the last Saturday session of January and March to help you track progress on speed, distance per stroke, strokes per minute and critical swim speed
  • Bringing the underwater camera every Saturday for those that want to check on progress they are making with changes in their stroke
  • Having additional coaching from Chrissie & Simon whenever possible
  • Continuing with technique work as part of the sessions

This week will be doing some finger-drag drill to help with stroke length and shoulder rotation.  You can see a good video of Keri-Anne Payne doing this here:

I’d like you to especially watch the difference in her high-elbow catch when she does the drill properly (55s-1:05 in the video) and when she doesn’t (1:10-1:20).  Notice how she keeps her palms facing downwards when doing it properly with an excellent high-elbow catch.  However, when she over-rotates her elbows drop much lower in the water and she loses that lovely, strong, high-elbow catch.  Please try and focus on this – by keeping your palm facing downwards – when we do this on Saturday.

See you Saturday!


It’s Christmas Swim time and some of you will be pleased to know that unlike last year there is considerably less Fly – none in fact!  Instead we will be doing our longest session of the year.  For lane 1 it will be 4km, lane 2 it will be 3.7km, lane 3 it will be 3.3km and for lane 4 it will be 3km.  Also, both the 7am and 8am sessions will be the same so to fit it all in the timings for sessions on Saturday will be adjusted as follows:

  • The 7am session will start at 7am promptly at 7am and finish at 8:05am
  • The 8am session will start at 8:05am promptly and finish at 9:10am

Saturday’s session will be our longest session of 2014 and to make it successful there are four things I would like you to do:

  1. Arrive promptly and don’t faff or add any extra rest into the set, otherwise it won’t fit in the time available.  If you are lucky enough to have a Lucy or Juliet in your lane then you will know what it is like to have someone cracking the whip on timings but if not you will have to do it yourselves.  If you are really struggling and can’t make every turnaround just miss out a 50 and join in on the next one.
  2. Pace yourself.  It is the longest session we have done this year, and everyone that comes regularly should be fit enough to complete it, but plan on swimming the second half faster than the first half so go out at a steady pace.
  3. Technique, technique, technique.  When you are finding it tough, or even when you are not, please do try and focus on swimming with good technique and doing as perfect a stroke as you can.  Try and stay relaxed when you think about your technique.  You should swim as efficiently as possible, keeping those elbows high at the catch, breathing out all the time underwater and maintaining a good body position.  It will require some mental effort to do this as well as physical effort.
  4. Smile and enjoy it!

See you Saturday,


Prime numbers are one of the simplest ideas in Mathematics and also one of the most complex to understand.  They are taught in primary school when learning Mathematics yet also stretch the minds of some of the greatest Mathematicians today with some major unsolved problems.  They are used to create beautiful patterns, are the foundation of the security used to protect us on the Internet and also occur is many areas of nature.

What is Rob on, I hear you cry!  Has he hit the Christmas Sherry earlier than usual this year?!  What have prime numbers got to do with swimming?  The answer  to the first question is, alas, “no” and the second question is “not a lot”.  However, you will need to know all the prime numbers under 30 to be able to do the main set in the session this week.  So if you don’t know what a prime number is, a Prime Number can be divided evenly only by 1, or itself. And it must be a whole number greater than 1.  Hence, the prime numbers under 30 are 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23 & 29.

See you Saturday!


Well done to all those that did the time trials last week – you should now have a good baseline to measure improvements you make in your stroke and/or fitness over the Winter.  I will plan to do one of these sessions every two months on the last Saturday of the month. Therefore, the next one will be at the end of January and the one after that at the end of March.

By now I am sure you will all know that Christmas is fast approaching as you are excitedly opening your advent calendars every morning.  This means that we are on the countdown to the Saturday Christmas Swim so we will do a bit more swimming every week to burn off the chocolate you are eating from your advent calendars every morning.  Like all good Christmas presents the exact format of the Christmas Swim will be an exciting surprise for those that come along on 20th December.  However, I can say that it will involve more swimming than we normally do, will have lots of front crawl and is likely to be a challenge that will make your Christmas Turkey taste even better than usual!

We have two weeks to get ready for the Christmas Swim and will start this week with a long set of 100s off fairly short turnarounds.  My main requests when doing this type of set are two-fold:

  1. Please try and relax as much as possible early on in the set and focus on a relaxed and efficient technique.
  2. Try and maintain your speed as you go through the set by focusing on your technique, and whatever aspects of your stroke help you keep relaxed and efficient. Use whatever you can to remind yourself to think about your technique, such as making every third repetition a technique focused one or focusing on the last length of every other 100.

See you Saturday!


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