Episode Highlights

00:06:30 Guess Background
00:17:44 Triathlon on 94
00:23:15 Advice for people who are going back on swimming
00:34:15 Dry land training on swim smooth
00:38:59 A good structure training for the listeners
00:50:05 Insights on covid comeback program
00:55:10 Benefits of swimming to cycling and running and vice versa.
01:00:01 5 key actions for listeners to improve a good training routine
01:10:20 How to connect with Swim Smooth


Fitness Guide





Welcome to the Fitter Healthier Dad Podcast, where you can learn how to improve your diet, lose fast and get fitter in a sustainable and fun way without spending hours in the gym. Here is your host. Darren Kirby.

Darren: Welcome back to the podcast, guys. This is the number one podcast for dads in their 40s who want to improve their health and fitness. This is Episode 48. And joining me on today’s show is Paul Newsome from Swim Smooth. Paul’s Life in competitive swimming started at the age of seven in Bridlington, Yorkshire, and at age 17. He was introduced to the sport of triathlon and switched to elite triathlon competition. He joined the UK is world class potential program at Bath University. While studying for his sports science degree, Paul discovered his real passion is for teaching. And in 2004 launched Swim Smooth. Paul continues to coach. She’s swimming and triathlon squads in the idealic location in Perth in Western Australia.

Darren: Hi Paul. Thanks very much for joining me on the podcast today. How are you?

Paul: Not at all. Darren, so it’s great to be here on the show, mate. Thank you for inviting me.

Darren: Yeah. Yeah. It’s a great pleasure of mine, actually, to have you on the show. Give you a bit of background. It was Swim’s smooth and your videos back right back in 2013. It kind of helped me overcome my diabolical swimming. So. Yeah, so. Thanks very much for doing what you do.

Paul: Tell me about your diabolical swimming . Tell me about your diabolical swimming. How diabolical was it?

Darren: It was so bad that I didn’t actually realize I was holding my breath and I couldn’t actually figure out why I couldn’t swim from one end of the 20 meter pool to the other without really being severely out of breath. And it wasn’t until I watched one of your videos about bubble breathing, breathing underwater and exhaling correctly that I actually realized that I was holding my breath and..

Paul: Yeah it is a common thing.

Darren: It is actually yeah. And it is funny how you and you speak to people who are just starting out to do it. Seriously, that is, they don’t realize that you’re doing. It’s very unconscious.

Paul: Absolutely. You know, over there in the U.K., Elysium from the U.K. as well, being over here in Perth, though, in Australia for the last 20 years. And interesting enough, the acronym that they use over in the U.K. with the A.S.A. for teaching better, you know, the mechanics of the stroke, et cetera, is a thing called Blackett, which stands for body, legs, arms, breathing and timing. But the interesting thing with that is without within our own paradigm since move. We talk about breathing is the absolute quintessential thing that you can need to get your soul first because you get your body legs in your arms don’t matter at all. And so you can get your breathing sources on glad that really resonated for you, Darren.

Darren: Yeah, it was. Yeah, it was. It’s funny when you talk about it, isn’t there? If it had such a transformational effect, I was like, Jesus, that just makes perfect sense. You know, you need to breathe.

Paul: That’s right.

Darren: Yes. So it’s hard. You’ve had a profound impact on me. And we met briefly, actually, the Jenson Button Triathlon. But I think back in 2014 when I was 24.

Paul: 2014. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely.

Darren: Oh, yeah. When you did a little briefcase in session down there as well, which I was part of. Which is really cool. So Paul, obviously, you know, we’re in this crazy covid situation. How things over there with you and the swimming, how’s that affected what you know?

Paul: Well, I mean, it’s brought us to a complete standstill like it has in many places around the world, which has been pretty tough on the business side of things for sure. And just really, you know, it makes you really realize, you know, why you coach and obviously your biggest passion with coaching is just to be around other people and try and help them. And, you know, in my case, it’s helping them improve swimming and learning to love the water and stuff. So to have that chopped off literally for like eight or nine weeks, not to be able to do anything about it is being quite tough, actually.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, although our local swimming pool, the pool I coach from, is actually reopening on Monday. We can’t get in and actually run squad sessions, certainly not in the capacity that we’d normally run them in still for an indeterminate amount of time yet. But we have been running some sessions since the first of May down in the local river. We’ve got a massive river here called the Swan River. It’s very salty, actually. It’s quite close to the ocean. It’s very large and there’s very, very little tidal flow. So in terms of going there versus going into the ocean where we have big chumpy things with big teeth, we shouldn’t really joke about it. But there is a big shark risk factor over here in Western Australia.

So it just provides a really nice sheltered environment in which to train. So we’ve been abiding by local swimming laws and restrictions and stuff. We’ve been able to have nine swimmers to one coach. So what I’ve done is we’ve sort of amplified things with myself and two of the coaches so we can each take nine swimmers or 27 swimmers in total. But what we do is when we split ourselves out over a distance of about 400 meters. So those are three entirely separate groups, albeit running the exact same session for our squad swimmers.

And we’ve been doing that access since the first of May. It helps us get back off the ground again and telling somebody just recently that normally at this time of year we’ll get about 320 swimmers through the program per week in the river. We’ve managed to get to 20. So a figure that’s a bit of a, you know, definitely a step in the right direction, because obviously here we don’t have any lane fees either, which normally account for around about six thousand dollars of what we turn over, basically. So it’s yeah, it’s been tough. Don’t get me wrong, in the first eight weeks or so, just terribly tough and like everybody out there, I’m sure as well.

Just this great big uncertainty. Not sure if you’re ever going to get back to doing what you love and whether because or whether it be the swimming side of things, but with gradually starting to move over that move towards that point. And Australia has just been you know, we’ve been very fortunate. We’ve had very few cases over here, less than 100 deaths in the entire country, which has just been unbelievable compared to what it’s been like over there in the UK. And part of that, it’s just been the crazy lockdown measures that they went into very, very early on. Over here in Western Australia itself is a massive state and that got locked down within Australia. So we would like an island within an island, if you like. Okay. And it’s definitely helped things.

Darren: Yeah, yeah. You say it is like you say it is amazing how. I think that, you know, we don’t appreciate what we’ve got until it’s taken away from us. And the simple act that we do on a daily basis, whether it’s swimming, whether it’s running and stuff like that, you know, and just having that connection with other humans as well. So I’m sure it’s amazing the impact. And my hope is that actually people start realizing and appreciate that when, you know, as this is starting to lift now, definitely. And do take the more simple things in life. You know, hold them in a much higher value and regard. Really so, Paul you’ve got a very interesting background, so for the people that haven’t heard of Paul Newsome and Swim’s Smooth before. Can you give us a kind of a brief background on yourself?

Yeah, I’m from the East Coast of Yorkshire, originally grew up over there. Got into a swimming pool when I was about seven years of age and must know the local swim club was Bridlington. If you’ve ever been up to Bridlington, Sydney Bridge, as I call it, that. That was my first swimming club. And I joined Holle Olympic as well, which is about 30 miles down the road. And my mum would take me three or four times a week down to a hole. So it’s a massive round trip, you know, 60, 65 mile round trip, three, four nights a week, basically. So she totally gave up all of her time and effort because it was what I wanted to do. She wasn’t a pushy parent. No, she never sort of forced me into doing any of those things. It was just literally. This is where my passion was. And she thought, I’ll just support it. And with that, I was really lucky.

Actually, when I think back to those times we started the whole Olympic, they just put on tie on place a brand new full time swimming coach whose name was Ben Poleward, who since passed away, unfortunately. Great guy. Absolutely fantastic guy and brilliant coach. And I just remember him ever. There was a big buzz around the club because everyone said, you know, this guy. And this week, Berriman, this down is 1990. This guy’s on a salary at that time. Everyone’s talking about a salary of twenty four thousand pounds as a swimming coach, you know, and everyone’s like he’s a swimming coach on his own and that much money sort of thing, you know?

And I just thought, you know, I mean, I was I was interested in obviously the swimming and the coaching side of things, but I just that was probably the first sign of things that I thought, okay, well, maybe it’s okay to follow your passion and maybe your passion is swim coach and maybe can earn a living out of it. So, yeah, that was the introduction to swimming competitively. I was never a super brilliant swimmer or anything like that. I would go to the county standard but never get to the Nationals. It wasn’t until I tried triathlon in 1994 and sort of just turned 16 years of age at that point that I totally fell in love with open water, swimming and cycling and running as well at that point. And yeah. Yeah.

So that sort of started things. I got we moved to Halifax in West Yorkshire probably when I was about fifteen. That’s when I got into the triathlons and stuff and met a great group of guys called the Rosendale Triathlon Club. I’m still very close with FS with some of those guys. Now the guys who got means troughing yet, you know, as a is a nice thing. A couple of them actually being on our three Geissman to coach education courses. So these are the guys who got me into triathlon and now wanted to come on the course and do some coach education as well, which is fantastic.

And went down to Bath University in nineteen ninety seven, did the district’s next high science. It was the first year Bath University actually offered sports and exercise science. And the great thing about that was there’s a real buzz about Bath University coming out because there are a 50 meter swimming pool and a new form to be a running track and a great coach called Richard Hopsin, who many of your listeners might well recognize from the Annals of Triathlon, as it were. All the animals, I should say, tried trifold day. Yeah, he was a brilliant mentor, somebody I’m still in touch with and to this day sort of thing. And a year later, Chris Jones came on down. So he was a guy who actually took over the coaching program down, then worked alongside Richard as part of the British triathlon program. 

And I think it is about 18 months into all of this. We got an announcement that a very famous triathlete was going to come and train with us at the center and myself and Andy Bloke who runs precision hydration. Now, we were all super excited about this because when somebody told us who it was, we’d like it can’t possibly be. And it was five times the trial from champion Simon missing. So he came down to Bath and and it was just like, oh my God, this is this. It really felt like it was an exciting hub of triathlon at that point. Yeah, well, training together, living, breathing triathlon and swimming and stuff. And it was absolutely fantastic.

And yeah, I stayed there for four years at Bath Uni. I got injured in the final year and decided I was gonna do something which I’ve always wanted to travel around the world. And I grew my hair long, became a bit of a hippie. So thing that sort of stuff. Got my backpack on and I went through India in Southeast Asia and then eventually arrived in Perth. And I was only supposed to be here for three days, and that was just over 21 years ago. Now I think also there it was 21 years ago, just fell in love with the place. As everyone talks about how many 50 meter swimming pools are here, that I think there’s about 30, 50 public swimming pools for a population of just over a million people. So access to water space, everybody swims over here, whether it’s in the ocean or the swimming pool or indeed the river, like I’ve just mentioned. And, yeah, it’s just a great place to be. I’ve got offered a job with the stadium trial fan club that a membership then of around about 400 people. So it’s quite a big fan club.

And I was just working there. I was initially employed just to run three swim sessions per week. And I remember vividly they were paying me one hundred twenty five bucks a week, which was barely enough to even pay the rent. And never mind my art and food and stuff like that. It was a real struggle. But I just wanted to sort of like say I was a I was a triathlon coach. Qualified sports. Scientists from bath university and I just want to grow the programs and start adding bike sessions, run sessions in sweat and stuff and just start developing the program.

But it was probably 2004. I think when I come up with the idea. That’s what I wanted to do, was create a library, a video library, if you like, of all the drills and swimming techniques , which have been sort of our thing over the last few years. And we decided to create or I decided to create a DVD box set called Swim Smooth, as it was called then without. I didn’t know initially. Often laughed with my wife about whether we were going to call it swim fresh or swim clean. And the idea was it was actually taken off as a soap powder company over here called Radiance. If you got it in the U.K. but I just had this idea that I wanted to be able to clean up somebody, stroke, as it were. I want to know really how to swim very well. And it’s basically a stroke. So that was the idea behind that.

And I shortly left Australia with my wife, who’s Canadian. She’s a physiotherapist, and we travel to the UK for about 18 months delivering students with clinics across the UK. Of course, nobody heard of us at that point. So we frequently run these sessions for one or two people and make a massive loss. But over time, it just started to gain a little bit more popularity. And yeah, it is sort of fastrack slightly forwards from there. I went back to Australia with Michelle, my wife, and in 2007 we moved back over here. 2008 I met who has since become my business partner, Adam Young. So he came over and spent a bit of time over here. He used to work for Ford, for the Ford Motor Company as an engineer and automotive engineer. Very, very bright guy. He can teach himself anything, basically.

And he came over here. He was actually made redundant and Fortuny from Ford with chronic fatigue. And fortunately, it came over and I said, why don’t you just come and sit with me and just coach with me for six months, as it turned out to be. And I couldn’t afford to pay him anything because I actually was willing. Yet for somebody else, I wasn’t legally allowed to actually pay him anything. What is over here? And he just sat by my side and we gave out what was basically just a really good relationship. And to this day, you know, we’re best mates. I wished I said I chatted to him about, you know, I’ve got this thing called Swim’s moves, not really going anywhere simply because I’m just a one man show, you know? And yet we sort of made a formal arrangement at that point to become partners in it and tried to push it forwards. And what Adam really excels is on. I feel like I’m especially during this whole covid 19 thing. My brain just runs a mock with creativity and ideas and stuff. But sometimes I struggle to actually manifest those ideas and get them out, whereas Adam is very, very good at doing that.

So he’ll basically take what I do. He won’t agree necessarily with everything I say. But yeah, between the two of his will actually come up with a plan and modify and and get the methodology out there and that. Right. That was the I guess that was the start of two thousand nine was when things really started to pick up for and smooth. And 2010 British Triathlon asked us to rewrite their swim coaching program. And in 2013, the International Triathlon Union asked us to rewrite their entire swim coaching curriculum for all the countries around nasals. I think it is something like something like 169 countries. Countries, I think around the world actually use the system, which we set up in Perth back in 2004. So, yeah. So, I mean, it is a great experience.

We’ve been very lucky to travel around the world. In fact, I set it up. All I really wanted to do initially anyway was just have the ability to be able to go back home and see my mum and see your sister, see my step dad and the rest of the family and stuff like that. And I just wanted to be able to go back and visit them. And if I could do that by running some clinics and paying for the airfare, then it’d be great. And one of the really sad things with the whole covid 19 thing is we’re gonna be locked down, I think, in Australia for quite some time. So I’m not going to go to Majorca, where we often run a coach’s course over there every year in the US. So, you know, I mean, compared to the bigger picture of everything else that people are dealing with, if, you know, if you’ve got families who loved ones who’ve been affected by covid 19, it seems small fry to think about that. That’s you know, it is quite a sad thing. And a lot of people out there love to travel. It is one of my passions and stuff. And to not be able to do that, at least outside of the country right now, it’s yeah, it’s a bit sad for sure, but I think we’ll get it moving forward. Yeah.

Darren: Yeah. I mean, I mean, me personally, I always want to come to Perth this Christmas. My brother and I were going to sign up for one of your coaches .

Paul: So yeah,

Darren: That’s not gonna happen now.

Paul: I say not gonna happen. I don’t. I was just listening to.. I love listening to classical actually.

Darren: Right.

Paul: And I just so want a reason. Like, listen to I get all the British news just very quick up to date and what have you. But they’re talking about the idea. Of course, if anybody flies into the UK, I think it is a six thousand pound fine or a thousand pound fine, if you don’t mind, two weeks of quarantine and stuff. So, you know, somebody there would be the same coming this way as well. So if I was here, if I was to fly. Into the U.K., and I have to be there for a while. Have to be there for four weeks to give you two weeks of quarantine, to do two weeks of work, and then it’ll be another two weeks of quarantine back. Yes. It’s just obvious. It’s just not feasible for the foreseeable future.

Darren: Yeah. So I just wanted to kind of step back when you mentioned about getting into triathlon in 1994, because, you know, I only came to this sport in 2013, he said. How was the sport back in 1994? Was it very much still in its infancy because you were quite young to come into it as well?

Paul: Definitely. I mean, it was very much in its infancy, I think. You know, I say that to be stalwarts who got me into it saying, well, I’ve been doing it for 15, 16 years before that sort of thing. And I say it. But in terms of, you know, it wasn’t in 1994, it hadn’t been announced as an Olympic sport that wouldn’t come for about another four or five years for the Sydney 2000 games. Every race you do would be non draft legal. Right. So you weren’t allowed to. Were allowed to draft on the bike and stuff like that. So, you know, I think the athletes from back those days and Rich Hopsin like Coach would have been a perfect example.

He was somebody who was a you know, in modern standards, he’s swimming right now would be sort of a second or third pack, basically. But swimming didn’t need to be super, super fast at that point. Where everybody used to rip it apart was on the bike, you know. Yeah. 40 k. Travel and bike and hobo cutting cords, as they called. And basically, I just used to rip everybody apart around the bike courses and stuff. And then he’d jump off and he’d run maybe a 33, 34 minute 10k, which again, against the brownies and stuff. It doesn’t sound that impressive. But back in those days, it certainly was. And you know it all. It’s all been won. Basically that young on the bike, basically. We had a chat yesterday at our own podcast with Craig Alexander Croce, as he’s called The Five Time I’m and World Champion. 

And we just sort of reminisced about back in those days and stuff and what it was actually like. And I think it was you know, it was quite a great time. There’s lots and lots and lots of pool based triathlons, as I remember. And, yeah, suited me down to the ground because my biggest fear, ironically enough, is open water, swimming and deep water. I’ve got a real phobia of deep water, especially obviously come to address that over the years. But so, yeah, what I don’t like is maybe a little bit of vertigo. I don’t like swimming in really deep water. When you can see your way down to the bottom, it just righteously spins me out basically. And the imagination Steven Spielberg and Wild basically, you know, and I just sort of put me out a little bit.

So I will go triathlon in ninety four. But my first few races were all pool based and it was until ninety five. I think I did my first open water swim and it was I remember this day actually that summer before I did the triathlon . And so this would have been like sort of June, July. I went with my mom and my step dad and my sister and we went down to the south of France and down there Peau in the south of France to watch the Tour de France down there. And we went for a.. what’s it called, a wild water rapid sort of, you know, big inflatable boat thing down there down the river. It’s the. Yeah, what were the rapids, basically. And we’re going down there and the aroma of stepping out just for fun is pushing me off the boat basically. And I didn’t have any goggles on or anything. And my mum through these goggles that’s which is gone and put your head down, do some so then you know. I know.

So I was a good swimmer at that point, but I’d never actually done that. And just for them. But it’s probably only about 20 meters. I put my head down, open the meyerrose underneath the water. And it was like, oh, my God, this is awesome. Yeah. You know, I saw all that fear that I’d actually had over the years and stuff, you know, wish on school trips. And everyone says, oh, Paul, he’s a swimmer of the school sort of thing. Why don’t we go for a swim in the sea? But I wouldn’t do a climb up. Yeah, I’m really nervous about going in the sea and stuff like that. But yeah, I mean, I still get, you know, some every now and again a bit of anxiety.

But I’ve been fortunate to swim the English Channel back in and eleventh, so I swam across there. You know, it’s obviously pretty deep, pretty murky and certainly has Manhattan Islands around New York City in 2013. And again, that’s fairly nasty, sort of the water. If I was due to be coming over to swim like Windermere in September on my birthday this year, unfortunately, that’s not going to happen now. So it’s a bit of a shame. And that would have really tested my testimony because even though there’s nothing in there that could hurt, it’s just this idea of swimming in 300 meters worth of water in places.

I think that’s how deep it is and eerie and dark and all those sorts of. Yeah, I hope I’m not scaring anybody listening to this, but just to sort of put into perspective, you know, I’ve been fortunate to do some really big races right around the world and some crazy waters and stuff like that. But I’d be the first up and up and say I still get nervous and anxious, just like a lot of your listeners probably do.

Darren: Yeah, and I think, you know, that’s actually quite a common thing you think is about you’re kind of fearless and everything else. And it would only affect children.I regularly see people that are, you know, trying out. open water swimming for the first time in the lakes. I’m kind of struggling with putting my head in and looking at what’s at the bottom or being I would see the weight or fear of getting caught up in the weights and things like that, say t.A is I think it is definitely quite a common fear that people have. Definitely. So obviously, as we’ve already mentioned, Paul, we’re coming out of lockdown, you know, and obviously in your area, pools, it is starting to open up. They’re not opening up over here so much. So it’s open water.

Swimming in the UK is going to very much be very popular right now. And there’s all the social distancing coming in place. So for people that are actually either going to start or coming back from this extended break we’ve had away from swimming. I know with swim’s smooth  you just started a nine week program, I think is what? What would you recommend? How people come back from a lot of people being dry land with the bands and everything else, but what’s your recommendations on how you can come back into swimming?

Paul: That’s a really good question, actually. And I think the first point is to just literally do it very gradually. You know, it’s tempting to think I’ll go back and do an hour session or I want to swim three k’s. And a lot of my guys over here when we started the river swim sessions that we’ve been doing for small groups of nine people, I could see a lot of people towards the end of the session look at what she’s thinking. We’ve only done two point four K’s. I’ve normally done three K’s or three and a half days or what have you. We purposely restricted the length of those sessions to just 45 minutes. And even for some of you guys, if you haven’t been able to swim at all over there in the UK, which most of you won’t have been able to over here in Perth, a lot of the guys who are actually joining me have still been able to I’m lucky enough to be able to swim in the ocean.

They just haven’t been totally structured training. So, you know, 45 minutes might still be a long time. So even just saying to yourself, is going to get in there. Go, go for ten, fifteen minutes. See how I feel and Yeah, definitely. Definitely go with a partner. And one of the things that we started using over here are these swim secure tow floats. You might have seen them. I think they’re actually too much par for the course over there in the UK. So a little float that you pull behind you. I’ve always been hesitant to use one of these things because I always thought it would drag me and slow me down. I don’t want to affect my Ostrava segment and stuff like that, but we’ve done a test actually with our fastest swimmer in the squad and over a distance, a timed time swim of five minutes. 

We did a couple of double back CAS tests on this and it’s creating about three to five seconds of drag over five. Right. So it’s really very, very minimal. I think something like that just gives you the assurance that, you know, if you do need to take a pause or breather, you can just hold onto it for a moment. It keeps you nice and visible as well, just in case anything untoward happens.

But I think over there in the UK, there’s a lot of conjecture at the moment about and I’ve been following all the news about whether or not you should be swimming in the open water. A couple of the governing bodies say, yes, a couple of governing bodies say no. The ones who I know are definitely sort of saying that because they are concerned that it might be putting a stress on the emergency services and quite rightly so. You know, if somebody gets into Yeah, baba, whether it be from hypothermia or heart attack or something like that. 

And the last thing you want to be doing is jeopardizing volunteers out there with that. So the first step really, you know, start gradual, start a lot smaller than you would ever imagine. You would want to start. Don’t even go into it thinking this is a workout. Just go into instant’s yourself. This is an experience. I have an experience of getting into open water and being able to do a few strokes. And if that’s all you do, you only do around at 50 meters, a hundred meters, something, then you’ve achieved something. By doing that, you go with a friend. Have one of these toe floats with you.

Both of you have one of these toe floats with you. If you can, tell people where you are going. Make sure you go into a sanctioned area where a lot of our coaches around the UK work in conjunction with some of these local open water venues where, you know, there’s a lot of water safety on the water and those sort of things. The whole notion of wild swimming, specifically while swimming in the UK at this point time, I would say something I would say be very, very wary of. Yeah, the whole thing with it while swimming is go find a body that nobody else is there and stuff.

But if you get in trouble in those waters right now, it’s simply not fair on anybody else out there. So find a sanctioned area, go with a mate, go with the group if there is such a thing, and just make sure you’re actually looking after yourself and keeping. No, I wouldn’t I would certainly not be suggesting going without a wetsuit. I’d encourage everybody to wear a wetsuit. We say that and I know a lot of swimmers might be licenses and frown and go and I go out and say, yeah, but it’s not about it’s not about you.

What hating away in a wetsuit is about you doing the right thing for everybody else at this point in time. Yeah. It’s about knowing that the wetsuit is going to keep you warmer. It’s going to provide some buoyancy as well. It’s going to make you safer in the open water. And it’s just just a thing that you probably do best to do at this point. Encouraged all my swimmers over here to be wearing them, and it just makes life as a coach that much more so. It just feels a lot more secure. And people enjoying the challenge of, you know, working with wetsuits and doing something different that they haven’t experienced before.

Darren: Yeah, definitely. I think you make a fantastic point about, you know, the consideration of it’s not jishu you go into a lake, whether that’s manned or unmanned, it’s you being socially responsible for what’s going on around us. And covid is very much still a factor that emergency services and NHS are still very much under stress. And it’s being responsible in that regard, not just being selfish because you want to do a swim, but touching on the other point that you mentioned there about just taking it easy. 

It’s it’s it’s really funny you say that, because when I go into the lake last Monday, you know, you’re instinctively because if you’ve swum before and you just want to get back to you, you know, the lakes divided up into 450, 750 and fifteen under a loop, you just want to jump in and do fifteen hundred meters. And I actually didn’t. And I just did two 450 loops and I stopped. I kept stopping. And it is interesting you say it because you just want to get out there, you want to get out there, hard but you. The reality is you will have lost some conditioning and will have lost a little bit of swimming performance. So. Yeah. Yeah. It makes perfect sense. Just take it steady because otherwise, if you don’t, you end up putting yourself backwards anyway.

Paul: Yeah. And that’s the last thing you don’t want to be compromised by the immune system at the moment. And let’s face it, nobody’s training for anything right now because there are no events. So it’s not like it’s an urgent thing. You’ve got to get fit again in a short space of time. There’s nothing, nothing like pressing you in. And in many ways, you know, that might actually be a bit of a nice release for some people. 

Somebody. Yeah. Competitive like myself. You know, I struggle with the idea of just doing exercise for exercise’s sake. I always feel like I’ve got a goal. Got to go and try to and stuff. So a lot of this is actually forcing me to sort of sit back and reflect. And, you know, today you had just just come back from the river. Now, actually, we’ve had two groups of what we have two groups of 30 people down there this morning with about an hour and a half gap between. And it was so beautiful down there with the sunshine. I thought I normally think I’ve got an hour and half got to get Forcades in or something like that.

And so I put my wetsuit on and I got chatting to somebody and I did get in the water and swim for about nine hundred meters. And, you know, it was I thought, okay, well that’s still a win. It’s still better than zero meters, which is what I’ve been getting, you know. Yeah. I don’t I definitely don’t beat yourself up thinking I’ve got to do more. Got to do more of it if there’s ever a time to be gradual and progressive and you build up now is that time. Yeah. Like say yeah. Treat it as an experience as opposed to a training session to begin with.

Darren: Yeah. Definitely. Definitely. Don’t let your ego get in your way.

Paul: That’s right.exactly.  a couple of little things that people can do though, you know, with the as they start getting more and more into it. We talk a lot about using these ten per trainers in the swimming pool. So. So you have stuff I’ve been doing, my swimmers. We normally use tempo training for a couple of ways. I’m not sure if I’m using self-doubt, but they are. If I said somebody’s right, we’re going to swim 400 meters and I won’t swim this 400 meters in eight minutes. That’s obviously two minutes per hundred meters or thirty seconds per twenty five meters. I could set those tallyho trainers to beat every 30 seconds.

And all you’ve got to do is you’re going to make sure you’re at the end of the pool. It’s almost like a beat test to turn on. Yeah. And then just helps you to measure out your effort as you’re going along. The nice thing with that is the temperature and the mode. 

One is accurate to one one hundredth of a second. So if you were in the pool, you’d sort of think, OK, of got through that this week. Next week I’ll make it a little bit faster, maybe two tenths of a second faster next week and so on and so forth. You build it up in the open. More is much more difficult to be very accurate with the distance. So what I’ve been doing with my swimmers is rather than using mode one, which is super precise, I’ve been saying, okay, let’s swing around that boat, that boat, this turning buoy, and then back to that I over there and I said, well, what I’ll do is I’ll actually time them to swim round. I’ll say, okay, that’s let’s run around this at 70 percent.

Efforts are not too hard. I’ll time you. So let’s say they go round in five minutes or then set the tempo trainer up to be put and after four minutes and 50 seconds, for example, just to nudge them on that little bit further. And then they’ve got a little bit of structure whereby they’re actually swimming around the loop in with the time thing. And this wouldn’t be this the first session you do back. Obviously, that sounds like I’m contradicting myself there. But if let’s say, for example, you’ve done five, six sessions of just doing the experience, they and they start to get a little bit fitter. Stan’s getting more confident. The water’s warming up. Reactions are starting to ease.

Then you might start to sort of structure your training sessions a little bit like that. That’s quite good. Why did it the other way to use mode three? She’s for stroke rates. And you can actually set a different tempo. You could say to her, right, OK. I’m going to focus and get my stroke rate up today. I’m going to shop. I’m going to punch into those weights, into that swell and chop that I’m swimming into or I’m going to. I’m going to lengthen things out a little bit. Now, I’m going to slow it down and focus on my catch a little bit more. All these sorts of things you can do.

It’s really opened up the eyes of my squad over here that you can actually do a lot of structure in the open water because most people just get in and just swim a loop. Yes. When for half an hour or whatever and then get out without any sort of structure. So, you know, over the last couple of weeks, we’ve just gradually, incrementally introduced that sort of little bit of structure. And that given the fact that the duration, the sessions are actually still very short. It’s not putting anybody like nobody’s getting at these sessions completely knackered, like they sometimes get out there. Everyone’s still got a lot left in the tank.

Darren: Yeah, and I think that’s important. I seem to have that rather than just jumping in a lake and just swimming, to do these drills, to do those sessions, I have a bit more structure because it is such a different environment to the pool. I mean, yes, you know, when you’ve got a busy pool, you have you know, it’s quite wavy. It’s quite a can be quite choppy. But, you know, you’re very much against the elements. You know, whether that’s, you know, if there’s a lake with a little bit of a current or whether or not, you know, it is quite weedy or if it’s quite dark, there’s always other kind of things from a psychological aspect that you have to deal with when you’re swimming in open water, which can make you know, you can get fatigued from a mind perspective because you’ve got to concentrate on now all them other things as well.

Paul: Definitely. Definitely. Yeah, for sure.

Darren: So, Paul, if obviously over here we’re only starting to get lakes opening up now and then, they probably give me a large majority of people listening to this who’ve not done open water before and only do pool swimming. So therefore they’re less inclined to go into the open water. And they’ve been a huge, obvious, influx of dry land training. So what kind of recommendations have you got for continuation of the dry land training during this period?

Paul: Well, yeah, I think if anybody’s actually tried some dry land training stuff, we put out a massive program on our swim smooth back, put up pretty up four or five weeks ago. Now we recognize the need to put something out there and help it and help people see actually what they’re doing. I think, yeah, my wife’s a physiotherapist and she’s actually in the video demonstrating all the exercises. And then Yona is an our coach in South Africa is actually talking through. So both Yoanna and Michelle, a physiotherapist. So it’s a guided survivorship program going through. And one of their hopes with the dry land program was that this wasn’t just a stopgap until you get back into the pool.

This is something you might hopefully continue with once you get out to the pool. And, you know, we see a lot of shoulder injuries and stuff in swimming. A lot of that can be fixed by creating stroke technique. But some of it needs to be correct by fixing imbalances in muscle and musculature and stuff like that. So it’s, you know, the dryland stuff can actually really help with that, especially like the Thera bands, the stretchy cords basically do an external rotation work, which is where you got your elbow. So if I’m just trying to visualize this now myself, elbow left, elbow bent at 90 degrees with my hand, almost like a bit of a fist, if you like, with a thera band or a stretchy cord reaching over towards my right hand side.

And then what to do with that left elbow, which just keeps the elbow tucked into the side is just turn that left hand outwards. So it’s what we call external rotation of the shoulder joint. And what it’s doing is it’s actually helping strengthen muscles at the back of the shoulder. A lot of people I can cross over in front of their head when they swim or they might view me taught the entrance rule of thumb first. And that sort of very much puts you into this sort of rounded postural position, almost like a hunchback hunching over basically. And you’ve probably noticed a lot of elite swimmers even stand like that naturally, you know, because they’re actually sort of very well developed at the front. But if they haven’t actually spent enough time drawing back and actually creating/improving their musculature behind instability behind the shoulder, it could run into run foul from that.

So, yeah, the dry land stuff is great. And I think it’s you know, you will also need constant if you’ve been crazy and been doing like thirty, forty five an hour session sort of thing with the dry line, you probably maintain that especially can get back to the pool, get the right time to do that. But if you still maintain the five, ten minutes, three times a week, for example, you know, maybe, yeah, we go to bed or either before or after a training session that you’ve just done, it will certainly help with that. And, you know, just improve the posture a little bit. It’s been a funny thing, actually, because there was a rush probably at the end of March for everybody. Every month, his dog put out a video about dry land, core training hands to Graham’s on Facebook. It’s like, oh, my God, yes. 

I mean, so many things. Well, we decided to have a different slant on it with ourselves and do it from the more the physios perspective and hope. Yeah. The long term focus on keeping this going and also creating a program as well, which is easy to remember. So yeah, I mean, I’m guilty as the next man sort of thing. If you think about all the different drills you can do in the pool trying to remember and all those different drills, quite hard. If you put a structure in a and a process behind it and a reason and rationale behind why you’re doing it, you can create something which has got like a very easy road map and people just sort of work their way through. So Yanar and Michelle did a brilliant job of pulling that together and I filmed it and then edited it and put it out there. And it’s been really well received, which is which is great.

Darren: Yeah, I think you’re right. I think, you know, I kind of draw the parallels to, you know, running and cycling. You know, you want to do strength and conditioning training to have a good, solid core to kind of support you, particularly with running and swimming. And so if you can add, like you say, as opposed to having instead of, you know, if you have the dry landing in, you know, in addition to your normal training as well, because if you know, if you can strengthen your body and get your posture right, then at least when you are in the pool, you also mean you can swim in a much more efficient way. So that makes sense.

Paul: Yeah. Absolutely.

Darren: Yeah, so. So I think yeah, I think, like you say, oh, obviously what you’ve done is you’ve approached it from, you know, just add this to your, you know, to your training plan. And like you say, they’re just being for 10 to 15 minutes. That’s doable for everybody. You know, even when perhaps there’s a day when you can’t get in the pool, where you can’t get in the lake, you know, you can at least do that to kind of keep your conditioning up.

Paul: Exactly. You know, there are a lot of people out there who like to travel for business and stuff. And it’s a classic. Yeah. From your busy business, people flying around the world are. Ah, you know, I can go for a run. I find a jet, a bike in the gyms or things downstairs in the hotel. But being able to maintain your swimming is quite, quite challenging and hopefully swim at trial and stuff will definitely carry through for people.

Darren: Yeah. Awesome. So with some of the dads and the people listen to this and there’ll be a lot of people that are beginners. And obviously, let’s assume for a second there that we do have our local polls open and, you know, they do want to get started. What would you recommend? This is a good kind of structured training session to start with. Obviously, you’ve got a lot of stuff on your YouTube channel and the swimsuit guru. But just for the benefit of the listeners, how would you approach it?

Paul: Well, I mean, I probably start with the thing that made the biggest difference for you. So I’ve done all about the breathing side of things, you know, getting to grips with that. A lot of people come to the pool. And if something’s not your thing and, you know, some people do see it as a bit of a necessary evil for getting into triathlon, chances are you’re going to be a bit tense, bit anxious, bit nervous maybe about getting in there. And even just doing one of the drills that we do is to go down to a deeper part of the pool. Maybe anything for about four, four or five feet deep would probably probably suffice. 

And just holding onto the side of the pool and just gradually blowing out and doing some sink downs as we call and down to the pool just to teach you how to exhale properly. And it might seem like a real namby-pamby thing to do, but what it does is it, just as you said yourself, you know, you see so many people holding onto the breath when they’re swimming. We see all the time the problem of holding on to breath. When you’re swimming, first and foremost, it makes you feel more nervous and tense and anxious than you should be doing. But secondly, adds buoyancy to the chest, which is the last place you need it when you screen you actually need.

Yeah, that’s one of the reasons people love wearing their wet or swim in the pool boys because it lifts up on the like really high. So if you’ve got somebody who’s holding onto their breath and they get low sinking legs and the two things go hand in hand. So just spending a little bit of time at the start, you know, just doing a couple of those sink downs and maybe just doing a few easy laps where you just focus purely on exhaling in the water. The bubble bubble breathe mantra, which you mentioned earlier on, is something. Yeah, we’ve put out years and years ago, but it’s been something which allows people just to remember, okay, when a face is down and it’s exhaling. So bubble bubble and it gets take a breath and if you use that format, bubble, bubble, breathe, bubble, bubble, breathe, bubble of breathe, they actually give you a nice bilateral breathing pattern. So breathing to both sides.

And yeah, not everybody likes bilateral breathing. Some people, you know, there’s a lot of coaches around the world who sort of argue its benefits, but we say it is a great way. Just improve the swimmers versatility. So when you’re in the open water, you might spend the entire time just breathing to your left, or you might need to spend the entire time breathing to. Right. But if you practice a little bit of bilateral breathing, then you’re gonna be, well set you could go to either way. And we just find that pure bilateral breathing. I’m breathing every three strokes just really helps to censor and balance people. And there’s a massive argument to say that’s all we need to be breathing more frequently than every three.

But the problem is when you breathe every two, especially if you’ve got a relatively high stroke rate sort of thing, you don’t actually get time to exhale properly. So every time you get to take a breath of air, then it’s like a yeah, you don’t actually get the time to go. Yeah. And sign and relax and let it all out between the strokes. So, you know, it’s almost a little bit like that fight or flight syndrome type of thing. You know, people hold onto their breath because they think they’ve got to, you know, they’ve got to survive. But in actual fact, doing it like that can actually make things doubly worse because it makes you sink as well. So, yeah, for any warmer. I’d just encourage people to just focus very much on the exhalation side of things. Yeah. One of the classic things we then see if holding on to breath is probably the most common thing we see when I do a video analysis session. And the second thing would be you tend to see a lot of people crossing over in front of their head. It’s a very, very hard thing to see. You don’t tend to see it unless you can get above the sonar.

So many swimmers don’t actually realize they’re doing it themselves. But when you go to take a breath, I say you can’t breathe the right side. It’s super common for the left hand to cross over in front of the head. Only if he gets straight the left hand side, the right one tends to wrap around and that can cause you to sort of snake in, jackknife down the pool and the water it because it’s swim, of course. So we do a lot of work. The sort of next level of development within our programs is very much then trying to address some posture and alignments in the water.

So very simple exercise. Many of your listeners might’ve done this without necessarily realizing why. It is just do some side kicking, so kicking. On your side. Yeah, most people do this maybe without a pair of flippers and they kick like crazy. And I think this is a kicking drill, but it’s actually got nothing to do with kicking at all. It’s got everything to do with your upper body, upper back posture. So all that good dry land, diligent training you’ve been doing. She’s been teaching to draw your shoulder blades together back. If you say, okay, I can actually think about doing the exact same thing. What ends up happening is you draw your shoulder blades together, backing your hand, straightens up, and you kick. They say 10 to 12 meters.

On the left side, you tend to have meet on your right side and then you can start to swing normal freestyle and just really visualize the middle finger of each hand, extend the straightforward inference of eight shoulder, especially when he gets a breath. So suddenly you can change that bubble bubble. Breathe mantra to bubble. Bubble straight. Bubble. Bubble straight. So when you to take a breath in and you’re actually thinking about your arm going straight forwards and down and keeping your head nice and low, breathing into that little bar wave and just that, just help him with that so that you know that would be, we call that basically drill that drill sequence. We actually call it the javelin drill. You sort of kick it for a little bit and then straight into your freestyle with the idea that if you’ve kicked on your left side, you’ve got your left arm out breathing to your right.

Maybe when you get halfway down the pool, start in normal freestyle, only breathing to your right and just focus on that left hand going straight forward. Like it was do when you kick in on the side so that if the drill featured in lots of our programs really like yet another another really again. It’s a little bit more advanced is again kicking on the side as you kick on the side. You raise your arms straight up into the sky. Pause for two seconds and then spear into the water and switch over onto the other side. We call it the broken arrow drill. And the reason is to be really good for all those dads out there. Listening to this is because as you start to get all the, my forty second birthday, I’ve got two kids, myself and I. Yeah, we all get a lot tighter, a lot stiffer for over the computer all day, all the time and stuff like that. What a broken narrative. Jill, does it sort of recognizes that, OK, we might not have the flexibility and mobility out of the back and shoulders a 15 20 year old does.

So why are we trying to swim with that classic high elbow recovery out of the top of the waterway fingertips or almost just trailing? They can actually be detrimental for your shoulders, can make you feel really tired and and tense. So how can our drill actually gets you bringing your arm up straight and then pausing and experience the water there? And what it does is it encourages tense swim with a slightly straighter on recovery over the top of the water. So lines you got a little bit more lift of the hand over the surface, which is perfect for open water swim in because it helps you get over the rough, choppy water. It also means that you’re not battling against the inflexibility of your wet suit in your shoulder as well. And it you know, if it’s in the pool, then for all you guys out there who a little bit tired and stiff, especially if you got young kids as well. So if you’re constantly picking them up, crazily carrying them sort of thing, you know, it does bring into that bad postural position.

So we find a lot of dads in the squad really respond very, very well to the Broken Arrow drill. And yeah, so there’s a couple of drills. And maybe last thing is, you know, especially if you’re just thinking, okay, getting back into some swimming, not really doing anything to stretch it, just doing some laps, whether, you know, whether using a tempo train or maybe using an Apple or Garmin or something like that, just challenge yourself. OK. Right. I’m going to swim here. What feels like 70 percent. And all I’m gonna do is I’m gonna do, let’s say, five times 200 meters with 30 seconds rest between them. And the only job you’ve got is to make every single one of those two hundred’s the same time as the last one. So, yeah, let’s say it takes you four minutes to do 200 meters. The next one four minutes. Next one format.

And when you get home and if you’ve been working the way I believe, download it sort of thing, what you wanna do is make sure that not only are you going through each 200 meters, hitting four minutes, but each twenty five meters is taking you 30 seconds to do as well. So it should be a very, very good chance to then practice some of the breathing, keeping calm and relaxed, practice some of that sort of keeping your hand nice as straight as you point forwards rather than crossing over in front of your head and just do it in a calm, relaxed way so that you’re not you’re not thinking rivalrous. You know, we call it over here in Australia, we call it race. Racing for sheep stations. You’re not racing for the sheriff station here. You’re actually racing. You’re actually just swimming. And the only objective is to be consistent with your pacing. Keep mate making sure you’re mindful about your exhaling underneath the water and just keep you pretty calm and collected.

Darren: Yeah, I think that’s some great advice. There’s a lot to pick out of. I think one of the things is in terms of getting into the pool for the first time, I still do this now. And that’s obviously from you guys. Well, I just I three to four times where I keep my legs straight and I just sink to the bottom by just really pushing out the air, out my lungs just to get myself conditioned for the fact that when I start to swim, you know, I need to do this bubble bubble breath. And yeah, I still do it, like I said to this day. So I think not that’s very, very key. And the other point as well is what you just said, days around pacing. So all too often, instinctively, we jump in the pool and he’s exactly like you said, you know, you want to race for that sheep station. But it’s backing off. And it’s and there’s a lot of I think there’s a lot of skill involved in understanding when you’re 70 percent is, 80 percent is and actually working within those zones. Because when you do that, I find when you back it off, you’re way more inclined to have a much more smoother approach. And you can focus on whatever technique or drill you’re working on that time in a much more effective manner.

Paul: Definitely. Definitely. Yeah. It just makes everything. It’s just that everything becomes a lot more productive. Yeah. You know, you see people doing interval sessions. You might be 10 times 100 meters. And, you know, they’re setting the world light on the first two or three intervals. And then suddenly they fought, as they say, for example, their target paces one minute. Forty five for those for swims. And the first few they do. one minute Thirty five. But the last field. one minute Fifty five or two minutes and stuff, you completely blown the session by doing that is just not massive at all. And you know, so you’ve always got to always just got to think especially in trial for when you racing really any distance of 750 meters above, you got to be very much thinking about how aerobics efficient are you becoming. And that accounts also for how technically efficient you become. But however overly efficient you becoming, are you sending yourself into the red zone or a out like, say, just sitting slightly back at that points and just becoming as efficient as you possibly can? At that point, which is maintainable.

Darren: Yeah, absolutely. So we mentioned a little bit about the covid comeback program that you’ve released on the Swim smooth guru. Can you just give us a little bit more inside detail as to what that contains for the listeners? Yeah, sure.

Paul: It’s a nine week program, and the idea behind that is. We often find that programs fall in programs are probably good for about up to about 10 weeks beyond 10 weeks. It start you start to get a bit stale and it feels like the end is never coming, basically. So this is just an week program. The idea just had literally to get it back started again. I say we start off with, you know, suggesting two or three sessions per week and that gradually moves out to three or four sessions per week. And each of the sessions will probably take you between 45 minutes.

And 60 Minutes is a heavy emphasis on doing drills and technique work at the start and then as you start to break up your endurance. So to do starts have become some of the sessions start to involve, you know, set intervals and structure and those sort of things. A lot of people over here were worried that the first session back in the pool would do would be a CFS test, one of our threshold tests, because, you know, we base we pin so much on knowing that number. And, yeah, we what it is at any point in time that most people assumed that that would be the first thing we’ll do. But really the first sort of certainly six, seven, eight, nine sessions that you do, you just really want to be going through the motions. Like I said, in the water, you want to be having that experience as opposed to a workout necessarily. And then as it starts to change and improve, you know, you get the first six, seven, eight sessions, you’ll be a little bit more inclined, then start to add a little bit more structure to it. So the program sort of develops with that. We start to get into a little bit more threshold developments and those sort of things. But the key component of the of the program is, is obviously the blend of drills and how we do then when we start to integrate some of the longer, harder sessions and also specifically this and this seems like are code for that type of thing.

But one of the things that we encourage people to do about twelve, maybe 18 months ago was this idea of swimming 2Ks every other day now. Right. Mainly for our swimmers. So if you’re triathlete, listen to this. You thinking to your self , I would never normally swim that much anyway. But maybe even if it’s just one two K continuous swim per week, why are you thinking about your exhalation? You’re not stressing yourself. And the idea is it’s not a time trial. So a lot of triathletes, me included, have the idea that if somebody is setting me a continuous fifteen hundred meters and above, it means it’s time trial. I’ve got to improve my time each time that all is about swimming about 70 to 75 percent effort, going through the motions, keeping you breathing calm and relaxed, not pushing yourself too hard. And yes, you can see what time it takes you to do that  2k I’m sure everybody be interested in that. But then I guess you do it. The idea is not you don’t have to try and beat it.

You probably will beat it because you just be getting fitter and back into the swing of things. But the idea is that you just sort of, you know, go through the motions. And this is a really aerobic swim. Just chance for you to build up a bit of endurance, a little bit like go get a bike ride on a Sunday with your mates. Yeah. You know, it’s it’s chitchats or repace and it’s. Yeah. Do you some good. Maybe even it’s just socially but it’s doing you some good in terms of just building up that sort of low level and aerobic endurance which you can then some puts, it puts the best use when you start to add some of the interval stuff later on in the week. So yeah, the idea was to actually just provide people have been a structure.

There’s 34 sessions in there for nine weeks to sort of build people up. And yeah, we’re hoping it’s gonna be pretty good. You know, during this whole covid period, we we started to think to ourselves, like, well, how can we help our coaches? We’ve got 50 coaches dotted around the world. Each of them would have an average of, let’s say, a hundred swimmers out there. What we wanted to do, we we gave them completely free and open access to the guru for all of their local swimmers. So, you know, they weren’t able to get down to the swimming pool. We knew that eventually when they would be good for them to have a structured program that they could follow. Yeah, but even during this period, they’ve been pointing them to various drills and videos and stuff within the guru. So they’ve just been able to maintain a bit of engagement.

So, yeah, we we would. What’s the word? We unboarded 5000 swimmers over this period. Just straight to answer them to do that, all for free for those guys who work with the coaches because we know the benefit of getting them in there. Out see the program and then be able to get himself fast tracked and back forwards. You got to try and keep it positive during this period. And, you know, we we’ve taken it. We’ve taken I won’t beat around the bush. We’ve taken a massive hit financially during this period. Yeah, it’s been terrible, to be honest with you. But I’ve got to come through this and I’ve can come through that stronger if more people know a little bit more about what we do and stuff. So absolutely. And it’s gonna be, yes, I think down the line. Yeah.

Darren: Yeah, definitely, and I think. Yeah. Credited for taking that approach, really, because, like he said, you know, it’s in times like this when we need to support each other. And I think there’s been a lot of that going on.

Paul: Huge man, huge.

Darren: All credit to you really say saying obviously. Yeah. We talked a little bit about triathlon. That’s that’s my passion or obsession, as some people call it. So in terms of being an all round training schedule, I obviously you’re focusing on the swimming. But is it benefits that you can take from cycling to running to kind of bring into swimming and vice versa?

Paul: It’s a really good question. The studies and research out there shows that swimming specific fitness can carry reasonably well through as it almost like a general fitness towards biking and running. But by and running, fitness doesn’t go too well towards the swimming side of things, which is why you can really fit cyclists and runners coming into triathlon. And like you said. Yes. You know, Ben thinks himself, I can’t even swim 20 meters was what’s wrong with me sort of thing. You know, I’m having a heart attack or something like that. And it’s not that that fitness doesn’t really transfer across that well. And it’s all to do a little bit with the breathing side of things, you know, just yet and all that.

You know, when you’re out on a bike and running, you give scant regard to breathing, whereas when he’s swimming, you have to breathe well and efficiently. Yeah, I work well for you. I think one of the reasons swimming transfers well to biking running is it it just sort of teaches people how to breathe better. First and foremost, the biking and running. Of course, if you if you really fear it’s likely to be quite sort of skinny in the upper body, but quite well developed in the legs, which is gonna make you think quite low in the water. That’s why a lot of especially a lot of the top three triathletes get to a point with their swimming where, you know, they might be able to just break fifty eight, fifty nine minutes over and I’m a distance swimmer sort of thing, but they can’t get much beyond that.

And a lot of it. Yeah. That you know, they’re fantastic on the bike and run. And some of that is almost like a a bit of give and take basically about how far I have fight and get with it. So yeah. Yes. It is definitely a bit across a transfer between transfer, I should say, between swim events of bike and run, but it doesn’t really go as well the other way. And just thinking about that is one of the reasons why our of coaching people over the years are very good. I shoot triathletes. I’m an athlete too.

You’ve got the ability to go to Kona and that would be sort of in the yet again probably about fifty seven, fifty eight fifty nine minute bracket. So they would be, you know, in their age group, they’d be right up at the top coming out the water with it and they’ve you often seat and taken this approach while swimming is not really going to improve much. So I’ve seen people only start swimming for weeks before and I’m on why everything else in the six to 12 months before that, it’s just been purely on the bike run. So they’ve got rip a shape for the bike and run and then they come to square four weeks. It’s like were argh! Why can’t I swim. And then and then they really problem is the real problem is when they come to race, is that because they’ve lost so much swim specific fitness, they might still be coming out at fifty eight, nine fifty nine minutes.

But it’s absolutely crucified them to do that. And then they’re biking and running ends up suffering because they haven’t been doing the swim swim training as well. So it’s a real misnomer if you’re doing ironman to think to yourself. Right. The swim only contributes ten to twelve percent of the entire time that I’ll be out there, maybe up to 15 percent, something like that. Yeah, bike and runway’s gonna make the big margins. But if you give very scant regards of swimming, you’ll be in for a big shock in terms of how you imagine doing all that. I can run in training and then suddenly under-performing on the bike and run around the swim swimmers, you’re going to see negligible difference on the swim.

But if you were fifteen minutes slower on the bike than you expected to be without realizing it because of the swim, you’d be absolutely mortified. Yeah, there’s no specific fitness. Just has to be it has to be there. And I think a lot of people don’t do a lot of swimming because they don’t maybe don’t have the structure, don’t know how to structure it properly, don’t maybe don’t enjoy it. So all of these little things that you can do to to maybe enhance that, whether it be through different drills, setting strip programs, using your wearable, getting some feedback about how are you going, all these sort of things can certainly improve that.

Darren: Yeah, I definitely think that’s great advice. I mean, yeah, there is different types of fitness, depending on what discipline you are doing is what I would say.And he you know, if you are doing triathlon with you’re listening to this thing, you do need to focus on all those very different disciplines because it’s a different type of fitness. Like you say, you know, the biggest thing is breathing are obviously on the bike. You don’t need to focus as much on the brain as you do the swim and the run. But, you know, there’s different techniques that you need. And like you say, you know, even if you could swim a fifty nine, if, you know, for a three point K swim and only of trying for four weeks, you’re going to be ruined when you come out the water. No two ways about it. But, you know, I would draw this swim that same time that come out that water fresh and then jump onto the bike side. So, yeah, that’s that’s a that’s a great point. So, Paul, before we we finish up today, then, what are the five key actions that you say that listeners could take away to either help them improve this room when they come back or to establish a good training routine?

Paul: Yeah, I think certainly in terms of when they come back, one of the good things to do. Again, to re-emphasize it is, is the breathing side of things. And I sound like a broken record saying that but. And I know there’s a very quick story. I run a big coaching conference for triathlon Australia over here probably about 10 years ago. I said to all the coaches, you know, many of whom are more experienced and very much my peers sort of thing. I said, OK, everybody, what’s the most important thing we’re swimming for? For a swimmer, for triathletes to think about when they swim. And the first guy stood up and goes, it’s elbows. It’s all in the elbows, get the elbows high. And so they all said it’s all about the catch, about to catch . And some of this idea is the strength of the kick. They’re not much more simple than that. I said it’s breathing. If you haven’t got the breathing in place, you’ve got no chance of actually improving your swimming because everything else is almost inconsequential beyond that point. So breathing is an absolute essential.

And funny enough, later on that day, we had an elite triathlete camp-down and you could see all the coaches sort of smirking, thinking, you know, because this guy was a pretty good swimmer and. Right. I my job was to try to show you how you improve your swimming. And I could looks over and smirking and they’re sort of like, how was going to do this? This this guy elbows. Great catch, strong kick. Bah bah bah bah bah. Yeah. And so. Right. The only thing wrong with this guy’s holding his breath underneath the water. And they said, no, he’s not. It can’t be easily athlete. So he’s holding his breath underneath the water here. Let’s have a look at this video. So we did the video analysis and they got the athlete was like, oh, for us, what you’re supposed to do now is first apply underneath the water him, the drill, the sink down. And this is an elite athlete. This is somebody capable this in.

Fifteen hundred. We did the sit down exercises with this elite athlete. And sure enough, he made a tremendous improvement to how efficient he was, how comfortably felt in the water, in the water. So that definitely would be our first step is don’t don’t knock aside the knock aside the breathing in terms of a send to the stroke itself. You know, a couple of things. I mean, a lot of your listeners are probably going to have that low sink like syndrome. Yet one misnomer which people make the error of, is to then simply correct that by having the pool buoy between the legs, you know. Right. We call it we’ve got a system called swimmer types. And one of our six swimmers that we’ve recognized is not a swimmer called the ARNY. So she’s somebody if you have a wrestling, the water are like dragging low and not typically reach for a pool buoy  instant provide an instant fix to their low sinking legs.

But obviously, it’s just an instant fix. It’s not actually fixing the problem itself. And what people fail to recognize with the pool buoy as well is it’s not just giving you buoyancy, but usually one of the reasons why people’s legs drag is what I was talking about earlier on about crossing over in front of your head. So if you cross over in front of your head, your legs tend to scissor kick apart, which creates drag and slows you down even further. So the pool buoys not only give me buoyancy, but it’s preventing legs scissor kick in apart as well. So if you don’t address those things, then it’s then you’re going to be going to be really struggling. So there is a place for using pool buoys.

We certainly use them with the program, but there’s a time and a place for it. You shouldn’t be using it just to sort of make up for everything, the misgivings of the stroke, as it were, in terms of establishing a good training routine. I’m going to I’m going to start with the C word here. The word is consistency. That is really there is no magic. There is no silver bullet. And becoming a better swimmer is just simply about consistency. And everybody listen to this right now. Should be not in their heads and listening and thinking. Yep, of course, because none of us have had consistency over the last eight or nine weeks. We’ve been out on water. The routine is gone, basically. So set yourself. The challenge of just being consistent when you get back, not doing, you know, two weeks of hero training, an hour and a half, five K session sort of thing, and then. The following, we start off small. Getting there regularly. If you can do two sessions a week, stick to two sessions, we can do for stick to four.

But try to just get that consistency happening and that will really, really make a big difference. I know people bang on about consistency and you might be license’s rolling your eyeballs thinking this all sort of thing. But there is no secret. There is like people come to us. Hey, could you make me 20 minutes faster over nine months? And we saw our training program and the training program just all over the place. Let’s start with that. Just stop simply and with. We’ve getting that right. I think point number four. Yeah. I think just sort of recognizing that swimming for triathlon on especially is going to be quite different to the classic pool swimming.

So, yeah, a lot of people tell you that you’ve got to have the absolute perfect looking freestyle swim stroke. You need to look like Ian Thorpe or even, dare I say, are my one of my favorite swimmers of all time. Rebecca Adlington, over there in the UK, you have a really, really nice swimming. Well, in the open water doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to have the most picture perfect freestyle swim stroke and, you know, very lucky enough to have done quite a bit of work and a method with them, whereas I work with designing wetsuits and stuff with Alastair and Jonathan Brownlee. I want to call it with the first time both of these two guys swim with a style that we call the Swinger, which is a very sort of short, punchy stroke, very straight time recovery over the top of the water. And am I allowed to swear on the show or. Yeah, I’ll bleep bleep it. Oh, it was something different.

But basically we sat down for a beer in Bradford and I said, Alice, I said, you know, what’s your stroke? What was your perception of your stroke like? What do you think? And it just goes I. It’s terrible. They obviously said something different. But yeah. Anyway, so really scrappy and stuff. I said it can’t be really terrible and really scrappy. If you’ve got two Olympic gold medals sat around you, next thing you’re obviously correct. 

And the thing is, a lot of people assume that swimmers like Allaster and, you know, some of the other top swimmers, top triathlon swimmers in the world are achieving in the open water despite their stroke. But we actually believe in achieving because of their stroke. And Alastair’s are really examples of these super versatile in the open water. When you watch most of the time, you’ll see breathing through his left hand side, the reasonably side left hand side most of time is because most troughing courses turn to the left or on anticlockwise courses where it’s just easier, as it were, to breathe to the left. But on certain courses, the Melbourne sorry, Gold Coast Commonwealth Games just back in 2018. Jonathan Brown, his brother, younger brother, was drawn on the other side of the pontoon at men. Alister Hatch tried to search for him in the open water and of course, was a left hand turn. There’s a period of about 200 meters. We see Alastair switch to breathing to right hand side. I’m always trying to eyeball Jonathan to make sure that come out of the water together and onto the bike. So, you know, it’s an amazing, amazing bit of versatility.

So, yeah, you stroke. Does it need to be out? Look, absolutely picture perfect. There is no such thing as perfection in swimming. And I think sometimes you got to look we all look a little bit beyond the aesthetics, you know, from in the old days people you say you’ve got to look like Ian Thorpe. You’ve got to have this really long gliding stroke. But we’ve done a lot of studies on this. We’ve seen a lot of sun studies and research which actually demonstrate that gliding and trying to minimize stroke count is almost the complete opposite of what you want to be doing in the open water. So it sort of blows my mind when you still hear people saying, do loads of catch-up, try to reduce the number strokes can take per lap because fun enough, Alistair Brownlee does the complete opposite and he’s the best triathlete that’s ever existed. So it’s worth bearing in mind.

And yeah, I think that the final point really is, you know, if you’re getting if you get yourself suited up for some of these open water swims that you’re likely to be doing in the next few weeks and stuff, just make sure you’ve put your wetsuit on properly. And that sounds like a real basic tip. But then there are people who come to us and say, oh, I’ve got this wet suit. You know, it’s fantastic. It cost me 500 pounds or whatever. And yet it feels terrible around my shoulders. And you say, well, go and put it on and let say see what it looks like. And then they just pull it on the wrapping around us to fight that. We’ve got a video up on YouTube. It’s been viewed a lot of times that half a million times is something just showing you how to put on a wet suit.

If you just Google or go to YouTube, go swim smooth wetsuit to something that should come straight up is the first thing just showing you how. By getting somebody else to help you. We call it the human shoehorn effect, which is actually shoehorning somebody in at the back. It makes a tremendous bit of difference in terms of how well it fits over the shoulder, how free and mobile feel. And that in itself, you know, swimming in the open water, as I mentioned beforehand, can be quite riddled with anxiety and tension and stress. Yeah. The last thing you want to do to add to that is have what you think is a ill-fitting wetsuit. Adding to that stress. So long as you spend an extra five minutes, as I was just putting on, you’ll be. Yeah, you’ll be. You’ll be going great guns. Yeah.

Darren: Yeah, awesome, awesome, fantastic advice there. Paul, thanks. Yeah. Thanks very much. I think. Yeah. The wetsuit one is one which you kind of it’s funny when you go to open water, you see all kinds of weird and wonderful ways people get into their suit. You’re right. If it doesn’t fit properly and you get in the water, you know, you’re restricted and you don’t flow properly. And it makes it just uncomfortable with just another thing to add onto all the other things that you have to think about. So it’s a little before we wrap up, then Paul. Is there anything that I didn’t ask you that you feel like I should have done that would benefit the listeners?

Paul: Just what type of tea I drink, really?

Darren: Would be Yorkshire tea.

Paul: Would be Yorkshire tea or should I say you’ve got it. Very good. Very good. In fact, I just ran out today and my wife, my gorgeous wife, Michelle, she’s just going to bought more  Yorkshire tea, you know, Yorkshire tea over here for Forty tea bags used to cost thirty dollars, which is which is about no way back in those days. About 20 quid for forty teabags. Crazy amount of money. It’s now become a staple in most of the supermarkets around here and stuff. So. I think you probably seen the Brownlee brothers advertising Yorkshire tea and stuff. Yeah. It’s the one thing that keeps me connected to the UK for sure. Good. Strong cup Yorkshire gold. Yeah.

Darren: You can’t beat it. Well Paul, It’s been amazing talking to you today. Thank you very much for coming on and sharing all of the great information. So how can people connect with you with when Swim Smooth where can they find the app. And all the good stuff.

Paul: I mean, the first place to go really is just simply swimsmooth.com or go on to YouTube. I’ve been doing a lot of YouTube videos during this period. So goof new stuff up on there at the moment. So just gets YouTube search for Swim Smooth. We’re on Instagram and the Swim Smooth with Swim Smooth and stuff. But if you’re thinking about doing the Covid comeback program, you want to go and jump Checkout’s swim smooth dot guru. That’s G.U.. Okay. You swimsuit guru where you’ll be able to get on there and start stuff on that program. We’ve got some real exciting stuff coming out in the next next few months. Can’t say too much more about it. The moment that it’s based, like what you see at the moment is version two of the guru, version three of the guru is just around the corner. And it’s going to it’s got some fantastic sort of intelligence built into it to really help you with the swimming. And we’re hoping that’s going to tie nice to people getting back into the swing of things and just getting getting better.

Darren: Excellent. Awesome, Paul. Well, thank you very much again. And I really appreciate you coming on. And I look forward to catching up with you again in the future.

Paul: No worries at all. Thanks very much for having me on.

Darren: Take care.

Paul: Thanks.

Darren: Thanks for listening to the Fitter Healthier Dad Podcast. If you enjoy today’s episode, please subscribe and I would really appreciate it if you could leave a review on iTunes or the things mentioned in the episode will be in the show notes. And a full transcription is over at Fitter Healthier Dad Podcast.