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In view of all the uncertainty in the world at this time, I wanted to touch base and outline our current plans at Swim for Tri. We believe that the service we provide contributes greatly to the physical and mental wellbeing of our swimming community, so we will continue our work for as long as is safely possible. As mentioned on social media yesterday, at the moment the pools are all open so lessons will continue as long as we can, providing pools and coaches are healthy and can continue.

This is the message from England Swimming

The water is a great place to be but please use the usual strict health and hygiene rituals being endorsed widely.

“Public health opinion is that it is generally safe to go swimming at this time. Water and the chlorine within swimming pools will help to kill the virus. However, visitors to swimming pools are reminded to shower before using the pool, to shower on leaving the pool and to follow the necessary hygiene precautions when visiting public places to help reduce the risk of infection.”

We always have – and continue to – uphold the highest training standards and we hope the pools uphold the highest personal hygiene standards. More so than ever.  Here are their announcements re what they are doing regards their pools.

We utilise 4 pool providers




London Bridge is part of the NHS so you would hope they are on top of things!

If you are unwell ahead of a 121 lesson we will be as accommodating as possible regarding credits and moving appts. Please speak to Keeley and Sam in bookings. If you miss a fitness session you can make this up at another site but please get in touch to confirm.


Keep well







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Openwater Stress
This week has been about creating OW themes in our fitness sessions as the Openwater race season hopefully draws near. Often we recreate a fast start and then practice calming down into a steady swim.  This exercise goes a step further creating a lot of first length stress to help cope with the race start. Endure the stress & unpleasantness, learn to relax & get back into your rhythm. It does not matter if you are at the front or back, we all get butterflies and nerves.  We all feel a  little ‘panicky’ which can ruin the start, by starting too fast and leave you shattered for the rest of your swim.
Often a start does not go well so the following should help you learn to calm down & get back on track and build back to a good swim.  At many of the sessions this week we swam one length of various tough unpleasant drills/skills to create the stress. Then build into a longer block of work which we like to call Mid Race Cruise.
The Stress Drills
1 Arms folded on top of the head w FC legs. The lack of streamline makes the kick harder, perhaps add fins. Breathing to the side also helps your rotation but is tricky.
2 Legs only with a PullBuoy outstretched in front, then use it for pulling the MRC
3 Fists clenched w legs crossed.
4 Fingers touching shoulders FC, so only the upper arm is used for pulling. The narrow window for breathing makes this very uncomfortable.
5 Breaststroke arms w FC legs
6 In pairs, one person kicks holding the lead swimmers ankles, the other does the pulling at the front . This was also useful for people getting familiar with the all too common having your toes tapped issue but someone swimming on your feet. 
7 Add fins and swim the first length with the toes pointing downwards. Fists clenched makes this very tough.

How to Implement
One method was to swim these as 200m blocks of work by adding 175m of FC after each of these 25m of stress. Making for a nice 7x200m set. You could also NTW for extra emphasis. <no touch walls>
In the 50m pools we swam 20m of ’stress drill’ into 80m of strong FC into 400m MRC.
This was then repeated with a 300m of MRC having tried a new 20m of stress. Then 200m of MRC and 100m.
Other simple OW practices might include
In the 50m pool at LF recently we swam open turned 100m swims but started and finished each mid pool so that swimmers got two open turns in rather than just the one. Be careful in a public session!
Start your 25m/50m sprints from a horizontal treading water position.
Rest on pooldeck to simulate vascular shunting ie getting used to the blood flow shifting from arms to legs as might happen heading to T1
Single sided breathing but half length left/right would be useful.
Head up sighting, mid length and spotting drinks bottles on poolside
Reduce your usual 5secs swimmer gaps to 2-3 and rotate the lead so people get some drafting/leading experience/exposure.
If Safe and the lane empty 3 abreast sprints are a nice way to get used to elbow to elbow crowded swimming.
Enjoy your swimming and becoming ever more familar with an unpleasant situation will help us tolerate it, maybe one day even enjoy it.

The Pool of Fame…

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Following on from the near 20years strong post last month I was curious how long some of you have been with us? there are some faces I know have been around a while. Also great to see so many of our coaches with us for so long. With that in mind it would be great to compile a pool of fame. Maybe some prizes?!

 So please comment below and in the event of some tying if you could embellish with how we have helped your swimming, results and achievements that can only help. I know 2 swimmers who still frequently make our fitness sessions that came to Ilford, Essex in the 2002 time period where we started some tech lessons on a Wed Evening. Barbara C was a regular when we then moved a little closer in and ran our tech classes at WF College in Walthamstow.

At one point we also ran a bit of a shuttle service from the end of the Central Line at 6am allowing some Central London swimmers to come out with us to our first lake. Tom and Scott well done for near 20yrs! Any other stories welcomed.

Maria, pictured,  has been coaching with us over 10yrs! Ian and Cedric are probably not that far behind!

How it Started…SFT

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A coach asked me recently how SFT got started and evolved. It has nearly been 20years which seems incredible so here is a little trip down memory lane. My sister was a swim teacher while I was working in video software in the late 90s but racing Tri after a long swim career at Milfield School then Ohio University spanning the 88 and 92 Olympic Trials.
I first entered the London Tri to raise £ for Macmillan in 1998 after we lost our father to cancer. A few people were asking how I swam the way I did as I was  leading a few races out. My sister and I hired some lanes locally. I was racing for East London Tri and Golden Gate Tri in San Francisco where my previous job was based and doing ok so marketing was easy pre social media. Trips to World AG Champs followed in 2001 and 2002 then I stepped up to Ironman in 2003.
Momentum grew as we were quite pioneering offering underwater filming and videos on DVD back in 2002-3. We then invested in an Endless Pool sharing space with Greg at Tri and Run in Essex and again set it up with multi angle playback/large screen visible from the water etc which was quite simple due to my job. We bought the Endless Pool at the Sandown Tri show after it has been used all weekend where each swimmer who swam got a DVD of themselves swimming. We made hundreds. The pump broke as we attempted to dismantle the pool so had to empty 3000gallons by hand.
Fitness sessions developed as the quality of coaching at the local Tri clubs was average at best. The governing bodies were woeful regarding their coaching qualifications back then, I sat a few and the ASA had not heard of OW at this time so I developed most things myself from pool knowledge and qualifications along with my race experience.
Weekend workshops grew as a result of not many offering what we did at the time with people wanting us to go to Dublin, Galway, Manchester, Cardiff etc. These faded as Tri coaching improved at local clubs around the country. We wrote an OpenWater CPD for the ASA while I was doing my level 3 qualifications but I fell out out with them due to the lack of interest in helping me progress OW to poolbased coaches. 10 yrs later and the ASA finally have an OW qualification when we could have done so much more yrs ago.
Essex Lakes &HydePark OW started about 2005 as more triathletes wanted to take their improved fitness, tech and skills outside and wanted to continue training beyond the usual pool boundaries which grew further as the concept of a training holiday was conceived.
 Training camps came about as people wanted to get away and have the opportunity to really focus on their swimming. We have tried many overseas destinations, S Africa, Cyprus, Tenerife, Italy and CLS in Lanza most recently where we helped them start OW swimming.
We have been particularly proud of the following new products while we have focused on the core activities of helping adults learn to swim, learn to swim faster and then gain the confidence to swim openwater. Our Tri Book with friend and mentor Steve Trew who runs the May Italy Training camp we attend was a breakthrough addition to our coaching advice.
Meeting designer Tom helped the plans become a reality and we have been overwhelmed with the success of ‘ #sessioninabottle
A lot of charity work has been undertaking with the ever popular Stubbers OW mini race and BBQ raising funds for Melanoma Research after we sadly lost one of our coaches and a dear friend Lou Parker.  Volunteering with the London Disability Squad has been thoroughly enjoyable and a great new coaching challenge working alongside Michelle Weltman and we helped discover Eid recently. The refugee who nearly drowned on his travels and was determined to learn to swim.
Good partnerships with Powerbar and Speedo, Virgin Active <we wrote the award winning Hydro Class> and providing plans for the OSS, Henley Swims etc. We also used to write for 220, Triathlete Europe and more recently Training Peaks and Tri247. As Openwater advisors to Speedo for many years here we are at Photoshoot in Lanzarote preparing wetsuit pictures with Helen Jenkins and Hollie Avil
As to what is next for Keeley and I? watch this space. First up I need to teach my son