This is the trip report about my trip to Perth, Australia to attend the 2 week SwimSmooth advanced coaching course.

SwimSmooth, Perth - Trip Report - February 2016

It took a while, but I finally found time to write a small trip report about my trip to Perth, Australia. The trip was a next step on my way to become SwimSmooth certified coach. If I finally make it, I’ll be the first coach in Belgium with this certificate….something to be proud off!
If you don’t know SwimSmooth, it is a swim coaching company founded by Paul Newsome and Adam Young. Both are British, but Paul Newsome emigrated to Australia over 10 years ago.
The company is mainly focussing  on open water swimmers and triathletes.
SwimSmooth is not yet that popular in Belgium but it does have a very good worldwide reputation. The swimpart of the education for the British triathloncoaches is written by SwimSmooth and all coaches educated by the ITU (International Triathlon Union) are swimcoached by SwimSmooth !
The road to certifation consists of different steps, starting with a 3-day education (for me in Loughborough, UK). The 2-week course at SwimSmooth Pert is a must for the certification. After the trip, there is still about 3-6 months of work containing performing a defined number of swim video analysis’, coaching swim sessions and solving a very long list of questions. Only after successfully delivering all this data, you can be certified.
The 3-day education course is very popular and the number of coaches willing to attend is exceeding the number of available spaces. Because of this, you need to be selected by SwimSmooth before attending.
Last summer, I finally received the final invitation for the Perth trip and I could start preparing my trip to Perth in February 2016. My group of coaches contained people from all over the world : Canada, Texas(USA), UK, Malaysia, Dubai and Belgium.

Emma Brunning (UK, SwimSmooth mentor), Gemma Hollis (TX, USA), Filip Rigole (België), Paul Newsome (SwimSmooth headcoach), Seamus Bennet (UK), Gayle Vickers (UK), Shauqie Aziz (Malaysia), Merle Talviste (Dubai), Bart Rolet (Canada).

Organizing the trip went pretty smoothly, thanks to Jason Gray. An Australian triathlete that I’m coaching already for a couple of years now. Jason lives in Perth and had a spare room that I could use during the trip. Perfect !
After all, this was perfect for me, and a perfect example of Australian hospitality. I lived 2 weeks as I was part of the family. Thanks Jase, thanks Tania, thanks Talia and Jasmine. You guys are forever in my heart !!

Tania en Jason Gray

February is summertime in Perth and on top of that, a start of a heatwave when I arrived in Perth airport. I left Brussels with 4°C and the temperature in Perth was 42°C when I stepped out the plane. A thermal shock!
The next 5 days, temperature exceeded 40 degrees and this felt even for the local Aussies very hot. It was from 1933 that it had been that hot in Perth.


I knew already that sport is very important in Australia, but I was still surprised that it was that important. Public pools all over the place and pools open at 5:30 AM and on my way to the pool that early, I saw many many cyclists and runners…

5:15AM....already a queue at the pool entrance 

The first days, we were mainly observing Paul while he was coaching his swim squads. Amazing to see how he controls the situation. Some days, there are 2 sessions back to back with each 44 swimmers. The transition between session1 and session2 went very smoothly.
There are 12 sessions a week, all with a well defined and for the swimmers known goal :
Monday : pure technique
Tuesday : technique/endurance
Wednesday : Red Mist (a very long session that not only stresses the endurance but also the psychological strength of the swimmers)
Thursday : threshold
Saturday : open water simulations
This way, it perfectly fits the SwimSmooth philosophy to have a perfect mix of technique, endurance/threshold and open water simulations all year around.
It is my ambition to start a similar (allbeit smaller) swimsquad here in Belgium. But therefore, I need to find a pool that believes in this. Finding a pool in Belgium is not that easy and a big hurdle to take.
After a couple of days, we were more actively involved in the coaching of the squads. A very nice experience and the squad swimmers were very much aware that this was not to easy for us and they supported us very well.
Thank you SwimSmooth squad swimmers !!

Performing a swim video analysis is a very important skill of the SwimSmooth certified coach and we were further educated to get this skill perfectly under control. With a “speeddate” where we had to identify the swim type for different swimmers on short notice, we were not only tested on knowledge but also on immunity to stress.
Performing swim drills is important to improve your swim technique and as a coach, it is important to perfectly demo the drills.
In some kind of games we were expected to demo the drills to the other coaches and this was more difficult then expected.
In the last days, the education was finished with a video analysis and correction session on a randomly choosen swimmer from the area. Not that easy if you know that Paul Newsome is looking after your shoulder…..but if the swimmer tells you in the chat afterwards that this was the best coaching he ever had…I can only be happy.
A very intense 2 weeks with not to much spare time to discover the area but an exceptional experience and education. Similar to the previous sessions and educations I had with SwimSmooth, again very impressed about the quality and engagement from the SwimSmooth team. This easily explains why the British Triathlon Association and ITU has choosen SwimSmooth as their coaching partner !
I still have some work before being considered as SwimSmooth certified coach but I can definitely use this already in the video analysis and correction sessions that I’m organizing already. Booking and reservation can be found here.

I definitely hope to organize the SwimSmooth based trainings in the near future as well in a local swimming pool !