Tag Archive: Andrew Boy Charleton

Hi everyone…sorry I’ve been a bit out of action with a non-swimming-related injury. I got back on the horse (Sea-horse of course!) on the weekend so posts are being drafted.

In the mean time, if you feel so inclined, feel free to pop over here and sign the petition for ABC pool to open longer over the winter. It’s a cracker of a pool with a great iconic location and ¬†it seems such a shame for it to be shut allllll winter.

Back soon,

ūüôā NQN


All good things must come to an end. Apparently.

Sad as it it, last Wednesday was the final training session for the 2012-13 swim groups, including the inaugural Andrew Boy Charleton pod. the good news is….we made it!!!!

It has been such an immense pleasure sharing this amazing experience with my mentor group, friends old and new, my entire pod, and all the people who have come along on Saturdays to the Bondi sessions. It makes my heart so glad to see people come to love the sport that makes me so happy, and see them do and achieve amazing and challenging things.

We did a bit of a training session, although a bit shorter than usual as we are officially on the “taper” now. And then the all important final event.

A Relay! With Pool noodles! My only sadness for the day was that I’ve been having camera issues (yes, again…). There were some magnificent performances and techniques, although I’m going to go ahead and call it that the highlight was seeing Tri coach Gordo complete his leg doing butterfly!

Thanks to all my amazing Can Too friends, this season has truly been a blessing and an amazing experience. I look forward to seeing you all at Bondi on the 10th…on for amny of you I hope you’ve caught the bug enough that I’ll see you at future sessions and races and beyond!



Graduation Night!!!

After months of hard work it was time to make sure everyone had their swimmers to try out and get used to before their big events. That, and have an embarrassing photo!


Not to be outdone, the mentors got to have photos wearing crazy hats! (Thanks to Captain Bel for the Arts and Crafts). Sadly the Wednesday weather curse threatened to send them off on their own adventure.20130130-145328.jpgWe also had a very special guest. None other than Can Too founder, director and dead-set-legend, Annie Crawford, who has done so much for such a good cause, and is perfectly lovely to boot.

Annie came along for a bunch of reasons, all of them good. One in particular stood out, though. The awesome and inspiring Tamera has been a participant in swim programs, a half marathon run program, a mentor, a team captain and now a coach for our wonderful premiere ABC pod. Just to add a little sugar, she’s a hero of mine for completing the Rottnest Island channel swim last year, embarking on the adventure of motherhood this year, and being just one of the nicest people you could meet.

And she’s now raised $10,000 for cancer research.



Back in week 4 we did a time trial, for a bunch of good reasons. The first one on my list is that doing regular time-trials gives you a benchmark so you know how you’re doing and can check your progress.

In week 9, after 5 weeks of training (plus hopefully a few swims over the Christmas break) we did a second time trial to give us that second point of comparison.

So how do you think we went?

Well, amazingly of course. Our ABC swimmers have put in the hard work, trained hard, (not to mention raised funds for a great cause and had a great time along the way) and the results speak for themselves.

Everyone improved on their first times. Everyone. 100% of the sample! There were some spectacular successes…up to 10% improvements, and a few people who did the shorter 500m trial last time who felt strong enough to do the 1km trial this time instead.

Words cannot possibly express how proud I am at how far everyone has come. Great coaches and a great program definitely work, but consistent hard work, that’s the real key, and our ABC group have been doing plenty of that!

What a bunch of superstars!


You may have noticed that there’s not a Can Too pool session week 8 pool session post. There was a Can Too week 8 pool session and I would have loved¬†to have gone to the Can Too week 8 pool session. As a matter of fact I was on my way to the¬†Can Too pool session week 8 pool session. I left work in plenty of time to make it to the¬†Can Too pool session week 8 pool session. I arrived at my bike in time to ride to the¬†Can Too pool session week 8 pool session. To discover some jerk had knocked my parked motorcycle over and driven off. Grr. Broken clutch lever – not a big problem, but it did make the bike unrideable til I could get nd fit a new one. No training for me.

Not to dwell…sounds like it was an awesome set, and I’m sad I missed it, but lucky to have been part of the rest of the program. Onto week 9….

Well, I guess it had to happen some time. My utterly divine holiday to Western Australia has come to an end and I’m back East with a case of the post-holiday blues.

On Wednesday it was a return to training at ABC pool for Can Too training. It was my last day of holidays. Plus it’s always a concern coming back to training after a break as you don’t really know how much fitness you may or may not have lost until you actually get back into a session and see how it all feels.

I was pretty active this holiday. Both my sister and my sister-in-law who I was staying with are currently training for their own challenges, and with the heat-wave there it just made sense to be in the water as much as possible…particularly when there are options like learning to wake-board and going diving on a Navy Island! Then there was the running around after my gorgeous nieces and nephew…a labour of love no question, but hard work nonetheless. so the upshot is that I did a lot of exercise while i was away. I knew that, but you just never know how that might actually translate to swim-fitness.

Luckily, I found that the answer for me in this particular situation was “Not too badly”. I felt OK in the pool, and did the set feeling like I was challenged, but not that I felt like I might implode.

We did a good solid set, focussing on fast distances, alternating with equal distances of way swimming. This was to do two things; first, it gives you a good sense of the difference between your fast and easy swim pace, and this is key to mastering the art of pacing that I’ve written about here before (maybe quite a lot!). Secondly, we’re getting to the pointy end of the swim program here, where the technique should be improved a lot, where the beach skills are learned and now being practiced and revised, but there’s still work that can be done on general fitness. Interval training is great for this, and the easy sets are great as an active recovery.

So, after the initial (standard) nerves about the first session back after a break, it was nice to be back in the pool after all! Can’t wait for the flurry of activity coming up. Races! Training! Sunshine and beach weather! Let the games begin!

Yup, that's actually me. Upright and everything!

Yup, that’s actually me. Upright and everything!

The Can Too Pool session this week was a tough one, and a good reflection of how far our swimmers have already come in just a few short weeks!

We did some pacing, and in lane 3 where I was swimming we did 20 x 100m! That’s 2km that people are already swimming. It’s truly amazing and inspiring to see how fast people are improving and how far you can come with the right motivation, and a good program!

We had another amazing guest speaker this week, too…a physio. There were plenty of questions, including some very pertinent ones from Ronene who has been through two calf injuries in two months! Nothing like having a real-life example¬†to¬†talk about.


Wow, the weeks are sneaking up on us now! Seems we are already at the dreaded time trial week!

It’s kind of funny…we don’t use time trials for anyone to have to qualify for anything, we don’t publicize the result or compare anyone’s performance, but it seems there is definitely something quite confronting about the pressure of swimming against the clock. I think I heard one quote along the lines of: “I know I swim slow, I don’t know why I need to do a time trial to prove it!”

Well, the thing is, they were exactly right. The time trials are absolutely not about proving anything. What they are, however, is a useful tool.

In this level of swimming, there are a couple of things we get out of running a time trial.

  1. ¬†Benchmarking. It feels tough now, but when you do your next time trial and see how far you’ve come, it’s a real confidence boost and helps people really believe that they are going to manage their swimming goals and goal races.
  2. Lane ranking. Lane etiquette is hard enough to figure out without people having to guess what order they should swim in. A a general rule, in a pool lane (unless it’s for a specific drill or set that calls for something different) the fastest swimmer leads off. It minimizes overtaking (always fraught with danger!) and seems to work using a kind of telescoping effect. A time trial gives people a realistic idea of the order they should be swimming, as most people tend to underestimate their abilities….apart from the odd macho man who has issues swimming behind faster women…but that’s a controversial topic I should probably explore later. Luckily I didn’t see any of those shenanigans on Wednesday.
  3. Pacing, pacing, pacing. Ideally, we tend to swim faster if we start out slower than average, swim at our average page most of the race (or training set, or time trial) and then finish hard with whatever energy you didn’t burn up by going too hard at the start to maintain. In order to do that, you kind of need to know what your pace is and what it feels like. A time trial lets you work out what you should be doing, and if you’re doing them regularly when you should increase your pace. At 4SEASons we use time trials to figure out a 100m pace for drills and sets ALL. THE. TIME.
  4. Building up distance, and fitness overall. We did a 500m trial for the shorter distance swimmers, and 1km for the longer distances. That’s not a bad effort for anyone!
  5. Building up a swimmer’s confidence in being able to swim that distance. For some people on Wednesday, they had not swum that distance in years. Or ever. I know I’m talking about confidence again, but ocean swimming (like many sports, I imagine) is very much psychological, and confidence is a big part of it.

¬†So look at that, will you? 5 excellent reasons for doing a time trial…and not one of them really scary after all!

Woo Hoo! Finally some sunshine!! Yep, the weather finally decided to behave itself and shine some light on our Can Too Heroes.

In addition, we had an impressive visitor watching over our training…


It was another great swim session. Our main set was “pyramids”, increasing distance by 50m up to a max, and then decreasing back down again. Slowly increasing the distance swum and endurance for all the swimmers. It’s really amazing to see people starting to improve and gain confidence and starting to see them blossom into ocean swimmers!

We had a few firsts this week, too!

  • First fundraising stars! Well done to Chad (Ronene’s brother, who I’m so proud of for doing soooo¬†well!), and John on an amazing effort getting their fundraising out of the way so early! Now they can give all their focus to the swimming side of the challenge!
  • First guest speaker…an amazingly positive and motivating cancer survivor, who astounded us with his great attitude, reminded us why we are doing this, and inspired us with his resilience in the face of adversity.
  • First nice day for training!

Next week will be a good one…time trials and our first pub night! Can’t wait to have a chat and get to know a few more people socially!

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Wednesday saw the second week of Can Too training at ABC pool. The weather was kinder to us this week (just) and we were only faced with grey skies and a bit of drizzle…admittedly a vast improvement on thunder and lightning, but a bit of a break from the weather gods might be nice at some point!

Luckily, though this pod of ocean swimmers in the making seems brave and hardy on not to be out off by a bit of dodgy weather! Great to see the positive attitude already starting to shine through.

The coaches once again put up a good set, appropriate for week two but challenging enough to start people getting their fitness up and getting used to swimming a bit of distance.

I find with me, every time I add to my training routine, either distance, time or intensity, it takes about 2 weeks until I start feeling like I’m making progress, so I’m looking forward to hitting that point where people are past the “new and scared” and heading into “proud and amazed” territory.

So fingers crossed for some decent weather ahead!

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