Paul Newsome and Adam Young have developed Swim Smooth into arguably the finest swimming program in the world. Based on opposite parts of the world in Australia and the U.K., Newsome and Young have a global vision to improve the swimming technique of all triathletes and swimmers, both in the pool and open water.
Their service, Swim Smooth, is nominated for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year. With a comprehensive program of online materials, clinics, and one-on-one opportunities that provides proper information for triathletes and open water swimmers, they are on the cutting-edge of education. As WOWSA stated in its nomination, “For their year-round constant effort to help individuals of all ages and abilities, for their beautiful presentation of swimming styles, and for their easy-to-understand videos, illustrations, and written communications, the collective assets of Swim Smooth is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.”
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Can you describe the “average” Swim Smooth swimmer? Where do these athletes come from?
Swim Smooth: We cater primarily for the triathlon and open water distance swimming community and because of this focus our attention on the freestyle stroke in particular. Whilst we have swimmers ranging in experience from total novice / learn-2-swim up to elite open water and triathlon visiting both our website, using our coaching services (squads, 1-2-1 video analysis etc) and being influenced indirectly through our coaching partnership with both British Triathlon and the ASA / British Swimming (Amateur Swimming Association), the average candidate who seeks our assistance is someone who’s maybe been swimming 6 months to 5 years, starting as an adult and swimming in the region of 6 to 9 minutes for 400m.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What are these athletes looking for?
Swim Smooth: We offer a plethora of information divided into ability classes (Beginner, Intermediate & Advanced) through our website which receives 3 million unique visits per year with swimmers typically searching for assistance with correction form and technique work / drills, advice on appropriate specific-fitness training sessions for distance freestyle, and help with improving their open water skills. In fact these three factors (which we refer to as “Keys” to performance and a well-rounded swim program in our book) are so essential to what we do with Swim Smooth that we really see it to be our “mission” to ensure swimmers and triathletes are considering these three Keys in equal measure without disregarding one or more at the expense of the other(s). We see swimmers having being overly focused on either pure technique work (so-called “technique hermits”) or pure fitness work (many masters programs around the world) and as such we hope that the help and advice that we offer freely helps the swimmers in each group consider the other side of the swimming ‘equation’ to better their performances.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Your online community is huge. Can you give us an idea of its size?
Swim Smooth: We have 87,000 swimmers registered to our once weekly www.feelforthewater.com blog which goes out every Friday lunchtime free of charge. On top of that we have a very active forum (www.swimsmoothforum.com), an encompassing FaceBook page and various Twitter accounts including my own @SwimSmoothPaul. Our subcribership is growing at a tremendous rate of 500-1,000 new sign-ups per week and we anticipate this reaching over 100,000 by early 2014.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Can you give us a few examples of athletes (or non-athletes) who have made tremendous improvement using the Swim Smooth program?
Swim Smooth: One of our greatest examples is of 3-time Ironman Triathlon professional triathlete Kate Bevilaqua who in 3 years under my direct coaching supervision has taken her 3.8 km swim time down from 62.5 minutes to 49 minutes and is now exiting the water within 30 seconds of the very best elite male triathletes in the world, including her boyfriend and über-fish Guy Crawford, a professional triathlete, who I also coach. There’s lots of great material on how we’ve achieved this with Kate which really echoes our individual approach and “out of the box” / “unconventional” thinking with respect to assisting a swimmer improve.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Why do you enjoy working at Swim Smooth so much?
Swim Smooth: Since 2008 myself and Adam Young (co-author of our book) have worked 50/50 on the business and without his insight and vision none of what you see now would never have left my creative coaching brain. It’s all about delivery. I am super passionate about not just coaching and Swim Smooth as a company, but on swimming generally. I am still very actively involved in (marathon) swimming myself having just won the 2013 Manhattan Island Marathon Swim on relatively modest training (given my work and young family commitments) and feel super privileged to be able to wake up every day at 4:15 am to head down to the best pools in the world (Claremont & Challenge Stadium) to pass on my passion to other like-minded (and even not-so-like-minded) swimmers and triathletes.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Why is Swim Smooth called “Swim Smooth” as opposed to “Swim Fast” or other such name?
Swim Smooth: In 2004 when I was creating the original website, DVD Boxset and general concept I had three names in mind: Swim Clean, Swim Fresh and of course Swim Smooth. Each name tried to echo my ethos of improvement through stroke technique correction and a good all-round approach to improving a swimmers ability through the right mix of swim-specific fitness and open water skill work. It’s funny you should mention “Swim Fast” as aside from that being the name of the great coach and author Ernie Maglischco’s book series, we’ve recently been accused by one of our competitors as only being interested in making swimmers fast – funnily enough though I don’t take this as a slur, but a massive compliment! Making swimmers and triathletes swim fast is exactly what we do best.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: If you could change the sport of swimming in any way, what would that be?
Swim Smooth: I think about this every day that I swim actually – every time I look at an individual swimmer swimming merrily away in the pool I think to myself “how can I help this swimmer as quickly and as simply as possible improve their stroke, get faster and love swimming even more” – if we could change the sport of swimming in any way it would be to simply do this: allow as many swimmers around the world to improve their swimming in short, concise steps whilst relishing their next opportunity to get back into the water and practice some more. The world needs better swimming and in a language that more swimmers can readily access.
The World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year includes both products, services and concepts in the open water swimming world.
Online voting for the 2013 WOWSA Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year takes place here. The nominees include:
1. 21 Yaks and A Speedo, Storytelling Life Lessons by Lewis Pugh (U.K.)
2. Amphibia Sports Ring, Simple Silicone Solution For Swimmers (Ireland)
3. Bold & Beautiful, A Pod by the Shore (Australia)
4. Driven, Documenting Distance and Dedication (U.S.A.)
5. FINIS Agility Paddles, Training Tools of the Trade (U.S.A.)
6. Global Open Water Swimming Conference, Culminating In Cork (Ireland)
7. International Ice Swimming Association, Cooling To The Extreme (South Africa)
8. Ocean-navi, Navigating Throughout The Pacific (Japan)
9. Ocean Swimming & Prone Paddleboarding for Athletes with Spinal Cord Injuries (U.S.A.)
10. Open Water Swimming Manual: An Expert’s Survival Guide by Lynne Cox (U.S.A.)
11. Oru Kayak, Origami of the Open Water (U.S.A.)
12. Ouma Academy, Swimming The Sea (Tunisia)
13. Plastic Disclosure Project by Ocean Recovery Alliance (Hong Kong)
14. Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association, Far Forward Thinking In The Ocean (U.S.A.)
15. Swim Smooth, Styling Streamlined Swimming (Australia/U.K.)
Vote online here.
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