Month: November 2014


Port Nelson Swim Four, November 27

Nice night, competitive swim

Here’s some pics, taken by Anna Perkins, click here

Tonight’s results, click here

Points to date, click here

Please check results and points and email as soon as possible if you spot any errors

Tonight’s featured swimmer – Nigel Muir. Nigel is the boss at Sport Tasman and a pretty good athlete in his own right – always ready to take a shot at anything, Nigel has been involved in all sorts of sports and was in the NZ team at the Aquathlon World Champs a couple of season ago.

Winner of the draw for the Samoa Swim prize for this week is Craig Leth. Provided he completes 12 swims over the season, Craig will be one of the 18 in the draw for the grand prize at the final night in March.

Swim tips #2

Lionel Padial is a Nelson swim coach. This is the second in a series of tips for sea swimmers.

Focus more on form, and less on effort!

When swimming we would all be wise to focus our efforts primarily on reducing drag in any way we can. When you consider the scary facts that water is 880 times thicker than air and that the average Olympic swimmer is approximately 10% efficient it would be a wise person who decides to do as the professionals do i.e. focus more on technique and then build their fitness around that technique.

In my experience 99.9% (all of us mere mortals) of swimmers understand that drag reduction is key and will endeavor to swim with an element of streamline but will tend to give their stroke form away as they work harder to go faster. The other 0.1% (the elite) either instinctively know or have learnt through hard experience that to swim fast they must give most of their attention to their stroke form and NEVER give it away in their quest for speed. They understand that in order to swim at their best they must control their effort keeping it in unison with their form.

Adam Walker has successfully swum seven of the most challenging swims on the planet. These are all long, tough endurance swims but as you will see from the following clip he is no slouch “Easy” Swim

Ok so you are thinking wow, how do I swim like that…well that might take a few years of dedication but here is a good tip from Olympic gold medal winner Geoff Hueghill –  “The big mistake people make is rushing, and not going through the process of a proper stroke”.

Top Tips:

Less effort, more form. Swim with at least 10% less effort and focus that 10% on swimming as well as you can and in the direction you want to go. The newer you are to swimming or the more frustrated you are with your swimming the more you need to back off so as to become aware of the faults. Swimming on the edge of your effort levels distracts you from the flaws in your stroke and the direction you are swimming in and likely makes them bigger! Whilst you might feel as though you are racing re-consider the drag equation and your navigation.

Swim tall / relaxed– Point the crown of your head in the direction you want to go, be tall through your body and let your shoulder blades slide down your back.

Drive yourself smoothly forwards on each stroke as accurately as you can from your body, aim to spear a hole in the water.

“The water is your friend…. you don’t have to fight with water, just share the same spirit as the water, and it will help you move”. 
Alexander Popov

Have fun out there!


Oneflow Coaching

There are still a few spaces left on the Dec 7th Freestyle Workshop

Paihia Ocean swim, November 22

Results from Russell-Paihia swim
Derek Eaton, 1.10.02, 1st M70-74
Janis Crampton, 1.10.39, 2nd F55-59
Paul Fisher, 1.12.33, 13th M45-49
Dick Bennison, 1.12.49, 7th M60-64
Stuart Hebberd, 1.14.59, 1st M65-69
Margaret Johnston, 1.16.13, 5th F55-59 (Margaret turned 60 the following day)
Peter Gibbs, 1.19.43, 5th M65-69
Photos: click here

Port Nelson Swim Three, November 20

It looked a bit daunting, but tonight’s swim seemed to go off well – 147 swimmers. The most noticeable feature was the mass failure of the leaders in the short course to spot the turn buoy. It was a good lesson for the long course swimmers to keep an eye on where they were going.

Plenty of lost property – an orange team tri cap, a yellow nelson south cap, a white sea swim cap which came with some goggles (black straps with gold around the lenses) and white-strapped goggles with orange lenses. If you fancy these back, then email or phone 027 2406 933.

Here’s tonight’s results, click here

Tonight’s photos, by Anna Perkins, click here

Points to date, click here

Tonight’s featured swimmer is Kay McPherson. Kay has been swimming in the series for a very long time – at least 20 years. A member of the New Zealand team at the 2003 World Triathlon Championships in Queenstown (she’s also been an ace cyclist and runner), Kay now swims for fun.

Samoa swim draw – this week’s winner is Eileen Searle. Eileen goes into the draw for the Samoa Swim prize as one of the lucky 18 on the prizegiving night.

Still to come – Nelson Mail story will be added when it’s posted on

A note about the finish. Please remember at the finish line to present your left hand to the judge, who will note the number and be the sole arbiter of your finish position. If she can’t see your number, you run the risk of not having your finish position recognised

Swim tips #1

Lionel Padial is a Nelson swim coach. This is the first of a series of tips for sea swimmers

Get MORE oxygen.

If you are like the many swimmers I come across who struggle with your breathing during sea swims or at the pool the “fix” might be simpler than you think. Whether you are relatively new to sea swimming and a little anxious or one of the frontrunners, a little over-anxious to perform well, the solution is the same.

The first step is to avoid gasping. When we are shocked or anxious we tend to gasp i.e. suck air into the back of our throats and very little into our lungs. This gives us a measly 10-20% of our lung capacity leaving us feeling shortchanged. When we gasp air in we often feel like our lungs won’t allow enough air in which in turn leads us to gasp more – not a pleasant or effective way to swim.

So, what can you do? Inhalation is the solution, it sounds obvious but are you doing it properly before / during swims? Inhalation requires you to relax and open your airway and as you do so allow the atmospheric oxygen to rush into our lungs…this, if done correctly will fill your lungs more deeply and quickly than even the best gasp. You are probably inhaling quite nicely as you read this, is that how you breathe at the start of a sea swim? If not then try the following suggestions…

1. Tune into the feeling of good inhalation at times when you are reasonably relaxed and remember how it feels so that you can do it when you next swim. Notice how easily and fully your lungs inflate.

2. Imagine breathing like that at the start of your next swim (practising in the pool over and over is very effective) i.e. inhale at the start of each length as opposed to gasping.

3. On race day check in with your breathing frequently and create some kind of a reminder system to help you hold onto a calm inhalation.

4. Race start – Keep your breathing as calm as possible leading up to the sound of the horn and make sure you inhale before beginning to swim.

5. During the early part of the swim focus strongly on your breathing and manage your pace carefully – too fast and you will suffer within a couple of minutes!


 Warming up slowly before race start will help enormously.

 Focus more on exhalation.

 If you overcook it and find yourself gasping at any point slow down and re-focus on your breathing.

Have fun out there!


Oneflow swim coaching

For information about Lionel’s next workshops for swimmers, click here.

Swim news, November 18

This week’s swim

It’s a bit dismal now, but the forecast is for a sunny day on Thursday. It’s quite a low tide at about 3pm, so once again we’ll be in a situation of tidal flow. As the weeks go by, we’ll swing into a period where we catch the low or high tide, with far less current, so the existing situation is a fact of life, but not permanent. This week, both short and long swims will head south into the current, but close to the shore where it’s less strong, turning out into the flow for the turbo return to the start. The short swim will be about 400m, the long swim 1000-1100m.

Watch the website –

Each week there’ll be a posting under the results tab. This will update a few times each week, starting with results (usually by 9pm on swim night), then expanding with photos, points table, newspaper story (this is still to come for last week) and Samoa prize draw, so keep an eye on things there.

We’ll also include the photo of one swimmer and tell you a little about them (last week it was Ralph Hetzel).

As well, this mid-week newsletter will be posted under the News tab each week

Samoa Swim Prize

A reminder of this fantastic prize, thanks to Andrea Livingstone of Wildside Travel in Motueka. The prize includes airfares for two from Nelson to Samoa, five nights accommodation in Apia, travel from the airport and to the swims in Samoa and entry to the Samoa Swim Series on August 6, 7, 8.

Check out the website The swim series is challenging, with non-wetsuit swims of up to 5km, so entry is restricted to those swimming in the long race of the Port Nelson Series. As well, to go into the draw, swimmers must have completed 12 swims during the season.

This is how it works: Each week, a random draw will select one swimmer from the long course (who has not previously been drawn). At the end of the season, we’ll have 18 candidates, although any who have not completed 12 swims over the summer will be dropped. There will be a closely monitored draw on prizegiving night in March. So far, Clark Ambrose and Norman Coldicott have been drawn as candidates. Another name will be added each week. See you on Thursday.

Port Nelson swim two, November 13

Big night, serious swim, here’s the preliminary results: swim131114

Here’s some photos, taken by Anna Perkins, click here

Points to date

Some lost property – two wetsuits, a watch and a stray cycling glove. Email if these are yours.

Do you recognise the featured swimmer? Ralph Hetzel is 71 in a couple of weeks and has been competing in Eyebright and Port Nelson swims for the whole 28 years.

In this week’s draw, Norman Coldicott  is the second swimmer who will go into the end-of-season draw for the trip to compete in the Samoa Swim Series.

Nelson Mail story

Newsletter, November 10

If you took part in race one, congratulations. That’s definitely the earliest, and probably the coldest night we’ve ever had in the 28 years since the series started.

If you were disheartened, don’t be, things will only get better. Added to the problems last week was a strong tide. We’re in the middle of the flow right now, but over the next few weeks we’ll work our way into more benevolent currents as we swim closer to the high or low tides.

This week we have an outgoing tide. As usual, we’ll swim into it to start with, so the short course will swim north for 200m, returning via the offshore buoy for a swim of just over 400m.

The long course will head south, angling around an early buoy to head for the dolphin before returning – a swim of about 950m, but cutting across the current, rather than into it. Navigation will be key – you’ll need to take frequent sightings as you drift to the south.

A couple of reminders about yacht club protocol – no parking in the yacht club spots, no dogs and please don’t park your bikes on the yacht club deck.

Hot showers are provided, but each night we need to mop the room. Feel free to do this any time – take your turn to clean up and it won’t always be a chore for the same people..

Have you been checking the website (

Each week the results page will include the points table, photos and links to the story on These items go up gradually for a few days, so keep checking for new information. These newsletter will also go on the site under ‘News’.

The website is a new version this year and we’re still adding things to it, for example a page for the Clements Endurance Series, which will be there soon.

If you’re new to things, that series of four races runs on Sundays through the season and takes in races from 2km to 3.8km, though there’s always a shorter option. Race one, from the beach to the yacht club, is on Sunday December 7. The short race of 600m starts at the Richardson St Steps, but you’ll need to sign on at the beach.

Remember that if you haven’t registered in advance, you make a lot more work for our volunteers. Even if you’re only doing one swim, please enter online at – and don’t leave it until the last minute.

See you Thursday.

Port Nelson swim one, November 6

In the earliest-yet start to the season, 156 swimmers braved cold temperatures for the opening swim. Thomas Heaton and Sally McMath were the first male and female in the long course of just under 800m, while Ben Price and Bryony Marriott were first ashore in the short race over 300m.

Anna Perkins took a heap of photos, click here

Results, swim061114

The first winner of the chance to be included in the draw for the trip to Samoa is Clark Ambrose. A new draw will be made each week, with the 18 finalists going into the final draw in March.

See the story of this week’s swim online here

Over the summer, points are awarded in each age group section for both short and long swims. In addition, we have a table for super swimmers – only the top ten men and women in the long course are added to this table each week. Similarly, we have a table for non-wetsuit swimmer. There are sections for men and women in both short and long swims. The table will be updated each week.

Here’s the points table after week one points061114

The big prize

Thanks to Andrea Livingstone and Wildside Travel, one lucky swimmer and their partner will be flying from Nelson to Samoa to swim in the Samoa Swim Series of ocean races. All travel, accommodation and entry costs are included in the prize.

After each swim this summer, a competitor from the long race will be drawn at random and be eligible for the big prize. At the end of summer, we’ll have up to 18 swimmers, who will go into the draw. Once swimmers are chosen, they won’t be in the draw in the weeks to follow.

To be eligible for the final draw, swimmers must have competed in a minimum of 12 swims over the summer.

The final draw will be made on closing night under close supervision.