Month: January 2015


Swim tips #5

Swim Tip #5 – Get connected!

 Many if not most swimmers paddle and kick whilst allowing their mid-section to sag and wallow. This disconnection between the arms and legs leads to a drag inducing fishtailing effect as the swimmer attempts to move forwards.

When you were young and had to choose a stick to throw in the river in the hope of beating your friend’s stick downstream you soon learned that a straight solid stick was better than a bent floppy one. Fish are thick and solid for a reason as are boats. Top swimmers are tall and have perfect posture. Observe the swimmers at the front of every Thursday’s sea swim and you will see good posture at or near the front!

This is a swimming fundamental that is easy to improve. In fact it is one of the few quick fixes there are when teaching swimming.  Most swimmers I work with respond well to one or more of the following cues: 

  • Lift up your “bits” using your pelvic floor muscles.
  • Hold your core as if you were busting for a wee.
  • Hold a fifty-cent coin between your bum cheeks.
  • Be tall as you swim.

Top tips:

  • Use one or more of the above techniques to get yourself centrally connected and tall. You will sense your body moving along a straighter line and moving further per stroke (piercing a deeper hole in the water).
  • Maintain that feeling of connection and tallness ALL the time, avoid letting go as you breathe or when you sight.
  • Learn to pace your swimming so that you can hold the feeling ALL of the time. If you have to let it go you are probably working harder than you are currently fit enough to do.
  • Building swim fitness has a lot to do with challenging your ability to hold your body tall and strong at higher and higher paces or for longer durations. Make that your training focus and you will see big changes.



“Your hips are the engine for swimming; your hands are just the propellers.”

Bill Boomer, legendary swim coach.


Swim strong, swim with form.




Oneflow Coaching.

Port Nelson Sea Swim 12, January 29, 2015

Lovely swim – one of the best – about 1400m. 188 swimmers – second biggest turnout of the season.

Featured swimmer, Murray Tewnion. Murray is one of the hard men of long distance triathlon, with some seriously good Ironman results to his credit. Last year Murray raced in Kona and placed well in his age group (M60-64). For most people, just achieving a slot in Kona is a lifetime goal – Murray made the grade with a great race in Ironman NZ in Taupo earlier in the year. He describes himself as ‘a bit unfit at the moment’, but will take on the Picton Half Ironman in a week’s time

Tonight’s photos were taken by Emily Trengrove. Here they are.

Here’s the results

Don’t forget to give Andrea Livingstone of Wildside Travel a call if you’re thinking of doing the Samoa Swim Series in August. Someone from our swim series will win the whole trip for two at the end of the season.

Going into the draw from tonight is Barry Thomas.

Points to date please email if you spot errors –

Tonight’s swim start was held up because of people arriving late to register. A hard line is being considered, with those arriving after 6pm being refused entry. This is not a step we would take lightly, as friendliness is key to the success of our events. However, swimmers should note that it’s a courtesy to others to arrive on time. We can’t afford to keep having late starts and holding up the rescue boats and kayakers beyond 7pm.

State Ocean swim, Capital Classic, Jan 25, 2015

It couldn’t have been a more perfect day in Wellington, with high tide, not a breath of wind or a cloud in the sky, but millions of (harmless) jellyfish.

Luke Kelly (pictured) started alongside the 15-strong elite field, paced himself with them to the 2km turn at the Pt Jerningham lighthouse, then moved away with the leaders to place 8th overall, becoming the top age group swimmer in the 661-strong age group field.

As well as Luke’s gold in M15-19, Nelson swimmers won six more medals:

Derek Eaton, gold in M70-74

Terry Bone, silver in M40-44

Denis Cooper, silver in M55-59

Janis Crampton, bronze in F55-59

Margaret Johnston, bronze in M60-64

Stu Hebberd, bronze in M65-69

There were also a number of fourth placings: Pip Dwyer (F15-19), Christina Harris (F50-54) and Dick Bennison (M60-64), Perhaps the most unlucky was Christina, who was four seconds outside a medal and who also finished with precisely the same time as Dick.

Here’s some pics

We had a multitude of photographers: Bryony Marriott, Keller Marriott and Pauline Shoemack. Also a couple of professional shots of our gold medallists by Mark Tantrum.

Full Nelson results,

Luke Kelly 40.42 1 (1st M15-19),

Terry Bone 43.46 11 (2nd M40-44),

Denis Cooper 47.29 43 (2nd M55-59),

Pip Dwyer 47.35 44 (4th F15-19),

Dick Bennison 52.04 90 (4th M60-64),

Christina Harris 52.02 91 (4th F50-54),

Barry Thomas 52.32 112 (5th M55-59),

Janis Crampton 53.52 149 (3rd F55-59),

Derek Eaton 55.11 168 (1st M70-74),

Stuart Hebberd 55.17 171 (3rd M65-69),

Daniel Dwyer 55.49 177 (13th M15-19),

Paul Fisher 55.55 179 (17th M45-49),

Peter Gibbs 1.00.33 276 (6th M65-69),

Lauren Ching 1.00.58 293 (20th F20-24),

Les Le Bas 1.11.24 489 (4th M70-74),

Buzz Burrell 1.22.58 619 (49th M50-54).

Port Nelson Swim Eleven, January 22, 2015

Beautiful night, warm water, slight chop that took people by surprise coming back, 172 swimmers. Pity about the low tide.

Results here

Here’s some pics

Featured swimmer, Buzz Burrell. Few people make as much effort to get to the swims as Dr Buzz. Since Buzz makes such an effort to get here every week and is unfailingly cheerful and full of life, here’s a plug:

Doctor Buzz Burrell and his wife Lauren are very excited to have opened a Medical Centre in the heart of Renwick that will cater to the people in Renwick and the surrounding rural communities, particularly people who were immobile and vulnerable. Dr Burrell hopes he and his staff are able to make house calls for people who are stuck at home alone. Only ten minutes from Blenheim, people will be able to see the doctors at Renwick if they wish.

If you have any medical problems while you’re swimming, just wait for Buzz to catch up and he’ll fix you on the spot.

The winner of the Samoa Swim Series draw tonight is Debbie Bamfield. Debbie has done eight swims, so to qualify for the final draw she will need to be at least four of the remaining seven swims.

Finally, the points to date. There have been some changes to the two youngest women’s groups in the long swim because of people being in the wrong age groups (not their fault).

Here’s the updated points

Clements Endurance Swim Three – 3.8km Ironman Challenge

Beautiful day, perfect conditions, 100 swimmers.

Here’s the results

No official photos taken today – anyone got a couple for the website? Email to

The featured swimmer is Simon Kneebone, today’s winner, but pictured here finishing in the Eyebright Mile two weeks ago.

Port Nelson Swim Ten, January 15, 2015

Great swim, 192 swimmers – the most ever in 28 years of swimming.

The timing crew was put to the test as the regular stopwatch somehow got mislaid after last Sunday’s triathlon. Nevertheless, they muscled through using a smartphone and have come up with a set of results. Please contact us – if you spot errors.

Here’s the updated results

Featured swimmer: immodestly featuring Peter Gibbs, tri club secretary.

I keep the websites up to date, upload and publish photos, sort the points table, write the Nelson Mail story, organise triathlons and generally act as Jiminy Cricket to Dick, the club president. Once upon a time I was a triathlete and organised the swims for six years until two years ago. I can generally be found lurking around the swim events, looking for something to go wrong.

Tonight’s photos: The camera became defunct during the week, so Emma Rogerson took up the new one and did a fine job.

Here’s the photos

Andrea Livingstone from Wildside Travel talked to several people about their plans to go to the three-race Samoa Swim Series in August. Last year, six Nelson swimmers took part, with Christina Harris winning the women’s series and Jody Keefe-Laing second in the men’s. Andrea is responsible for putting together our big prize for the season, which is a trip for two Nelson-Samoa-Nelson, with series entries and accommodation included.

This week’s winner of the chance to be in the draw on March 19 is Mark Corlet.

Points, here they are

Next week: Tide is dead low at 7pm, which means it’ll be outgoing when we start

Port Nelson Swim Nine, January 8, 2015

Beautiful night with 170 swimmers.

Photos, click here

Here’s the updated results, click here

Featured swimmer: Deputy mayor Brian McGurk looks pleased as he comes out of the water just ahead of Eric Wylde.

Here’s the points to date

And finally – the Samoa Swim Draw winner for this week is Kay McPherson. Kay will go into the draw for a trip for two to Samoa in August to compete in the Samoa Swim Series. The prize includes flights from Nelson, accommodation for two, transfers and entry to the Samoa Swim Series. The prize comes from Wildside Travel, organised by Andrea Livingstone. Regardless of whether you win this prize or not, why not join many other Nelson swimmers in Samoa. Contact Andrea for the best travel deal you can get. She will be at next week’s swim (January 15) – have a chat and plan your trip.

Swim Tips #4

Swim Tip #4 – Drive your arm deeper.

 The vast majority of swimmers, even relatively good ones begin their stroke with their hands too shallow. With the hand at or too close to the waters surface any downward stroking pressure forces the swimmers body out of the ideal horizontal position thus creating heaps of drag. The resulting solid feel of such downward pressure from the hand / arm often feels strong, as if really getting a good grip on the water but it is hard work and highly ineffective. Perhaps worse still if the swimmer drives themselves forwards into a position with the hand near the surface the whole body follows into an “uphill” position before the stroke has even begun. This very common stroke fault is also one of the most likely causes of shoulder pain / injury in swimming.

The picture above shows the ideal position for your hand / arm at the beginning of the Freestyle stroke. The key point here is that the swimmers hand is at a depth of approximately 30 cm, which is a little lower than the shoulder. This allows the swimmer to get their hand and forearm facing rearwards earlier in the stroke thus eliminating too much downward pressure (drag). It also means that as they drive themselves forwards spearing a hole in the water the deeper hand and arm position will encourage their body to stay in a level position. This feels easier as the swimmer strokes and takes heaps of work away from the arms and shoulders putting the load where it belongs, in the torso (core).



Aim to drive your hand forwards (using your whole body) directly in front of your shoulder and just a little bit deeper… Spear the water!

30 cm (a standard ruler) beneath the surface is a good guide to hand depth!!!

When breathing aim to keep your lead hand deep… Avoid leaning on it by extending your body length.


Wishing you all many hours of swimming enjoyment in 2015!


Oneflow Coaching

Eyebright Mile – Race two of the Clements Endurance Series, January 4 2015

What a beautiful day – 146 swimmers enjoyed perfect conditions for the 28th annual Eyebright Mile.

Here’s some photos from Anna Perkins, click here

Featured photo: Geoff Lart and Brian McGurk sprint up the beach at the end of today’s swim.

Results – click here

The story from the Nelson Mail, click here

Story from the Marlborough Express, click here

Port Nelson Swim Eight, January 1, 2015

Tricky conditions all round, with wind, tide and light buoys making navigation difficult. Only 124 swimmers with a lot of people away, but numbers boosted by visitors to the region.

Don’t forget the Eyebright Mile on Sunday – the annual 2km swim from the yacht club to the beach. Start time on the full tide at 10.15am. Registration from 9am.

Here’s some photos – thanks Anna Perkins, click here

Featured swimmers – Dean and Hannah Straker didn’t plan it, but after starting with the pink caps came in side by side. Hannah said navigation wasn’t easy, but that was a common complaint tonight. The couple are relatively new to sea swimming, but looking forward to a bit of coaching to sharpen up their stroke and endurance.

Results – updated version, click here

Nelson Mail stories are slow to appear online with everyone on holiday, so here’s a pdf of the story

Points table – here’s the update

Samoa swim. The big prize for the season. After every swim, one long course swimmer is drawn at random. By the end of the season we’ll have 18 swimmers. They have to have done 12 swims over the season. Any that haven’t done 12 will be dropped and the remainder go into the draw for the big prize – a trip for two Nelson-Samoa, with accommodation, transport and entry to the three-race Samoa Swim Series

Tonight’s chosen swimmer is Wayne Corbett. Wayne goes into the final draw in March. Wayne already done seven swims, so needs to swim five more of the remaining ten swims to qualify. To see the other swimmers in the draw so far, check out the points table (above).