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Points table after four swims

Sorry this has taken a while to catch up with. From now on, it’ll be updated weekly. Keep an eye on your points and let us know as soon as possible if there are mistakes.

For the table so far, click here

Port Nelson Sea Swims, Race Five, December 3

Conditions were marginal with wind and rough conditions and because of the difficulties that would be experienced with support boats and kayaks, the race was cancelled.

Don’t forget the first Clements Windows and Doors Endurance Race, The Opening Splash, 2km from the beach to the yacht club, 11.30am Sunday December 13. The short option is 600m, Richardson St Steps to the Yacht Club – everyone must sign up and be at the beach for the race briefing by 11.15am.

Following the swim on December 17, there will be a barbecue – fish/sausages provided. Bring extra food and drinks and enjoy some time winding down after the swim.

No swim on Christmas Eve, December 24. There will be a swim on New Year’s Eve, December 31.



Port Nelson Sea Swims, Race #4, November 26


The most challenging swim yet, with distances up and the tide vs wind combo making for some interesting sections on both short and long course.

It didn’t make any difference at the front of the field, with Thomas Heaton and Hayden Squance repeating their one-two at the head of the long course for the fourth time and Finella Gibbs-Beal reasserting herself at the head of the short course.

Featured photo: Thomas Heaton makes it four from four with a win by ten seconds from Hayden Squance. Photo: Emily Trengrove

Results – click here

More photos by Emily Trengrove, click here

Time to think some more about Samoa. Start planning now for August next year. Details, Samoa Sea A4 flyer16

Swim tips from Lionel Padial #1

Pace your Sea swims

Getting your pace right in a sea swim is crucial to achieving the outcome you want, and can prove very difficult for relatively inexperienced and experienced swimmers alike. Good swimming coaches spend a fair chunk of training time encouraging their swimmers to develop a feel for their most effective swim pace so that it is second nature come competition time.

Here are a few ideas to help you get the most from your swims:

1) Practise – swim and time yourself for each of four reps of – 50 metres for beginners / 200 for intermediates – and give yourself a 15 second rest in between each rep. Aim for a repeatable and sustainable pace, a pace at which you feel in control of your stroke, and your breathing. Sighting every 6-12 strokes will make this experiment more accurate. Adjust your pace up or down till you find that zone where it feels strong yet controlled. Once you have a time for your reps try and swim those times repeatedly taking note of how it feels. The more you practise this pace the more you will be able to find it in your races.

2) Warm up – A five-minute swim will get your aerobic system up and running so that you can start faster in the race and reduce the chances of you feeling wrecked at the first marker. It will also help you find your stroke, rhythm and pace. Doing a shortened rep or two of your race pace swims after five or so minutes of warming up will make it easier for you to latch straight into that pace both mentally and physically once the race starts.

3) Start slower – With all the race-start adrenalin the first one hundred metres or so can feel easy but if you do not hold back you will be hit by a wave of oxygen debt and find yourself either having to slow right down to get it back together or thrashing your way round swimming in-effectively.

Aim for a starting pace that feels steady if not “easy”, definitely not fast – this is only for experienced sea swimmers who are fit enough to recover whilst maintaining form and pace.

4) Finish stronger – Gradually ramp up your pace as you approach approx. 150 metres from the finish or alternatively (depending on what suits your physical make-up best?) aim to swim at a faster steady pace throughout aiming to run out of steam at the finish line.

5) Evaluate your race – When you get home think back over how you paced your race and decide how you might improve it next time then plan how you might achieve it next time.

Remember – Swimming faster is less about maximum effort and more about focus / concentration / discipline and stroke precision. Yes you do need to work hard but just like anything in life there is a point of breakdown. In water we often don’t notice the breakdown as they are subtle and we cannot see them. We have to feel the extra leaning on the arms or long stalls in the stroke when we breathe for too long or notice our hips, legs and feet dragging behinds us (yes, even in a wetsuit) when we lift our heads too high out of the water.

Generally speaking a strong yet controlled stroke is close to your most effective stroke. Once it feels ragged – IT IS – at that point regardless of how much you are thrashing yourself you will more than likely be going slower and worse still re-patterning your stroke to be more in-effective. Even worse again it is rarely enjoyable!

Swim well, have fun!


PS – If you enjoyed this article and would like to watch swim video clips or read more about swimming please go to the “Oneflow coaching” facebook page or website –

Port Nelson Sea Swims, Race three, November 19

For the third consecutive week it was a one-two for Thomas Heaton and Hayden Squance , with Xavier Anderson and Luke Kelly close behind.

Talya Harwood and Bailee Spriggs were not far from the front leading the women’s field

Brendon Hughes burgled the short swim from Finella Gibbs-Beal.

Featured photo: Medical official Carolyn Bennison and shore supervisor Paul Peacock ensure things go well in Thursday’s swim.

Here’s the results, click here

Photos by Emily Trengrove – click here

Nelson Mail story – also on Stuff, click here

Swim camp with Adam Walker

My name is Adam Walker I am the first British person to swim the 7 toughest ocean swims in the world and one of 6 to complete it and last year was nominated for World Open Water Swimmer of the year.
Here are my websites: and
I swam the Cook Strait April 2014, where dolphins accompanied for 1 hour 30 mins when there was a shark underneath me. The video went viral see link: (5 million hits on you tube)
This is my 3rd time of visiting Auckland to run a one off 2 day swim camp for swimmers and triathletes. So you know I have created a swim stroke called ‘The Ocean Walker technique’ which takes pressure off the shoulders and generates power from the core. I created it when I had 2 shoulder operations and advised by the surgeon not to swim again and it got me across 6 more channels after English Channel.
See article I did for 220 tri magazine:
Here is a link to one of my stroke videos:
I carryout swim camps worldwide where I coach my unique 5 stages to my stroke. The course is in-depth with detailed video analysis and teaches the way to power the stroke without using the chest. The stroke increases speed and efficiency with less effort.
I have attached the link for Auckland if you wouldn’t mind sharing it with your members I would appreciate it. They may also may find my other blogs useful feel free to share.
See link:
See link for details on the camp:
Apologies for all the links 🙂

Port Nelson Sea Swims, Race One, November 5, 2015

After an unpromising start to the week, the sun shone brightly, the water warmed up to just over 18 degrees and 162 faced the starter’s hooter.

Results, click here

Photos by Emily Trengrove, click here

Preview story, click here

Race report, click here

The seal of approval, click here

Port Nelson Sea Swim 14, February 12, 2015

It’s hard to imagine the season could ever get any better. We had sunshine, semi-high tide, not much wind but enough so it wasn’t boring, warm water, good friends and tonight we broke all sorts of records:

The biggest attendance ever in 28 years – 194 swimmers.

Probably the longest short swim – more than 600m

Probably the longest long swim – close to 1600m

If anyone wearing a gps can verify the short swim, please email – a couple of people in the long swim had 1560m and 1640m (people take different courses)

Here’s the results

Here’s the points

Emily Trengrove is doing a great job of recording the event – tonight we also have a record 567 photos, which are busily uploading now. Emily’s father Sean and sisters Georgie and Alice are regular swimmers, while mother Di has been holding the stopwatch in recent weeks as well as working on the registration desk. It’s the sort of family commitment that makes the series such a pleasure to be involved with.

Here’s the full set of photos

Featured swimmer. As usual – a random shot from Emily’s collection. Tonight a younger swimmer (for a change). Matai McGuinniety is a quiet achiever. Currently sitting in eighth on the points table (but moving up after a fourth place tonight), Matai is always near the front of the field. In this photo, he shares a pre-race moment with his mother Nicki.

Samoa draw winner for this week is Simon Bloomberg. Simon goes into the draw to win the trip for two to Samoa in August with fares accommodation and entry to the three-race Samoa Swim Series included. Price courtesy of Wildside Travel. If you plan to travel to Samoa for the swim, contact Andrea at Wildside for your travel arrangements.

Many of us move off to Akaroa for race four in the State Ocean Swim Series. Good luck to all swimming there, racing Buller, or taking part in Coast to Coast

Swim tips #3

Swim Tip #3 – Relax your hands.

The latest in a series of swim tips from Nelson coach Lionel Padial

The picture above says it all…. here we have the most successful swimmer that has ever lived swimming at speed and as you can see, his fingers are open!

Surely he would go faster with his fingers together and his hands slightly cupped? It seems not. Despite a number of very strong arguments and opinions against this, the world’s best swimmers instinctively know that they swim better with their fingers a little apart and hands relatively relaxed.

In my opinion the professionals know. They have more feel for the water than any scientist and are taught by the world’s best coaches; surely between them they have it right.

With all the swimmers I have ever worked with from beginners to elite I have never come across one who prefers to keep their hands closed / cupped once they have tried relaxing them.

A few years back double Olympic gold medalist Danyon Loader spoke at a Saturday morning swim session I was coaching. He left us with a few gems to think about, one of which was to catch the water as if you were holding on to a ball or a buoy and then to use your whole body to get past that ball/buoy.

In my experience when swimmers relax their hands a little they begin to let go of their neck and shoulder tension. Once those three areas have eased off instead of feeling their own body tension they begin to feel the very medium they are working with!


  • The next time you swim try letting go of any tension in your hands, this will improve your feel for the water.
  • Aim to swim with your fingers slightly apart but above all go with what feels comfortable to you … even Mr. Phelps above has his own “signature” way of doing it.
  • Imagine sliding your hand over the top of a buoy and holding gently on to it as you move past using your whole body.
  • Once you have hold of the buoy in your mind’s eye focus your energy more on spearing a hole in the water with the other hand / side of your body.

Technique is universal, style is individual. 

Swim strong, swim with form,


Oneflow Freestyle workshop dates in January ‘15


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.