A word from swimming sensation Paul Newsome, winner of the Albany New Years Eve Swim 2020 & Manhattan Open Water Marathon 2013:
I had the great pleasure of coaching 18 Albany SLSC swimmers on Sunday 27th December to commence the start of a wonderful five days down here in Albany with my good friend Amanda Nitchske.
The session commenced at 9am under stormy skies, strong winds and chilly air temperatures. We had planned to run the session for 2hrs, but the slightly inclement weather saw us in for about 1.5hrs.
We started with a 15 min intro session in the club rooms where we discussed the differences between pool and open water swimming. Given my passion has been open water swimming for the last 20+ years I was heartened to hear how many of the swimmers preferred the great outdoors to the confines of the pool.
We then headed out for a warm up lap of the shark net supported by 3 paddle boards and the IRB driven by Nick and Fergus. I’ve never been on an IRB before so this was both a lot of fun in the conditions and also a great vantage point to observe the swimmers strokes. Everyone performed admirably well in this first section and zero complaints about the cold! Good job!
Next up was a cool in/out exercise where the swimmers were paired up and had to then race a 40-30-20-10 stroke relay out into the ocean before turning around and sprinting back to shore. It became immediately obvious that the advantage here was against the taller, stronger swimmers who covered further distance out into the ocean before turning around. Young Ned showed us a dominant display of wave catching here which I’m pleased to say I personally utilised during the race on New Years Eve.
The final exercise was an Enduro event of 3, 4 or 5 laps of the string line done in a handicap format which really challenged everyone’s mental and physical fortitude. I was super impressed with the commitment everyone showed in this final challenge before we all then headed up to the club rooms for some yummy sausage sandwiches care of Amanda & Co and some warm drinks or icy poles as the case may be!
Above all, my fondest coaching moment of the day was just how thankful and appreciative all the young swimmers were on the day – each personally coming up to me and thanking me – and also for the commitment and tenacity they all showed in the conditions. Albany, we will be back 😉👍