Sunday, 27 October 2013

NZMS North Island Short Course Champs Held 26 & 27 October 2013 - Results


Thank you for your attendance at the North Island Short Course Championships held at Lloyd Elsmore Pool, Pakuranga - Howick on the 26 / 27 October 2013. I hope that your attendance was enjoyable, friendly and worthwhile. For those who unfortunately were DQ'd our sympathy - but!

During the course of the championships seventeen (16) individual event records were broken and one (1) equalled. Three (3) relay events records were also broken. For the record breakers South City congratulates you on your success. The same goes for those who achieved personal bests and to those who gave it a good try. For those at their first sanctioned meet - well done. Looking at your times I can see a 'competitors streak' in you.

Once the records (show on the results sheet with a "M" after competitors time),have been ratified these will be published on the NZMS web site by the National Recorder.

The provision results have now been forwarded to NZMS Web Master for publication on their web site.

Additionally Counties Swimming have published the results at Swim Info:

Some 381 Photos taken by Counties Swimming have also been published at:

With a little bit of luck you could feature. Included are photos taken at prize giving. I believe you can download your favourite one.

Wishing you all the best in the future.

Barry Davies
Secretary South City

Most Common Swimming Mistakes - Doing Only Fitness Training and No Technique Work

In a previous post about The Most Common Swimming Mistakes we spoke about The Weak Leg Kick.  Today the focus is on another common mistake many swimmers make, ie. doing only fitness training and no technique work.  In my experience limited workout time is the main culprit here, many of us are busy with families and work and most of the time merely getting to the pool is a challenge.

My suggestion is to try and incorporate your technique work into your warm-up and/or warm-down swims and always remember that when doing drills the stroke should be broken down and you should aim to perfect it - good technique is key here.

Below are some freestyle drills to incorporate into your workout.

Balance Drill - Source:
25m left arm only freestyle - breathe only to the right
25m right arm only freestyle - breathe only to the left
(Count your strokes each 25m! Work on this drill until your stroke count is equal for the left and right arm)
50m freestyle swim breathing every third stroke - bilateral breathing

Catchup Drill - Source:
With both arms extended above the head, pull with one hand, recover to the beginning (both arms extended forward) and touch the other hand. Focus on locking your elbow straight when you extend your arm to touch the other hand. Repeat the motion with the other hand.

Fingertip Drill - Source:

This emphasizes body roll and high elbow recovery! During the recovery phase of your stroke, drag your fingertips in the water. Your fingertips should stay in contact with the water during recovery.

The Salute Drill - Source:
You may use fins if you want to for this drill.
  • Kick on your side with the bottom arm extended forward and the top arm resting on your hip. Do about 10 kicks in this position and breathe as you feel necessary.
  • Lift the top arm by the elbow and bring your hand forward until your thumb touches your forehead - think salute. 
  • Lower the bottom arm straight to about 5 o'clock and then rotate the elbow up to the catch position.
  • Snap the top hip down, while driving the top arm forward as you complete the pull with the lower arm, finishing on your opposite side.

 The Fist Drill - Source:
This drill forces you to use your forearms, not your shoulders, when you swim freestyle, and it also helps to train you not to drop your elbows in the recovery.
  • Swim freestyle with your hands closed in a fist instead of open. Focus on pulling your arms through all the way to your thighs.
Add some variations by using the Fist Drill with stroke and glide (normal freestyle except the arm extension is held out there longer than normal, accentuating a glide phase).
Long Dog Drill - Here is a good video clip from EnduranceWorks. Usually this is done with your head above the water similar to the the "doggy paddle", however, personally I prefer this version where your head stays in the water.

"slow arm recovery," "quick catch" and "high swingers" -  This video clip from is a great explanation of these drills.


We have two GiveAways running at the moment! So remember to get your entries in!

Win a $50 Swim T3 Voucher - Snapshot Competition:

Entries close 31st October so make sure you email you photos to
For more info click HERE 

Win an Entry Pass to the Ocean Clinics Block 2 (Value $50):

Entries close 10 November so make sure you register HERE 
For more info on Ocean Clinics please visit their website:

Swim Set of the Week

Category: Open Water Swimming Preparation

Workout Goal: Preparing for disaster

Total Distance: 2000 yards

200 yards freestyle warmup

2 x 100 crawl swimming 4 strokes with head out of water and 4 strokes with head in water resting :30 between 100s
(do not take a breath while head is in water)
4 x 50 yards goggle recovery drill
(swim down with eyes closed and goggles around neck, swim back on back with breast stroke kick replacing googles)
4 x 50 yards cap and goggle recovery drill
(swim down with goggles around your neck and cap off tucked in swimsuit, swim back on your back with a breast stroke kick and replace both cap and goggles by the time you get to the wall
4 x 50 yards cramp removal drill
(swim half way down pool then roll over on back and stretch each calve by bending forward and pulling leg back, then grab arms behind back and lift upward to relieve tension in your shoulders, return length swim normally)
400 yards crawl bilateral breathing
4 x 50 yards alternating lengths with 1 normal swimming, 1 with head out of water
(Break 50s into 25 yards with head out of the water and 25 normal swimming)
4 x 50 yards sighting every 3rd or 4th stroke, rest :15 between 50s
(get into a breathing pattern and sighting on a landmark)
200 freestyle warmdown with bilateral breathing
(swim slowly and relax)

Notes: In this workout you will swim a variety of drills that are designed to help you practice small disasters that might happen in open water. The problems covered include google replacement, swim cap replacement, and cramp removal.

For the full article visit:

Monday, 21 October 2013

Big Disappointment for our NZMS Swimmers as Slam the Dam is Cancelled due to the USA Shutdown!

Our 3 NZMS swimmers, Dawn Walker, Giles Walker and Dan Feisst, headed for Las Vegas, to participate in the 2.4 Mile event of Slam the Dam on 5 October, only to discover, on arrival 1st October, that the event had been cancelled due to the USA Government Shutdown. 

Dawn in her own words to Times Online!

"We are 3 swimmers (Dawn Walker (41), Giles Walker (37) and Dan Feisst (32)) and we all compete competitively in NZ in Masters Pool and Ocean racing- we swim for South City Masters swim club based at LLoyd Elsmore Pools. We decided last year, after 4 years of competing here (Giles and I are British) that we would love to do an overseas event and we found out about Slam the Dam. At the earliest possible opportunity (January this year) we booked out flights , 8 nights in Las Vegas and to compete in the 2.4 miles swim option. We also took along our 'team manager' Tracy Leader- a friend who was our support crew.

We train 4 to 5 times a week throughout the year anyway as through the summer months in NZ we compete in weekly ocean racing that is at least 2km. We were looking forward to the challenge of swimming non wetsuit ( as in NZ we race in wetsuits in the ocean) in 27oc fresh water.

We arrived in Las Vegas on October 1st after a 13 hour flight and as soon as we checked in to our hotel on the strip I logged on to my email only to discover an email from the event organizers to say that due to the Government shutdown the race could not get the permit passed. The race (scheduled for Saturday 5th October) was to be held in Lake Mead which is owned and controlled by the government departments- classified as non essential and therefore not open. We had hired a car to get to the race at Lake Mead from LV (about a 40min drive) so we kept the car and decided to visit some of the natural landscape features in the area but soon discovered that many of these were closed and being guarded by police patrols so that people couldn't enter. Although Lake Mead was closed, the Hoover Dam which is managed by the State, was open. The Grand Canyon is partially open, the North Rim which is owned by the native Americans is but The South Rim, managed by the government departments isn't. The knock on effect for tourism is that many organized trips are either cancelled or altered to places that are accessible and therefore booked out early on or more crowded than normal.

We were still invited to collect our race packs from the event organizers and so took a taxi trip to The Las Vegas Municipal Pool to collect them. The organizers were very apologetic that we had come so far for the event, we were the only Kiwi team to enter. They offered us some extra Slam the Dam clothing to try to make it up to us, unfortunately they weren't even able to refund the $65 event fee.

Other info which maybe of interest:

- Air New Zealand announced on the flight out there 'Good Luck to all the Slam the Dam swimmers' which appeared on all the tv screens on the airplane
- We had t shirts made and printed which we all wore on the trip out and had planned to wear on the day
- We had an article written about us for the NZ Masters swim website (
- We managed to strike a deal with The Venetian Pool in LV to use their outdoor 35m lap pool for training first thing in the morning everyday as we didn't have a lap pool at our hotel

We arrived back on 11th October."

This photo was taken on day 1 after a training session at The Venetian Casino's pool. Dan, Tracy, Dawn, Giles

GiveAways - Win an Entry Pass to the Ocean Clinics Block 2

There is an entry pass to Block 2 of the Ocean Clinics up for grabs for a lucky NZMS swimmer (value $50)!  To go into the draw to win this awesome prize, make sure you register at the link below! Entries close 10 November 12pm.

Register here to win:

Block 2 takes place at Mission Bay on 23 and 30 November! More info on Block 2 here

More about Ocean Clinics

The Official Open Water Training Swims for the State NZ Oceanswim Series.

The OceanClinics are a series of 10x Saturday open water training sessions at four Auckland venues over Summer.

Now in our 10th year, we see over 300 swimmers per season take part in groups of up to 130 on any one session.

Headed by a former NZ National Record Holder & Titleholder plus former World Record holder of the Ironman Swim Leg , we have the best team of open water coaches in Auckland. Our coaching team is full of information and experience. We use unique structures in the open water to help our team to construct interesting sessions that assist you in refining your technique in the ocean. Read more about your coaching crew here.

- Does your technique break down from the pool to the ocean?
- Do you struggle with general open water confidence?
- Are you planning on doing any major ocean swim events this season?
- Do you feel unsafe in the open water unless you are with others
- Do you simply need a structured training group in the sea?

If you can answer yes to any of the above questions, and can comfortablyswim more than 200m non-stop freestyle in a pool then you'll both enjoy and benefit from these clinics.

For the broad range of skills we generally cover, click here.

The clinics for the 2013/14 season have been formatted into 4x Blocks of 2-3 sessions each...

Block 1: 3x 2x Clinics + 1x Race Simulation (Rats Island)
Block 2: 2x 2x Clinics
Block 3: 3x 3x Clinics
Block 4: 2x 2x Clinics

You have the option on all Clinics of a 8.00am or 9.15am start (except for the Rats Island Race Simulation where all swimmers start at 9.30am).

We have used key swimming events as your target goals for each of the 4 Blocks to help motivate your training. Read more about those events here.

Due to better dates this year, we see the return of the popular Rats Island Double (race simulation). To get enrolled for you you can either enter the race individually or it is included as part of Block 1 or the Season Pass.

Our minimum level required is 200m non stop freestyle

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Upcoming Events - NZMS North Island Short Course Champs 26 & 27 October

Thank you to all those who have entered the NISC for 2013 to be held at the Lloyd Elsmore Leisure Centre, Sir Lloyd Drive, Pakaranga / Howick on the 26th and 27th of October 2013. A total of 83 entries have been received. A map of the area is contained at the NZMS website for this meet. 

Psych sheets have been forwarded and have now been published on the NZMS website:

The first swim session will start at 1-30 pm on Saturday the 26th with warm up commencing at 1-00 pm. Indications are that this session should end at approximately 4-30 pm. Registration will be available from 11-45 am

Session two will commence at 9-00 am on Sunday the 27th October with warm up commencing at 8-30 am. Indications are that this session should end at approximately 10-45 am. Registration will be available from 7-45 am

Accordingly session three will start at 12-30 pm with warm up commencing at 12-00 pm. Indications are that this session should end at approximtely 2-45 pm.

Refreshments and prize giving will be held at the entertainment room at the Pool venue as soon as possible there after.

For those attending the social function this is being held at the Wellington's Bar / restaurant of the Waipuna Lodge, Waipuna Road, Mt Wellington. This overlooks the Panmure Basin. Details are set out in the meet program. 7-00pm for 7-30 pm start of meal.

Relay forms to be used at this championship have been emailed to all participants. As the first relays are the first events on Session two we would appreciate early completion and handed to the relay officer during session one.

I hope you have an enjoyable and successful NISC championship.

Barry Davies
South City Masters Swimming Club

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Open Water Swimming Tips and Drills

With the open water season officially upon us, now is a good time to go over a few tips and drills for open water swimming.  Below are just a few I found useful.

1.    Train your body to process Lactic Acid – In an Ideal world you’d stay aerobic from the start of a race. But in reality, your heart is already pumping from pre-event jitters and then the gun goes off and you are scrambling for a position. So what should you do? Train for a quick start and teach your body to absorb the lactic acid.

Drill: At least once a week do a 4 X 400m swim set, make sure you swim the first 100m of the 400m at an anaerobic threshold pace i.e. about 85% - 95% of your max heart rate, then swim the final 300m at an aerobic threshold, i.e about 70% - 80% of your max heart rate.

2. Learn to breathe on both sides – Not only does this lesson your chances of getting knocked in the face, but also helps you to swim straighter and adapt easier to the unpredictable conditions associated with open water swimming. It’s logical, if you can only breathe to your right, you’ll have trouble in a swim where the swell is approaching from your right. Train yourself to breathe to both sides, typically every third stroke.

Drill:  This is a great bilateral breathing drill clip from Go Swim 

3. Learn to Draft – Drafting is often overrated and many swimmers waste a lot of energy and time looking for the right person to draft behind. However, drafting, if done correctly, saves valuable energy. The ideal person to draft behind is someone who is faster, does not kick much and can navigate! It’s not easy to find such a person, so my suggestion is to swim your own race and if you do happen to come across the ideal person, draft as long as you can, but never forget to navigate your own race. I’ve heard too many stories about swimmers drafting behind a swimmer whom they think is the ideal person and they forget to navigate for themselves, totally relying on the person whose feet they are following, only to find themselves 400 – 500m off course.

Drill: With a partner, or with a small group of three or four, form a line and follow the feet of the swimmer in front you. Try to hold their draft as close as possible. If you're the leader, take about 40 or 50 strokes, then pull off and allow the swimmer behind you to rotate to the front.

4. Learn to Sight - Make sure you sight at the top of a swell. The more you sight the more tired you become and the less you sight the greater the chances are you may swim off course, so this is a catch 22. Typically, it is suggested that you sight every sixth stroke and don’t lift your head too high, because your hips will drop, if possible try to keep it to just above the goggle line, think crocodile eyes. Teach yourself to sight in your stroke, look forward as you are turning your head to breathe, then take your breath when you turn your head to the side.

Drill: Practice sighting in a pool until you get used to it.  Find an empty lane, swim with your eyes closed and only open them when you lift your head forward, this will simulate your experience in the ocean or lake where visibility is usually limited. This drill also helps you to determine whether you are inclined to swim straight.  If you find yourself on the other side of the lane, you'll need to re-evaluate your stroke technique.

5. Swim as often as possible in the open water - If, like me, you train alone and refuse to go open water swimming by yourself, then you should try to participate in open water clinics.  I find the Ocean Clinics very useful and enjoyable and try to do as many blocks as I can.

Swim Set of the Week - Open Water Swimming Preparation


This workout is designed to help you practice sprinting, while still working on endurance. You will also practice breathing techniques and surface sighting on 1 of the swim drills.

Total Distance: 2400m

400m warmup
(any combination of strokes and drills)
8 x 50m crawl on 1:00
(adjust the timing if you are faster or slower)
400m crawl bilateral breathing
(practice sighting on surface once each length)
4 x 100m crawl on 2:00
(adjust the timing as needed)
400m alternating hard and easy
(swim every other link sprinting, with the return length easy and relaxing)
400m freestyle warmdown with bilateral breathing
(swim slowly and relax)

Notes: On the 8 x 50m and the 4 x 100m sprints you should challenge yourself with an appropriate time depending on your speed and skill level. The 1 minute per 50 mark is a starting point, but you should make it longer or shorter if you find it is too challenging, or not challenging enough. The same is true for the 100s.

Upcoming Events

2013 North Island Short Course Champs will be hosted by South City Masters Swimming, on 26 & 27 October at the Lloyd Elsemore Pool, Howick, Auckland. Entries close midday on 17 October so make sure you have entered. Enter here or visit our Upcoming Events Page for more info:

Ocean Clinics Block 1: 26 Oct, 2 Nov, 9 Nov: More info here:

Kohirama Summer Swim Series Nov 7,14,21,28: More info here:

Central Masters Harbour Series: Herne Bay, 10 November

State Ocean Swim Series Harbour Crossing 17 November: More info here:

State New Zealand Ocean Swim Series - Harbour Crossing 17 November

Sunday 17th November 2013
6.30am – 10am
Main Event Site: Karanga Plaza, Auckland Viaduct (swim starts at Quinton Park, Bayswater)

Organiser Contact Details: State New Zealand Ocean Swim Series - 09 486 0240 or
Link to enter:

The State Harbour Crossing is the first of six events in the State New Zealand Ocean Swim Series - a 2.9km ‘I’m Going Long’ swim split into 6 waves, putting swimmers with similar abilities together in waves, seeded by their anticipated times. It is for individuals with swimming experience who have trained to complete this event.

This year sees us celebrating the 10th anniversary of the popular State Harbour Crossing, giving swimmers their annual fix of stopping marine traffic and being able to say, ‘I’ve swum across Auckland Harbour’!

From its inauguration in 2004 where the swim kicked off from Stanley Bay to the Viaduct’s Market Square, to the now improved course from Bayswater’s Quinton Park to Karanga Plaza in the Viaduct Harbour, this has become one of the largest and most iconic ocean swims in New Zealand.

Catch one of the optional competitor transfer ferries from the Viaduct to the start line in Bayswater for the 7am swim start and have your friends and family make the most of the spectator vantage points around Viaduct Harbour to watch you enter the Harbour and cross the finish line. They then can then join you afterwards for the 9am prize giving and a well deserved drink and bite to eat at the Auckland Fish Markets.

Winners of the Kohi Summer Swim Series Passes!

Congratulations to the following Masters Swimmers, each have won a single pass to the value of $20:

Glenn Pearce
Paulette Tasker
Steve Rainbow

More about the Kohi Swim Series:

16x Thursday Nights at Kohimarama Beach over Summer

Every night you have the option of choosing from one of 4 distances which allows us to cater to all levels whether you're new to ocean swimming or at an advanced level. That means its a great way of preparing for any swim-related event, from a Tri A Tri, Half or all the way up to the Full Ironman.

Dates: Nov 7,14,21,28 Dec 5,12,19 Jan 16,23,30
Feb 6,13,20,27 Mar 6,13

Distances: 500m, 1000m, 1500m, 2000m - accurately surveyed courses

When: Starts 6.15pm every Thursday, Late Entries 5.00 - 6.00pm
Where:  Kohimarama Beach

For more info visit their website!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Win a $50 Swim T3 Voucher - Snapshot Competition

We have another Swim T3 $50 voucher up for grabs for a lucky Masters swimmer.

All you need to do is send us an original snapshot relating to swimming.  The best snapshot will win a $50 Swim T3 voucher.

Entry Requirements:
1.  Photos must be original and appropriate
2.  Photos must relate to swimming
3.  Competition closes 31st October 2013
4.  The Winner will be announced on 4th November 2013
5.  Submit as many photos as you like, make sure you include your full name and email address
6.  Entrants must be Masters swimmers
7.  If you are entering a photo with other swimmers appearing on them please make sure you have the necessary consent.
8.  All photos submitted will be published on the MasterScrawl blog and the NZMS facebook page
9.  Photos may be sent by:

     Messaging us on the NZMS facebook page: 
   Emailing them to: 

10.  Get snapping and remember to have fun!

Another huge shout out to Swim T3 for supporting New Zealand Masters Swimming!

Most Common Swimming Mistakes - The Weak Leg Kick

As mentioned in an earlier post, a weak leg kick  is one of the most common swimming mistakes swimmers make, this is so whether you are swimming in a pool or in open water.  Often it is said, especially in open water swimming, that the kick is not that important.  Yes, this may be true if you are relying on your kick solely for propulsion, however, the kick is not used only for propulsion.  The kick affects your body position, drag, rotation, and energy use. And a good kick should keep your legs high keeping your body in a good position, it should lower your drag and drive your rotation and most importantly minimise your energy expenditure.

A good leg kick requires: you to kick from your hip flexors; ankle flexibility; kicking with pointed toes; good timing. 

Tips to Improve a Weak Kick

Sources:  Go Swim and Swim Smooth

i)  Kick from your hip with relatively straight legs - don't kick from your knees.  In other words don't bend your knees too much when kicking.  Dryland flutter kick excercises are great for strengthening your hip flexors:  Lie on your back, with your hands under your butt cheeks for support. Lift your head and shoulders off the ground, look down towards your feet. Lift your legs 5 to 7 inches off the ground, point your toes and flutter kick (just like freestyle kick in the pool). Time this exercise, between 30 and 60 seconds X 2 sets.  
This is a great clip from Go Swim explaining the Straighter Leg Flutter Kick

ii)  Ankle Flexibility - this is one of the most important keys to an effective kick.  Here is a  basic ankle exercise.  Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you slightly apart.  Point your feet as far as possible towards the floor trying to touch the floor, hold for a few seconds, then flex your foot and try to point your toes back towards your body. Repeat 10 times.   Now, make circles inwards with your feet do this 10 times, then make circles outwards do this 10 times. Remember to do this slowly and feel the stretch.  For the best results do a little everyday.

ii) Always point your toes when swimming - not pointing will slow you down!  This should be a gentle point and your calf muscles should stay relaxed. Source:  Swim Smooth

iii)  Timing -  The kick should be timed with your hand entry, in other words, as your one hand enters at the front of the stroke the opposite leg should give a kick. Swim Smooth suggests that this usually comes naturally to most swimmers, so not much time should be wasted thinking about this one unless you struggle with it.  I tend to agree, I'd rather focus my energy on something else.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Healthy Recipes - Peanut Energy Bars

Peanut Energy Bars - source:

This carbohydrate-rich bar is packed full of nuts, seeds, fruit, and oats. They make the ideal great grab-and-go breakfast, snack, or post-workout nosh.

1. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
2. Combine ½ cup peanuts, ½ cup sunflower seeds (or other nuts), 2 cups raisins (or other dried fruit), 2 cups rolled oats, 2 cups rice cereal and ¼ cup wheat germ (if using) in a large mixing bowl.
3. Combine 1/2 cup natural peanut butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and 1/2 cup wildflower honey in a large microwaveable bowl and nuke on high for 2 minutes.
4. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and stir until blended.
5. Pour the peanut butter mixture over the dry ingredients and stir until coated.
6. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and press down firmly.
7. Let stand for about 1 hour to harden then cut into individual bars.

If you have a favourite healthy recipe you'd like to share please email us on or message us by using our contact form to the right of the page.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Swim Sets for the Week

I found these under 1 hour swim workouts on  They are great for lunchtime swims where you have just enough time for a quick change and a sprint through the shower.

Workout # 1Alternating Free and IM
up the lane stroke, return free
swim kick pull
add 25 stroke to end (rotate)
drill up the lane swim back
total about 45 minutes for a pretty good swimmer2000

Workout # 2Really short lunch break
All Free
15 second rest
   kick or pull
  swim hard 5 second rest
total 30 minutes, more if the rests are long.1500

Workout #3pyramid  lunch
Choice or all free short rests, maybe 10 seconds.

total 50 minutes if the rests are short1800