Swim with BRAT

Adult Swim Sessions

BRAT Swim Sessions are 1 hour in duration and generally work around 1700m to 3000m sets, with some open water focussed pool sessions in the spring.  During the Summer Bittell Reservoir is used by the club on Thursday evenings from 6pm, weather and light permitting.

Our swim sessions are focused on improving your freestyle stroke and endurance and are enjoyed by existing and would-be triathletes, former club and county swimmers, swim-run enthusiasts, experienced and new open water swimmers… and anyone who wants to improve.

All swim sessions are fitness based and so we suggest swimmers should be able to swim 200m (8 length of a 25m pool).  The pool sessions are based at either Birmingham University Pool or at Bromsgrove. 

On Fridays in Bromsgrove and Sundays in Birmingham we have a lane for children aged 8 and over.  All swim bookings must be made through club spark.

    Occasionally sessions are cancelled because of pool closure, bad weather and so on – keep an eye on the central sessions and south Facebook groups. There’s also a WhatsApp group for urgent information about central swimming – ask the coaches to add you.

    Early morning sessions are held at University of Birmingham Sport and Fitness in Edgbaston, from 07:00-08:00am.
    Birmingham University Pool, Bristol Rd, Birmingham B15 2TT

    Who is the session aimed at?

    we suggest swimmers should be able to swim 200m (8 length of a 25m pool). Adults only.

    Is there a charge for the session?

    Yes, £5 per session

    What do I need to know if it’s my first time?

    Try to arrive 20mins early the first time, to allow time for form filling and changing.

    You can purchase or hire a locker band at the university sports centre reception.

    What do I need to bring?

    Swim costume, goggles, towel and if you wear one, a swim cap.
    You should bring a drink with you which can be left at the end of the pool.

    It is a good idea to consider the following swimming aids: Kick Board, Pull Buoy, Paddles and Band. Keep these in a netted swim bag.


    “My main focus now is helping others. I just love supporting other triathletes – passing on nuggets of knowledge to add value to everyone else’s experience of this great sport.” Sarah Paskin, BRAT coach


    Words from the coach

    photo of Sarah

    Friday swim coach Sarah Paskin has competed in all distances of triathlon from sprint right through to numerous Ironman events, as well as multi-terrain, multi-day and other multi-sport events, not to mention an ultra marathon.

    She loves to learn and expand her knowledge, to develop her skills as a triathlon coach and is currently qualified to a Level 3. She finds anatomy fascinating and the understanding helps her with swim and run analysis.

    A qualified CYTECH mechanic (level 2 and Level 3) specialising in electronic gears and wheel building, Sarah is also completing a level 2 in Precision Nutrition, exploring the psychology around food attitude and the implications on adaptation and performance.

    What do you love about coaching the session, Sarah?

    “A smile and happy faces help too, as well as the willingness to listen and try new things.”

    What would you say to someone who is thinking about coming along for the first time?

    “There is nothing to worry about, simply come along, introduce yourself and enjoy the experience.”


    “Sarah is a wonderful, patient coach who somehow always manages to give both a bright smile and words of wisdom at 6am!”, Another Sarah: runner who tries to swim

    The Sunday sessions are held at University of Birmingham Sport and Fitness in Edgbaston, from 14:00-15:00pm.
    Birmingham University Pool, Bristol Rd, Birmingham B15 2TT

    “I love Sunday’s friendly, supportive swim training – it’s led by dedicated experienced coaches in a great pool. It’s also a brilliant way to flush out toxins after a Sunday long run/ride. I always feel fresh and revived afterwards.” Helen, ultra runner and swimmer.

    Who is the session aimed at?

    Mixed abilities: from those who want to improve their swimming to age group athletes. There is a novice lane, the session is held in a 25m pool. Adults and Children.

    Is there a charge for the session?

    Yes, £5 per session

    What do I need to know if it’s my first time?

    Try to arrive 20mins early the first time, to allow time for form filling and changing.

    You can purchase or hire a locker band at the university sports centre reception.

    What do I need to bring?

    Swim costume, goggles, towel and if you wear one, a swim cap.
    You should bring a drink with you which can be left at the end of the pool.

    It is a good idea to consider the following swimming aids:  Kick Board, Pull Buoy, Paddles and Band.  Keep these in a netted swim bag.


    Words from the coach

    photo of Rob

    Sunday swim coach Rob Slater joined BRAT in 2002 and got into coaching accidentally – by stepping in when one of the lanes at his son’s session needed some extra help! He has subsequently qualified as a level 2 triathlon coach, as well as completing open water and strength and conditioning workshops.

    A keen Ironman triathlon racer, Rob also enjoys trail running, especially along coastal path runs, and open water swimming.

    When he’s not being so active, he loves reading, anything from classics to modern fiction; cooking, especially seafood and Indian food; and art.

    What do you love about coaching the session, Rob?

    “It is particularly satisfying to see people develop their swimming in relation to their own goals. I know that I am just a facilitator but seeing athletes achieve and develop their goals is inspiring. And coaching helps me to reflect on my own swimming.”

    What would you say to someone who is thinking about coming along for the first time?

    “We’re an inclusive club and would love to be able to help with your swimming. You can do as much or as little of the session as you wish.”

    If you’re new to this kind of swim training and haven’t got all the kit yet, you can still come along and join the session: it can be adapted, someone may have a spare, or you can miss drills out if necessary.

    These are coached swim sessions at The Bromsgrove Sports and Leisure Centre.
    Bromsgrove Sports and Leisure Centre, School Drive, Bromsgrove, B60 1AY

    They start at 19:30 and last for one hour.

    “Friday swimming session in Bromsgrove is well planned and personalised. It has helped me improve my swimming technique immensely.” Louise

    Who is the session aimed at?

    Seniors and juniors, accompanied by participating seniors, who are able to confidently swim 100 metres (four lengths of a 25m pool) freestyle (front crawl) without a rest. With six lanes available, all speeds are accommodated.

    Is there a charge for the session?

    It’s £5 for seniors. £2.50 for juniors booked in advance on Clubspark.  After a few trial weeks we ask participants to join BRAT.

    What does the session usually involve?

    The focus of each session depends upon a variety of factors, not the least the UK Triathlon season. Technique, power, endurance and speed sets all feature to differing degrees through the season.

    What do I need to know if it’s my first time?

    Arrive at 19:25 ready to swim.  You will have pre-booked via Clubspark.  You will drop your bag on pool side.  Follow coaches’ guidance as to which lane you will be swimming in. 

    What do I need to bring?

    Swim kit and towel, plus training aids. A note is put onto the BRAT Bromsgrove and Redditch Facebook page indicating what swimming aids are needed each week. Otherwise bring everything.

    “Friday swimming at BSLC is a great session! Andy works us hard and there’s good camaraderie!” Nigel


    Words from the coach

    Friday swim coach Andrew is a long-time BRAT who regularly runs these sessions for the club.

    Andrew was inspired to coach by Louise Barron who guided him through qualification. He’s keen to support anybody who wants to coach in turn.

    Andrew has competed at most distances over more than twenty years, including at World and European levels.

    He originally joined BRAT to swim in his local lake, and gradually became more involved with the club. He uses the sessions he creates for his own training!

    What do you love about coaching or leading the session, Andrew?

    “The joyful commitment, effort and appreciation of the participants, not only as athletes but with organisation of social events, recruitment and administration. Some have taken the bold leap to train as coaches to give the athletes greater support.”

    What would you say to someone who is thinking about coming along for the first time?

    “Try it for a few weeks. Then decide whether to continue.”


    “Andy is very enthusiastic, encouraging and well organised. Each session is planned in advance and tailored to the ability of each lane.
    All swimmers receive an individual training sheet which addresses areas that need working on.
    This is a hard session but really useful for anyone who wants to try to improve and it is much appreciated by those who attend.
    There is a big range of triathlon and swimming experience present but everyone is enthusiastic, friendly and supportive.
    Three members are currently undertaking coach training.
    We have had several social events over the year.” Peter

    Swimming Aids

    Kick Board – Larger ones are better

    Kick Board

     

    Pull Buoy – Smooth edges are more hydrodynamic

    Pull Buoy

     

    Paddles

    Power paddles – for strength work                              Finis paddles – are useful for technique work

    Power Paddles                              Finis Paddles

    Fins – Longer more flexible are better than shorter stubby types

    Fins

    Mesh Swim aid bag – To keep it all tidy

    Swim Bag