These early morning sessions are held at Bluecoat School in Harborne, from 6-7 am.
Who is the session aimed at?
All abilities, with the coach’s main focus being efficiency and refinement. It helps if you can swim at least 50m (two 25m lengths) freestyle (front crawl) but you can work at your own level.
The lanes vary depending on who turns up for the session.
Friday sessions are based around building endurance, by developing efficiency and technique, which means often more lengths without a break – but you can always miss some out if you need to.
Is there a charge for the session?
Yes, bring £5 cash per session, or pay monthly in the BRAT shop.
What does the session usually involve?
Swimming! The coach likes to allow people to swim as much as possible during the session, so spends as little as possible talking! The session to follow is put at the end of your lane, and you can expect tips now and again, but mostly you will be left to practice, observe, and come back for re-assurance or guidance.
What do I need to know if it’s my first time?
Arriving 15 minutes early will enable the coach to help you start in the right lane and explain the session, or otherwise five minutes after 6am will allow them to focus on you whilst everyone else is warming up, if you don’t mind not swimming as much.
There are changing rooms, toilets, and showers, and a water fountain.
The school entrance is on Somerset Road, where it intersects with Metchley Lane, B17 0HR. The school gates are often shut in the early morning, so get in touch for the current code, or wait for other swimmers.
Once through the gate, follow the road ahead and round to the right to the lit pool building. The entrance is on the right hand side as you face it. The changing rooms are straight on.
What do I need to bring?
Swimming cap and goggles will be very useful!
Bring any pool equipment you have (like fins, pull buoy, paddles) but if you don’t have any, these are not essential to start with.
Bring your BRAT ICE tag if you’re already a member, to leave on the side of the pool, or emergency contact details in another format, to save form filling.
“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
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’s participated in sport all her life, with swimming, badminton, netball and hockey from an early age. She started hockey coaching in 2001 and retired from that sport six years later, finding triathlon the following year.
Joining BRAT club in 2009, Sarah admits that our distinctive club kit was a big draw at first; but she stayed for the variety of sessions and sheer size of the club.
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?
“I love Friday mornings. Adding value to people’s swim experiences, makes my day.
“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