Training Q&A

Q. Do you have a coach?

A. Yes. Our Head Coach is  James (Jimmy) Donovan. Jimmy is an ASA qualified Club Coach. He has been involved in swimming, lifesaving, teaching and coaching for most of his life.  We are also assisted by Terry John, our previous Head Coach, Nick Holmes and Malcolm Wilson.

Q. Will the coach help me with my stroke technique?
A. Yes. He is most approachable. All you have to do is ask. Not everybody needs or wants help with their strokes, so unless you ask he doesn’t know.

Q. Can I learn to tumble turn and dive?
A. Yes, just ask. Although diving is a little bit difficult to organise due to shallow water constraints.

Q. How are the sessions organised?
A. Swimmers of like ability are grouped together in the same lane and appropriate sessions are provided. Each session has a warm up period, a main set, a contrasting set and a swim down period.

On Mondays, at Cardiff International Pool there are 8 x 50 metre lanes for 60 minutes from 20:30. The session is written on the board at the end of each lane.

On Tuesdays at Western leisure Centre, Ely there are 6 x 25 metre lanes from 20:30.  Jimmy Donovan or Terry John are usually there to verbally provide the session.

On Wednesdays, at Cardiff International Pool, there are 5 x 25 metre lanes for 90 minutes and 5 x 25 metre lanes for 60 minutes from 20:00. The session is written on sheets of paper and placed at the end of each lane.

On Fridays, at Cardiff International Pool, there are 7 x 25 metre lanes from 20:00 lanes. The session is written on sheets of paper and placed at the end of each lane.

When swimming in lanes, the swimming is normally done in a chain – that is, up one side of the lane and down the other side of the lane. Therefore a lane swims either clockwise or anti-clockwise. Adjacent lanes should always swim in opposite directions.

Monday Cardiff International Pool (CIP) 8.30-9.30pm (Long course – 8 lanes)
Tuesday Western Leisure Centre (Ely) 8.30-9.30pm (Short course – 6 lanes)
Wednesday Cardiff International Pool (CIP) 8.00-9.30pm (Short course – 10 lanes)
Friday Cardiff International Pool (CIP) 8.00-9.00pm (Short course – 7 lanes)


Etiquette does come into play a little bit when swimming in a lane and there are therefore several Do’s and Don’t Do’s.

In a lane swimmers should endeavour to allow a five second gap between each swimmer. Always try and leave a gap. Be aware of other swimmers. If you are holding people up stop at the end of the pool to one side of the lane and allow them to overtake. If you are being held up, wait till you get to the end of the lane where that person should move to the side to allow you to overtake. Don’t try and overtake in the middle of the lane, as this is very difficult in a crowded lane and can only lead to accidents.

Q. Do I have to follow the session?
A. Everything is negotiable. People attend the sessions for different reasons and Terry tries to cater for all requirements. If you are carrying an injury, feeling unwell, feeling unfit or just having a bad day, allowances can and will be made. If you do have a problem, then it is perhaps wise to inform Terry of this before commencing any session.

Q. Are the sessions structured?
A. Yes, Terry tries to follow 8, 12 or 16 week schedules which hopefully lead to a competition that swimmers from the club are attending. The schedule begins with basic aerobic endurance and progresses into the different energy systems culminating in a taper period before an event.

Q. Is every session coached?
A. As far as possible.