Launching our App!

Hi Everyone,

Thankfully winter is nearly at an end, with Thursday heralding in warmer weather on the first day of Spring. The first of September is also the start of the summer swim season, with many ocean swim events commencing. If you haven’t already thought about getting your swimming into order and setting some summer goals, now is definitely the time.

We’re very excited to be launching our very own Different Strokes Swimming app. The app will help you manage your swimming schedule more easily and improve the speed in which we can communicate to you regarding special offers, timetable changes, etc. Please take a few minute to download it (links below, for iOS and Android), and using your regular MindBody login you will be able to access all the information regarding your account, profile, class schedule and much more. All the details are further down in the newsletter.

We’ve also got a fabulous interview with one of our past swimmers, Helen Tran. Having taught and coached Helen, I can tell you she is a true inspiration. Her focus, commitment and dedication to her swimming journey has taken her far. Have a read.

Unfortunately this morning I tested positive COVID-19. This means that sadly our Wednesday and Thursday evening classes this week have had to be cancelled. Diana will continue to take her Tuesday evening Stroke Foundations and SwimFit classes as normal, and will also take all my Saturday SwimFit session and classes. I hope to see you all again next week. My apologies for any inconvenience this might cause.

As always, yours in swimming, 

Kari Baynes

Photo: Victoria Park Pool has been stunning under the sunsets lately. PC: Diana Galosi

We Have An App!

We’ve launched our app!

We’re so excited to bring you our new app that will allow you to make and manage bookings, purchase packs and auto pay contracts, and keep your details and preferences up to date. It’s a dedicated platform that gives you all the flexibility and control that you need to stay on track with your swimming journey, and is available on iOS and Android. Below we’ve added a how-to video to help you make the most of the app, but if you have any other questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

App users will receive exclusive offers and deals as well as being the first to know when new classes or intensives are added, and we’ll be able to notify users of class cancellations in real-time. We encourage you to leave push notifications on to make sure that you get any announcements we make through this channel.

Members of our closed Facebook groups got to see this launch first last week, so if you want exclusive sneak-peeks too head on over to Different Strokes Swimming: Members Only and request to join. See you there!

As always, your experience is so important to us, and we want to involve you guys as much as possible every step of the way with this app launch. If you have any feedback, questions, concerns or improvements that you’d like to suggest please let us know. Send an email to us here and let us know what you think!

Download the App

How-to video guide for using our new DSS app. 

New Season Fees & Pricing

As you know, from August 15th we have introduced a small fee increase across most of our pricing options (except for private lessons). The new fees and pricing for Different Strokes Swimming City of Sydney classes are as follows:

For more detail on Masterclass, Open Water Training and squad/SwimFit pricing, you can head to our new app or to MindBody and view all pricing options.

Buy Now!

 Advice from the Pool Deck

Diana has taught so many of you over the past couple of years, it’s probably hard to imagine her ever being a learner. As we all know though, everyone has to start somewhere! Here are some of Diana’s top tips and advice for our swimmers.

Diana’s key message to everyone is that consistency is the key. To develop healthy and sustainable swimming habits, you need to practice regularly and build up your muscle memory over time. Don’t rush, take your time every step of the way to make sure that you’ve nailed the basics!

When Diana started swimming in the ocean, the greenish colour of the water and all the extra seaweed floating around were challenges she had to overcome! Now, after taking the plunge and getting comfortable in her new swimming conditions, you can’t get her out of the sea. It’s very normal to run into barriers when you’re learning something new, no matter how big or small. Just keep in mind, every time you practice, those barriers get lower and lower until they disappear.

Please remember, you’re not alone at any step in your swimming journey we’re here to help you. Trust yourself and realise you can overcome any hurdle, once you put your mind to it!

Photo: Diana working her poolside magic at Prince Alfred Park Pool. PC: Kari Baynes

 Interview with Helen Tran

Helen Tran took classes with us starting in 2018, where she learned to tread water and continued to build on her swimming skills. Now, we’ve just heard that Helen took part in the long distance swim from Bondi Beach to Watson’s Bay this year, and we couldn’t be more excited to hear how her swimming has just kept progressing over the years. Keep reading to hear about Helen’s journey with swimming and hear her advice for people at the start of their own swimming journey.

When did your journey with swimming begin?
I started swimming around 2016-2017 in a shallow 25m pool (as I couldn’t tread water), would swim 25m, stop, take a breath and start again. In January 2018, I started lessons with Different Strokes Swimming, taking group classes, treading water and dives and turns masterclasses, a few amazing private lessons with Kari and a few of the easier squads.

What made you decide to take up swimming lessons, and why with us? 
I got in a pool for aqua classes when I was pregnant as I had to stop soccer and have loved the water ever since. I started with Different Strokes Swimming as I was swimming in one of the City of Sydney pools, noticed Kari was teaching and enquired about lessons. Kari and the Different Strokes Swimming teachers were all so lovely, kind, encouraging and I looked forward to all of my classes or squads. Aside from learning so much, Different Strokes Swimming also brings people together and I enjoyed meeting new people at my swim level.

Can you remember the hardest part of learning to be comfortable in the water? 
I was always nervous in the deep end as I didn’t know how to tread water until I did the Different Strokes Swimming Treading Water intensive. Once I got comfortable in the deep end, I was nervous in the open ocean as I hadn’t learnt how to sight or how to navigate waves and swell but my swim friends helped me learn. I kept practicing and got more confident each time I was out there.

We heard you recently took part in the 10km+ swim from Bondi Beach to Watson’s Bay- congratulations! What went into training and getting ready for that event, and how long were you preparing for this swim? 
Thank you! I watched my friends do the 10km swim in 2021, met them afterwards and I set a goal to do the swim in 2022. I wasn’t able to finish the full 10kms this year as I didn’t make the check point at a certain time and my apple watch died so at a guess, I think I swam 7-8kms in total. I also wore fins for the swim and would like to do it next year without fins. The training guidance was to swim 20-25 kms a week for the training, do long swim sets (4-6kms) and to journal my daily swims. I did this as best as I could.  Covid hit in June 2021, I trained in the ocean for those months and got back to squad and longer sets when we got out of lockdown.

Do you have any advice for people who are at the start of their swimming journey? 
No matter what level you’re at, there is a lot of joy to be found in swimming and to keep at it for the first few weeks even if you don’t feel like it and improvements will come with each swim.  You can have a relaxing swim or you can swim hard for training and whichever one you’re doing, the post swim feeling is magical. I have found that even though swimming is an individual sport, I have connected with an incredibly inclusive swim community and I’m grateful many of them are now my good friends. My swim friends have helped me on rough days out in the ocean, taught me swim techniques, encouraged me to keep practicing when I haven’t been confident or to do a beautiful ocean swim together where we all wait for each other throughout the swim.  We also enjoy a coffee or hot chocolate together afterwards and this connection is special.

Where’s your favourite place to swim at the moment?
Icebergs on Thursday or Friday morning when the pool is clean and there is fresh water or across the bay in Bondi or Coogee where sometimes you see dolphins, turtles or in Bondi there is a local seal who pops up every now and then! When the ocean conditions are not safe, I swim in PAP, VP or Gunyama and the warm water can be a treat!

The ultimate ocean swimmer’s question: wetsuit or no wetsuit?
No wetsuit! It’s nicer to feel the water during the swim.  While it’s a little colder now, I’m lucky my body can warm up after 50-100 metres and if it doesn’t I swim faster!

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A huge thanks to Helen for sharing some of your story with us, it’s so wonderful to see where swimming takes people who fall in love with the water. Congratulations again on your awesome swim this year, we can’t wait to hear all about your future swims!

Note: Some of the above interview has been edited for brevity.

Photo: L: Helen is about to jump in for the Bondi-Watsons Bay swim. R: Finish photo taken with Helen and her friends at the end of the swim. PC: Helen Tran

Inspiration Corner


Swimming with Astronauts | The Moth Presents: Michael Massimino

It’s not uncommon for particular jobs to have swimming ability requirements, but did you know that astronauts have to pass a swim test too? Michael Massimino did not know this before he started the application process to become an astronaut with NASA, and faced one of the biggest challenges of his career to pass the test. This story is funny, lighthearted and inspirational all rolled into one – definitely worth a watch!

Happy Swimming






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