The Tuff'n'up Tri Squad athletes are all ages, with varying levels of experience and differing expectations. Click on the tabs to read what some of the Tuff'n'up Tri Squad crew have to say - their goals, personal experiences and race results on training wth Mick Bray.

My name is Ben Bray and Mick is the person that got me into swimming and triathlon from the age of about 5. His dedication to everything he does is what has made me into the athlete I am today. I have swam under Mick since the age of 5 and in that time I have succeeded with a silver medal at nationals and some top finishes in Olympic distance and sprint distance triathlons. I also got my first half ironman finish under him. A solo finish to Rotto at the age of 13 shows just how well he coached me. All I can say is what a legend of coaching, without this man I wouldn't have done anything near this capacity. So thankyou Mick ever so much for your dedication and for making me who I am today.

I am currently in training to complete my 4th Ironman W.A. and this is the first time that I have chosen to complete my preparation under the guidance of a personal coach. Mick has an in depth understanding of and a great level of expertise in all three triathlon disciplines both as a professional coach and a competitor. He acknowledges that each athlete has their own strengths and weaknesses and tailors each training session to meet individual needs. Mick has boundless energy and enthusiasm whether he is coaching elite athletes vying for glory at an international level or health conscious individuals who just like to stay fit, compete and finish an Ironman (as I do). While he does not expect the same out of each athlete he will push and work hard to get the best out of each person. Tuff'N'Up Tri Squad led by Mick Bray is inspiring and motivating and he will help you achieve your full potential.

My name is Hailey and I started swimming when I was 11 years old. When I first joined swimming club I was a little unsure if I wanted to swim and if it was a sport I really wanted to do. But thanks to Mick's Hard working attitude, that never lets you give up and passion for swimming, I found out how much I actually love swimming and how much it's a part of me. I still swim with Mick and I am now 20 years old.

Mike coached me for 4 years of my swimming career. He was always a dedicated coach who showed up early to every swimming session whether it was rain, sunshine or otherwise. He always provided new sets for us to do, he knew when to change modes from serious to fun coach. He always had a great sense of balance between letting us enjoy the sport and work hard at the same time. Most importantly I feel as well as developing our skills and strength in the water, he knew how to create a tight knit community that every swimmer of the club could feel a part of, and that was a vital part of maintaining my interest in the sport throughout the stressful times of year 11 and 12 of high school.

Having trained with Tuff'n'up Tri Squad for 3 seasons, I've completed multiple sprint distance triathlons, 3 Ironman 70.3 and am now training for my first Ironman. Not only does Mick write awesome programs, he's one of the most positive and mentally strong dudes I've met!

I thought I knew how to train properly but since joining Mick's squad 18 months ago my Ironman times have dropped 1 hour 24 minutes and Half Ironman times by 20 minutes. Mick's emphasis is getting the job done but with having a laugh along the way. He is a great coach and has an awesome crew to train with.

' Pain is just weakness leaving your body.'  These words have endeared me to the coaching style of Michael Bray.  Never one to give you the easy option, Mick makes sure you have every opportunity to perform at your optimum levels. if that is what you're seeking from your effort.

Personally, Mick has helped me achieve many long distance 20km swim efforts. His training programs have rekindled my passion for the sport of swimming, and have helped me achieve solidly in internationally recognized swims, such as the Rottnest Channel Swim.

Mick has competed in many Ironman events throughout his career, and has an intimate knowledge on Race day, and the training necessary to make it to the starting line in the first place.

If you are still in the early stages of your training development, Mick has an absolute understanding of the technical side of swimming. Stroke correction is of the upmost, and any inefficiencies within your technique will be analyzed and corrected. This is most important.

Away from being a hard barstard at the pool, Mick is actually an alright bloke. He has a healthy coffee addiction due to the fact that he doesn't mind a chat, so don't be afraid to shoot the breeze with him over a cuppa.

My name is Steve Anstee --I've been coached by Mick for the last few years.  I started off as a sprint triathlete and now I am an Ironman.  With Mick's guidance and support, I have had many great results in short and long coarse triathlon, including qualifing for Hawaii Ironman world champs 2011.  Without him this would have been very difficult, so I thank him immensely for his dedication and support that he has given me, even when I'm tired and grumpy.

12
Aug 11

Triathlon Training Camp

Michael's Mystical Tour of Training
by Dan Talbot

So, here we are, on our way to Perth and I'm sitting in the car wondering if I'm tough enough for the Tuff'n Up training squad's winter camp. The 50 metre pool at Trinity College awaits our eager group of men and women, all seeking Ironman glory in December, and, in a couple of cases, world domination in Hawaii in October.

Steve Anstee and Chloe Lane are two fit young triathletes that leave me wondering what on earth was I getting up to in my 20s? These two are off to the Ironman World Championships in October and whenever they hit the water, the pedals or the track you just know these guys are going to smash it in Kona. In the back of my mind, I knew for Steve and Chloe to get a decent work out at the training camp the rest of us were in for a torrid time.

... On reflection, I needn't have worried too much, it wasn't as if he would whack me with a bamboo stick like my karate coach used to.

For eight months this year Coach Mick has been our builder. A likeable, laconic and friendly chap, always up for a cuppa and a chat about the building project going on above our heads (literally), but, move Mick into his coaching role and there is a quantum shift from likeable to loathsome (well, actually, he doesn't get all that loathsome, I'm really just using that for dramatic effect). Like all good coaches Mick has to take on the role of master and commander, do as I say, not as I do, and don't answer back. On reflection, I needn't have worried too much, it wasn't as if he would whack me with a bamboo stick like my karate coach used to.

We rolled into Perth and drove along the river to Trinity College. Catherine and I met up with the rest of the squad in the Trinity car park and nervously walked into the pool area, doing our best to look cool and relaxed. It was a relatively chilly afternoon and we were really hoping the pool would be nice and warm. It wasn't. It was a full-size, clean Olympic swimming pool heated to the standard temperature of such pools, so, whilst we didn't actually freeze to death, it did have us shivering as we hung on the ropes listening to the wise words and instruction of Dion Metham, the swim coach of champions.

Dion took us through some drills and sets that warmed us up a little. We were in the water for about an hour and a half hour, which, if nothing else, at least gave us a good a good workout. Catherine and I did get quite a bit out of Dion's technique but it would have to wait until Sunday before we actually realised how much.

On Saturday morning we were up bright and early and made the 6.00 am cycle start time at Barrack Street with a few minutes to spare. Propped right under the Bell Tower, there was no mistaking when 6.00 am struck! Mick said we were up for a 'social' ride so I figured I would take my steel training bike. But, even social rides still have hills and every time we hit one I would watch the pack, on their plastic fantastics, accelerate away from me. I was kept busy having to get back onto the tail of the so-called social group throughout the ride, peddling frantically, wishing all the while I too was on my carbon bike.

Although we all started together, we last saw the ladies group in Nedlands, about 20 minutes into the ride and didn't see them again until the finish, all except my wife that is. As we rode down Stirling Highway in North Fremantle I was surprised to see Catherine on the tail end and working a whole lot less than and I! She was still there and hour or so later when we rode over Mount Henry Bridge and also at the finish, which was extremely brave of her as the last ten kilometres back into Perth was a tricky ride, negotiating walkers, dogs, runners and other cyclists. In fact, the whole ride was one of dodging obstacles and made us eternally grateful for the environment that we normally ride in the South West.

There were some major training groups out and about that morning, which is something else I'm not all that used to any more. At one stage, there were three groups, six abreast down Point Walter Road in Attadale. We were on the inside, the meat in the sandwich, on the rights I heard "bikes passing" on the left something a little more disparaging along the lines of "alpha males on bikes"

Back in the city, it was good to catch up with Ross Pedlow's group for a post-ride coffee at the Tiger Tiger. Ross's squad comprised some other WA competitors heading for Kona, including one chap who starts his long ride at 2.30 am on Saturday mornings just so he can be back from his 180 kilometre session in time to have a coffee with his buddies. That's dedication!

Later that morning, we met up at the Running Centre in Subiaco for the next instalment of our magical, mystical tour of torture, oops, I mean – training. This time Mick had teamed up with a technician who is both a champion runner and trainer of champions. Mark See is also a qualified physiotherapist, which is kind of handy. He gave us the run down (no pun intended) on the bio-mechanics of running and some tips on how to work good running posture into our training. Then it was off for some interval sessions followed by what can only be described as funny running.

The run session was over by midday so Catherine and I opted for lunch and a snooze down on the river near Trinity before our next, and third, training session of the day; dry-land swim training. The rest was a welcome relief before we trundled back into Trinity, again, under the tutelage of Dion.

Dry-land swim training was a combination of weights, callisthenics and yoga. It was strenuous, rigorous and, strangely enough, a bit of fun.

At the end of it all we took our tired old bodies back home for a brief respite before heading off to Burswood Theatre to take in the evening rendition of Wicked. It was a great show but my body began to shut down halfway through the second part of the night. The others seemed to be similarly affected and, at the end of it, the six of us trundled out of the theatre some three hours past or normal bed-time, and looking every bit the worse for it.

Elsewhere, the younger members of the training camp were off crashing a fancy-dress - come as a rock star – party, dressed as crocodiles and drug queens (apparently). I know they had a big night because the next morning their breath bore testament to the consumption of large amounts of alcohol, the fetid smell drifting back and forth across the water for our last session of the weekend nearly made me puke – or maybe I was just going hard!

It was during this swim that Dion's training techniques bore fruit. Catherine, in particular, was able to reduce her stroke count from 67 down to 57 per length. A huge effort for her and one that capped the weekend off nicely for us.

Thanks Coach Mick, a great weekend and particularly good value for a measly $50.00!

triathlon, swim bike run



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