A skill-based approach to swimming better
Whatever your reasons for swimming (recreation, fitness, endurance, or speed) your chances of success and satisfaction will increase enormously if you approach swimming as a game of skill – rather than test of endurance.
In the Total Immersion (TI) method, fitness happens while you learn and improve skills.
Statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention point out only a third of American adults can swim the length of a 25-yard pool. And just two percent can swim a continuous quarter mile.
The millions who can’t complete a single pool length aren’t lacking fitness as swimming 25 yards takes no more fitness than walking 100 strides!
Swimming is an aquatic skill and the Total Immersion techniques have been refined over 25 years with countless thousands of students, most of whom had little skill or experience. The approach consists of three steps:
Step One: Comfort, Control, and Confidence
Every TI student, whether novice or experienced begins by learning Balance and Core Stability. These foundational skills replace that sinking sensation with a comforting sense of being ‘weightless’ in the water.
Feeling that you’re in control of your position in the water will bring the confidence and mental calm needed to master more advanced skills.
Step Two: Take the Path of Least Resistance
Because water is 1000 times denser than air, water resistance (drag) is the largest factor limiting how far or fast we swim. Fish and aquatic mammals are naturally streamlined but for human swimmers it’s a learned skill.
Don’t Make Waves. Minimize Wave Drag by striving trying to minimize wavemaking, bubbles, splash, and even noise. All are evidence of energy being diverted from locomotion into moving the water around. The farther and faster you swim, the bigger the payoff from doing so with quiet strokes.
Step Three: Move from your Core
In traditional swimming, the arms and legs do the lion’s share of the work, while the core body is passive baggage.
We teach you to carefully integrate the movements of the head, arms, and legs with rhythms initiated in the core. Power originates in the core and flows to the arms and legs. The better that integration, the less work it takes to swim farther and faster.
What about Breathing?
It’s obvious that breathing is both the most essential and most challenging of all skills. So where does breathing fit into the TI skill sequence. Actually, development of seamless breathing skill is integral to every step.
When you are comfortable and in control of your body, breathing is much easier. When you maintain a long, sleek shape while breathing, you conserve both momentum and power. And finally, it’s far easier to get that breath when the energy for moving your mouth to the air comes from core rotation.
As you may have grasped while reading this, this style of swimming, cooperating with gravity, extending your bodyline, moving from the core, doesn’t come naturally. But they are most certainly learnable.