A Taste of TI
Imagine experiencing swimming as flying. Imagine feeling supported by the water instead of fighting the water. Imagine the whole-body sensation of striking a balance between gravity and buoyancy, and propelling through the water with hidden power and visible grace.
Terry Laughlin, the founder of TI swimming, explored ways to improve balance, propulsion and streamlining in water, and this led him to the realization of how swimming can maximize endurance by shifting muscular effort away from the arms and legs to the deeper power of core muscles in the torso. The result is a hyper-efficient form that floats the body in horizontal position, takes advantage of gravity and core muscles for propulsion, and minimizes splashing and resistance in water.
If you usually swim a length of the pool in 25 strokes, and if you could reduce that to 18 strokes by using a 2-beat kick and swimming with core muscle power instead of "arms and legs," you have gained a major health benefit by reducing the likelihood of overuse injuries. You will have used less effort to cross the pool. Oxygen and muscles will be in better balance for long distance swimming goals. And if you can maintain those 18 strokes at a faster tempo, you have a way to test your technical performance under competitive pressure.
TI swimmers don't practice 'struggle.' Instead, they work within a robust self-analytic system that allows them to measure when technique is degrading, to pause/rest, and then to self-diagnose using the TI 'focal points' to get back on track. It's a proven system for continuous self-improvement in swimming.
By establishing a firm foundation of proper swim stroke technique, TI swimmers can take their good form to the "next level" of desired fitness, whether that is aerobic capacity improvements, whole-body strength and tone, postural fitness, faster stroke speeds or covering greater distance.
"A taste of TI"
If you already have a good freestyle crawl stroke, but would like to experience what Total Immersion might contribute to your ease, balance, streamlining - overall efficiency - you can try any of the tips below:
Count the number of strokes needed to cross one length of the pool and rate your effort (on a scale of 1 to 5) before trying this.
1) Release your head's weight. Visualize a laser beam projecting from top of head in alignment with your spine.
2) Use your forward arm to lengthen your body line, rather than push back. (You still push back; you just shift focus to the arm going forward.)
3) Let your legs relax. See if you can get them to draft behind your torso.
4) Just swim "quietly" with less noise, splash, and bubbles.
Then count the strokes needed, while swimming with any or all of the suggestions above, and rate your effort. Perhaps you will discover the new ways of experiencing and challenging your body that Total Immersion Swimming offers.
From the Total Immersion Founder, Terry Laughlin:
"If a researcher had given me a waterproof mic and asked me to record my thoughts between repeats, I’d have reported feeling a nearly-blissful Flow State the entire time–-a product of a problem-solving exercise that required unblinking focus on every single stroke. In other words, I was Totally Immersed in the process of swimming at high efficiency."