View Full Version : How to Use this Conference

04-17-2009, 01:12 AM
I'd like our Freestyle conference to focus on how to develop the stroke. I set up this conference to focus on how to develop the swimmer.
Use this conference to ask questions or share experiences while working toward swimming your first mile.
Or to swim a faster mile.
Or a mile so easily . . . that you can swim 2 or 10 or 20 miles.
I think my next book will share the title of this conference. So post away.

04-17-2009, 09:12 PM
This is a very good idea Terry! I am one of those who dream to swim a mile. I think my stroke technique is sufficient enough to justify such a project. I would be more than happy to read what you guys (you who can swim not only 1 but many miles) did to get there. Mentally and practically.


04-17-2009, 11:23 PM
I am one of those who dream to swim a mile. I think my stroke technique is sufficient enough to justify such a project.

You can swim a mile today -- you have plenty of skill. Just start slowly and keep going.

04-18-2009, 10:42 AM
I think the advice to start slowly and just keep going is basically good advice. Another good way is to embark on a program of adding a certain distance each week

Week one: swim 100m, Week two swim 200m etc. If you need to rest then rest. The challenge is mainly psychological, though. You get into the habit of stopping after a certain distance and it becomes hard to break.

Personally I find the thought of swimming a mile (or 1500m) in a short course pool too tedious to consider, but 800m goes by OK.

A swimming friend regularly does 100 lengths of our 25m pool, usually broken into 80 + 20 and he doesn't seem to suffer from tedium at all. I think it would drive me potty, and I doubt if I'd be able to remember how many lengths I'd done.

It's probably easier if you have to swim across a river or lake or something natural rather than a pool. Once you're out there and past the half-way mark you have to keep swimming! Of course you can rest by floating or treading water but I think it's probably easier just to press on.

04-18-2009, 04:23 PM
Clark & Richardsk,

thanks for the enouragement. The habbit, the psychological barrier etc. are clearly there. In a sort of endless pool I can swim slowly for 15 minutes. This proves byitself that the mile is closer to me than I think. Perhaps I should head for the lake and find out some landmarks... I keep posting here ho things go...

Thanks again


04-18-2009, 10:56 PM
My ability to swim longer distances is primarily a manifestation of time available to swim. If I am pressed for time, I will leave my bag of pool toys in the car and swim 1500 yards non-stop and am back in the car in 45 minutes.

Normally, I spend about 60 minutes doing drills and swims up to 500 yards for a total distance of 1800 - 2500 yards. When I am not in a hurry, I would be hard-pressed to swim 1500 yards non-stop.

For me, it's primarily a matter of motivation.

A while back Richard said that if you can swim 50 yards, you can swim a mile. This was very useful perspective for me. Once I had a reasonable technique and was comfortable with rhythmic breathing, I realized that I could swim long distances so long as I kept relaxed and kept the pace easy.


04-19-2009, 03:42 PM

When I said if you can 50m you can swim a mile I may have been exaggerating - at least where butterfly is concerned. I can now swim 50m butterfly (sometimes without being disqualified for my faulty arm action) but very much doubt that I could finish 100m. However, I have started a scheme according to which you do 100m repeats, swimming the first stroke of each length as butterfly and then changing to freestyle. After you are comfortable with this you add another stroke of fly and so on. It will be interesting to see how it goes. In theory it sounds very convincing.

I would have no trouble swimming a mile with breaststroke although it would be even slower than my slow freestyle, and I could no doubt do it with backstroke but in open water this could be difficult because I tend to swim in circles when I have no lines on the top of the pool to follow. Talking of backstroke, recently I witnessed a rather amazing spectacle in an 800m race. I was watching an acquaintance swim his heat and noticed that he was having a sort of duel with a backstroker. They were neck and neck until the last 50m when I thought my friend would turn on the heat and sweep past, but although he did sprint the last 50m the backstroker touched him out by a second or so. It seems he was doing 50m repetitions almost in the same time he swam them for the 100m back. Clearly a man who would romp through the mile on his back.

Presumably there is some reason why he doesn't swim front crawl. Possibly a shoulder problem?

When I was young I would never have swum any more than a short distance with anything but breaststroke, which is a great stroke for distance if you aren't in a hurry. You can prolong the glide and just loaf along. Nowadays I would prefer to do something similar with front crawl. I am toying with the idea of doing an open water swim this year. I think I may be too slow though.


04-19-2009, 04:32 PM
After experiencing open water looking at doing a mile with a easy, efficient TI stroke no longer seems out of reach. You have the motivation to get to where you need to go simply because you have no choice (at least in my perspective). When I go to where I usually swim I have boats all along the cove and I can boat hop or shoot for a longer one and see how far I can get without taking a rest. Over time you find that you get further and further along. In the pool I can swim a mile but it doesn't even feel like one; with all the pushing off, gliding and so on it just doesn't feel fun.

I also work better in small groups of swimmers. Less stress when they're are so many that are faster than you. It makes a big difference psychologically for me to be with other slow-pokes.

04-21-2009, 04:25 PM
embark on a program of adding a certain distance each week

Week one: swim 100m, Week two swim 200m etc.

My favorite way to build distance is with a ladder or pyramid set similar to the one Alan Perez (AWP) posted in Favorite Practices and Sets. A simple example is 4 x 25 + 3 x 50 + 2 x 75 + 1 x 100. Using that basic format, you can incrementally increase the length of the longest repeat, but approach it gradually with more reps of shorter repeats. I.E. 4 x 50, 3 x 75, 2 x 100, 1 x 125.
Give yourself a standard to determine if you're ready to raise the bar, either consistent ease or SPL consistent within pre-set limits.

Personally I find the thought of swimming a mile (or 1500m) in a short course pool too tedious to consider, but 800m goes by OK.

The key to avoiding tedium in a swim of any distance is keen focus on your stroke. When I swam 28.5 miles around Manhattan I never experienced tedium because I was always focused on getting some detail of my stroke just right. I swam 25,000 strokes, but only one stroke at a time.

Last Saturday I swam 4 x 1-hr + 1 x 45 min legs on a relay in the 24-mile Tampa Bay Marathon. I noticed two striking effects of my unwavering focus: (1) Despite experiencing some fatigue (I was very much undertrained for that much swimming), my stroke got better -- more dialed-in -- on each successive leg; and (2) Each leg seemed to end more quickly.

This capacity for attention -- some call it mental endurance -- is just as important as physical endurance in being able to swim distance well.

04-21-2009, 05:55 PM
My first post here. Sorry for the long- windedness.

I like the mile as a benchmark.
My brother shamed me into swimming the Sharkfest (Alkatraz to San Francisco, about 1.3 miles, cold water) about 2 years ago; I prepared by basically swimming every day in a pool for about 4 weeks. When I started I was completely winded after 100m (I could always resort to breast stroke which I can do for a long time). With time, and without TI, I got more comfortable, breathing got easier, I let the water carry me more, and I was able to do a mile without too much trouble by the time I went for the swim. I did not drown, I swam zig- zag and had to swim several minutes into the current to get into the target area, and finished in about 50 minutes. The time was nothing special, but the feeling of finishing something I was not quite sure I could do was incredible. I think I felt a physical high for at least 24 hours.
It took me another 2 years to do another swim, this past fall in New York, 5.8 miles- tide assisted (I figured the real swimming distance to be about 2.5-3 miles). Similar preparation, I did not drown, but I was disappointed this time by finishing towards the back of the pack. In preparation my 1- mile pool times (short course) were about 38- 40 minutes.
So I listened around, and a colleague pointed me to TI. With the freestyle CD and book I went back into the pool, and I knew that reducing drag was going to be very important (it was a big "duh- of course" moment reading the book). Within a couple of weeks my 1 mile swims became much easier, and faster (around 32 minutes). By now with a few more months of work, I am down to about 28 minutes in a short pool (31 minutes in a 50 m pool), and I am stuck there for now.
The things I feel I have to go back to and work on are really the basics (balance, long body, effective breathing). My first lap is always the most relaxed, and the fastest, I can feel my stroke breaking down as I get air hunger and a bit of fatigue. I have just started breathing every third stroke, which is painful for now, but I feel it will force me to breathe efficiently, and to expend little muscle effort, and also to develop symmetry.
I signed up for a 10K swim in the North Sea this August (tide assisted); I am no longer worried about not being able to swim that far, but I would love to not finish at the rear of the field. Wish me luck.
Also I have no trouble staying entertained for a mile or more in the pool; there is so much to pay attention to. For lap counting I love my little finger- ring lap counter, very little drag and easy to use without the need to cross hands at the turns.

PS Terry, thank you so much, I have never been an aerobic person, but with your help I have found something I want to do for a long time to come. Nothing beats open water swimming, it is you and the water, and the elements.

PPS Can anyone recommend a TI coach in or around NYC?

04-21-2009, 09:05 PM
The TI swim studio is in New Paltz, NY. Less than 2hours from the city (not counting traffic) and worth it if you can make it up there.


04-22-2009, 01:49 AM
I have considered that, but like many I have a busy life, and spending 4 hours+ in the car for a 1 hour swim lesson just does not compute; especially if I am considering somewhat more regular (?monthly) supervision.

Has anyone sought help from any of the following (all listed coaches near NYC):

Stefan Bill

New York, NY
(845) 709-0213
Email: sbil@total-immersion.chThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Fiona Laughlin

New York, NY
(626) 487-9732
Email: FionaLaughlin@yahoo.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Joe Petrush

Bayshore, NY
(631) 220-5209
Email: bayshoreswim@gmail.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: www.bayshoreswim.com

Laura Tiedge

Rye, NY
Email: ltiedge@optonline.net

Kind thanks,

04-22-2009, 02:53 PM
In order to qualify for an open water swim in the hudson river, I had to swim a mile in a pool in under 45 minutes. I had never swam that distance before so I trained for a few months and was super prepared, still never having done that long distance. Well I did it in about 38 minutes and you know what, it was easy. Keeping count was tricky, I had to break it down to 10 laps at a time. But the distance was really not a problem and I felt great afterwards. The event is in July so I'm working on anchoring my forward hand, and staying on my skating sides, and keeping my bouy down and the oxygen flowing. I have to say that TI training has brought so much enjoyment to swimming and I love working with it. Thanks Everybody.

04-25-2009, 09:27 PM
Use this conference to ask questions or share experiences while working toward swimming your first mile.
Or to swim a faster mile.
Or a mile so easily . . . that you can swim 2 or 10 or 20 miles.

I swam my first mile before I ever heard of Total Immersion. In retrospect, it would have been better if I had heard of Total Immersion first.

I found Total Immersion because I was looking for ways to swim faster, and I discovered that the key to swimming faster was to improve my technique. Unfortunately, during all of the time I had spent working up to my first mile, I had been engraining bad technique, and it made it that much harder to break out of my bad habits.

My advice to all swimmers is: Get your technique right first. Then work on maintaining that technique at faster and faster speeds and over longer and longer distances.


06-03-2009, 05:53 PM
Hello everyone. I've been swimming TI for a little over 2 years now, and was a non-swimmer before that. I've made a lot of progress with TI. I'm currently looking into a 1 mile race and am interested in improving my speed. I've swum 1500M in the past. My best pace is about 2min/100M. Any suggestions on things I should focus on to improve my speed? I realize this is a difficult question to answer as every swimmer needs to improve in different ways. But if there are particular drills or focal points that you think might help, I'd be grateful. I have the freestyle made easy DVD and Triathlon Swimming Made Easy as reference points.

Thanks, Pete.

06-28-2009, 06:38 PM
A very personal view on that issue: I am close to where you are in terms of pace (2 minutes for 100m- 50m pool). In general as speed= stroke length x stroke rate, you have a choice of working on either rate or length per stroke (by default you'll be working on both), I found the tempo- trainer helpful to keep my stroke rate steady, and work on stroke length, see other posts here for how to play with the tempo trainer (for me increasing the stroke rate was helpful).
A strange thing I found that my pool times are getting noticeably better after open water swims, in particular, longer open water swims. I think in the open water it is easier to focus on the stroke and to experiment with the way certain adjustments "feel" in the water; that "second mile" when you are particularly trying to be efficient in the water, I find particularly valuable.
Just my take.