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Old 02-26-2013
wie wie is offline
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 40
Default Intro

I'm Willy from Germany (Bremen) and I am trying to learn crawl according to the TI style for about 5 months now.

I'm 47 years old and for 41 years I rarely swam, and if, only breast stroke.
Due to some unknown reason many in my age decide to lose weight and get into sports again to become fitter. So did I. I started running and swimming and decided to learn freestyle!
The good thing is that I checked the internet and found the videos of TI swimming on Youtube. This was what I wanted to learn, because it looked really beautiful. I bought the book.
Ok, for some months now I try to swim like a TI swimmer. I practice two times a week. The bad thing is that I am alone, have no one to look at me and I cannot do many of the exercises, because the pool is always very crowded.

What I have accomplished so far is "something" that looks like freestyle, but probably only remotely TI-like. I can breathe to both sides. But I am very slow and I need far too many strokes. I scratch my head when I read that you need less than 30 strokes per 50 m. I need about 48-50! My best is 45.
And I need 28 min for a km (in breast stroke I need 24 min!). I can do 50 m in 55 s, but then I am probably not swimming very TI-like.
Well, there you have it …
What I read always is that speed comes alone, so I think I should concentrate on better gliding. I am still improving, that's the good thing. When I swim, I try to concentrate on one point at a time, like head, long arm, front quadrant, rolling etc. My first goal is to get to 44 strokes per 50 m, something Terry suggested in his book as a breakpoint.
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Old 02-27-2013
CoachNeilMay CoachNeilMay is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 6
Default Welcome

Hi Willy. Welcome to the World of TI. It sounds like you have made an organised and purposeful start to your swim practice which is great.

Many people self-coach very successfully (there are lots on this forum) but there is also great value in having someone on poolside to give you feedback from time to time. It's not going to be so easy for you to hook up with a coach or get along to a workshop as I don't think we have these in Germany yet (watch this space though!!). You are always welcome to attend a workshop in the UK of course - they are held very close to Heathrow Airport!!

However, what a number of swimmers have done is to get someone to shoot some video of them swimming (both above but most importantly below the water) and post this on the forum for feedback.

That way we can see how you are swimming and provide more specific feedback on drills and focal points which will be of most benefit to you.

If you are comfortable with doing this you will get a lot more insight into your stroke.

It is also useful to view video of yourself swimming as what you 'think' your are doing is often very different from what is actually happening!

The main thing to note though is that you are not alone. TI is global! So there are likely to be other TI Swimmers in Germany who are close by who you could meet up with.
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Old 03-05-2013
CoachBobM CoachBobM is offline
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 647

Originally Posted by CoachNeilMay View Post
The main thing to note though is that you are not alone. TI is global! So there are likely to be other TI Swimmers in Germany who are close by who you could meet up with.
If there isn't a TI coach nearby, it can still be very useful if you can find someone else who's learning TI. If you each know what the drills should look like from watching the DVD, you should be able to give each other feedback on how you're doing. And, who knows? That might even be the first step toward becoming a TI coach yourself!

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Old 03-05-2013
TId1g9 TId1g9 is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 2
Default Hallo Willy

Hallo Willy
Ich bin Dagmar aus dem schönen Allgäu.
Seit Mai 2011 Jahren übe ich 2-3Mal die Woche TI, und Deine Probleme: volles, unruhiges Schwimmbad und der Versuch, TI ohne Trainer zu lernen.
Mein erster Kontakt mit TI war das Buch von Terry Laughlin :"Total Immersion Schwimmen nach Art der Fische" Ich war sofort fasziniert von dem Buch und von Terries Art Schwimmen zu vermitteln.
Inzwischen habe ich alle DVDs von Terry und alle seine Bücher.
In der Schweiz gibt es einen TI-Lehrer- Marco Pilloud ( )- bei ihm habe ich inzwischen 3 Workshops besucht.
Ich bin nur 1,57 m groß und meine normale Zugzahl auf 25m ist 18.
Ich glaube, dass Du erstmal an Deiner Wasserlage und am Gleiten arbeiten solltest. Ich geniesse immer wieder Terries Ausspruch: "Sink into weightlessness" Das hat mir vom Gefühl her geholfen, eine gute Wasserlage zu finden. Es macht mir sehr viel Freude, die Drills zu üben, und ich habe bei jeder Übungslänge einen Focuspunkt: Verbindung von Kopf und Füssen, Tiefe der vorderen Hand, Breite der Spur, auf der sich die Hand bewegt, etc.
Ich mache mir vor jedem Training einen Übungsplan, der meistens 2\3 Übungen und 1/3 Schwimmen enthält.
Anfangs war ich auch die langsamste im Becken. Aber inzwischen sieht mein Schwimmen schon ganz gut aus, und ich werde auch schneller.
Mach doch mal Urlaub im schönen Allgäu, dann können wir unsere Erfahrungen austauschen.
Grüsse von
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Old 03-05-2013
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 2,453


sub 30 strokes for 50m is way way way too low! 45 is fine. Where did you read 30 strokes for 50m?

When I swim comfortablly fast I swim 43 strokes for 50m. To compare when I swim the same pace in a 25 yd pool, I swim 18 SPL. My lowest non-drilling in a 50m pool is 37 and my lowest in a 25 yd pool is 14.

So you can use those nubmers to compare...mine are very low for my height, 5'3".

Don't get hung up right now on the number of strokes, because you are probably right in teh range you need to be.

Video would be great. We have a German coach currently living in London, Tracey Baumann of Swim Solutions. She travels to Germany to visit occasionally perhaps you can arrange a lesson!
Suzanne Atkinson, MD
Level 3 USAT Coach
USA Paralympic Triathlon Coach
Coach of 5 time USA Triathlon Triathlete of the Year, Kirsten Sass
Steel City Endurance, LTD
Fresh Freestyle

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Old 04-04-2013
wie wie is offline
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 40

I am sorry; I forgot to look again into the forum.

Thank you so much for your answer, Suzanne! This is very encouraging.
I can swim 45 strokes repeatedly in a 50 m pool now. This number feels quite natural. When you say that this is probably the right range, I will leave it at that for now.

My next goal is to get a bit faster. Currently I can swim 1 km in 26 min, which feels "comfortably hard". Since I always remember my breast time which is about 24 min I think I should be faster with crawl. Also I see the little girls in the pool swimming faster than me, which is frustrating. No, not really, but it is surprising for me to learn how much swimming is technique and not power. This is so different from running.

Originally Posted by TId1g9 View Post
Ich mache mir vor jedem Training einen Übungsplan, der meistens 2\3 Übungen und 1/3 Schwimmen enthält.
Ja, ich sollte mir auch mal einen Plan machen vor dem Schwimmen. Bisher entscheide ich das immer spontan im Becken.
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Old 05-07-2013
wie wie is offline
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 40

I am working on my technique.
I'm swimming 200 m with fists, then 100 m normal.
I think I am improving. Today I needed 41 strokes for the 50 m for the first time. Not with fists of course.
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Old 05-14-2013
wie wie is offline
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 40

The training with fists works.
Today 40 for the first time!
Still slow though. Needed 68 s.
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Old 05-14-2013
haschu33 haschu33 is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Hamburg, Germany
Posts: 787

Hi Willi,

I am a bit in the same position as you are, I started to learn freestyle three and a half years ago at the age of 55 and my only help is the 'Easy Freestyle' DVD, this forum, and I managed to put a camera on a startblock a couple of times.
And WFEGb aka Werner and I managed to meet last year and had a swim together. He also bought a underwater camera so I am looking forward to get some clips...
And - I was born in Bremen! My parents moved to Hamburg when I was 3 years old, now I am living between Hamburg and Kiel.

If I was to give you an advice I'd say: don't get fixated with SPL, and don't get fixated with speed. It is good to register the SPLs, so always count. But when you find that your SPL is high - don't try to fix it. Take it just as information (to quote Doc Sue aka Coach Suzanne).
The point is that when you go for SPL only at this early stage in your learning curve you have good chances to pick up bad habits that you will have to unlearn at a later stage.

Get fixated with balance, streamlining and the stroke itself.
- how is your balance when you swim really slow?
- do you relax and hang your head?
- do you lift your head when breathing?
- does your lead arm go down when you are breathing?
- do you over-rotate in breathing strokes?
- do your legs scissor kick, particularly in breathing strokes?
- are the legs quiet between kicks?
- are your hips up?
- do you pause before starting the recovery?
- do you recover with high elbow?
- does your hand enter splash-free and in the 'mail-slot'
etc, etc.

There are many things to fixate on...

The first time I swam a lap in a 50m pool it took me 35 strokes. Now I might use 40 or more (or less), but my stroke is just so much better, I am faster and less exhausted. It is a big improvement although it doesn't seem to be when you just look at the SPL.

So, basically it means prioritizing long term benefits over short term benefits. But it is also important not to lose the fun in it.

Hang on in there...
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Old 05-14-2013
flychick flychick is offline
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Cheltenham, UK
Posts: 86

Hello Willy, Haschu 33 and all my other fellow TI friends in Germany!
This is just to let you know that TI Master Coach Tracey Baumannn, who is based in the UK, speaks fluent German and tells me that she would be willing to run a workshop in Germany! She has given me permission to post this information.
You can find her at
She is a marvellous coach and comes with my highest recommendation!
Warm regards from a soggy UK,
Nicki Gwynn-Jones
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