“TI completely changed how I looked at things I formerly thought were impossible.”  Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss has achieved global fame for prodigious feats of skill, learned in record time. Within six months of his first tango lesson, he made semifinals of the World Tango Championships and set a world record for most tango spins in a minute. Two months after taking up kickboxing, he won the Chinese national title at 165 lbs.




His three bestselling books have made “4-Hour” into shorthand for warpspeed learning. 4-Hour Workweek [http://www.fourhourworkweek.com] inspired thousands to escape the 9-5 grind and pursue success on their own terms.

Kevin Kelly of ‘Wired’ called The 4-Hour Body “a practical crash course in how to reinvent yourself.”

And Tim’s most recent book, The 4-Hour Chef   is a masterpiece on the art of learning anything.

It’s hard to imagine Tim thinking of anything as impossible but, for 30 years, one skill left Tim feeling defeated and deflated . . .

Unlike some of my other pursuits, swimming is a fundamental life skill—something I’d want to share with my children. But despite
national titles in other sports, even after dozens of lessons, swimming was still unpleasant and exhausting. It was my biggest source of insecurity and embarrassment.

But Then . . .

In 2008, Tim progressed from struggling to complete 40 yards in a pool to effortlessly swimming up to two miles in the ocean in only 8 weeks!

In his other pursuits, Tim had sought expert coaching. His swimming breakthrough came only when he  stopped taking lessons (the traditional kind) and taught himself, with the aid of the TI Self-Coached Workshop DVD.

Tim tells the story . . .

I met Chris Sacca of Google fame, at a barbecue and told him of my plight. Before I could finish, he cut me off. ’I have the answer to your prayers. Total Immersion revolutionized how I swim.’ That was the turning point. 

In my first practice, I cut drag at least 50% and swam farther than I ever had. By my fourth practice, I’d gone from crossing a 20-yard pool in 25 flailing strokes to an average of 11 smooth and relaxed strokes. I swam with half the effort and no stress.  In fact, I felt better after swimming than when I got in. I couldn’t believe it.

Two months later . . .

One morning I woke up early and went to the ocean. ‘How far is that house.’ I asked the lifeguard, pointing down the beach at a red

’Almost exactly a mile.’

‘Great. Thanks.’

I started walking, and 20 minutes later stopped in front of the red roof. I put on my goggles, and walked into the waves.

Alternating right and left breaths, I entered a Zen-like state of calm confidence. I reached the lifeguard stand and continued another
200 meters, before deciding to leave the water.

Walking up the sand, I have never felt prouder or more alive. One of my deepest-seated lifelong insecurities was gone and would
never return. The elation I felt was indescribable.

TI training is the first instruction that made sense to me and is 100% responsible for the fastest transformation I’ve ever had in
sport. It completely changed how I looked at things I formerly thought were impossible.

Watch Tim explain how TI helped him bypass his previous ‘failure points’ on a TED Talk.



Learn at Any Age

Here’s another example of a self-coached swimmer accomplishing the extraordinary with the help of Total Immersion—despite taking up swimming over 60 years later in life than Tim had.

When Paul Lurie moved to a retirement community with a pool, he wanted to make good use of it. He’d never had formal swim instruction but thought 93 was good a time as any to learn. He ordered the Self-Coached Workshop DVD and taught himself–and an 84 year old friend to swim with easy, smooth strokes.

When Paul came to me to have his self-taught form assessed, he already had mastered the TI method. The first time I saw Paul, he already swam with a grace I found stunning for any swimmer within 10 years of his age!

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Terry Laughlin and Paul Lurie

Over the next few months, Paul and I met at his pool every few weeks, for 30-minute sessions, in which we focused mainly on recovery and entry, and a better-timed kick. Our lessons totaled about four hours.

In February, we decided to celebrate his prowess—and his recent 95th birthday—with a video now posted on youtube, which illustrates swimming’s uniquely ageless quality.

Can you tell which swimmer is 62 and which 95?


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