Dad sunlight infinite waters                      Terry swimming during a film shoot for a T.I. instructional video a few years ago

A few words about the inspiration for Terry Laughlin’s forthcoming final book: Total Immersion: Swimming That Changes Your Life  (tentatively expected for publication in late 2019) :


For Terry’s final book, he had chosen the working title, Total Immersion: Swimming That Changes Your Life, after years of hearing innumerable swimmers remark, “Learning to swim with Total Immersion changed my life!” Receiving this type of continuous enthusiastic feedback from thousands of T.I. swimmers around the world– about how their success with T.I. swimming enhanced their life beyond the water– prompted Terry to explore the deeper aspects of how transforming one’s swimming can transform other aspects of one’s life. Even to the end of his own life (in Oct. 2017), Terry himself was an exemplar of this: despite the exterior ravages of cancer on his physical body, he continued to use his swimming as a practice for retaining an inner sense of core identity, cultivating a feeling of vitality and enjoyment in life, and motivating his laser-focus on his life-long mission of teaching the world to swim with more ease and enjoyment. The feeling of enjoyment he still experienced in the water in the last months of his life did indeed give him some respite from the deteriorating effects of his illness, and allowed him to sustain a relatively high quality of life in his waning time that remained. That is perhaps the ultimate way that swimming changed Terry’s own life, as he came to grips with his mortality: practicing the mindful T.I. approach for decades had enabled him to maintain a sense of internal calm and engaged focus– and continuous passion for life!– even as his lifespan was drawing to a close.

Terry stated the following as the intention for his final book: “A path for achieving meaningful swimming goals and using swimming as a vehicle for learning, growth, and creating enduring positive change in body, mind, and spirit…” To honor just a few stories of personal transformation (among the innumerable accounts we’ve heard) that inspired Terry to begin viewing swimming as a path for enhancing one’s overall life, we are re-sharing with you some success stories that Terry chose to feature in previous blogs. Longtime readers of this blog may recognize these swimmers from prior posts in past years, and newer readers will be introduced to these remarkable T.I. swimmers for the first time– either way, we hope you are as inspired, encouraged, and motivated by their stories (both in and out of the water) as we have been. May they illustrate for you the promise and potential that lies in all of us, if we are willing to tap into it. As always: Enjoy… and Happy Laps!

 SUCCESS STORIES: Swimming with T.I. CAN Change Your Life!


In a few weeks, we will post a guest blog with an update from Barry Shore, a man whom Terry once described as “the most enthusiastic T.I. student ever”– and he’s progressed even further since this blog post from September 2011! We can’t wait to share with you where Barry is now and what he’s up to, but here’s a hint: I spoke to him last night and he had just logged his 7,000th mile of swimming! 

Excerpt from Terry’s original blog post:

In 2004, Barry woke one morning unable to move anything but his head. Taken to the hospital, and diagnosed with Guillaine Barre Syndrome (GBS), he was in intensive care for 11 days, monitored by telemetry for 11 weeks, in the hospital for 4.5 months, then confined to a hospital bed at home for a year and a half. He’s had personal care assistants full time ever since [as of this writing in 2011]. As soon as he could leave the house, he asked his assistants to take him to the pool.

They put flotation aids all over him and moved him around. He had an instinct that water would be healing, but no specific idea how. Someone who saw him at the pool for hours every day recommended the TI book. Barry borrowed the book from the library, started reading and became convinced this book carried the key to his healing. He ordered our DVD and carefully studied it with his care aide, and made plans for the aide to mimic the movements. Barry still couldn’t use his muscles volitionally, but he had a conviction that if his muscles and nervous system could be imprinted with outside assistance, that would help him recover. And indeed, over time, practicing T.I. swimming became physical therapy that enabled Barry to heal significantly, accomplish wildly ambitious swimming goals, and continue to live a full and vital life today. READ BARRY’S FULL STORY HERE


Excerpt from Terry’s original blog post:

When we describe TI as Swimming That Changes Your Life, we mean change for the better. That’s not a marketing slogan, it’s a core principle. Paolo Carignani, who was born in Milan, lives in Zurich, and travels the world conducting leading opera companies, exemplifies what that core principle means to us as well as anyone could. Most people come to TI initially because of utilitarian goals—to swim easier, farther, or faster. They also recognize swimming is healthful exercise. When ordering a TI DVD or registering for a class, most will be happy to get a smoother stroke and strong heart. Few expect it to benefit mind and spirit. And fewer still anticipate it could even improve their work or professional lives. Paolo took up swimming to reduce stress. And look where it got him.  I [Terry] met Paolo in Nov 2008 when he came to NYC to conduct “Aida” at the Metropolitan Opera. We swam together near Lincoln Center, then Alice [Terry’s wife] and I were his guests at the opera. It was my first time seeing an opera. The main thing that struck me was, during our swim, Paolo kept repeating: “TI has such a gift to make people happy.” Then I learned just how important a happy conductor can be to an opera company! READ PAOLO’S FULL STORY HERE



Excerpt from his guest blog, “T.I. Technique and Neurosurgery Training: A Survival Guide”

I started a neurosurgical residency in 2007. It was a 7-year marathon. Few other professional training courses are so demanding in terms of physical, emotional and mental powers that need to be cultivated and ingrained to the person going through it. Our days as residents would regularly start around 5 am and end around 8 pm. We would still work the next day after being up all night when we were on-call. Most of us would leave the hospital dead tired, wishing to go straight to bed. I was no different.  But somehow, I elected to keep making a stop at the nearby swimming pool, just 100 yards from the hospital, to practice TI, before going home.

This was one of the smartest things I elected to do. It was not just that I was getting better at swimming. After a while I noticed that I was getting out of the pool feeling less tired, needing less sleep, and waking in the morning feeling better overall. I felt restored as I came out of the pool. I could tolerate longer hours of standing in the operating room without backache. In my work, I could feel my hands and arms coordinate better with the rest of my body and I could sense more fluidity in my surgical technique.

Above all, swimming and the TI technique helped me tremendously in relieving the daily stresses of work, rejuvenating my psychological resources, and sustaining my body through very tough times.  Progression in swimming technique generated positive feedback for progress in mind and spirit. Balance and streamlining in the pool would find a parallel in balancing my acts and thoughts during interpersonal interactions and streamlining my daily work in the hospital. I often say to my friends that I survived residency because of the support I got from my mentors, family, and TI. To this day, I feel eternally obliged to Terry Laughlin and his commitment to make a change in peoples’ lives. A change that goes beyond becoming a better swimmer. READ IOANNIS’S FULL STORY HERE

Do YOU have a personal Total Immersion success story that you’d like to share with us? We LOVE hearing about the positive impact– both in and out of the water– that learning to swim with T.I. has had on those of you who have experienced transformation using our approach. If you’d like to send us your success story, please email blog editor Carrie Loveland at — we look forward to reading your stories!