Article: Well put and I like all the ideas presented.
Charles in fact it is not, nor is it suggested to do at all times. But without some sort of efficiency check, there is no way to tell if improvement has happened. Time and strokes are some of the best indicators of improved efficiency in the water. I would venture the majority of people coming to TI (myself included) wanted to a) learn to swim, or b) learn to swim better. "Swim golf" is a game played in TI that makes 50s a lot of fun for me as I'm challenging myself to get better and having fun doing it.
For sure, anyone can swim without counting or timing, and they should. But since TI (at least as far as I can tell from my reading two books by Terry) is focused on Kaizen
, one must have a way to tell if one has improved over the course of their training. In fact, I would venture to say that those who jump into TI fully, make improvement part of the fun.
At some point we all meet the genetic wall, and those good enough go to competitions. At competitions if someone is counting their strokes during the swim, they aren't experience the psychological event called flow. High level athletes don't count, they do. They may know how many it will take them, but they sure aren't counting during the event. You'll see plenty of posts of "hey I finally did this" when it comes to events and so far many don't have any counting along with them.
I don't know about the rest, but I have a great time at the YMCA pool with people too, even though I'm not a Masters swimmer (who knows, maybe someday!). They see me with my TI cap on and we get into great conversations about what I'm doing versus what they are doing, and some even ask me how they can improve. My own training recognizes my faults and some of the ones they are making, and I always tell them to come here and learn more as I'm still learning.
In fact I even tried your NAD butterfly drills and they helped too!