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Total Immersion

[color=#cc3399]Hi All,[/color]


[color=#cc3399]Here I go again with my questions - I've bought ANOTHER book... the total immersion book. I did my first session today. I did the first lesson. How did it feel? Annoying. I felt like i was in every body's way and not convinced it will help me in time for my next tri in two [/color][color=#cc3399]weeks (panic!) and didn't feel like a work out, not even a little bit...[:o][/color]

[color=#cc3399]Any one got any advice (you know about how they found it hard at first but it's done wonders for them?) and also wondering if i should just shelve it for now and take it up again after the next tri (ie is 2 weeks too short a time to try to get it working for me enough to do a triathlon).[8|][/color]


[color=#cc3399]Oh and one more question - how many times per week and for how long would anyone recommend I do the drills etc for?[&:][/color]





  • ardkeenardkeen Posts: 152
    Hi Barbs,

    Keep goin with it. Its the best way to improve. I 'm a fellow struggler in the water.

  • GraemeGraeme Posts: 48
    I did the TI book course and I found it pretty usefull, but it does take time

    If you want to make an improvement within the next couple of weeks, then unless your stroke is complete pants, then you're going to struggle to make more than a few seconds off a 400mtr time.

    I reckon the most important lesson you can learn from the TI is making your entry silhoette as small as possible and really reaching as far in front as you can to make your stroke longer and shallower

    You can count your strokes per length to measure improvement. Although this is dependant on a zillion variables, I reckon aiming for around 15 individual hand entries on a 25 mtr length is a pretty good rate.

    As for amount of times drilling, then depends how good your swimming and endurance is anyway, but maybe 25% of each session a couple of times a week.
  • jonEjonE Posts: 1,113
    tried TI made a small bit of difference and I still have a small whaling fleet follow me around the lake when I swim,best chance of improving is to either go with some one and tell them what you are trying to do and get them to point out your faults (might end up in fisticuffs if criticism not given constructively) better to video and watch your own faults.I could not follow the TI course fully but adapted by trial and error to see what gave me the best efficient speed so I would not be exhausted before the bike.
  • HarryDHarryD Posts: 425
    I got the TI book late last year, read it, went through it lesson by lesson & increased my swim speed by around 10% by the time I had done the whole lot.

    The TI process is based on re-educating your central nervous system & muscles to work in a different way to what they probably do with the intension of getting you to do what the experts do as a matter of course. It starts with the very basics & then build up. It depends on you getting the first lesson right before moving onto the second, the second before the third etc. Do it properly & you will see significant inprovements. Short cut & you have wasted your time. Dip in and out & you'll not see the full benefits.

    It is a technique book so don't expect a session to feel like a workout - this is made clear thought the book.

    In reality you are breaking down everything your body knows about swimming & starting again. Expect to be slower at first as you learn to get your body balanced (as a sinker I found this hard) & learn longitudinal rotation etc.

    You don't need to buy yet another book expecting miracle improvements - this is counter to reality. Put the TI book on the shelf & finish your season doing what you do now. Then get it down & work though it page by page though to the end. If you don't improve after that then you will need to get one to one coaching (google 'triathlon' and 'coaches' or 'coaching') - someone who will help you work on technique, speed & stamina over the months you need to build in improvements.

    Drills. I do them after warmup, before the main workout, again after the workout and before warm down. Do them every time you swim - just do more of them during one of your weekly swims - if short of time use the drills as warmup. Agree with Graeme - about 25% of your total distance in a week is good.

  • hound doghound dog Posts: 293
    Great posting there HarryD I too have a total immersion book which I gave up on. Think I'll give it another go at the end of the season. Cheers.

  • LuckyLucky Posts: 137
    I'm doing some "normal" swimming lessons at the moment to help improve my basic swimming and get me around the course, at the end of the season I'm going to do a TI training weekend to unlearn all my swimming "skills" and hopefully become a much better swimming for 2008 (well that's the plan anyway)
  • Like most people, i got the TI book, and the DVD too which gives you something to watch as a refrence. I found the drills to be a bit boring and as the thing i was really struggling with was breathing, i thought it was useless to carry on. So after giving up on TI i decided to concentrate on getting my breathing right, and low and behold, i actually found that i was swimming the TI way without thinking about it.

    Previous attempts at a 400m timed swim were terrible, took about 13 mins and left me gasping, but with the new found technique and better breathing it dropped down to just under 8 mins with very little exertion.

    I think the key to all disciplines after your drills and concentrating on technique, is to go away, come back to it fresh and most of all, just enjoy doing it. Good luck.

  • mini__Cmini__C Posts: 44
    Quantity doesn't mean S**T if the Quality of the session is Poor, in other words how much drills you do a week or how long doesn't really matter, as long as you pay a lot of attension to the drills and make sure your doing it right, then it doesn't really matter how much you do. But then of course you have to be sensible.....

    Barb don't think for a sec that what you do now following the Total immersions is going to help you cut down 20 secs off your swim time, cause it ain't going to happen in such a short period of time, learning something takes time, if you don't feel ready for the triathlon comming up, don't do it cause you might end up retiring early in the race, and hate the sport.

  • KarlOnSeaKarlOnSea Posts: 28
    Hi -

    I used the book on and off for about two years, with a constant feeling that I was getting better, but ultimately no-where. There was a fundamental problem with my stroke that I'd either not picked up on in the drills, or I was doing some of the later drills just plain wrong. Basically, I was playing 'catch-up', and waiting in the glide phase for too long, only switching when my recovering hand passed the other elbow. As a result, my limit was around 100m - not very impressive!

    Then I had two 30-minute lessons with a professional instructor in the fortnight before the Stratford Tri this year. Problem corrected, and I swam the 400m of the race. Admittedly, I was slower than if I'd swum breast stroke, but the important thing is that I got out of the pool feeling ready for the bike - positively full of beans in fact.

    So . . . for your race in two weeks time. I'd have a 1:1 lesson with a trained instructor, as this is more likely to pay off in such a short timespan. THEN use the TI drills to refine your stroke and improve your position in the water etc, over the next six months or so.
  • bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    I'm expecting a copy of this book any time now, I ordered it on Amazon.

    I think its the perfect time now to get this thing going. Don't know if I will be patient enough to follow it completely.

    Hey HoundDog, did you restart this thing??
  • Tim DTim D Posts: 64
    Hi Benny

    I bought this book back in early Autumn. I have followed the lessons and drills (for about 6 weeks, possibly more). In that time I didn't do any other swimming, just the drills. I have to say that it is useful to get the DVD as well (I was lucky enough to be able to borrow a copy) - if a picture is worth a thousand words then a DVD must be worth a whole lot more. I found the whole program great to follow. I had been finding that I was starting to not enjoy my swimming at the end of the summer - this was the main reason I got the book. It has left me totally refreshed and invigorated. I do belivev it works as well. Before the the book I was at a push able to swim a length (25 m) in 18 strokes, but this dropped to at least 20+ when I fatigued. I am now able to swim a length in 14 stokes if I really try, but am averaging 15 - 16. I swam 1500 without stopping 2 weekends ago (my longest swim since the ironman in August) and was able to keep this storke rate up for the entire swim.

    Advice - follow the drills in the order that they set out as they are in a logical sequence that all make sense the further into the program you go.

    What I did find difficult was going from drill (triple overswitch) to full stroke. Getting the breathing timing right was difficult. Keep at it and it will click. Good luck and enjoy.
  • bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    great motivating post there, Tim D.

    Am anxiously awaiting my copy.

    Got myself a timex IM swiming watch today though.

    Can't wait to get in the pool now.
  • See the sense in what you say Tim. I keep trying to stick with it but end up pounding the lane when the little old ladies copme in the same lane as I try the drills.

    Think that also answers your question benny.

    What sort of time are you saving with a lower stroke count Tim?
  • Tim DTim D Posts: 64
    At the moment I am not really saving any time. I figure that I am saving energy. Lower stroke rate = less waving the old arms around = less tired at the end. I swam 2k (45 mins) non-stop in the pool yesterday morning and felt good at the end. I have only really just learned to swim in this way so am concentrating on keeping the technique correct. I plan on developing speed later. I really feel like I am 'swimming downhill' now. Head positioning is really important here - makes all the difference.
  • Sounds great Tim, just the sort of benefit Im looking for too. Time to start again from the beginning[8|]. How long do you keep each drill going for Any other tips would be appreciated. I just find it so hard to keep enthusiastic about it.
  • Tim DTim D Posts: 64
    I think the length of time you spend on each drill is a personal thing. It says in the book that you should do each drill until you are past the point of boredom. Remember the idea with this program is to teach your body to swim like this naturally. Like me if you have been swimming with relatively poor technique for years then it will take a long time to undo this damage. I don't think there is anything wrong with spending a long time on a particular drill to make sure you have got it perfect and easy. I think like me you will find some drills easier than others.

    Other tips?

    As I said head position is very important - make sure you are looking directly at the bottom of the pool. This will make a real difference to bouyancy and the downhill swimming feeling. I remember being told by a qualified swimming coach to look forward in the water as I swim - net result I know now is to make my legs sink and become a lot less streamline. Also having your lead arm lower in the water (5 o'clock instead of 4) on the drills helps a lot with bouyancy and balance, especially if you think yourself a 'sinker'.

    You will probably find as I did that going from the underswitch drills to the over switch drills a great feeling. Here you really discover what this technique is all about. Suddenly you think wow so this is how easy swimming can be.

    I did find it difficult going from triple overswitch to full stroke. Getting the breathing correct is difficult. Just stick with it and it will come in the end. I did find that I was getting very breathless when I first started the full stroke. I think this was a combination of kicking my legs too hard and not being used to being under the water so long due to the length of glide. Getting the legs correct is awkward and this is where the DVD came in useful. Try to learn to kick the legs to aid the roll of the body. As you kick down on one leg you roll the opposite way with your body (hope that makes sense).

    Thats all I can think of now. By the way I am by no means an expert on this. These are things I have found as I have been following the program. I am still very much perfecting this stroke. Today for example my swimming session was taken up with going over many of the drills. I think that is key - keep returning to the drills frequently even when you are comfortable with the full stroke.

    Anyway, keep in touch and good luck. Tim
  • Barbsarama, my swimming coach did about 6 weeks of TI drills during my Tri-clubs swimming sessions. It is very slow progress, but I definitely noticed some small positive changes, especially in my balance, as I am real sinker. I bought the book and DVD (as the book has virtually no pictures) and was glad I did, because it helps see how to do the exercises properly. (Sad git that I am, read the book (or relevant parts of it about 5 times) and the DVD many more.)) I found that my fellow club members were racing to the other end of the pool regardless of the drill or what it meant. In the DVD the swimmers hardly move in some of the drills because its not what the specific drill is designed to do. I guess its in our nature as Triathletes to race and going slower before you can get quicker maybe goes against our mindset!! In the end I took a month off from swimming, and TI drilled almost every day. Felt a bit of a tit in my local pool, and got some very strange looks, but it has been worth it. I then turned up at my club, where unfortunately it was 400m time trial night, and knocked 30 seconds of my PB, without having done any endurance work for over a month! My whole stroke has been transformed, with TI specifically drastically improving my balance, timing, roll, pull and kick. I can't recommend it enough as I have been trying for over a year to improve my swim times, but its something you have to stick with. I was lucky that I 'got it' from the books and DVD, but I know many of my other club members are still puzzled by some aspects of TI. If you don't get it from the book and DVD alone, you could always fork out on a TI weekend course.

    Good luck.

  • bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    got the book during the holidays now and will start after this weekend. I hear somany people talking about it, some good some bad. I really hope it meets my expectations[&o]. I'll let you know how I experienced it on this thread later on(that is if I didn't give up after three weeks[:)]).
  • the bellythe belly Posts: 125
    [:)]not convinced by it ? ive tried it and watched my fellow clubmates do it for 5 yrs now and all they seem to do is what i would call FLAP ABOUT in the pool like dead fish... and they still aint beat me doing it....maybe its a fashion thing? i dont see the local swimming club doing it and they have national swimmers...
  • HarryDHarryD Posts: 425
    I'm glad that Matt Robbins has seen improvement following TI. Doing it from the book or DVD is really problematic as it is difficult to self analyse & identify what is going wrong, sort put the problem & move forward. In short get the technique right before moving on to endurance & speed work.

    I've come across many who claim to use the TI method & to be honest they are talking rubbish. Watching them swim they clearly haven't sorted out body balance (variously called swimming long or flat or simply being hydrodynamic in other coaching books/methods etc) which is one of the first steps before moving on to longitudinal rotation etc. So I'm not surprised that "the belly" has come across many who are not making the progress that they should.

    The thing to remember is that TI is not a different way of swimming but a step by step method of getting those of us who are not "natural" swimmers to do it properly. That is to end up swimming the way that the top swimmers do naturally.

    Ultimately we all have different swimming potential and all we can do is get as close as possible to realising it. For some it is TI (probably those who come late to competitive swimming), for others it is one to one coaching & analysis (late commers with time & willingnes to invest cash), for others it is tri club coaching & for others it is dedicated swim clubs/squads. I have one to one coaching and we do include a number of "TI" drills but the drills actually pre-date TI but if they work then they get used.

    By their very nature swim clubs/squads attract those who have the technique either naturally or who were taught correctly at a far earlier age.

    Whatever your background as a swimmer you will benefit from consistent and progressive coaching which works on technique as well as endurance & speed. Whatever the "method" it has to be done properly: sort out technique before building endurance & speed. For some it's TI for others it is not.

  • SlowHSlowH Posts: 3
    Hi chaps, I've lurking for a while and gleaned some good info from this site, so I guess I better put my toe in the water....

    That's very true HarryD.

    I was keen to improve my swimming at the end of last year, did some research, and decided that TI was worth a go. After reading the book I reckoned that (for me at least!) 1-2-1 coaching would be the best way forward. After going through all the drills and coaching steps I'm just about there with a full stroke now, and it's taken about 3 months. I can't see how anyone would get there just using the book, there's so many elements involved in building up the stroke and without an expert eye, you really would have no idea if you were on the right track or not. I think you'd become demotivated pretty quickly.

    Doing it from the DVD with a buddy would probably be a better option, - I haven't seen the DVD so can't really comment

    I'm sure it doesn't just apply to TI, - there seem to be so many nuances to a stroke that self teaching from a book (and one with very few illustrations) has got to be nigh on impossible if you ask me.

    Good luck Barbs, keep us up to date on your progress.

  • PC67PC67 Posts: 101
    One question on TI: when entering the water from the "shark fin" position, why is the hand entry vertically down before reaching ahead? I can't really see the benefit of this vertical entry.

    I try and employ what I learnt from the book & watching the DVD.

    My kick is now more economic and mainly a means of initiating my body rotation, rather than a forlorn effort at propulsion.

    I have a very obvious body rotation and I feel (but probably don't look) like I'm nearly swimming on my side.

    I keep myself as long as possible and I reach for the end of the pool on each stroke.

    Pressimng my chest facilitates my body length and (in my mind anyway) correct shape.

    Does the above sound like a fair synopsis or have I missed the point of TI?

    It feels like it's working. I can do a 25m length in 14 strokes if I'm very deliberate but I'm not quick.
  • SlowHSlowH Posts: 3

    The way I see it....

    The zipperswitch drills teach you to trail your hand in the water during recovery, this is to give you the feel of leading the recovery with your elbow. Im sure once you start overswitching you shouldn't be entering the water with a vertical hand, that would be counterproductive - once your hand and forearm have reached your head you should be extending your arm to reach for full extension and the same time as starting your rotation.

    Take a look at drill #11 to see what I mean.


  • Tim DTim D Posts: 64
    Agreed. As far as I have understood it when you start overswitching you don't have a vertical hand entry. The vertical hand entry was to teach you to keep your elbow as forward as possible.
  • PC67PC67 Posts: 101
    Got it, thanks.
  • hound doghound dog Posts: 293
    Well here I go again. Just started total immersion book from the beginning for the third or fourth time. I know it makes sense as my stroke count went down 3 strokes reaching pausing etc. I just find the drills so boring and feel like Im holding every body up.

    i bought my book in 2004, has there been much of a change in the drills theory etc?

    How does anyone else find the drills or what do you do to see it through to the end?

    Is it simpler to book a course or does that just compliment the book?
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