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Total immersion Swimming techniques

Thought i would share my experience of practicing these technique drills.

Prior to this i could swim 25m in 24 strokes and approx 27secs. (including push off and taking it very easy)

I am part way through the drills and can now do 25m in 17/18 strokes (16 if i get it just right) and about the same time. Again, taking it very easy.

i would recommend this book to anyone. not bought the DVD as free clips of most of the drills are on the Total immersion website.

Watched a clip of Alexander Popov practicing some of the drills. if its good enough for him its good enough for me.


  • Rich_CRich_C Posts: 152
    Agree 101% ![:)]

    Its a fantastic style thats taylor made for wetsuit bouyant conditions IMHO.

    Opened my eyes to learning to swim, Bigtime.

    The 'Triathlon swimming made easy is a great book, is this the one you have?

  • The book i have bought is called "TOTAL IMMERSION" "A REVOLUTIONARY WAY TO SWIM BETTER, FASTER, AND EASIER". Its the revised and updated version.

    I think all the drills are the same though.
  • Nevertoolate, where are the free clips on the website cos I can't find them anywhere?!?!


  • It is a tpe of technique but not the only one. I agree with most of the swim phase, i.e. body straight, low head etc but I disagree with the early hand entry and pulling only when the hand is 6 to 8 inches below the surface. I pull as soon as my hand reaches the surface and my hand is fully extended. I also agrre wiht the TI roll which I am practising at the moment.

    If it is helping then great - by the way was that 17 strokes counting both arms or just the one arm.


  • The link is below.

    It is counting both hands i.e. each hand entry.

  • 16 or 17 strokes is not bad in a 25m pool. I was counting this morning and I was doing average 16.

    I have started to concentrate on the roll and pulling as I roll. This allows much more forward motion while my recover elbow is high in the air before entering the water at full stretch. I keep my head low in the water as the do in TI but my arms are totally different.

    I still do not see the nenefit of entering as soon as possible but then everyone to their own.


  • Have not got that technical yet. When it comes to the swimming discipline I am a complete novice (as far as technique is concerned). I simply just wait and try and "hold" (with my extended arm/hand) onto the water whilst my recovering arm gets back round to infront of me.

    I keep in my mind "extend"----"pause"------"pull". Seems to be working. Its hard to say really as I am always training on my own. Might look like a complete plonker to an experienced swimmer.

    Going to get some coaching in new year after I join Manchester tri club.

  • i bought the TI book yesterday (as my swimming is awful and still keep head out of water!!) and it looks really good

    will be trying lesson 1 tonight
  • Hi Steveslay,

    let me know how you get on. My swimming is also not brilliant and I need to gt to grips with some proper trainng rather than just ploughing up and down the pool each time. I would be really interested to know how you progress.

    Cheers, Matt
  • Hi Steveslay,

    be patient with the drills and don't move on until you have got to grips with the drill being practiced. it has taken me between 12 - 15 sessions to work through all the drills.
  • tried out lessons one and two on friday and found it quite difficult to know whether i was doing the right thing or not

    also checked how many strokes i was doing per 25m length and averaged 30!! so think i need to have a one to one lesson or two before i really get stuck into the lessons
  • Rich_CRich_C Posts: 152
    Stick with it mate! I could swim 10 meters when i started training 5 months back and can go over a mile using TI strokes now.

    If you can learn balance first then it makes the more advanced stuff easier by far.

    Good luck with it, those 30 strokes could be down to 20 within 3 to 4 weeks.
  • Stick with it. It all starts to make more sense as you get towards the end of the drills. i always studied the clips on the total immersion web site just before my swim practice.
  • I have this book too, feels very awkward putting the drills into practice and gave up. After reading this thread I am going to try again after Xmas. Desperate to get my 20 to 24 lengths per stroke down.
  • RewRew Posts: 62
    I'd echo what everyone else has been saying. I came down from 24 to 16/17 strokes per length.

    It does take a while to get used to but it's well worth it. You do seem to used a lot less effort using this method.
  • steveslaysteveslay Posts: 54
    just thought id update you on my swimming, joined the tri club in january when stroke count was about 60per 50m and head out of water whilst swimming

    going twice a week has seen massive improvements with now head in water properly and hit stroke count of 50 per 50m last week and yesterday managed 50m in 44 strokes

    this goes to show that you just need to stick at it and improvements will come
  • Thought I would bring a different view point to this. I am a swimmer of 20+ years and made national age group standard at 16, but at breaststroke.

    Even though I think my freestyle tecnique is poor, as I couldnt make a County final on it, I could always do 25m in 16 strokes and normally out of the water in top 5 - 10% on the swim leg (12th in 35-39 men at London)

    But........I decided I needed to re-look at my swimming and through TI have got it down to 12 - 13 strokes for 25m, but I find it absolutely knackering, compared to how I am used to. Havent swum any real distance in anger yet using TI, but not convinced I will not be able to hold the technique for 800, never mind 1500, having swum so long with the same style.

    How TI breaks it down is fascinatiing and this video really shows it off well, but I wonder if its just too late for me!!

  • but I find it absolutely knackering, compared to how I am used to.

    oh I'm so glad it isn't just me!! I have a pretty poor stroke count - 15 for a 20m pool I blame this on my rubbish technique, the fact that I haven't been swimming front crawl all that long and the fact that I'm short - my coach says the latter is an excuse but I'm convinced it makes a difference!

    Anyway, if I plod up and down in my usual comfortable manner I can happliy do 2km in around 45 mins and at the end of it I feel fine. BUT when we do stroke count drills - 8 lengths and I'm gasping for air and trashed!!

    and so stroke count drills help me because.....

    (I know they do really but sometimes it's hard to see it)
  • I also find the TI technique more tiring, from extensive testing I think I've worked out why.

    When I learnt the TI technique i changed from a flutter kick to 2 beat, its not a very good 2 beat to be honest, and doesn't instigate the amount of body rotation it should.

    So the first thing I have noticed is that I now have a more pronounced pull, i think it was to compensate for my loss of speed thanks to the reduced kick. I now have a pretty good and powerful pull, but its a bit too powerful, i find i try and pull back far too much to maintain speed, i think this is the first thing that knackers me out.

    next thing, when i swim normally I have a really good rhythm, i think this is the most important thing in swimming, my body never stops rotating, as a result i never loose much momentum between pulls. However with the TI swimming, taking advantage of the glide phase I find i rotate- pause-rotate. I find this causes a more stunted rhythm, so i am trying to accelerate each time I pull, which goes back to the knackered arms from the first point!

    I like the idea of the TI technique, i do. I think the way it is taught helps people get a real appreciation of the principles of swimming, i.e. rotation. And can teach people to swim, where other methods have failed. But, i dont think its anything revolutionary, yes it would have been about 30-40years ago prior to Spitz, as the whole body rotation concept was pretty new back then. I think a quote about spitz went something like, "he could go alot faster if he didnt do all that body rotation" when we know now its the rotation that made him go fast.

    But for me, no its not for me.
  • I wonder if it suits people of particular builds? I'm short and solid and I swim far faster and smoother using TI, however my tall, thin friend doesn't appear to gain anything useful from it and sticks with the technique he has learned from a conventional swim coach. The other thing is that my neck tends to be stiff on rotation (the result of increasing age I'm afraid) so an exaggerated roll makes breathing easier.
  • nivaghnivagh Posts: 595
    I watched some of the TI videos yesterday after picking up on this thread, and had a go at replicating it in the pool this morning.

    Like Cranmere, I'm not tall and quite heavily built, and I think it maybe has something to offer me too. It very definitely brings my stroke rate down and length up, but I find that keeping my momentum going is a bit tough, and it requires co-ordination of my movements to sglide along.

    It's no harder, I'm sure, than conventional freestyle, but because I'm pretty dense (I sink even with my lungs full!), losing momentum is a killer, so the TI concept of reducing drag to waste less effort, rings true for me. Will see how I get on!
  • you might be onto something there cranmere, i am tall and lean - 6'1 and 73kg, so i actually find my conventional freestyle better. But i do know people who are shorter, and have built legs in particular who have found the TI method helpful.
  • djtvdjtv Posts: 28
    Has Ti messed me up?

    I have read this thread with real interest after taking up Ti about 3 months ago.

    I am new to swimming and struggle through a 750m OW swim in 17 mins. After taking up Ti (from the book) my 750m swim time is now 19mins but I am in much better shape when I get out of the water and easily make up the lost time on being fresher on the bike. I am attempting to get to sub 15mins over the winter and am really struggling to get this right.

    I suspect the body rolling has ruined my speed. A friend has been watching me swim and he says that I am rolling my whole upper body and am waggling left and right up the pool and almost stopping dead when I am not in the pull phase of my stroke. We originally thought it was my legs causing this but several different experiments with Pull Bouys leads us to believe that it is the upper body causing this waggle thorugh the exaggerated body roll.

    I have gone back to basics and do several lengths of skating/hand led sweet spot/sweet spot drills etc. about 2-3 times per week but this does not appear to be helping.

    Is this a common problem? I was trying to video my stroke to post here but I do not want to be thrown out of the public pool for filming which is not allowed apparently.

  • Ok, reading your post, i may have an idea what the problem is, possibly.

    I think i had a similar problem when learning TI swimming.

    Something that is not really explained in the book, at all. and given a passing reference on the DVD (which I have ripped to PC if anyone wants me to send them a copy!) is how the kick is involved in body rotation. I think this is a huge oversight of the TI because it really is a fundamental principle.

    For a six-beat kick for instance it is 2x flutter 1 rotational kick on each side,(2 beat is just the rotational kicks) it is the kick which should initiate body roll. Now from what you've said your problem appears to me as if you are using your upper body a bit too much to initiate your roll hence the waggling in the pool.

    Now i think the best way to rectify this is, work on the kick, in particular the use of the kick for rotation, start with vertical kicking. Essentially allowing your kick to rotate your body is by releasing your hips. when you kick with your right, you turn to the right. It is explained well the article below.

    The next aspect is core strength, this is of huge importance in swimming, as you need to have a strong core so that the connection between your upper body and lower is rigid, which means when your legs initiate the kick the upper body rolls with it. So you need to be doing core work, i recommend an exercise ball for this.

    Does all that make sense? heres the article - http://h2oustonswims.org/articles_whole.html

  • oh its the article half way down, called pt1 - let your legs drive your long axis.
  • djtvdjtv Posts: 28

    Thanks for the advice. I reckon you are right in terms of the root cause of the problem. I now also spend a long time on Ti kicking drills to try and strengthen the kick (which was so poor when I first started swimming that I would go backwards when I did them).

    Now the major issue I have with this is I really have no idea how to do a 2 beat or 6 beat kick. I try to focus on a big(gish) kick for the breath stroke (bilateral) but it all goes a bit pear shaped. In hindsight I really have no idea what a 2 beat or 6 beat kick is so knowing how to do it is even more remote!

    I shall read this article and see what I can glean from it.

    On the core strength - I reckon I am pretty in good shape there. I use a swiss ball for my office chair for parts of the day and do core strength excercises each time I go to the gym some with the ball and other times with stability cushions.

    Could you help in terms of explaining the 2 beat and 6 beat kicks?


  • Yep, as I mentioned above on each stroke there is always the 1 rotational kick, designed to rotate the body. So a 2-beat kick is one kick on each side, or 2 kicks per stroke cycle. Therefore you kick your right leg once to rotate to the right, then once with your left to rotate to your left.

    The 6-beat kick has the same 2 rotational kicks, but has 2 extra kicks on each side, so its rotational (R) flutter (F) - RFFRFF,

    r- right L - left

    R(r) - F (L) - F (r) - R (L) - F (r) - F (L).

    So in the first rotational kick above that turns you to the right, with left arm extended, then a left kick, then right kick, then a left rotational kick that sends you back the other way.

    Does that make sense?
  • djtvdjtv Posts: 28
    Thanks for that, it certainly does make sense, I also downloaded the 3 articles you pointed me to so I shall read those over the weekend.

    When would you opt for a 6 beat flutter vs. a 2 beat kick?

    There are so many things to think about for each length I swim that I get so lost half way down the pool, I forget to breath and have to stop! I reckon I am trying to think of at least the following: Stroke length, counting the stroke per length, bilateral breathing every 3 strokes, body roll, reaching forward, high elbow on the recovery, high elbow on the catch, the number of lengths I am actually on, 2 beat or 6 beat kick timing. No wonder I can't swim for toffee as they say.

    Running and Biking are a lot easier!

  • yes, that is the problem with swimming, there are so many things to think about!

    my personal advice is to get body rotation and breathing rhythm sorted, watch any video of thorpe on youtube and you will see his rhythm is flawless.

    when you have this down you can start thinking about the quality of your pull and high elbow etc. for me these aspects are definitely 2nd behind the rhythm and breathing.

    I think the kick fits in between these things as it is really quite crucial to develop a decent rotational kick to help with the rhythm.

    In regards to 2-beat/6-beat in some aspects it can come down to personal preference. Personally i think the 2-beat is really the way to go, as it sets you up better for swimming in a wetsuit. Also the extra energy used in the extra kicks is not really worth the extra speed you gain, in my opinion!
  • bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    I will try to pick up where I left off this winter. I did the TI stuff last winter for a month or two,

    but I really can't tell if it slowed me down or made me faster. I know my stroke count went down, but it feels like I have to put more strenght in it, so I guess there's no real gain in economy!??

    Anyway,will give it another try this winter. It certainly makes time go by faster in the pool then just doing the laps back and forth.[&o] (HOORAY for OPEN WATER SEASON [image]http://forum.220magazine.com/micons/m6.gif[/image]).
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