Easy Freestyle Swimming by Terry Laughlin [Import]
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Swim easier, farther and faster. We Guarantee It! Easy Freestyle is the next best thing to having your own Total Immersion coach. Master the skills and secrets for swimming as easily, as far or as fast as you'd like. Easy Freestyle presents seven self-coaching lessons, perfected at Total Immersion Workshops, with every telling detail examined above-and below-water, with slow-motion and comparison video.
Lesson One - Cooperate with Gravity: Cleverly use gravity to achieve a sense of support, comfort and confidence.
Lesson Two - The Past of Least Resistance: Minimize energy cost by learning "fish-like" body positions and profiles.
Lesson Three - Swim with your Body: Use weight shifts, instead of fatigue-prone arms and legs to spear your body through the water.
Lesson Four - Perpetual Motion Propulsion: Connect powerful, effortless hip drive to your stroke and kick for maximal speed with minimal fatigue.
Lesson Five - Relax you Recovery: Use a compact, relaxed recovery to channel energy and power where they do the most good.
Lesson Six - Seamless Breathing: Breathing skills that get your muscles the oxygen they need and make your stroke more powerful and effective.
Lesson Seven - Turns that Save Energy and Time: All the details for the "easy and airy" open turn, and a flip turn that's faster and easier than ever.
Lesson Eight - The Secrets of Speed: The fool-proof way to convert an efficient stroke into more speed.
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Now there's nothing magical or mysterious about the TI system. Some of it is just sound swimming technique known by others for a long time (eg looking down, body rotation, streamlining, etc). But there are other aspects that seem to be unique to TI. Where the system really shines is in the step-wise approach and skill-specific drills to building a smoother and more efficient stroke. It's broken down so logically and systematically that one can't help but to improve one's freestyle stroke by simply trying to execute its lessons.
The DVD itself is of decent quality, more than adequate to accomplish its goal. While a couple of the video sequences look as though the camera operator was drunk, it is mostly well-filmed and it is easy to see the details of the drill that is being explained. They are shot both above and below the water and from multiple angles, sometimes even using split screens to enhance understanding. The music and graphics are a little cheap but who really cares. Before a pool session, I usually watch a chapter while taking notes. Then I bring my notes with me to the pool (in a ziplock bag) to jog my memory of the important points I need to keep in mind. This really works but it's not magic. You'll have to drill, be patient, and get to the pool regularly.
While the DVD itself will be sure to improve your stroke, I think the weekend TI workshop is extremely helpful in making sure you're doing the drills properly. Until you see underwater video of yourself, it's really hard to get an accurate sense of how efficient your stroke really is.
All in all, an extremely useful DVD for anyone (especially triathletes) who wants to improve their freestyle. Highly recommended!
I have done about 15 triathlons (mostly sprints but also 3 olympic distance tris) since I wrote this review. Then I took last year off for a variety of reasons. I hardly exercised at all (sad, I know). I restarted training this January and figured it would take weeks (or longer) to be able to swim a mile nonstop again. By the 3rd pool session I was back up to a mile (granted it wasn't my fastest). I had not swum regularly since my last tri in august of 2012. I'm sure my form has degraded and i KNOW my fitness has but, just using what i learned way back then, I was able to do it! It's (nearly) all technique! I remember when a mile swim seemed impossible. Now I can do a mile with relative ease. I have even done 2 miles non-stop (it was in 2012 and, I won't lie, it wasn't easy). I still stand by my original review. And, no, I have no affiliation with TI. Hope this helps.
The Total Immersion company puts on two day workshops to teach you how to swim, but they are pretty pricey at $500-700 if I remember correctly. I opted to buy the Total Immersion book for $11 instead. While the book was quite helpful and insightful, it didn't cut my strokes and effort levels nearly as dramatically as many raving fans had experienced. The book also contains some seriously bad drawings that you are left to interpret then try to imitate in the pool (while guessing what your form looks like). Since that wasn't the best, I figured I'd give it another chance by buying this DVD ($20-something if you go with one of the non-Amazon sellers like I did).
This DVD was very helpful for me. I instantly discovered that I had been doing some of the drills from the book incorrectly by watching the swim technique in action. While there are some inconsistencies with the book (different drills at least), overall it was very helpful at reinforcing what I learned and taking me to the next level. I finally had my moment in the pool where I dropped a significant number of strokes off each length while simultaneously feeling like I was using less effort to get across the pool! I am very excited to use what I have learned during my triathlon.
You probably won't become Michael Phelps by watching this video, but if you want to take your game to the next level as a recreational swimmer or triathlete, I would highly recommend this video.
Buy it, it is well worth the price and time.
It has taken patience and a lot of practice to master these techniques. But the results have been amazing.
The book Total Immersion: The Revolutionary Way To Swim Better, Faster, and Easier is good too, but as a companion to the DVD. If you have to choose between the two, definitely go with the DVD. The book explains a lot of the theory and history behind the program, but there are not enough pictures to adequately explain the drills.