total immersion, or how I learnt not to sink like a stone with a lead weight…

So in 2009, I started learning to swim.

“Learn to swim?”, I hear you cry, “you can’t swim? But you’re so amazing!”

Well shucks. But no, I basically couldn’t swim. Sure, I could splash to the end of a 25m pool with the elegance and grace of Michael Phelps (thats Michael Phelps the concrete electrocuted octupus (with a lead weight belt)), but that was about it. Gasping and choking, I’d grab the pool at the end, trying to suck in oxygen while simultaneously attempting to look like I’m…. just stretching my arms. Kinda like runners do with their legs when they’re really tired, leaning up against a lamppost. “Just FORGET IT!” I shout to you all, “WE KNOW. Its ok, you are tired. You don’t need to stretch, we know you want a beer and a chair!”. I’m like that with swimming.

So anyway, I decided to learn to swim, more out of stubbornness than any particular enjoyment. Never really liked the pool much. Splash, sink, inhale, swallow gallons of water, blow more water out my nose, lurch for the air, gasp in a huge breath, overextending my lungs until popping point, splash again, sink… etc.

The four hour work week blog served as some inspiration, waxing lyrical about total immersion, a method of swimming developed by Terry Laughlin (whose got all sorts of distance medals and basically doesnt swim like the above).

Total Immersion: The Revolutionary Way To Swim Better, Faster, and Easier

Buying from Amazon (did I mention I love amazon?), it arrived in 8 days, and then I was on my way to the pool. One of the best things about Total Immersion is it gives you very specific drills, so you don’t feel you *have* to swim when you’re at the pool. You’re allowed to not struggle to the end 3 times, give up and see you next year stinking pool! Progress without struggle. So I spent the next 2 months doing drills, learning to float (which is not natural unless you’re a 4 day old victim from a CSI show) and generally working out how to streamline.

A few weeks ago, I did 6 lengths of the pool (33m). Thats 200m without a stop. This is borderline miracle stuff really. I was expecting TV cameras to turn up, and feature me in the news right after the “miracle dog saves cute human child from burning building” story. That didn’t happen, no wonder I don’t watch much TV. Wankers, I hate them all.

But truly, its awesome. I’m still not ‘there’, theres times when its good and bad (like most exercise!), but… I’ve at least got rid of the lead belt and the splashing. And most of the water inhaling. My overall goal is to go swimming in the sea for a ‘reasonable’ length, and actually be able to swim!

so check out the dvd
and the book. The DVD shows you how, and the book tells you why it works. The DVD is probably more up-to-date (don’t get the 1st edition by mistake), and I’ll see you at the pool (I’m the one going slow!).

total immersion, or how I learnt not to sink like a stone with a lead weight…

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