Quick Bio For Coach Mat
- Happily married
- 4 children (at home)
- Swim training since 1988
- Competitive Olympic distance triathlete (university years)
Total Immersion History
- Practicing TI since 2001
- TI Coaching since 2010
- Swimming: open-water, marathon distance (10+ km)
- Running: half-marathon, off-road
- To attain and sustain Flow-State under varied and increasingly challenging conditions
Read More About Coach Mat’s Story
Before Total Immersion
I started competitive swimming at my high school back in 1988, at 14 years old. Throughout my childhood, although I participated in many of the typical American field sports and seemed to have a gift for some of them I did not find one that really resonated with me. But I immediately found my home in the water and fell in love with serious training and competition. And the hard work was welcomed.
Though I swam among champion swimmers on our team, under a nationally successful coach, I did not receive proper coaching guidance to help me develop good technique and wisdom about training. I eventually stumbled into debilitating shoulder injuries that took me out of the water for a few years. I was devastated.
At university I made it back into the water and discovered Olympic-distance triathlons, falling in love with the 3-sport lifestyle. I loved the work and was progressing from Top-20 to Top-10 OA finishes in regional races, but again, within a few more years over-training provoked injury in my knee. I was forced to quit competition altogether. From that point on I continued to train for fitness in the pool but concluded that my body was just not as tough has my heart and mind.
A New Stroke, A New Career
Since 2001 I have been dedicated to the deep practice of TI swimming, in all 4 strokes. I swim faster, farther, and with more ease and enjoyment than I ever did 20+ years ago. Out of this practice of excellence, out of the increased passion for swimming after being noticed and asked by so many people how they could learn to swim like me, I took the opportunity to become a certified TI Coach so I could share this transformational technique and philosophy to others who desire this kind of swimming experience.
I am now certified as a Total Immersion Master Coach, sharing this proven approach with other swimmers, and training new coaches in our methodology. I have worked with hundreds of people, in many countries and cultures, and know that Total Immersion can help swimmers of all shapes, sizes and abilities to improve and enjoy their swimming more than ever before. I work with young and old, new swimmers and competitive, disabled and fearful – I have seen dramatic improvements in all of them. Being a TI Coach is quite gratifying.
I reside once again in Oregon with my family. In the USA and internationally I continue to teach swimmers and train athletes. I specialize in guiding adults (including seniors, injured, and disabled) to…
- Increase comfort in water (overcome debilitating fear)
- Learn to swim (first time or new stroke style)
- Improve stroke technique for efficiency
- Increase performance for athletes
- And, enjoy open water swimming, of course!
It is quite common now – everywhere I swim people notice my amazingly smooth and efficient stroke, appearing to be relaxed and slow yet swimming so fast. They see that I can swim for hours. Some strike up a friendly conversation, and in comparison, talk discouragingly of their inability to swim well. Each time I am pleased to tell them about Total Immersion and encourage them to believe that they too could swim better than they ever thought possible. I have practiced thousands of hours to achieve this level of skill, but I have also worked with many swimmers and know it is available to anyone who will take these TI principles and practice with similar purpose.
From the proof of my own experience and from tens of thousands of TI swimmers around the world I am confident that, with Total Immersion, any body can swim better than ever. Let me and our global network of TI Coaches help you discover how!
A few years later, in 2001 I stumbled upon the original, best-selling book called “Total Immersion: The Revolutionary Way To Swim Better, Faster, and Easier”. (You may be delighted to know a very new, powerful TI Book is in the works right now!). I don’t know exactly what I was looking for that day, but as I thumbed through the introduction I was amazed at the logic and science that swim coach and author Terry Laughlin was presenting. I stood there and read several more chapters as I felt new hope surging into my body.
As I began to experiment with the first drills it felt strange to my body but it also made sense to my head – the physics and the physiology were much better aligned. Sure enough, within weeks I was experiencing amazing improvement in my ease and speed- without working harder– I was simply working smarter.
From 25 strokes per 25 yards before, I was soon taking only 18. Where my monthly timed 1500 yard swim was an exhausting accomplishment, it became easy at the same speed. I was shocked how much a new mindset and some logical application of good technique could transform my stroke so much. If only I had discovered these concepts 13 years before who knows what I might have accomplished as a young swimmer!
In 2008, I moved to Antalya, Turkey from the USA with my wife and children – we lived there until 2016. With the nearby Mediterranean Sea so beautiful, warm, and convenient I began practicing as an avid open-water, long-distance swimmer year-round. I would often swim 5+ continuous kilometers as a normal practice, without exhaustion (unless my practice is designed to) – and this is all due to the advantages afforded by the Total Immersion technique – both in how it has trained me to swim and how it trained me to focus my mind for optimal performance and pleasure. By training for excellence in technique and to maintain Flow State under increasingly challenging conditions – better fitness and speed developed as a natural byproduct.
Open water swimming (without wetsuit) has become my primary swimming passion, and I love to introduce and prepare others to be comfortable, competent and confident in it as well.