TI teaches three basic principles in efficient swimming:

BSP Pyramid

  1. Balance
  • Fore and aft Balance
  • Rotational Balance
  1. Streamline
  • Passive streamlining
  • Active streamlining
  1. Synchronized Whole-Body Propulsion
  • Core Rotation
  • Extension of the lead arm and hand
  • Toe Flick (2-beat kick)
  • Catch

And those are in order of priority and emphasis that they are developed in the TI Perpetual Motion Freestyle series.

A Balanced swimmers is free from struggle. A Streamlined swimmer is resisted far less by the water, and assisted by it far more.

And the emphasis on Propulsion comes last to take advantage of what Balance and Streamline have paved the way for. When there is good balance, no excess motion is necessary by the arms or legs to stabilize the swimmer, so there is less muscles being fired for less time, less excess drag being created. When there is less resistance being presented against a Streamlined swimmer, far less power needs to be applied in order to achieve the same and faster speeds, which means the swimmer is now free to swim farther and faster than ever with less effort.

And lastly, there are 4 metrics we use in TI to measure swimming performance and monitor improvement:

  1. Stroke Counting (Strokes Per Length or SPL)
  2. Stroke Rate (SR = 1/tempo)
  3. Time/Pace
  4. Work/Rest Ratio

Speed = L x V. In terms of swimming, Speed = Stroke Length (SL) x Stroke Rate (SR)

Again, common swim instruction and coaching has focused almost exclusively on Time results, and increasing a swimmers ability to endure hard effort. But #3, Time, is simply an OUTCOME of the variables #1, #2, and #4.

Swimmers who train know what time they currently swim their event, and what time they want to be able to swim it, and they quickly get an idea of how much suffering they will have to endure in order to get there. But few know the actual math on how to get there- what their SL and SR are now, and what their optimal combination needs to be, and how to objectively train each of those together. And even fewer understand how to turn off muscles and reduce effort in order to gain speed and endurance. This does not need to be the case for you.

TI training treats Time as simply the mathematical outcome of adjusting SL, SR, and Effort levels. It puts the  attention on SL, SR, and Effort levels in every practice time, in every practice set. A trained TI swimmer knows exactly what variable she will hold steady and which she intends to challenge in order to improvethat skill in the set. There is never a mindless stroke or set again.

The order these are listed is important. SR is the easiest skill to develop, while SL is the hardest. In a challenging swim virtually all trained swimmers can increase their SR toward the end, but none can lengthen their stroke because everything in and around them is working against it. In reality, all are losing SL toward the end. One conclusion taken from the analysis of elite (Olympic and World Championship swimmers) recognizes that it is the swimmer who loses the least SL, and thereby slows down the least, who wins the race.

First, the TI approach to training develops a swimmers understanding of SL, how to improve it, and how to zero in on your own optimal SL for your event. Then it focuses on developing SR while SL is carefully maintained and carefully exchanged for more SR. All the while, TI instills a discipline of reducing effort levels (why not produce LESS lactic acid, rather than try to process more!) which dramatically increases endurance and the enjoyment of swimming. This is a critical factor not just for the upcoming race, but for swim training along the rest of your life.

With TI you’ll be introduced to all these ‘secrets’ and more.

This is my own summary version of the ideas you will discover at a Total Immersion seminar, private lesson, workshop or camp. I invited you to check out TI training in-person to discover what we TI swimmers and coaches have discovered and are now so passionate about practicing and sharing: that you have far more potential as a swimmer than you ever imagined!

~ Coach Mat

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