About Coach Mat Hudson
Quick Bio For Coach Mat
- Happily married
- 4 children (at home)
- Swim training since 1988 – competitive high school athlete
- Competitive Olympic distance triathlete (university years)
- Long-distance Open Water Specialist since 2008
- Run training since 1991
- 10K specialist (with Olympic distance triathlon)
- Out with knee injury 1994 to 1998, then surgery
- Changed to ‘natural’ (barefoot) style running since 2010
- Studying Chi Running since 2011
- Studying Pose Method for Running since 2017
- Began ultra-distance training 2017
Total Immersion History
- Practicing TI since 2001
- TI Coaching since 2010
- Open-water, marathon distance (10+ km) swimming
- Ultra-distance, off-road running
- Sport climbing (outdoor, rock)
- Longevity – to live longer, with a highest level of physical and mental acuity
- Learning – to keep learning new skills, insights, make more contributions
- To improve and maintain mindfulness in all parts of daily life
- To attain and sustain Flow-State under varied and increasingly challenging conditions
Read More About Coach Mat’s Story
Mat’s Swimming 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 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!
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 has been quite gratifying.
Immersed In Open Water
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 in open-water regularly, swimming longer and longer distances, and eventually going year-round (without a wetsuit). I would often swim 5+ continuous kilometers as a normal practice, without exhaustion (unless my practice is designed to) – and this is due to the advantages afforded by I have trained to swim and how I have trained 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 has become my primary swimming passion, and I love to introduce and prepare others to be comfortable, competent and confident in it as well.
I reside once again in Oregon with my family. In the USA and internationally I continue to teach and train swimmers for all sorts of goals. I specialize in guiding adults (including seniors, injured, and disabled) and serious students 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!
My Running Story
As noted in my Swimming Story, I turned to running after severely injuring my shoulders in high school in 1990. In this too I was a late starter but I loved the natural simplicity of running, and loved to work hard. I started on the track team and worked at the longer distances 800, 1600, and 3000. After high school I moved on to road and off-road running.
A couple years later I discovered Olympic distance triathlon which turned me into a 10K specialist, and running up to an hour felt like a good effort. I trained with our university’s cross-country club to get more intense workouts. Though I had experiences of working for 10 hours straight, and the Ironman Distance felt within reach of my fitness, I felt enough ache in my joints from that 10K distance that made me concerned about running longer distances.
But one day in the fall of my junior year, 1994, on a hill workout with the club, gradual over-training weakened the muscles around my left knee and suddenly a sharp pain shot under my knee cap, and I had to walk the couple miles home. I saw a couple reputable specialists who were unable to tell me what was wrong nor see a clear cause in x-rays. I was discouraged from surgery and so, with grief, ‘retired’ from triathlon. I turned back to the pool, and took up rock climbing to fill the adventure void.
4 years later, in 1998, I met a new doctor who gave me hope that he could find a solution or at least find the cause and let me be settled about my knee. He performed arthroscopic surgery, found a fairly minor congenital defect he was able to trim away, and that was all that was needed. Though the rehab he assigned was aggressive and painful, I recovered and was so pleased to be able to resume running!
By this time I was married, had my first small business and was deep in a life with values that no longer had a place for racing. Yet, exercise from swimming, and seasonal climbing were a part of my weekly life. I was able to add fitness running back to that.
Why Mediterra Swim?
After discovering Total Immersion swimming in 2001 began swimming better in mid-life than I ever could 20 years prior as a youthful competitor. I found myself with enviable ease and skill that others were asking me to teach. Eventually, I moved to Turkey and found myself swimming longer and longer in the Mediterranean Sea with exceptionally clear and mild conditions – yet virtually no one was there enjoying marvelous swimming in that incredible environment. I had to see more people coming to enjoy the advantages of the Total Immersion technique and then enjoy it in such wonderful water!
In 2009 I launched Mediterra International LLC in order to create training opportunities for people want to:
- Transform their swimming abilities, confidence, and sense of potential.
- Learn the power and pleasure of deep practice.
- Increase their wonder and inspiration for open-water swimming.
- Learn teach mental skills that are used in the larger context of life.
Why Open Water?
Upon moving to the Mediterranean Coast of Turkey in 2008 I fell in love with open-water swimming. I was already pleased with the results the Total Immersion technique gave me in the pool, then I discovered how those skills giving me a marvelous foundation for swimming in open water. I found myself eager to swim farther and farther, in a wider range of challenging open-water conditions, and my enjoyment increased.
Our planet’s surface is nearly 2/3 water. We have only begun to experience the wonder of it that begins right there on every shore. I teach and practice all four strokes and enjoy training in a pool myself – which is where the vast majority of people will practice – yet there is a powerful draw and satisfaction in developing the competence and confidence to make ‘wild water’ (natural waterways) our favorite swimming home. Through a process of gentle, gradual mental and physical adaptation we can enjoy more aqua-scapes more seasons of the year. From my own year-round practice in ‘wild water’ I love guiding others into the safe, competent enjoyment of open water swimming.
Read much, much more about Total Immersion swimming and training, and about pool and open water swimming, please visit and subscribe to our Smooth Strokes blog.