Levels Of Proficiency

Which training event would fit your needs best?

Special Note

These levels provide a guideline (not a rule) for choosing which event is most suitable. If you are unsure what level you are suited for, please inquire. We would love to help you find the event which matches your needs.

Please be aware that even those with more swimming experience and accomplishments always have room to improve on fundamental skills. Most find they are still missing some important features and compensating for those in other (less efficient) ways. We’ve never seen a swimmer who hasn’t benefited from reviewing fundamentals. If you are new to our program , including being new to the skills, drills and methodology we follow, we urge you to start at Level 1 and review your foundation. All advanced training concepts will build upon these fundamental concepts, skills and terminology. Only by starting at the beginning and building a full understanding of our approach will you be able to receive the full benefits that come from our training method.

Just to be frank – one way we can tell if someone is ready for our mastery path is by how willing they are to be a student of the fundamental skills. If one tries to skip over them without earnestly studying, then they are probably not ready for our advanced training.

Levels For Stroke Skills

Stroke Skills Levels

Level C (for Comfort and Confidence)

In the water – in the pool or in the open – some people may experience an overwhelming amount of fear or anxiety which interferes with enjoyment and ability to learn. Through one-on-one lessons, we are pleased to guide you through a calming, sensitive process that removes this fear from your body and mind. This process will free you to focus and enjoy training on the other levels, and in different water conditions.

 

Level 1A – Stroke Mastery: Body Control

We recommend that you continue to work on this level of skill and fitness until:

  • You are able to consistently demonstrate the fundamental freestyle skills of
    • Relaxed, Weightless head
    • Stable Streamline Position
    • Patient, Extending Lead Arm
    • Front-quadrant stroke timing (catch and entry occur simultaneously)
    • Wide, high-elbow recovery
    • ‘Interrupted’ Breathing (rolling to backstroke position to breathe)
  • You are able to swim 400 meters
    • continuously in freestyle, no rest
    • using a stroke count within or close to your Optimal Zone [see Stroke Counting section on our Resources page] on most lengths

You may find good examples and guidance for these fundamental skills in the Total Immersion Perpetual Motion Freestyle video series or in the Ultra-Efficient Freestyle video series.

 

Level 1B – Stroke Mastery: Synchronization

We recommend that you continue to work on this level of skill and fitness until:

  • You are competent in the skills of Level 1A, and
  • You are able to consistently demonstrate the main freestyle skills of
    • Early (moderately) vertical forearm catch
    • Basic 2-Beat Kick
    • Basic body-part synchronization (entry arm, catch arm, torso rotation, and foot)
    • Rhythmic Breathing (on both sides)
  • You are able to swim 400 meters
    • with Level 1A qualities, and
    • hold a consistent stroke count on every length (+/- 1)

 

Level 2 – Pace Control

We recommend that you continue to work on this level of skill and fitness until:

  • Assuming you are competent in the skills of Level 1A and 1B, and
  • You are able to demonstrate the main pace control skills of
    • Precise switching Stroke Count (SPL) Gears within 3 points, within your Green Zone SPL
    • Comfortably using tempos within the range of 1.20 to 1.45 seconds per stroke.
  • You are able to swim 1000 meters
    • with Level 1 qualities, and
    • hold a consistent tempo on every length (consistent SPL x Tempo = consistent pace on every length)

 

Level 3 – Expedition

In this level of training the athlete and coach are taking a broader view of performance and health in the training plan.

This level is for those who are preparing for an experience or achievement which will involve many months, and several training cycles. This might be preparation for a long-distance triathlon, a long-distance swim, a major pool competition, a swim holiday in ‘wild water’ with lots of swimming every day. It could be for those who would like to be more deeply prepared to enjoy any exciting (and difficult) swim opportunities that may come up during the year.

In this level of training one is working on deeper skills for improving the physical and mental experience. This would involve work on general conditioning outside of the pool – mobility, strength, and perception. In addition, this level of training may likely involve improvement in other areas of life and daily patterns which have great impact in one’s health and performance – mindfulness, nutrition, breathing, sleep, and other features.

Levels For Open Water Skills

Open Water Levels

Intro To Open Water Skill

These events are suitable for those who:

  • Have been earnestly practicing stroke skills for 3+ months under the guidance of a like-minded coach or with video or online resources.
  • Can swim for 400 m continuously, in the pool, without rest, and we will teach you how to do it better!
  • Are prepared to swim 500 to 2 km in training.
  • Do not have a strong fear of deep or open water (if you do, we recommend private lessons instead).

 

Intermediate Open Water

These events are suitable for those who:

  • Have been earnestly practicing stroke skills for 6+ months under the guidance of a coach, or have attended a live training event of a compatible swim program.
  • Can swim freestyle for 1000 m continuously, in the pool, without rest, and we will teach you how to do it better.
  • Have at least one previous experience in training or racing in open water.
  • Are prepared to swim 1 to 3 km in training.

 

Advanced Open Water

These events are suitable for those who:

  • Have been earnestly practicing stroke skills for at least a year under the guidance of a coach, or have attended a live training event of a compatible swim program.
  • Can swim freestyle for 2 km continuously, in the open water, without rest, and we will teach you how to do it better.
  • Have seasonal experience training or racing in open water, without or without a wetsuit.
  • Are prepared to swim 2 to 6 km in training.

 

Distance Open Water Skills

These events are suitable for those who:

  • Have been practicing stroke skills for at least 2 years under the guidance of a coach, or have attended a live open-water training event of a compatible swim program.
  • Can swim freestyle for 5 km continuously, in the open water, without rest, and we will teach you how to do it better.
  • Have seasonal experience training or racing in open water, without or without a wetsuit.
  • Are prepared to swim 3 to 10+ km in training.
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