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This is a book by Total Immersion, a teaching style that advertises heavily in triathlon magazine. I had seen their ads, but always thought 'swimming is swimming, how can reading a book help?'

After reading just the first several chapters and hitting the beach I was amazed at how much more fluid I felt in the water. This just by applying the basic principles and without having done any of the drill work included.
I wasn't totally shocked to learn I have been swimming all wrong, since swimming is not my strong event, but the book made some points that just blew me away. For example, you don't pull yourself through the water with your hands, you float your hands in the water and swim past them. The TI method of teaching also makes the point that what happens to your hand once it enters the water is irrelevant; it is the recovery and entry that matter.

It's too soon to know if I'm faster or have reduced my stroke count, but swimming definitely feels easier to me. I am not as fatigued when I leave the water, so that alone must be an improvement. I would suggest this book to anyone who wants to feel more comfortable in the water.

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I've been doing some tri reading online and stuff and this book (and the DVD that goes with it) has been getting extremely positive reviews and seems to be considered a training essential.
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I have his original book and video. They are good for he self taught swimmer. There will be an eventual deminishing returns; but, it will get you comfortable and quicker.

Here are some guidelines I tell new swimmers.

Some swimming rules of thumb (or flipper)
There is no neck in swimming. Use body rotation to breath
Face down. Water should be going over the back of your head. You will also hear terms Pressing the T and swimming downhill. When you lift your head your feet drop creating more drag.
Each stroke should feel like you are reaching for the wall.
High elbow during stroke and recovery.
Finger tips point to the bottom. You use your hand and forearm to pull. This also helps bring in your lats like a straight arm pull down.
Think about swimming over your hand not pulling your hand back. It does make a big difference.
Push past your thigh. Your thumb should be at mid thigh before you hand exits. Think of tricep extension. Yes, your triceps will be screaming :)
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