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This is a post I’ve been wanting to write for a while but haven’t had the opportunity to give you some quality evidence or feedback to support my thoughts, until now.

As you will all know, I teach Shaw Method swimming which is based on principles of Alexander technique.  There are popular alternatives to swim teaching. One of these is an American initiative called Total Immersion. I’ve tried digging around on the internet to find out what people think of the two methods as there are a couple of things about TI which don’t quite make sense to me. The trouble is, very few people will ever learn both.  Once you’ve learned to swim, why would you relearn using a different method?

All that changed for me when I met Jen.  Jen learned Total Immersion swimming techniques and recently got in touch with me as she wanted to enhance her front crawl breathing.  On our first lesson together, we discussed the two methods and went about re-modeling Jen’s swimming stroke.  She is the only person I have ever met that has learned both methods and so I asked if she would write about her experiences of the two and consolidate her thoughts.  Below is the email she sent me.

I’ve enjoyed my lessons in both Total Immersion and the Shaw Method. Learning the crawl has been one of the best things I’ve ever done!

Having started with TI which I was comfortable with I find that the Shaw Method has greatly helped my swimming. Both methods are similar in the approach to body alignment in and movement through the water but there are differences. For me these are:-

  • The kick is easier.  Total Immersion seems to involve a flutter kick and a two beat kick when you roll to breathe ( I may have got this wrong as I never got the hang of it) whereas Shaw involves a steady, rhythmical kick.
  • Shaw Method breathing is easier and with a more expansive roll involving a bigger arm movement.  The turn to breathe feels less contrived.  
  • I understood with TI that the breath was a quick top up breath after trickle breathing.  With Shaw Method it feels better to have the time to take a full breath.
  • With Shaw Method the hold of the leading arm seems to happen more naturally as one is thinking about holding the eagle pose.  That stretch feels good too.  

To sum up the Shaw method feels more logical and less complicated.

Thank you very much for my lessons!

Jen