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Total Immersion: The Revolutionary Way to Swim Better, Faster, and Easier Paperback – August 2, 1996

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 286 pages
  • Publisher: Fireside (August 2, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 068481885X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684818856
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (209 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #957,772 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Masters swimmer and acclaimed coach Terry Laughlin has taught thousands to swim more efficiently in the workshops he has given across the United States. In his book Laughlin details simple, step-by-step drills emphasizing the importance of technique and an innovative workout regimen.


Eddie Reese 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004 United States Olympic Coach and Head Coach, University of Texas (six-time NCAA champions) The most valuable service a good coach provides is to sharpen your technique, not make you work harder. Terry Laughlin has done an outstanding job of simplifying that complex job, providing practical tools that will work for any coach or teacher.

David Marsh 1996, 2000, and 2004 United States Olympic Coach and Head Coach, Auburn University (2003 NCAA Men's and Women's champions) Total Immersion can help anyone learn to be a better swimmer, regardless of ability. Terry Laughlin makes an improved stroke simple for the novice, yet I've seen his methods work for elite swimmers, too. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Well written and easy to understand.
Andy Galligan
This book will save a lot of people who are trying to learn to swim better a lot of time.
a reviewer
This book is very helpful for anyone who wants to improve his or her swimming skills.
Judith T. Younger

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

87 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Slowpoke on December 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
I have been teaching swimming for over 5 years, and when I picked up this book, I was really excited!
It now sits on my bookshelf as a reference guide, and I recommend it to anyone I know who is learning to swim for racing or fitness, and also to people who teach swimming.
I have been swimming all my life, and have 2 seasons of triathlon under my belt. This book taught me many new and innovative ways to teach kids 'how to feel the water' to improve their stroke. After I read some of the points in the book, I went to test it out in the pool during one of my swimming sessions. The principles all worked, and put everything I have learned since I was 2 into perspective! I now know how to swim faster and smoother! I was very impressed that a book could do this, compared to the many years of swim instruction.
As for some of the negative comments made about this book, I will address a few:
*diagrams... if you read the introduction, it mentions how to best use the book, and how it is laid out. The book actually has a very easy layout: the intorduction for the concept (with 'proof' of why this concept works), a section (33 pages!) with diagrams to be used as the reference section for the drills in the next secions, sections on how to use the pace clock and equipment... among other things.
*"wordy"... I found this book to be great for teaching many people. The 'words' are there to illustrate and explain key concepts of swimming. I often had a hard time explaining concepts of "why" you wanted to swim this way (which adults always want to know) and what a proper technique should feel like. Knowing these things not only helped me become a better swimmer, it also taught me how to explain the concepts better to my sutdnets.
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175 of 186 people found the following review helpful By David Tepper on May 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
Terry Laughlin uses basic principles of hydrodynamics to show the correct way to swim "like a fish". Fish-like swimming is perhaps a misnomer, but he does detail how it's possible to reconfigure one's body in the water, to be like a yacht, not like a barge.
There's a whole long section on hydrodynamics for the technically inclined, and for the Olympic watchers there's a bit about how elite swimmers have used these techniques to win. The prose tends toward the purple at times, but it's good background for what's to come: a whole series of lessons and drills that tell you what you're supposed to feel in the water.
Until I heard the phrase "swimming downhill," I'd never really thought about what it should feel like to swim, gliding effortless through the water instead of being dragged by it. But with these and other catchphrases, Laughlin can get any swimmer attuned to what should be happening.
The book itself is choppily arranged. The skill-building practice swims are located in the back of the book, with the actual descriptions of the skills somewhere towards the middle. Even the sections on weight, one for total body and one insanely long regimen for the rotator cuffs, are stuck in their own little sections far apart in the book.
More logical organization would make this a much easier book to flip through, but the results are undeniable. My crawl stroke has improved dramatically, and I can't wait to see what tricks Laughlin has up his sleeve for the other three strokes. This belongs in every swimmer's bedside table, dog-eared and highlighted and worm.
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56 of 58 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 3, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book made a major impact on my freestyle stroke and basic attitudes towards traditional swim training. I highly recommend this book to anyone; however, there a few minor shortcomings. First, the beginning of the book drags on a bit about the benefits of the "Total Immersion" swim program. If you can make throught the beginning, the later chapters are the big payoff. Second, I found Terry's ideas about head position a bit contradictory. Terry talks about looking towards the end of the pool; however, most people (including a Swimming Fitness article authored by Terry) talk about looking down. Once you look up, your hips start to sink -- The big problem Terry tries to cure. Finally, the book only talks about freestyle. Even though Terry has ways to improve the other strokes (check out his Web site for his videos), he doesn't mention them in this book. Despite those three minor flaws, the book is excellent and really works.
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Alfred Racho on October 5, 2004
Format: Paperback
A lot of people have mentioned that the techniques are obsolete, and that you should get Laughlin's other book, Swimming Made Easy. Not so!

In this revised and updated version, the author has completely revised the drills used -- if I remember right, he said that only two of the original 12 drills are used in the now-14 drills.

Why did I give this book only 4 stars? Let me give you the breakdown:

First, the CONTENT, or the substance of the book: the techniques and drills presented are superb! I don't know if olympic swimmers can actually improve their times using this book, but I know that as a casual swimmer, I have improved a LOT. The techniques are, for me, revolutionary (but maybe not for professional/olympic swimmers, who may already know these techniques). And for that, this book would have gotten 5 stars -- because of the new techniques that one can learn from this book.

Second, however, is the PRESENTATION. For something that shows a lot of techniques, pictures are worth a thousand words. But instead of photos, we only have illustrations (drawings only! and by the author's brother at that!). And the number of illustrations are sparse! I have weightlifting books, stretching books... and they all have PICTURES. I think, especially for a book like this, I would have preferred that there be a SERIES OF PICTURES (a frame by frame thing showing the technique in practice).

Sure, the author tries to explain, but so much verbiage can only go so far -- besides, he would have to use a thousand words to be worth it, as the saying goes. Several pictures would have helped tremendously. Or at the very least, more illustrations.
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