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on August 4, 2013
I'm not a big swimmer, but I heard so much about this book that I had to check it out- and I'm glad I did. This book will save a lot of people who are trying to learn to swim better a lot of time. Here's why:

-the book concentrates on swimming technique, correct position, and how you're suppose to feel in the water
-the book gives you drills to reinforce the most efficient way to swim
-the book is very scientific and the info is based on hydrodynamics

The book covers a lot of ground, but the authors writing style makes is go by quickly (at least it did for me). The pictures were good and I thought the explanations of the techniques and the "why" behind them was very understandable. Not sure about the rotator cuff routine in Chapter 16 though- it's kinda long and I'm not sure if some of the exercises like the reverse biceps curl is really necessary (rec. Bulletproof Your Shoulder for swimmers who have shoulder issues).

In conclusion, I found the book very enlightening and recommend it to anyone (young OR old) who wants to learn how to swim more efficiently by learning the correct swimming techniques. The author obviously loves swimming and has brought all his years of experience and research into one handy resource.
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on June 4, 2004
-This method is incredible and works.
-Don't buy this book. Instead buy the updated version "Swimming made easy." It contains significantly improved drills.
-To really make it easy to learn this method, the DVD is gold. A moving image is worth more than a thousand words in this instance. The DVD contains the same drills as the book "swimming made easy."
First I have to point out that while this method is incredible, this particular book is not the one to get. Terry's book "Swimming made easy" contains almost identical material in the first several chapters but the drill portion has been improved dramatically. I originally bought this book and mastered the balancing drills but when I started working on the later drills I didn't understand how all the pieces fit together. With Terry's new drill sequence the drills naturally work you into a complete swimming stroke. In addition, "Swimming made easy" also includes drills for the backstroke, butterfly, and breast stroke."
If you want to improve your stroke even faster, I highly recommend the DVD "Freestyle made easy." Being able to see the stroke in action and the resulting propulsion from body rotation makes it much easier to grasp the overall concept. A picture is worth a thousand words in this instance. I purchased the book and dvd at the same time and don't think I would have progressed as fast as I did without the dvd. If you can only buy one thing I would recommned the dvd. You can get a large portion of the conceptual information from the Total Immerssion web site which has segments of the book free for download.
Now for my story. I'm an aspiring triathlete with my first one scheduled in about 3 months. The open water swim had me a bit concerned. I've always known how to swim but have never swam freestyle more than a few feet. I went to the pool for the first time and proceeded to expend a lot of effort while feeling like I was creeping along with almost no forward momentum. Upon the recommendation of a friend I went the next day and bought this book. That same day I went to the pool and tried the balancing drills and was amazed by the ease with which I could float on the water. Anxious to learn more I ordered the dvd "freestyle made easy" and book "swimming made easy" (I ended up returning the "total immersion" book). I must have watched the dvd at least 3 times the day I got it. I was amazed to see people glide along the water with very little effort. I went to the pool everyday for a week doing 2-3 drills each time and by the end of the week was able to easily swim the triathlon distance of half a mile. I didn't do it in record time by any means but I could do so confidently without any worry of fatigue or drowning (in open water). Because this method teaches you how to let the water support you with almost no effort, whenever you feel like you need an extra couple of breaths you can simply role to your "sweet spot" (roughly on your back) for as long as you need.
It's been about a month now since starting to learn this method and I've shaved four minutes off my half mile time. My stroke is continuing to get more efficient and I literally feel like I'm cruising with little effort. A couple of days ago I shared a lane with a gentleman who was going about the same speed as me but expending probably more than twice the effort. The drills teach you how to get propulsion from core body rotation rather than the traditional idea of kicking harder and pushing the water back with your hands. In fact, with this method you use your legs very little which is great for triathlets in that they can save their leg strength for the bike and run.
This method teaches three basic things
-How to stop struggling against the water and let it support your body.
-How to streamline your body in the water and reduce drag/resistance.
-How to use core body rotation as the main method of propulsion rather than your arms and legs.
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on May 2, 1999
I am a masters swimmwer back competing after a 30 year hiatus and I'm finally learning how to swim. By employing the methods presented in this book plus some excellent supplementary coaching I have been able to take off a full 2 seconds on my 50 yd repeats in workout and expend what seems like less effort. That is a two body length improvement through technique improvement alone. I have read may books about swimming technique and this book seems to be the best to date. I am fortunate in having an Olympic Gold Medalist as a masters coach and this book illustrates many of the techniques used in his stroke which he passes on to his swimmers. I use it as a personal clinic before practice to remind me of proper technique and some of the all important drills which I use during warmup
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on December 31, 2007
This book could be quickly scanned for general technique insight, but I didn't find it to be a good book for learning to swim better. I am a novice swimmer and hoped to quickly learn to swim with good technique, which is what this book promises. I did my part with practicing what was suggested for the times recommended, but this book failed to deliver. I bought the overpriced video too, which was a complimentary improvement, but still falls short. I recommend looking elsewhere.

I gained good insights on how to be more efficient (conceptually within a few pages - good), but I found the book's instructions on how to do drills to achieve the gains to be confusing and poorly communicated. The book is quick to offered additional support via spending much more money on their products, like $600+ for a weekend swim lesson or their expensive DVD. A well written book would do the trick, which this is not. It is FULL of the author's boasts, his swimming history and experiences, and constant reminders that this is 'the' way to swim (but not so much on the 'how'), as if this TI is an original idea, none of which helped me learn to swim. It is not full of clear instruction, which would have been very helpful, nor does it give any advanced notice of what is suggested, like having a knowledgeable swimming partner (which would reduce the value of this book in the first place), or the suggested swim aids, which the TI web site just happens to sell for the full retail price.

These concepts are solid. This book is not.
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on August 19, 2002
Maybe the book deserves five stars, but I shall be stingy. I am a 16-year old age group swimmer. I specialize in long-distance freestyle and am close to my first AA times in a few events. This book is one of the most important advances in my swimming career. By religiously following every drill in Laughlin's program (including one resembling dead-man's float which was hard on my pride to do in public), I have been able to convert my flat, brute-force freestyle into a more graceful and efficient stroke.
I began to see results after about two weeks, but so far my sprints have been fairly resistant to change, although I am confident that I can slowly increase the speed where I can use my new stroke. Since I bought this book during the summer, I have had no meets to get new times, but I have noticed that in practice I have swum faster with dramatically less effort. My biceps, triceps, and shoulders are no longer bearing all the burden of swimming and I have learned how to make freestyle swimming's power and rhythm come from the core of the body.
I can't say how helpful the book would be for more advanced swimmers, but I will recommend it to swimmers with A and AA times who hope to get AA and AAA times, especially to those who have poor rotation in freestyle. Backstrokers may also benefit somewhat if they need to cure poor rotation.
Finally, I am an assistant coach for my neighborhood's swim team during the summer and I have successfully used the principles of the book to quickly correct many stroke flaws of younger swimmers.
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on May 7, 2011
This book probably deserves 3 stars but I wanted to share my thoughts on the negatives which I think are important.

I think following the system probably is a good way to learn to swim.

However, Total Immersion TM is mentioned on every page of the book and it reads like an infomercial. I always enjoy watching infomercials and seeing how magic and unique they make things look. This is the same pitch... He is a coach who has discovered things no one else knows and will teach you to swim smarter. Reading the book, I felt like if I followed it I would have the tricks to good form that no one else knew and be a faster swimmer than others who worked hard and long, even if they had swum competitively before. Also, reading the book there is frequent mention of Total Immersion workshops and their website and the need to buy the video to really learn how to swim (much more expensive then the book of course.)

I bought Fitness Swimming by Emmett Hines and have been much happier. It is not so cheesy, has been published more recently so it is more up to date and amazingly has a lot of the same so called secret drills and info (which you can also find online). Terry Laughlin may have pioneered some of this and Emmet Hines bio shows he learned some things from him. I find his approach a lot more honest... Here are the drills, work at them and work hard and you can be the best swimmer you can be. And the stuff he suggests you get is swimming equipment made by anyone, not his own brand.
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on May 31, 2005
I was in training for a triathlon, and began to work on my swimming. I was not getting anywhere, and purchased this book to see if it could help me with my technique.

I read this book, and literally within two sessions at the pool I was being complimented on my swimming. The stroke began to feel effortless. I started to "glide" through the water as opposed to flailing through the pool. It was miraculous.

And I honestly did not even do any of the suggested drills. I simply tried to mentally apply the principles.

I must admit, that for all I know this could be swimming 101 and could be what every high school or college swimmer learns. However, for someone like me, who just swam with no formal instruction, this book is revolutionary.

If you have been swimming and want to start learning to glide, this book is for you. (Just the other day I crossed the pool using only 15 strokes, after each stroke it was like I was just floating through the pool with ease!)
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on January 24, 2002
This book gives me so much more insight into swimming than any other book I've ever read about it. And the best part is; it makes sense! Mr. Laughlin taught me something someone should have taught me long time before, and he gives a sound, scientific reasoning behind it. For example, why we should swim like a fish (well, isn't it a common sense, but someone have never told me about that before..) on our side instead on our stomach.
If you are like me, wondering why does the pro swim so effortlessly and with so much speed, this book tells you all about it.
The drills are easy eoungh to follow without a coach. I get in and out of the pool with minimum fatique and maximum result.
This is a book for someone, mainly, who knows how to swim already, not a total beginner. Also, Mr. Laughlin deals mostly with freestyle and how to improve your stroke efficiency (i.e. how to swim faster without moving your arms and legs more). I look forward on how he applies his techniques on other swimming strokes.
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on October 29, 2003
While I am a big fan of the Total Immersion technique, the improvements that Laughlin has made in later books renders this version very obsolete. I highly recommend "Triathlon Swimming Made Easy". In TSME, the author starts the drills by floating on the back, not the front. Starting on the front is difficult since the author does not address proper breathing technique until later in the book. Laughlin has an excellent technique, however the drills in TSME are much better than in this book.
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on July 25, 2006
I swim everday for a team and i got this book to try and get faster. this is a good book but i believe it has some faults especailly if your a sprinter. Its advice to use a "non-overt" (2-beat i guess) actually made my legs really weak and i had to build them back up. I was putting to much trust into the fact that you can get better just by modifying the way i swim (nervous system) and i didnt realise the fact that you have to work hard to get anywhere.

The Olympians all swim like this, ian thorpe especaily and phelps, but they have so much core body, leg, and arm strengh that it works for them. Im not saying that it cant work for you, but dont forget you have to work out those muscles too. ive tried counting my strokes to and i got down to swim with about 13 - 14 average during practice (25 yrd), but when your in a meet you have to swim as fast as you can. what im trying to say is that swimming like that worked for me in practice but not in a meet. it actully made me slower in meets b/c all my muscles (especially my legs got weaker).

The book talks about popov trying to hold the stroke count while going faster and faster in practice. i believe that, if you want to do that, then go for it. but, i work as a lifeguard and a lot of people that swim laps where i work have read this book. most of them do a full catch up stroke or almost full. they go slow as beans and they barely kick. then they say all their woried about is staying long in the water. in their case, i believe there actually going backwards, they have forgotten about a lot of stuff thats also important when they swim, the same as i did. dont fall into the same trap.

Some of the concepts in this book i believe work, some i do not. it doesnt matter what which ones i dont believe in but when you try it, just remember that you need those muscles too, and you need the cardio. the muscles will help you with positioning and body roll especially the core muscles. the book Swimming Fastest contradicts a lot of what it says in this book and vice versa. If you want an alternate opinion get that book. Which is right? you pretty much have to decide for yourself what you want to believe in.
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