How to Practice TI at Masters Workout
by Terry Laughlin

Posted on September 20th, 2010

In a post on the TI Discussion Forum, Pablo asked for advice on how to stay consistent with TI principles while swimming with a Masters team.

I am new to swimming; I started with group swimming classes in 2009. On Jan 29th 2010 I picked up the Easy Freestyle DVD and the ignition to improve happened. I joined Masters in April.


I practice TI when I am not swimming with Masters. I like Masters work out also as it get me opportunity to work with other swimmers and other strokes.  I also like practicing TI alone since I am enjoying  the technique and tempo work. My issues with Masters are:

1) During sprints I tend to lose the compact recovery of TI.
2) The focus changes from improvement-oriented to performance-oriented as I want to hit the time.
3) It’s difficult to practice TI during pulling drills.

I replied to Pablo:

1) On the sprints, do one of the following: (i) Set a maximum stroke count for  that set. Then swim as fast as you can . . . on that stroke count. If you feel a bit rushed or rough, lower your SPL limit by 1 and see if the feeling of efficiency improves; (ii) Swim as fast as possible SILENTLY. Either of these will prod you to use your brain as much as, or more than, your muscles.

2) Rather than focus on hitting a particular time, focus on executing your chosen Stroke Thought more consistently — every single stroke of the repeat. That should result in a faster repeat – without “trying” to swim faster. I call that Voodoo Speed and find it far more valuable than “trying harder” speed.

3) When the coach gives a pulling set, leave the buoy on the pool deck. Instead do your pulling set as a “minimized kicking” set instead. On pushoffs try to hold streamlined legs farther off the wall – or possibly right to the surface. Once you begin stroking keep focus on streamlining your legs, on getting them to “draft behind” your upper body. Or be observant of how much your feet separate and try to reduce.

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One Response to “How to Practice TI at Masters Workout”

  1. James says:

    The Easy Freestyle DVD is great, but I highly recommend that you study the Total Immersion book.

    Don’t just read it, study it.

    There is extremely important information in the book that is not available on the DVD.

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