Yesterday after work I braved the traffic and snow and headed to Borders with my 30% off coupon. I picked up Total Immersion by Terry Laughlin. It had been recommended by my swim instructor and our new blog friend Karl. I skimmed through it last night and must say I love it!
The best part of it is Laughlin’s underlying philosophy of swimming.
- swimming should be fishlike – swim not like a person but with the grace, effortlessness, and slippery-ness of a fish
- swimming is an art – just as practitioners of the martial arts and yoga focus on having a mindful spirit and strive for fluidity of motion, so swimming is a “moving meditation”
I’d never heard swimming described this way. As a person who currently practices meditation and once trained in the marital arts for a few years, I have a deep appreciation for what Laughlin is saying. My first day in the pool, when I had no idea what I was doing or what I could do, I just thought about how a fish would feel in the water. I used to fish so I spent hours visualizing what was going on beneath the surface of the water. But I felt less like a fish and more like a sea turtle or seal, though with much less grace. Still, I think I was headed in the right direction, even though at the time I felt like a dork.
Today I meet with my swim instructor for my second lesson. Can’t afford to see him a lot so this 30-minute lesson will have to get me through the next 6 weeks or so. I think he’ll be impressed with my transformation from undulating jelly fish to human qua fish!
P.S. I got a 45-minute swim in this morning and was able to so some laps and my “flip-flop” drill where I do 4 strokes front crawl, 4 strokes backstroke, 4 strokes front crawl, etc. Very fun and intense.