Dear Georgie, I’ve just returned from my IM Austria trip ... and boy oh boy did I enjoy the swim ... 25 minutes faster than SA in April (that’s just the swim), almost half an hour faster on the bike… but I bailed a bit on the run (nearly 6 hours L) ... but I am so impressed with the swim. If I keep it up I know I can get my swim time down even more – as the last few weeks before leaving for Austria I was travelling to Durban for work every week and wasn’t spending much time in the pool.
I have been recommending TI to all my mates (even before I went to Austria) ...
Thanks so much.
Marius, Cape Town
Dear Georgie, A very BIG thank you for the CD the sweet card and the cap. I am thrilled with my progress. I swam the cold water mile on new year’s day at Clifton. I got very cold but I made it in 50 mins and apparently it was actually 2 kms.
I am back at squad once a week now and I am managing to keep at my new stroke and go a bit faster – in fact I am not at the back of the slow queue anymore can you believe it!
It is great It is really more or less effortless swimming – I love it
I hope all is well with you and once again thanks,
Dear Terry and Pam,
Just to say a huge thanks to all your instructional videos and blog posts. Also to Pam who was such an inspiration and brilliant coach when I did a course last December.
I swam the English channel on Tuesday, and both of you had a huge part in that. I will recommend your courses to everyone..
Hi Georgie -
Finally!! :) That's all I can say. I took my 4 months, but finally I'm there. I know 4 months is longer than most of your students take to get TI right, but I was really bad at swimming before the course. Well, I did 60 lengths this morning and hardly broke a sweat, okay maybe I did sweat a little, but who's gonna know when you're in the water Haha.
I am so excited, it is the 3rd day this week that I got to 50+ lengths (non-stop) per session. Considering that 4 months ago, before I did your course, I could not imagine how my swimming could be changed so significantly in just 2 days of training. I couldn't do more that 4 lengths without my lungs wanting to burst. You may even remember me asking you how it could be possible to change my technique in just two days and you said that you will teach me everything I need to know in two days, it's up to me to go practice it.
Well there were times when I thought I'm not going to get it right. May was particularly tough as I did well in April and then focussed so much on how many lengths I could do that I actually "broke" my technique. Well That was a hard lesson and I went back to drills (only drills) for a few days and suddenly every thing starting falling into place again last week...
Finally I'm there and now the real swimming will begin. I know I shouldn't chase laps, but it's so much fun to just keep going and going. This time I make a point of to concentrate on executing every stroke as perfectly as possible. I cannot put my excitement into words that will justify how wonderful it feels to finally be able to swim properly (or should I say correctly). What excites me even more is that I know this is only the beginning and knowing that I still have plenty of room for improvement.
So I just wanted to thank you again for kick-starting my swimming and the motivational replies to my emails.
Good luck in your own swimming!
I am a 41-year old attorney living and working in Stellenbosch. When I was at varsity I cycled for Maties and did the obligatory sub 3-hour Argus Cycle Tour. When I started working I no longer had enough time to train for cycling and turned to running. I ran my first marathon in 1996. Over the next 9 years I was overwhelmed by the demands from building a career and starting a family and couldn’t get a consistent exercise program going.
In November 2005 I took a conscious decision to start training again. The only time which worked for me was 05h00 in the morning.In order to get up at 05h00 in the middle of winter I required goals to motivate me.
I decided to run a marathon again and thereafter the Two Oceans and the Comrades and to do the Ironman. A hip operation in June 2006 delayed my plans slightly and I ran Two Oceans for the first time in 2007. I ran it twice thereafter including a personal best of 4h51min. I have not achieved my goal of running Comrades yet because I was side-tracked by triathlon.
After doing the Clanwilliam Triathlon in a team with my 2 brothers in 2006 I went for swimming lessons for the first time in my life in December that year. I learned to swim the conventional way and did my first triathlon as an individual in Clanwilliam in October 2007. Before the event I had a wetsuit made by Coral Wetsuits (with as much rubber as legally allowed). In the triathlons I did thereafter I was always one of the last swimmers out of the water and had to rely on my cycling and my running strength to finish in a decent position. Although I was no longer afraid of swimming and even completed triathlons with sea swims my biggest fear was the announcement that a wetsuit would not be allowed in a triathlon.
When I was confronted with this situation on the eve of the Jailbreak long distance triathlon at the end of 2009 I decided that I had to make a plan.After Georgie Thomas told me very convincingly at Jailbreak that the Total Immersion course would help me with buoyancy and would allow me to swim with very little kicking I enrolled for the course. It took place in January 2010 when I had already entered Ironman 2010. I was therefore very determined to make a success of the course.
I enjoyed it immensely. Although I did not fully master al the drills during the course and struggled to put them all together, when confronted with a deeper pool, buoyancy was no longer a problem and at times I could feel the “switching” propelling me forward without much arm pulling or kicking. Two weeks before Ironman I became very nervous as I realised that I had only been doing drills and haven’t even progressed to swimming long distances. Georgie reassured me that my running and cycling fitness would carry me through and that I only needed to concentrate on technique.
I must admit that I was sceptical and went out to check whether this was true. I put on my wetsuit and went swimming. After an hour I realised that there was no point in continuing as I could swim like this for ever.
Georgie was right.
I went back to doing drills and concentrated on technique. This meant that my swimming preparation for Ironman only consisted of 4 sessions of 30 minutes each week and the one hour swim in my wetsuit once.
In Port Elizabeth I had serious doubts whether I should attend the practice swim with Georgie the day before Ironman. It had the potential of being a disappointment in which case I would go into the Ironman with a bad experience behind me.
However, I met with Georgie and other TI swimmers and swam to the first buoy. After following Georgie’s advice (i.e. walking into the water, swimming breast stroke first and only starting with freestyle when my breathing was relaxed) my swim to the first buoy was an absolute pleasure .I was relaxed and I could feel the “switching” working. On the day of the race, the sea was rough but I followed Georgie’s advice and, after diving under the bigger waves, started stroking.
As long as I concentrated on keeping my head down and switching with relaxed arms I could feel that I was going forward with very little effort. I concentrated on “staying in the moment” and concentrated on every stroke. When I checked my watch after the first lap, I saw that I was well within my planned time even though I swam very relaxed. I was ecstatic. I realised that all I had to do was to get back in the water and do the same again. I was really enjoying the swim. I couldn’t believe that I was actually swimming 3.8 kilometres in rough seas after never swimming for more than an hour in the pool. I was actually disappointed when I approached the pier and realised that my first Ironman swim was almost over. I finished the swim in 1:36 and felt as if I could easily go back for another lap. The rest of my Ironman was also very successful and I finished in 12h30min, 30 minutes less than I planned.
I have already booked my hotel for Ironman 2011.
I am determined to concentrate on my drills and maybe even swim some laps for an even better swim in Ironman 2011. I have recommended Total Immersion to all the members of my running club who said that they wanted to do Ironman but are afraid of the swim. I have donated my flippers and kicking board to my first swimming coach as I will never need those again. When I started out training for Ironman I knew that I had it in me to do the cycling and the running. Total Immersion made it possible for me to also be ready for the swim.
"Thank you so much for the course this weekend - you can see that TI is your passion and how happy you are teaching it, your teaching style is calm, patient, serious and yet fun. I now know without doubt that I will be able to swim and open water swim with ease!! And that really is SUCH a great feeling!! I have always run and mountain biked but have always wanted to swim an open water course and have just never attempted one because I knew I'd thrash around and quite probably drown!! VERY excited to get into the pool today and start 'drilling'!!"
Amanda Judson, Knysna
"I am amazed to see that the tariff has not increased for five years! In hindsight this was the best R1500 I have ever spent towards my sport of triathlon. In comparison to an entry-level bicycle (R8000-R10000), running shoes (R1000 every six months), and clothing (R1200 for a tri-suit), this was a small once off investment with enormous rewards."
Pieter Louw, Cape Town
Pam, Thank you very much for a brilliant course. I thoroughly enjoyed it and feel so much more confident about doing the Ironman distance, and with some energy to spare. I have already told my mates about how my stroke rate went from 18 to 11!
I look forward to practicing the drills, etc so that TI becomes second nature.
Ironman Novice (Coaches note – SPL [18 down to 11] was in a 20m pool.)
When I read the promo stuff on the TI website I thought it sounded all too much like an Omo TV ad, but now I can honestly say that it's all true. And I want to add that it's so much simpler than you'd think. It's exact and it makes logical sense.
The difference is astounding. It won't make sense to the uninitiated, but less is more! If you haven't used the endless pool system before, you might not realise what a huge difference the TI way is making. The real proof was when I got back into the standard pool I'm used to, and found that the number of strokes I need to get to the other side has dropped immediately by 33% and I'm already 10 seconds faster over 50 meters. Bear in mind this was only my first session back home!
Francois - Blind Full Ironman triathlete (South Africa & Australia)
Georgie, I enjoyed the workshop immensely. Franziska says she thinks it's the best present she ever given me because I can't seem to stop thinking and talking about my swimming.
During the past week I concentrated on the drills and I must say I feel much more comfortable and relaxed in the water. I also did a few lengths of swimming and I really feel fresh, say after 200m. Franziska videoed me on Sunday – I will send a clip later. I'm confident on my head position, but I know that my hands aren't on their tracks and I'm not yet patient enough with the lead hand.
The "dry" drills were good, I'm practicing them in shower. It imprints the movement in your head so that it becomes more natural and routine in the pool.
Regards, and again many thanks.
Dear Georgie, I was totally blown away by the 5 hour TI workshop I attended with you today, thank you so much for your patience, understanding and most of all your expertise and professional approach. After swimming "uphill" for the last 18 months, I immediately felt more "balanced" in the water and that after only 5 hours of tuition. The greatest part was not feeling like I had to fight the water to stay afloat!
After landing in Port Elizabeth tonight all I wanted to do was get to my local gym pool to practice the drills I learnt today and hopefully rejuvenate my fledgling swimming/triathlon career. Although my main focus is IM and Half IM, it will also be great to participate in a draft-legal Olympic triathlon and not be one of the last one's out of the water who has to singularly chase the main bunch for 40km and waste huge amounts of energy that could be put to much better use in the run.
Good luck for the 70.3 IMBC2009 this weekend and I wish you all the success, that you greatly deserve, in your Total Immersion Training School. A bientôt and here's to swimming like a "fast fish" in the future
Chris - Competed in Ironman and Half Ironman World Champs Florida
Hi Georgie, I just want to thank you once again,
I am so very impressed with your course!
Just to let you know i was so excited, that i couldn't wait for tomorrows swim squad, so off I went to the pool and asked my friend to come with, without effort (ok a little ) can't say it was easy, but i broke that 1 min 6 sec that I got in your pool and got a 1 min 2 sec time ...cant actually believe it and i wasn't even exhausted....
big improvement from a 1 min 17 sec leaving me absolutely buggered to a 1 min 2 sec still ready for more, my friend is also very, very impressed ...sure he will be calling you soon
Gary Tarantino, Cape Town
"I have attended the Cape Town Total Immersion two-day workshop and am thankful to have taken the plunge.
Before the course, I was all arms in the water and wondered how I was going to get through a swim of more than 50m without that glug-glug feeling.
Since completing the course, I have been in a pool regularly and am enjoying my swimming so much more. I am in a much better position, the stroke is easier (more efficient) and much more powerful than what I did before. The drills and imagery used during the course are repeatable, which enables their use on my own even when the coach is not there. I now have an idea of what to strive for and can identify when I am going out of sync. This helps with me with the motivation to keep getting into the pool and keep improving. Swimming has become fun for the first time."
"Thanks Georgie for the guidance and the motivation. You are extremely knowledgeable and are able to teach the swimming technique extremely well. You were able to spot areas for improvement and provide accurate corrective measures straight away.
Excellent course and highly recommended to all aspirant swimmers"
Marvin Eagles, Cape Town
“Don’t panic. I will tell you when to panic!” These were Georgie’s reassuring words to me in response to a panicky e-mail: I had just had a terrifying open water experience, not two weeks before my first triathlon and was ready to pull out of the event, pretty much convinced a 600m swim in the icy Table Bay water would mean certain death.
We’d had a similar conversation about a month earlier: “I’ve signed up for a triathlon, only I can’t really swim. And it’s only a few weeks away. I’m in a bit of a panic.”
You might imagine that a teacher could get quite bored of a pupil who panics repeatedly. Or who has trouble with the most basic of things (counting to three was a big problem for a while, and rather important for breathing in freestyle.) But Georgie remained calm in the face of adversity, chuckled benignly at my ineptitude, and remained absolutely and unswervingly confident that I could succeed in that 600m swim.
So on Nov 30th, not six weeks after I had first stood in Georgie’s endless pool I emerged from the sea at Blouberg giddy with happiness; I was not the last person out of the water and I had kept pace with my friend who had been a competitive swimmer in her schooldays. I had conquered a 600m open water swim and still had breath left to head off onto the bike leg of the race.
I love Total Immersion. Swimming is no longer simply an exercise in survival; it’s a pleasurable activity that I get a sense of mastery out of. I love the way it is taught in a series of steps, so that you can always feel like you are succeeding. I love the ‘mindfulness’ of it – instead of spending every moment anxious about how to get oxygen I can think about all the different parts of my stroke, fully confident that I will get air when I turn to breathe. It still feels like a little miracle each time I swim – I probably look like a splashing mess but I feel wonderful!
So, thankyou Georgie and thankyou TI! “
Gillie Bonner, Hout Bay, Cape Town