New Video of Shinji and Terry Synch-Swimming
by Terry Laughlin

Posted on February 12th, 2011

This is the first of what will probably be at least 2 or 3 posts that use this video of Shinji and I ‘Synch-Swimming’ (as opposed to sink-swimming) at TI Teacher Training in December 2010.  Here I’ll focus on WHY we practice Synch-Swimming.

Synch-Swimming started as an exercise I came up with about 10 years ago to practice with friends (including TI Coaches Dave Barra, Greg Sautner and Hash al-Mashat) at Lake Minnewaska in New Paltz. At first we just practiced swimming two to six swimmers abreast along the 200-meter line, as a pacing exercise. Then we tried to squeeze the group as close together as possible, until our hands and forearms —  and occasionally hips and shoulders — were brushing lightly as we stroked.

We did this to simulate both the not-infrequent crowding and occasional physical contact of open water races. Our goal was to make this experience something we could accept, then even welcome. While most swimmers shy away from, or become anxious or distracted in such situations, we enjoyed it and were able to turn it into an aid to concentration.

Finally, we began trying to synchronize our strokes. This last piece was the icing on the cake. The experience of concentrating on your own stroke, while also being aware of other swimmers’ strokes — adjusting position, direction, length and tempo to theirs — proved so engrossing that we all experienced a powerful Swimmer’s High in these practices. Synch-Swimming was so enjoyable and valuable it became a central  and distinguishing feature of all TI Open Water camps.

Now I try to synch-swim with every TI Coach, and many TI swimmers, I have the opportunity to swim with, in open water or the pool.

This video shows two forms: In Synch-Swimming, you match the timing of right-arm to right-arm. In Mirror-Swimming, you match the timing of the inside arms. Enjoy!

5 Responses to “New Video of Shinji and Terry Synch-Swimming”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by In The Redwoods, TERRY LAUGHLIN. TERRY LAUGHLIN said: Why we Practice Synch-Swimming – #tiswim […]

  2. Gang Lu says:

    Hi Terry

    What an amazing video of sync swimming of you and Shinji! That reminds me of a Chinese hurdler. He used to be average among Chinese hurdlers. Then his coaching staff started to video taped his practice and play side by side with that of Liu Xiang who used to be the world record holder. He started to mimic his techniques and compare the resemblance each and every time. Not long after he became among the top.

    Terry, I can’t thank you enough for what I got out of your coaching philosophy. You have been my inspiration and mentor for the past 3 yrs. As a kid growing up in a Northern city in China I have never had a chance to take swimming lessons. At the age of 35 in 2008 I started to want to learn swimming seriously. So I took my first adult swimming lessons at the recreation center of University of Cincinnati with tremendous enthusiasms and anticipations. My level back then was that I can only do breaststroke. More accurately, I can struggle to do breaststroke and had to stop to catch my breath at each end of the pool. I was a track and field athlete in college and my joints (including my ankles) were extremely tight. Just trying to point toes would make my calf muscles cramp. I told my coaching staff that I wanted to improve my breaststroke and learn freestyle. My coaches emphasized kicking and pulling. You can imagine how an adult like me with tight ankles would do with kicking—I wasn’t moving at all. One of my coaches showed off his strong biceps and kind of teased my arm strength. That really “motivated” me. So I tried my best to pull and kick during the class. At the end of it I was totally exhausted and barely climbed out of the pool and almost threw up. My very first swimming lesson ended up with total disappointment and frustration. But my will to learn swimming didn’t die down.

    Somehow I got to know about you and your coaching styles. I started to buy your DVDs and book. Your emphasis on balanced, streamlined body position and reducing drag really got me. I started to practice the drills in your freestyle made easy DVD and truly felt the value of them and the improvement I have made. Since the winter of 2010 I launched our family swimming plan. We started to go to local pool on a weekly basis. My wife who was a TOW started to practice TI drills. I sent my 7yrs old son to kids swimming class and instructed him practice TI drills after class. The family had substantial progress in the past year. I only had about 20mins of myself time during our visit to the pool. Recently I was able to swim 20×25 with a brief break at each end. My SPL was 19~20. More importantly, I swam with much more ease and much less effort that I would have never thought possible. I have always had what you wrote in book in my mind. Continuous improvement, mindful practice, deliberate practice, every time I enter the pool I want to swim better than ever, ……..Amazingly, through the course of learning swimming it cultivated my personality as well. I got more patience and confidence on everything I am engaged in than I ever had. And the patience propelled my progress. I always remind my son of these during his piano practice. I have to honestly to say that getting to know you, following you is one of the most valuable lessons of my life. I still have a lot to work on but I know if I follow your approaches I will get there. I hope I am able to do triathlon someday.

    Terry, do you have information about TI coaches or classed in Cincinnat, Ohio? I wanted to put my son into TI swimming class. I can see how valuable it will benefit kids. Thank you very much.

  3. Gang Lu
    Yours is a really uplifting story, not just the success you’ve had in learning to swim with ease, but even more how you were able to apply the lessons and insights outside the pool. I do believe the practice of swimming and of music should focus on cultivating precisely the same habits and mindsets. As for a class in Cinti, I see on our schedule there is one in just under three months. Follow this link for more info

  4. Azizul_Az says:

    Thanks Terry for this video. Hope you will come out with new open water swim with you, Shinji and Japanese coaches combine with US TI coaches swimmer. I believed you may have many buyers who wants to keep the original copy of it. Hope you will look at my request. Thank You very much and have a good day.

  5. Dan says:

    I can see some of your techniques Terry. Like the partial rotating force. Thanks for the video clip.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.