Swimming for Grownups
by Terry Laughlin

Posted on October 9th, 2009

Haschu33 a TI swimmer from Germany posted this question on the TI Discussion Forum

“This may seem like a stupid question, but I’m a non-native American English speaker:

The TI DVD series uses the terms ‘Breaststroke for Boomers’ and ‘Backstroke for Boomers’ – what is a ‘boomer’ ?  Am I a boomer and if so then what . . .?”

Rachapkis answered

“A ‘boomer’ or ‘baby boomer’ is someone born in the post-WWII years, typically 1945 – 1964.”

To which Haschu33 said

“Ok, thanks, yes I stepped on that meaning regarding the ‘baby-boom’ generation.

But it couldn’t be the literal meaning here, right?

Maybe it means something like ‘breaststroke for every body’ in contrast to ‘breaststroke for the ‘real experts’ or something like that?”

My reply:

Haschu, you’re pretty close to what we intended with that title.

We employed the descriptive phrase . . .for Boomers” in part because it has a nice alliterative ring to it. But more to signify an approach to thinking about . . . learning . . . and swimming these strokes that is distinct from that usually employed with younger competitive swimmers. Competitive coaches usually emphasize forceful, aggressive styles — more and harder, push-pull-kick.

Our approach with this series of instructional videos for strokes other than freestyle was to make it thoughtful, enjoyable, experiential, yielding-not-fighting, working with not against (the water, gravity, resistance).

An example is that the sequence we focus on in each stroke progresses thusly:
1) relax into the water
2) streamline your body
3) find the most economical way to create propulsion.
4) enjoy!

I’ve lately thought that one of the best succinct summations of TI would be “Swimming for Grownups.” This might translate more universally than Boomers.

One Response to “Swimming for Grownups”

  1. Jennifer Parks says:


    Have read your material off and on for years. Have listened to people who have been to your various camps as well. Swam a 1650 in practice yesterday and thought about your idea of swimming with the water and the swim got easier and easier as I went along. I wasn’t in the flow, as I have been on occasion, but I could think “outside” my body. For many years I taught “Stress Management” so deep breathing, being in the moment, and relaxation are in my vocabulary…now I’m trying to transfer those ideas to swimming and your words and ideas help, too. So thank you, Terry. Will be so interested in your Channel Swim. p.s. I try to share some of these ideas w/HS swimmers and I think they kind of get it and like swimming more than just hard core work! JP

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