Swimming That Changes Your Life — Mission Statement
by Terry Laughlin

Posted on June 23rd, 2011

Swimming books have traditionally been about how to pull and kick, how far to swim and how hard. This book will teach you those things but its primary purpose is to show you how to use an activity you love — or will grow to love — to enjoy more vibrant health and deeper happiness now, and increase them in years to come.

How can a swimming method change your life? First, by demonstrating that aging gracefully is a matter of conscious, voluntary choice. Second, by showing how to develop a sense of limitless potential for improvement, mastery and satisfaction as a swimmer. And third, by showing you how to apply what you learn from swimming to other areas of life.

Swimming has long been recognized as good for health and relaxation. But after 50 years as a swimmer, and 40 as a teacher and coach, I’ve found that our understanding of swimming’s benefits barely scratches the surface, and that far too many people are barred from enjoying those benefits by the difficulty of learning to swim well.  This book will first show how anyone can swim easier and better (farther and faster too but, as I explain later, those should be an outcome more than a goal), then how to effect long-term positive change in body, mind and spirit through your swimming practice. The key is to remain mindful that living well, rather than swimming a certain distance or time, is your primary swimming goal.

Who is this book written for?

Beginners and Non-Swimmers will learn a foolproof way to master the essential foundations of swimming well – comfort, confidence, and ease – by learning to float-before-you-stroke. Start a journey toward lifelong mastery by exploring your relationship with the water, then create harmony with an aquatic environment. Once you achieve that – sometimes in as little as an hour or two, but improvable for decades – more advanced skills come with surprising ease.

Intermediate Swimmers will learn the value of striving to be an expert swimmer, the precise sequence of skills that will take you there, and your potential for lifelong learning.

Improvement-minded Swimmers will receive confirmation that your improvement goals are appropriate, and fully achievable, tips on how to focus them effectively, and guidance on how to become an expert learner, not just swimmer.

Fitness Swimmers will learn to how swim injury-free (or use swimming to heal injuries from high-impact activities or accelerate recovery from medical procedures) and how to improve brain function even as you strengthen your cardiovascular system.

Aesthetic-oriented Swimmers – who swim for grace, pleasure and relaxation – will learn how to master a stroke of rare and enduring beauty, to practice swimming in the same spirit as yoga or tai-chi, and as a moving meditation, and align your swimming with the teachings of spiritual practices like Zen or Taoism.

Achievement-oriented Swimmers – including coaches, Masters swimmers, triathletes and anyone who likes to set and achieve personal goals – will learn to replace tedious long work or exhausting hard work with mathematically-specific ways of improving endurance and speed that transform guesswork into guaranteed improvement.

Aging Swimmers (i.e. all of us) will learn why swimming is unique among all physical activities (even more than golf) in rewarding capabilities that improve with age – wisdom, judgment, patience and self-perception — more than those that decline with age – aerobic capacity and muscular power.


14 Responses to “Swimming That Changes Your Life — Mission Statement”

  1. bkjagadish says:

    Terry Laughlin Sir is my Guru DRONACHARYA !!…I am at Bangalore , 63, …practice daily guided by Terry ‘s books & CDs !!…THANK YOU Terry Sir !!…

  2. Richard says:

    Sounds good Terry. I was first attracted to TI for efficiency, but the ideas of continuous improvement and a “Zen stroke” are what really sold me.

    Are you familiar with Carol Dweck? The “growth mindset” idea (that we can get better at stuff) has become really important for me. I’m OK with sucking at something, knowing that if I make little bits of progress then over time I’ll become good.

  3. John Woodard says:

    Seriously man, I’m sold. So much so that my only two questions are:

    1. When can we expect this book? (please don’t say a year from now).
    2. Are you looking for a complete and total non-swimmer to try it out on? If so, I’m your 40 year old noob. Send me some beta chapters, my window of getting to the pool somewhat regularly is just now opening up!

  4. John
    My target date to complete the manuscript is end of August. And the beta chapters will be available here, as I’m humbly seeking feedback.

  5. Richard. I checked out A Rich Life, your blog and like what I see. And pleased that improvement-oriented swimming is part of A Rich Life. I’ll try to provide you with some food for thought.
    I’m very familiar with Carol Dweck’s work and will make reference to it as the appropriate place.

  6. Ommm.
    I hope to be a Karma Yogi with this book.

  7. John Woodard says:

    Looking forward to it. Just out of curiosity, will a Kindle version be available for purchase (PDF would work as well)?

  8. Dunte Hector says:

    I hope that this book will still include the notes about racing and race training.

    My favorite aspect of TI, and the one which convinced me to commit to the program over others, is the emphasis on improvement-minded swimming. It is actually why I am determined to swim extraordinarily well the TI-way despite the *interference* of triathlons on my training schedule. I apply thoughtful, deliberate reflection to so many other skills I’ve learned; I am ever-grateful to now be able to do so to my new skill of swimming.

    No less, the notes about training & racing have been incredibly beneficial to me as a young athlete. It almost sounds as if competitive groups won’t have a distinct place in TI2.

  9. Dunte
    Despair not. Competitive swimming will have an important place in Swimming that Changes Your Life. The main difference between this book and the previous TI book was that I wasn’t sufficiently clear in stating my purpose in the previous book. I wrote about improving your stroke. I also used Alexandre Popov as a primary exemplar of mindful, purposeful swimming–aiming to make the point that you don’t have to do mindless, generic repeats to swim exceptionally fast.
    Unfortunately I found myself embroiled in too many debates on relatively trivial details. Did Popov really swim Front Quadrant or not? And many competitive types took offense at my suggestion that mindless repeats sets–albeit done hard–are not only unnecessary but not the best way to swim fast.
    This time I will be much more clear that the primary goal of the book is to promote health and happiness. I will then show that
    1) One can prioritize that and still break records – national as well as personal and
    2) There are health and happiness benefits that can come from both competing and from more intensive. physically demanding, forms of training.

    E.G. In describing the benefits of competing I’ll point out the Latin roots of the word. Com petere means “Strive together” — not against. When you strive together, there’s a special form of human interaction that stimulates healthful adaptation in the brain.

  10. John
    I will definitely get this and all TI books into all important ebook or e-reader formats.

  11. Hi Terry,

    Another excellent read!

    If you ever fancy becoming a guest blogger on the Simply Swim blog even if it’s for self-promotion just let me know. http://blog.simplyswim.com/


  12. Chris If you see anything you’d like to republish, let me know.

  13. Thom says:

    Is this book out? Is the title Swimming That Changes Your Life?

  14. Thom
    Thanks for your interest and inquiry. For the moment I’ve decided to write a series of much shorter (10,000 to 30,000 word – instead of 100,000) ebooks, on a range of more targeted and specific topics. We’re about to do some surveying to sharpen our sense of what topics are of greatest interest. The more comprehensive Change Your Life book will be drawn from material in those.

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