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Swim Speed Secrets: Master the Freestyle Technique Used by the World's Fastest Swimmers (Swim Speed Series)

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  253 ratings  ·  19 reviews

In Swim Speed Secrets, 4-time Olympian, gold medalist, and triathlon world champion Sheila Taormina reveals the swim technique used by the world’s fastest swimmers.

Over the course of 4 Olympic Games and throughout her career as a world champion triathlete, Taormina refined her exceptional technique as a student of the sport, studying the world’s best swimmers using underwa

Kindle Edition, 212 pages
Published September 27th 2012 by VeloPress (first published May 1st 2012)
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 ·  253 ratings  ·  19 reviews

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Aug 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Exactly what I needed!

Before talking about the book I will give you some background on myself so you can understand where I am coming from. I was a competitive swimmer when I was a teenager, between the ages of twelve and sixteen, then got bored and stopped for 20 years and only occasionally would I get back in the pool for a few months at a time. A couple of years ago I decided to get in shape, so I started swimming again and got into triathlons. My swimming technique was decent, but I definite
Feb 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, sports
The corrective to all the Total Immersion bullshit that seems to think you can swim fast with good body position alone. Let's dispense with this by comparing the very aerodynamic Prius to the bulbous and not so aerodynamic Pontiac GTO muscle car; horsepower wins. Get your propulsion in order. ...more
Ann Xiang
Well written and somewhat funny, but the gist of this book (three words: "high elbow catch") can be conveyed in a short internet article instead of this full color book on heavy weight paper. ...more
Cait Ní Cheallaigh
This might sound silly, but when I finished reading this on the bus, I had to stop myself from sobbing, but that's because of what's on the last page. And also that I am probably a freak.

I've been a long time admirer of Taormina's since she first made the Olympic team in 1996. She's my age, so that achievement, at the age of 27, and then that she made three more Olympic teams after that, in two more sports, helped instill in me, maybe foolishly, that anything is possible. Which goes back to that
Jun 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic book with that explains the most important factors affecting speed along with a handful of carefully selected drills that will make the most impact on your speed. The book is kept simple and is very easy to understand and implement.

There are only two ways to get faster in swimming: take fewer strokes (more propulsion) and turn over strokes more quickly.

Increasing propulsion is more important that reducing resistance from drag. The key factors to increasing propulsion are:
1. Mainta
Aug 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The 80-20 rule (Pareto principle) is applicable to freestyle swimming: a few critical elements of swim technique determines a large part of the result. This book focuses arm pull (high elbow position in particular), the most "vital element" of freestyle technique.

Suggestion on how to use this book?
Read until Chapter 4. Then, study every photos in Chapter 5 and 6 carefully. Check out Sheila's youtube playlist. Finally, read the Epilogue and Appendix B.

How do I like it?
- I
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports
The main idea of the book is very interesting, useful and worth applying to your swimming. But for the book as a whole, it's somewhat lacking. There are a number of chapters that didn't really have much added value. A less subtle way of saying it would be; the real message could have been written in a (longer) blog post, instead of a whole book. ...more
Nov 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good instructional book, pretty straightforward. Not too much fluff in the front sections. Note the book is a gateway to buying a product co-produced by the author - the Halo swim system.
Thaddeus Pearson
Jun 22, 2019 rated it liked it
It's good technique tips ...more
Anastasia Sidorova
Jan 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sport
Лучшая книга по плаванию, что я читала! Но она однозначно не подойдет новичкам и тем, кто только начинает осваиваться в бассейне, разве только для общего понимания процесса плавания. Полная противоположность книгам подобным "Полному Погружению", где все сосредоточено на положении тела в воде. Но положение тела дает только 20% к скорости вашего движения в воде. Эта же книга полностью сосредоточена на главном элементе в плавании, который дает 80% скорости пловцу - подводная часть гребка. Если вы х ...more
Mar 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is not to be missed, if you are swimming and feel as though you spend a lot of time in the water and just are not getting faster, look no further, this book will get you on the right path. The information is straight forward, not technical in most places, great color pictures in the kindle version and book. The author, an olympic swimmer, is focusing this book on the "Pull", the point at which your fingers enter the water and get to your hips, its super specialized but there is a reaso ...more
Mike Harmon
Jun 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Strength and conditioning provide little benefit unless a swimmer is "holding" the water. I now realize I have an exaggerated S motion in my "pull" and haven't been feeling/holding the water for good forward propulsion. I still need to work on body position and kicking, etc, but feel like this book, focusing on the "pull," is an important first set to get me in the moving forward as a beginning swimmer. If you aren't pulling the water effectively, then the rest of it just doesn't matter that muc ...more
Jan 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is exactly the book I needed to help me improve my swimming technique. Instead of covering a wide range of swim techniques, Taormina (an Olympic champion) focuses on the most important part of freestyle swimming: the stroke. Her arguments for mastering the high elbow technique are convincing. Although she includes a lot of exercises, they are described rather than laid out like a week-by-week plan. Fortunately, Taormina had written just such an exercise book to complement this one, and it w ...more
Sep 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked the focus on the pull. With limited training time, it is easy to buy into all the technique books thinking they will magically cut your swim time in half. She makes the point that without putting in the work to develop a strong pull, good technique will only get you so far. The book doesn't cover everything, doesn't cover breathing very much, but there are some decent photos throughout the book. ...more
Jul 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
150 pages to say "keep a high elbow". Oddly, it's not fluffy or padded: there's a lot of content to implement that one technique, which Taormina claims is 80% of swimming. You will need other books for the other 20%. Good photos with excellent print quality; something lacking in many swimming books. ...more
Justin Bergman
Nov 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great alternative to body position swimming (ala Total Immersion). Looking forward to trying out a high elbow catch and seeing if I can bump a couple strokes off my 50. Quick read. Author has a fun and friendly tone.
Jun 28, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book discusses one thing and one thing only, the pull for the freestyle stroke. Yes, it does explain that one thing very well, but it is only worth 3 stars. Maybe I will swim freestyle faster now.
Nicki Miles
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
Can't see slideshow

I can't get the slide shows to work on kindle or iPhone app. This doesn't allow me to see any of the drill sequences so the book is almost worthless.
Norman Ryang
Mar 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Awesome insight for even the casual and recreational swimmer
Steve McAdams
rated it it was amazing
Jun 18, 2017
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Jan 08, 2015
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Jul 15, 2014
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Aug 26, 2012
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Jun 04, 2013
Mike Scannell
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Jul 06, 2015
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Jun 10, 2018
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Oct 28, 2020
Michael McEachern
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Feb 16, 2015
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Bruno Israel
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