Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Total Immersion: Revolutionary Way to Swim Better and Faster” as Want to Read:
Total Immersion: Revolutionary Way to Swim Better and Faster
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Total Immersion: Revolutionary Way to Swim Better and Faster

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  1,611 ratings  ·  156 reviews
Swim Better Than You Ever Thought You Could!

If you think fastest way to better swimming is more laps, you're wasting your breath, literally. Now you can swim better -- and enjoy it more -- using simple and original techniques developed by veteran swim coach and top-ranked Masters swimmer Terry Laughlin. Laughing has helped more adults to swim faster, more smoothly, and w

Paperback, 286 pages
Published January 6th 1997 by Simon & Schuster (first published August 2nd 1996)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,611 ratings  ·  156 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Brendan Newport
May 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
TI hasn't really made it to the UK. Here we have the Shaw Method, similar, but more focused on neck position. There are few swimmers who adopt this technique.

I've been swimming since schooldays but only in the last few years swum with the front crawl or 'freestyle'. For over forty years of my life two lengths front crawl was my absolute limit, leaving me a wet dish-rag with tunnel vision at the end. Trying to swim further and slowing down wouldn't be any different, I would just flounder and sink
Nov 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, sports
Surprisingly (seriously - as in, wow, I didn't expect that) gratifying and effective, with the Goodreads caveat that this is a how-to, instructional book (again, to be clear, it's not literature and there's no real story going on here), and I wouldn't recommend for anyone who isn't looking for some help with their (duh) swimming. Conversely, I can't remember ever having read a how-to book that generated such immediate results (which, frankly, is kind of cool).

Throw me into the category of folks
Dec 30, 2009 rated it liked it
This book is a little redundant at times, which is annoying, but the techniques make sense and they've helped me cut my stroke count already. I definitely need to practice this more, but I can see why people who "get it," love it. My one criticism is I think a lot of what he describes is so visual - more photos or sketches would really help. I didn't fully understand what he was talking about until I watched some of the Total Immersion videos on YouTube, so I'd recommend doing that as you're rea ...more
May 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: non-swimmers, wannabe triathletes,
Shelves: sports
I learned from this book to practice only pleasure and never practice struggle. "Fitness is what happens to you when you're practicing."

I totally enjoyed reading this book and teaching myself a new way to do the freestyle stroke. Laughlin really breaks it down by skills that build on one another beautifully. It seemed important to swim each drill in the order presented before reading to far into the book. You can tell he has a great deal of teaching experience. I was relieved when he said sinker
Jan 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It is a long-running joke in my life that "I am such a nerd, I learned to swim from a book." it's not just a joke, it is true, and this is that book. All of the things that come intuitively to some people (like balance and coordination) can be very confusing to those of us who don't just naturally "get it". Years of gym teachers telling me "kick harder!" only led to frustration. I needed someone to explain more thoroughly, and give me ways to think about my body that would help me visualize it b ...more
Eric Flynn
Apr 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I have been swimming since I could walk; some of my earliest childhood memories are from swimming pools where my mother took me for lessons. I continued taking classes and working out in the pool through college. So, imagine my surprise when along came a book that takes you all the way back to the shallow end, so to speak. I am now in the process of unlearning all the "right ways" and learning the "better ways" or as Laughlin puts it, "how to swim like a fish." After studying how the best swimme ...more
Felix Dacumos
Jan 10, 2014 rated it liked it
The method used in this book is an excellent method for beginner swimmers. While I found the drills extremely effective, I felt at times that this book was too wordy. Sometimes I felt like the author kept on trying to prove a point that the old ways of learning how to swim were incorrect. I get it. I get that they were inefficient, but that did not need to be repeated multiple times.

However, if you can get past the reiterations of the old ways, this is truly a great book for beginner swimmers. I
Apr 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
What just happened?! 1. Bought this yesterday 2. Read to "Drill #2" #3 Revolutionized my strokes within 10 min in the pool 4. Swam laps for 30 min = felt like I had just napped. I am shocked and amazed how this book can turn you into a fish, gliding lap after lap without fatigue. It's unhuman. "Leave the struggle" it yeah!!!! These techniques have significantly changed my ability to push through stamina barriers, and enjoy the playground I love the best. The book teaches you to use mom ...more
Oct 14, 2010 rated it liked it
I've been a swimmer all my life and a couple ideas from this book really made sense to me even though I would have never thought of them myself. I scanned and skimmed to pick out the relevant information - to me, the author was very redundant. I wish they would have shown actual photos of swimmers in the water, performing some of the skill drills. If you're a visual learner and/or a beginning swimmer, some of the concepts might be a little hard to picture.
Elwin Kline
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you're serious about taking your swimming to the next level, this is the book right here.

I have always loved being in the water. The feeling of being weightless, no music, no conversations, really inside of your own head... to me it is my meditation. My greatest feat in the water was doing a simulated "English Channel Swim" challenge, in which I swam 800 laps in 7 calendar days, but actually 6 days in the water. My pool had a snow day, so at day 5 of 7, I *unfortunately* had to take a rest d
Jason Tondre
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars out of 5. I came across Mr Laughlin’s work at the most convenient of times. I had just started to attempt “swimming” laps at my local 24 Hour Fitness. Coming from a decent runner’s background (5-8 mile clips) I thought I could jump into the pool and knock out 20 minutes with no problem. The first couple of sessions were humbling to say the least, as I could barely make it 50 yards (2 lengths of the pool) without feeling like my heart was going to explode. I figured in the short term I ...more
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Firstly I should say that I haven't tried the majority of the exercises/drills in the book as it had to be returned to the library before I could. Also, I was already slightly familiar with and practising TI before I picked the book up.

TI itself is great and I can completely recommend. It massively helped my swimming and made it much more enjoyable.

However, the book isn't good. There are many, many chapters 'selling' TI to you, which is why it took me so long to read and I had to get it renewed
Mindaugas Mozūras
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm not a comfortable swimmer. I know just enough not to drown. I've heard about Total Immersion through this podcast episode and became immediately interested: If it helped Tim Ferriss overcome a lifelong fear of water and swimming, maybe it could help me.

The techniques outlined in this book make sense. They've explained in a manner that makes sense and build on top of each other. The only knock against it - the book is a bit redundant at times.

I want t
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Attention to detail makes this book valuable. Most swimmers today understand the value of body rotation and extension in both injury prevention and achieving speed, but Laughlin provides an intuitive understanding on how to fine tune one's body position to achieve a smoother stroke. He also provides rationale for structuring practices; devaluing sheer volume and unrefined sprints in favor of technical mastery. Perhaps this book was revolutionary in 1996, but most of these techniques are standard ...more
Patrik Bystrom
Jun 26, 2019 rated it liked it
While the swimming techniques described in this book are revolutionary and helpful for swimmers of all levels, the structure of the book is confusing. Furthermore, it lacks enough illustrations in the later chapters and much of the book is repetitive in its marketing of the method rather than concrete advice.

In addition it pre-dates the DVD, in which some of the techniques were improved. The fact the book is somewhat outdated makes it a poor supplement to the DVD. I am going to rely on the film
Harry Lee
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wellness
An essential for me. This book really is for everyone, never too late to discover the real way to swim freestyle. Freestyle has always been a struggle for me. I stopped swimming classes at 8 years old because I was last in the race (think Eric the Eel). For years, I could only swim half a lap on freestyle. For years the only style I swam was breaststroke. As cheesy as it sounds, Total Immersion changed my swimming life. (Can't say I have mastered it yet, but I can swim laps on freestyle!)
Luis A
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book helped me adopt swimming with ease, something I was totally reluctant to do, but after hearing from this technique from one of my biohacking gurus, Tim Ferris, I opened to it and thankfully I found this. It is a true gem for those interested in learning to swim and adopting this great sport in your lifestyle, which I now enjoy a lot because of its energy-efficient and flow-inducing approach.
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Coming off a recent knee injury I read this book to learn proper technique. I thought the analogies the author used were great such as a ship's hull and references to other sports. It uses data and anecdotal experience to back up the claims that 70% of swimming is mechanics and 30% fitness. Good read.
Stephanie Cha
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’m new to swimming, but was brave enough to begin learning as an adult, with this book as my primary aid. It has opened up a whole, pleasurable world of “fishlike” movements. For the first time, by using these skills and concepts, I am able to feel effortless, lean, and comfortable in the water. I would recommend watching demonstration videos to accompany the descriptions.
Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
It takes a bit of mining to rack up the gems of knowledge but it works! It's a pity there isn't much variety in information on the other swimming strokes. Nonetheless, the essence of the basic form of the freestyle is applicable across the board.
May 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Really liked the way the TI method is taught!
Emma Waldron
Found this quite difficult to read. It's very technical and not at all bedtime reading. I didn't even finish it, i gave up :-(
Apr 05, 2019 rated it liked it
A lot of padding. Would greatly have benefited from illustrations.
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Totally changed how I thought of swimming.

Descriptions in the book were pretty good, but more pictures or getting the video probably speeds things up and sharpens understanding significantly.
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A bit redundant. This book was written to make money and the essential contents could be summarised to one sheet of paper.
Teri Temme
Feb 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Can’t wait to try it out! Need a waterproof book though 😊
Josh Rogers
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I never learned how to swim freestyle properly as a kid. This book has been incredibly helpful to this 42 year old who is now finally getting the hang of how to swim freestyle with less effort and greater efficiency.
Mitch Holyoak
Mar 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good book to teach good swimming techniques for long swims. It help my swimming a lot.
Jul 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Total Immersion is a system of swimming that prizes technique over power and seeks to teach swimmers how to adapt their vessel to swim more fishlike and eliminate the struggle that plagues so many swimmers and would-be swimmers. Living four miles from the ocean, having a barely used health club membership card in my billfold and a small backyard pool perfect for practicing technique--it seemed that I really have no excuse for my poor swimming abilities. This book is an excellent how-to book focu ...more
Jul 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I've had this book for several years. It's excellent. I've practiced the techniques to enable more "slippery" swimming which definitely improved my free style. It used to be so laborious for me - kicking so hard and furiously - when really it should be nearly effortless when you are streamlining the angle of your body through the water. I've also carefully watched some of Terry Laughlin's videos. I'd love to have a few lessons from him because it is really hard to assess oneself. A few years ago ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Triathlete's Training Bible
  • Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes
  • Swim Smooth: The Complete Coaching Programme for Swimmers and Triathletes
  • You Are an Ironman: How Six Weekend Warriors Chased Their Dream of Finishing the World's Toughest Tr iathlon
  • ChiRunning: A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-Free Running
  • You Only Faster
  • Diver Down: Real-World Scuba Accidents and How to Avoid Them
  • Iron War: Dave Scott, Mark Allen, & the Greatest Race Ever Run
  • Runner's World Run Less, Run Faster: Become a Faster, Stronger Runner with the Revolutionary FIRST Training Program
  • Slow Fat Triathlete: Live Your Athletic Dreams in the Body You Have Now
  • The Egoscue Method of Health Through Motion: Revolutionary Program That Lets You Rediscover the Body's Power to Rejuvenate It
  • Training and Racing with a Power Meter
  • ISSA Fitness: The Complete Guide
  • The Edible Balcony: Growing Fresh Produce in the Heart of the City
  • Daniels' Running Formula
  • The Athlete's Guide to Yoga: An Integrated Approach to Strength, Flexibility, & Focus
  • The New Rules of Lifting for Abs: A Myth-Busting Fitness Plan for Men and Women Who Want a Strong Core and a Pain- Free Back
  • Stretching Scientifically: A Guide to Flexibility Training
See similar books…
“Practice them in 25-yard repeats, resting ten to fifteen seconds between.” 0 likes
“faster not because of how powerfully they stroke but because of how slippery they make their bodies.” 0 likes
More quotes…