After a full day of swim camp on Friday (click HERE to read Part 1), I woke up the next day eager to learn more…
DAY 2: JUNE 1, SATURDAY
1) Classroom Session – 1 hour
After a light breakfast, we met Shinji for another classroom session. Here he showed us videos of his own swim and spoke in more detail about how to achieve speed with precision and proper technique rather than power. I remember him telling us: to be a better swimmer use your mind, not your muscles.
Here’s what Shinji mentioned are skills to increase speed:
1) balance and streamline to reduce drag
2) quick motion (hand spear and body roll)
3) focus on forward movement to save energy
4) use hybrid energy source
Shinji taught us how to increase speed without losing efficiency or stroke length. He said that the key to increasing tempo without losing propulsion is to use 1) Spear (upon entry), 2) Grip, and 3) Finish.
We were then given tempo trainers, a gadget like a metronome for runners which beeps to provide the rhythm of ones stroke. We were to use this for our next session. I decided to purchase one for P1800 so I could use it during training.
2) Open Water Session – 1.5 hours
We boarded a speedboat which took us to Anselmo, a cove with the water even clearer than the beach we swam in the day before. Even better, this was private so we had it all to ourselves!
– Our wonderful instructors: Sandra Taylor, Ria Mackay, and Karen Robertson –
– with the master himself: Shinji! –
It was here that Shinji talked about proper sighting, swimming straight or turning, drafting, and overtaking by increasing stroke length and not tempo. After a brief demo, we swam in pairs practicing our new skills.
We started out by the shore. She would brief us then give us a short drill or a specific area we should concentrate on, then she’d announce: “Now, practice it. 50 strokes.” and, like obedient students, we would swim out into the sea. This went on for about four or five more times. One time she told us to swim with our eyes closed so we could note how far we would veer from the center and determine the frequency of our sighting. Another time she asked us to focus on our arms in front of us. We went further and further out into the deep sea. Before we knew it, we had been out for an hour, wading, swimming, like a full-hour classroom session except this was out in the sea and we had been floating the entire time.
To end the session, Karen asked us all to set our tempo trainers to 1:20 and swim back to shore easy, on our own. We all swam with our newfound Total Immersion skills and, even if I hadn’t swam over 1k in the past months, I was amazed to find myself reaching the shore without even feeling exhausted. OMG it does work!
– Class Picture! –
We were treated to a wonderful buffet lunch by the shore and some of us took the speedboat back to the hotel. Unfortunately, I could only stay until this session due to family commitments. For the rest of the day, some students had booked one-on-one full hour sessions with Shinji (separate fee from the camp fee). Later that evening, they had a Pool Session where all students were videotaped again. The videos were then evaluated during the Classroom session.
On Sunday morning, an open water race 1k & 2k was held. It was open to the public, but all participants of the camp also had entry into this race. It was a great way for them to practice all the new skills they learned during the two-day camp. By this time, I was already at home in Manila, but I did see all the fun they had through photos.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
The Total Immersion Smart Speed and Open Water Skills Camp is an excellent way for you to learn the skills of the Total Immersion technique. While you can take classes from Aqualogic Swim Co. or read books and practice TI on your own, learning from the master himself, Shinji Takeuchi, and the other great instructors, in this two-day camp definitely speeds up the pace, gives you immediate feedback on your areas for improvement, and makes it a more fun experience for you.
The camp was very well-organized. Everything—from transportation, food, accommodations, including special requests—were attended to. Shinji Takeuchi, despite English being his second language next to Japanese, is an engaging and generous speaker. It need not be mentioned that he is a master of Total Immersion and he is well-equipped to lead the TI camp. The other TI instructors were very knowledgeable, amiable, and helpful to all participants. Perhaps one of the best things about this swim camp was the fun, light, and supportive atmosphere which made the learning experience even more memorable.
I would highly recommend this camp for beginner swimmers who want to learn how to swim for recreation, fitness or competition. I would also recommend it for beginner triathletes who need basic skills in swimming for triathlon or those who need to overcome their fear and build confidence for open water competitions.
Is TI for advanced competitive triathletes? Ria Mackay mentioned that there is much debate over this and TI never promotes itself as the best technique for triathletes. However, TI can promise to teach you efficient swimming with speed that can make you competitive enough for triathlon. At the end of the day, it is up to the athlete to decide if this is the best technique for him/her given his/her goals.
The next Total Immersion Smart Speed and Open Water Skills Camp led by Shinji Takeuchi will be in September 2013. To register, visit Aqualogic Swim Co.
Ria Mackay – Head Instructor & Founder
Phone: +632.703.6386 / +632.837.1716 / +632.794.3393 / +63.917.858.AQUA (2782)
* Some photos courtesy of Aqualogic Swim Co. Photographer VT Roman