Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Seth sent me a DVD of Total Immersion swimming (Wikipedia / Official Site) and I tried some of the drills in it for the first time last night. (Thanks Seth!) It appears to be a unique way of helping swimmers to learn balance, drag reduction and timing through a new approach to learning and thinking about your stroke/style. Some of the drills were difficult for me, but I could tell that it was because my balance was not "natural" yet. It was rather frustrating "starting from scratch" but I'm definitely going to give this a try and see how much my swimming improves. I have a feeling that this rather focused and peaceful style of swimming will suit some of the experiments in meditation that I want to conduct.


I can't wait for the outdoor pools to warm up! I got the Total Immersion introduction DVD last year and it really threw me for a loop. I am glad I bought it. I even made flash cards to take by the pool.

Total Immersion was all the rage among triathletes when they started out, I think that they do a very good job helping people improve their technique. They host clinics throughout the year in the US, and you might consider attending one when you are here, Joi. I think that it would be very beneficial for you to hit the pool with someone who could see what you are doing, and provide some input. When I am in the water now (went today, in fact) I only think about stroke technique, what I am doing on my flips, etc. I slow it down, focus on body position and rolling, things that make me more efficient. I swear that I would have smashed goals I never met if I had only concentrated on my flip turns... sob. All of these things are deficiencies that were pointed out by others that I respected.

I think I mentioned that I have a friend in LA who is a coach, and teaches disadvantaged children to swim - I have talked to hiom about coming out for a weekend soon, so if you are going to be there any time, I could fly out then to see you both, and we could both pick his brain. He is very insightful. Ought to be a college coach...

My step-dad's old girlfriend cussed me out and just pushed me in- that's how I learned.

I took it up in Tokyo and TI is one of the best things i've done. I thought i knew how to swim and it was hard and a bit embarrassing going back to the complete basics, but once I got it, it was like an epiphany. anyone thinking of trying it -- don't give up, and don't move on to the next lesson before nailing the previous one. i don't know if you need to attend a course, the book and dvds are good.

I just found out about "Total Immersion Swimming". Turns out, I've been doing this for about 60 years, I just didn't know what it was called! I have a drawer full of swimming medals and triathlon medals and have always wondered why it came so easy to me. I never thought it was effort that produced results, it was the aesthetic, the feel of moving efficiently through the water. I always wondered why other people took so many more strokes than I did to go the same speed. It wasn't a total mystery becase I knew intuitively that it had to do with reducing drag and constantly seeking that smallest hole through the water. Nobody taught me to do this but when I give other swimmers tips on how to improve I emphasize these aspects: relax, reach, roll, glide, feel the water on your body, and think about making your body the most efficient shape possible. Oh yeah, and don't kick so hard, your feet are just counterbalances to your arms. So I'm glad some people have finally put these principles into a program that they are successfully marketing. It works!