Posts Tagged ‘Triathlon’

Our triathlon pick for January – Hell of the West


Total Immersion proud to sponsor this event for the 3rd year running.

‘Hell of the West’ is named for the hot winds that are typical in Goondiwindi at that time of year. Its a favorite with TI swimmers on account of the warm water (ie no wetsuit for the swim) and the friendly atmosphere of an authentic event. If you are looking for a challenging long course triathlon with a difference this is the one for you! There is also a relay event if you aren’t ready for the full distance.

The official race website is at and you can download an event poster here: HOTW 2010 Poster (right click to ‘save as’)

Race day is Sunday 31st January – Join us in Goondiwindi for a free ‘tune up’ and sign up for your chance to win a stack of TI prizes including a place on our ‘Fishlike Freestyle‘ course worth $550.

Our next ‘Fishlike Freestyle‘ course in Brisbane will be on 9th/10th January which is great timing – 3 weeks out from this year’s race and we also have a Free 2 hour Demo course on 13th December so you can get try us out and make a start before the excesses of Christmas take over!

Visit or contact us via 1800 007 505 or to find out more.


Total Immersion in Far North Queensland


by TI Coach Steve van Bodegraven

Having relocated to Cairns recently from Brisbane I am excited to be bringing Total Immersion swimming to the region. I am keen to share my enthusiasm for Total Immersion with any person who is interested in exploring and improving their swimming out of sight.

Coach Steve

I have had the pleasure and satisfaction of practicing and coaching Total Immersion for over 12 months, applying my own practice to decreasing my overall triathlon race times. Most recently I have developed a keen interest in taking my swimming ‘Out of the Box’ into open water, inspired by some of the lakes and rivers in the region.

My aim is to provide every person who is interested in swimming their best with the individual support and guidance they need to explore their swimming with confidence and to become a part of their swimming journey.

Contact us Here to find out more about plans for Total Immersion in Cairns and the region.

Take a Breath…


Here is a photo of Terry Laughlin, founder of Total Immersion Swimming:

Breath 1

He once told me that ‘Freestyle breathing’ is the most challenging skill to master out of all 4 strokes.

There are several reasons for the difficulty. Lets face it, human beings are about as well designed for exercising lying flat with our face underwater as we are for driving a double decker bus wearing ski boots! We have two choices when it come to swimming and the ‘Instinctive‘ way is certainly not the same as the ‘Optimal‘ way. Talk about counter-intuitive!!!

Instinctively we lift our heads up out of the water when we breathe. Part of us wants to get our head the right way up, lift our mouth up to the air and take a look where we are going at the same time. If you observe closely you may notice a) that your hips and legs sink as your head lifts b) this means you push down on your front hand to avoid ‘sinking’ c) your kick switches to ‘survival’ mode d) you lose your relaxed patient rhythm and d) that your forehead will actually be the highest point with your mouth only just clear of the water. YUK!

Optimal breathing looks deceptively easy and it is once you have learnt how to do it. An unbroken rhythm, chin leading the turn of the face, the back of your head closing the gap to your patient front arm so that your body stays perfectly balanced with a perfectly timed inhale positioned perfectly in the ‘dip’ created by your bow wave with your one goggle still out in the water. Done well it looks as thought you couldn’t possibly have gotten a breath and that’s why we refer to it as a ‘sneaky breath’.

The overwhelming majority of swimmers have a high potential for improvement. You can start by s-l-o-w-i-n-g your stroke rate a little so you have time to notice what happens for you. Notice what happens when you take a breath… do you feel like you begin to sink? You may be surprised by the number of highly skilled swimmer who are yet to master this skill (have a look the next time you go for a swim if you don’t believe me).

The good news is that we can help you to master this skill. Relaxed breathing allows you to enjoy open water swimming in glassy lakes and rough seas alike. Contact us via our Website to find out how!

That Sinking Feeling


I feel like I’m Sinking!

Its a complaint I hear often and not a pleasant experience, especially if you are a long way from shore surrounded by 792 flailing arms and legs…

The truth is: Your body is lying to you!

Try this experiment at the pool:

Mushroom Float

  1.  Find a patch of water where you won’t get in anyone’s way. Go as deep as you feel confident.
  2. Take some deep, slow breaths then fill your lungs to 100%.
  3. Tuck up into a ball, hug your knees in close and bring your forehead toward your knees.
  4. Bubble out air as slowly as you can. Lungs at 90%, 80%, 70%, … etc as long as you can until you need more air.
  5. Try it a few times and notice what happens for you.

Chances are you could actually float quite easily. Did you feel calm throughout? You probably started to sink as your lungs emptied. How full were they when you started to travel down to the bottom of the pool?

Being comfortable in the water is an essential foundation for good swimming. Would you like to learn how to use your natural buoyancy to swim more easily?

Total Immersion runs swimming courses throughout Australia. Would you like to move beyond ‘that sinking feeling‘ to swim with confidence and grace?

Advice for Swimming TI in Open Water


This question from a swimmer who completed our Brisbane workshop as preparation for the Noosa Triathlon:

“Is there anything I should be focusing on that is more relevant for the tri swims compared to pool swims?”

Open Water Start


Some responses from the TI coaches:


Steve van Bodegraven (Cairns, QLD)

  • First, preparation. Practice swimming TI lots, explore your swimming using the drills in the workshop booklet, and in time I feel you will enjoy every one of your open water swims – as I am starting to. Practice is important.
  • Preparation will allow you to feel calm on race day. You will know that you have the knowledge and skills to enjoy the swim, and swim the way that fits into your race plan.
  • On the start line, be a body of calm and help other swimmers around you to feel that. Help to settle their concerns if they air them to you (blokes usually don’t do this though, we usually take the piss out of one another – I imagine the girls are a little friendlier though – maybe not). Being calm is important. Knowing that you know something that they don’t know – TI swimming.
  • The pack is going to start out quickly and in a rush with a lot of motion. I like to accept that this is occurring and be pulled along in the draft – just like we practiced – it’s a great feeling and a great energy saver, at a time when everybody else is expending theirs.
  • As the pack starts to thin out, find your own space and settle into your TI swimming. At this time and throughout the swim I start to check-in with each part of my stroke and see if there is anything I would like to change. I can be a little out of shape to begin with, but within a few hundred meters at most will be settled and comfortable with a nice rhythm.
  • If the water is choppy, really focus on:
  1. having wide tracks – which means having your arms on your tracks, in the very least, but possible only slightly wider,
  2. ‘lengthening your vessel’, from the tip of your head down to the tip of your toes, as the more surface area we occupy the more stable we will be, and
  3. r e l a x your neck and shoulders, feel for the catch
  • Swim the swim your way, enjoy it and set-up your bike and run!

I recently purchased the ‘Outside the Box: Total Immersion Program for Success in Open Water‘ DVD which provides a nice perspective of open water swimming, and contains great examples of how to round buoys and sight markers / navigate while maintaining your perpetual freestyle stroke.


Ben Wearing (Manly, NSW)

Noosa tends to get jam packed. Being calm and settling into your stroke as soon as possible is the best way to make the swim feel easy and set up your day!

From memory Noosa is a deepwater start (you start in the water and can’t touch the bottom), it is also a course that goes anti-clockwise. It will help if:

1. You are floating on you belly before the gun goes, this spreads you out in the water giving you more space around you so other swimmers don’t jam you, it also allows a quicker start than treading water as you will already be horizontal. 

2. Start to the far right hand side of the pack. As Steve said the pack rushes at the start. By keeping them to your left you can settle into your own rythm a lot quicker as there will be no-one trying to swim into you from the right.

3. Nearly everyone starts the race like it’s 100m Olympic final, by 200m they are toast. Focus on long, easy breaths, this will bring on your smooth, even stroke at the start. Do it and you will be passing the “toast” and feeling like a dream a few hundred metres into the swim.


Sarah Anne Evans (Manly, NSW)

Having moved here recently from the UK, I haven’t taken part in many Tri’s here as yet, but the water sure is alot warmer here than back home! The guys have given you some fantastic advice and covered everything. I really only have a couple of small things to add:

  • When you’re about 20mtrs from exiting the swim it’s a good idea to start kicking gently to help circulate blood through your legs and get them ready for running to transition and hoping on your bike.
  • Also at this point run through in your head the order you’re going to do things in transition onto the bike. Again this helps you stay focused and calm.
  • Remember to keep that calm zen like feeling from your swim into transition and beyond.

TI is great for setting a level of sublime peace in the swim and that you can carry through the to bike and run, when everyone else is in their own race fog!

Enjoy and GOOD LUCK.
Sarah Anne