Non Swimmer to Performance Goals

Having known Michael for a few years now, I asked if he would share his experience.  He was nervous and a little fearful when we first met back in 2020, on reading Michaels own words I was hit by how he described the way he felt when he couldn’t pass his 5m swim test at the age of 11.  He uses the heartbreaking expression a ‘sense of shame’.   I wish I could have told that young lad what an awesome swimmer he would become.

Michael has a superpower, the ability to practice so diligently, he has trusted the process and even bought some very clever Form goggles that show his outcomes.  His swim times now put him in the top 25% of Triathlons and he smiles when he gets asked for swimming advice at his local pool and lake.  His goals and aspirations now far exceed the initial goal he had of swimming 400m.


What is your swimming background and experience?

I was a non swimmer which I did feel a sense of shame about. I was unable to pass my 5m swim test at 11 and from there had no more swim lessons.

Around 14 years of age I went swimming often with friends for a year building up to maybe 50m of continuous swimming.

I once swam around 3-400m by swimming out too far in the sea and had a real concern of drowning! The next 24 years I did not swim.


What led you to Total Immersion and/or Susan?

After doing much research online I came across Tim Ferriss’ blog on swimming with him being a non-swimmer and then Total Immersion.

From there I saw the list of TI swim coaches and was drawn to Susan due to her breadth of students and knowing I would be starting from a compete beginner.


How did you feel about coming to your first lesson?

I was nervous and a little scared as I was putting myself into an environment I was afraid of.

Being honest there was nowhere to hide how poor I was at this skill. Often I find you stay in your comfort zone and showing someone you have just met something your ashamed of added a different sense of anxiety.


How have lessons improved your swimming?

The first lesson was amazing getting me comfortable in the water and learning to stay calm and to know that you are safe in the water.

I have learned the full form of swimming and the many technical aspects involved with swimming. The lessons have taught me the theory of swimming with learning the skills as building blocks.

I have gone from not knowing how to swim to now focusing on performance goals! My current swim times put me in the top 25% of many races!


What do you like about the lessons and what’s a challenge?

The number one thing being, where I think I need to improve… isn’t! Susan will isolate an area or two that I need to focus on to become a more efficient swimmer.

The challenging part is putting in the hours to practice everything I have learned. I know I am barely scratching the surface of my potential.

My goals and aspirations have far exceeded my initial goal of swimming 400m.


What is your proudest swimming related achievement?

There have been many internal achievements but it’s when someone asks me for advice! Me ?! When I only had my first lesson September 2020!


Are you training for anything at the moment?

My current goals are to improve my technique further to swim faster. My distance goal is to swim 2km by October 2023


What are your future aspirations and dream goals?

I’d like to get my swim times to a competitive level in triathlon and keep bringing my times down over 1500 and 1900m

The positive outcome of 2 technique focal points following a lesson.

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