Ironman Athlete and Physical Therapist
As a long-time and (not gracefully) aging endurance athlete, I am acutely aware of the encroaching limit of my metabolic capacity, so I’m constantly on the hunt for ways to be faster and more efficient in my pursuits. As a physical therapist, I value the fluid motion of an expert in any movement-related task.
With these in mind, I began Shane Eversfield’s eight-week Swim Mastery program to begin the journey of becoming the best free-style swimmer my 43-year old, 5’8″ self could become. I have been swimming for many years, so I anticipated some challenges as I “re-wired” my neuromuscular system to move in a different way.
I’m happy to say that with Shane’s patient guidance, sensation-focused instruction, and progressive cue-layering technique, I have climbed out of the “unhappy valley of relearning” and am on my way to making both my workout time and swim technique more efficient. A quick video analysis confirmed that I have improved several key aspects of freestyle technique over the course of the series. This has lead to a greater enjoyment of the swim, slightly improved speed, and has made me hungry to test my skills in the next triathlon season.
– Brian Lee, Director of Physical Therapy, Island Health and Fitness
Women Swimmin’ Veteran
“For the past decade I’ve been a swimmin’ woman. Each August I join 300+ women who swim across Cayuga Lake in a benefit for the organization, Hospicare. I’ve always relied on a self-taught breast stroke (the only one I knew) to get me across the 1.2 miles of Cayuga Lake for the Women Swimmin’ event. My stroke has never been elegant nor efficient. Determined to learn a better technique, I signed up for Shane Eversfield’s Total Immersion beginner swim class [Swim Mastery Level 1] this winter and re-enlisted for his beginner II class [Swim Mastery Level 2] in the spring. Although I’m still a beginner, Shane has transformed my approach to swimming.
Taking a swim class with Shane is like taking a yoga class. He concentrates on mindfulness, sensation, muscle learning (or relearning). A significant portion of each class is devoted to dry land exercises in order to imprint the techniques. As I practice on my own, Shane’s mantras—patient lead arm, hands slipping through a sleeve, etc.–are vivid metaphors that are now imprinted in my brain.”
Shane is endlessly patient and always encouraging. He uses a variety of tools to help students, incorporating fins, tempo trainers, and video recordings in his classes. The videos are particularly helpful since he records each student doing laps, offers individualized commentary on the clip, and sends the video links to the students to study. Although the videos reveal that I’ve not achieved elegance nor efficiency in my strokes, I watch the clips and become more mindful of the areas that I’d like to master.
I’ve learned enough Total Immersion Swimming from Shane to know that the crawl is relaxing, that it’s meditative, that it’s all about balance, using my core in a way that’s very similar to the thrust of cross-country skiing. Rather than relying solely on my homemade brand of breast stroking, I plan on incorporating TI techniques “to crawl” across the lake this summer for Hospicare. I’m still learning but I’m grateful to Shane for starting me off on this lifelong quest to become a Total Immersion swimmer. – Janet
As a middle aged woman, who has never been an athlete and is new to endurance sports, Shane Eversfield has been the perfect coach. Shane teaches his students how to couple mindfulness practice with movement efficiency. As a result of his methods, skills, and patience, I completed my first-ever (sprint) triathlon last year.
As a psychotherapist for the past 20 years, I have learned the importance and value of mindfulness practice, to bring a steady and calm center into my client’s lives. Taking Shane Eversfield’s Total Immersion Swimming Classes has helped me to incorporate mindfulness practice into my athletic training. Using this approach, I am now a confident and capable athlete.
– Diane, Psychotherapist in private practice for 20 years
Thank you for your time on Monday. It was immensely helpful – you probably hear this all the time – but I have never had an instructor tell me so perfectly “why” instead of “what” I’m supposed to do. I am looking forward to practicing my swimming and if I am fortunate to be able to come to Cornell for an event this fall, I’ll be in touch.
– Tara (Computer Engineer for Intel)
I should be working but I have been watching Youtube videos of TI swimming for the last hour. You, Terry and the Japanese guy [Shinji] have the best form of all of the TI coaches. You are really smooth and really stretch it way out there. Tomorrow morning I am going to focus on trying to really stretch out like you do. It is a joy to watch you swim.
Speed is not my goal. My goal is to attempt to be as graceful as you are gliding through the water.
You really know your stuff. – Bruce
Parent of Aspiring Young Athlete
“Thank you so much for your time, knowledge and spirit. You went above and beyond anything we could have reasonably expected. Emma was straight into your book the moment we got into the car. I know that you have served to fuel her long term goals even more. The main thing you have done though is help to show her how to be able to do what she loves without hurting herself.
“I don’t mind what she does as long as she enjoys what she is doing and I know that if she continues to learn and develop a higher level understanding of the approach you advocate she will be able to do anything she sets her mind to.
“We feel blessed to have had time with you and recognise the benefits it will bring for us both. Once again thank you.” – David (Emma is his (then 12-year-old) daughter … and a year later: “Just thought I would pass on a very nice picture of my daughter Emma who you kindly helped with her swimming. She won the Ontario Triathlon Youth Cup Series this year. We are raising her to be modest and humble, so in her stead I do the bragging as her proud Dad!” – David
I wanted to thank you for all of your patient help. Although it’s clear I have a ways to go, I feel very pleased about my progress and plan to continue swimming on a weekly basis because I met my goal of enjoying swimming for the first time. I think the videos were a marvelous idea. – Jacki
Wow — thanks for all of this wonderful information and the very helpful videos The weekend was amazing, thanks in no small part to you and your very effective holistic approach to teaching. I really enjoyed it! – Uli
It was a truly enriching experience to work with you and I’m grateful for everything I was able to learn on that weekend. You are an inspiring teacher with a sharp sense of observation and I’ve used some of the experience from the weekend not only to improve my swimming but also to reflect on how I learn and how I practice music… As you know, learning an instrument is training the nervous system just as well. It requires a certain trust that the growing happens. Too much interference from the mind and the process is stifled. – Cyrus, professional pianist and piano teacher, Manhattan
Total Immersion is a revelation. In just one weekend, master instructor Shane Eversfield transformed this timid lap lane swimmer into a gliding, confident athlete. I never knew swimming could be this satisfying, and I now possess water skills that will bring a lifetime of pleasure, whether I race or just continue swimming for exercise. – Lisa
I have chosen to do your class because of your philosophy and background. Already with just two classes i feel a lovely calmness that is a most welcome addition. Thank you. And a deep bow to your practice. – Suzanne, Psychotherapist (in her 70’s)
This set of classes really helped me a lot. Many things “clicked” and I really feel like I am getting the Total Immersion technique. You have been great as a teacher/instructor. You don’t get to hear all the compliments from the woman’s locker room. You have a fan club of swimmers. We are very fortunate to have you here in Ithaca at Island Health. – V
Thank you so much for your excellent instruction. Your keen observations were really helpful such as pointing out the pause in my stoke at the hip. I am always fascinated with the process of imprinting a new style. Somehow a lot of parts came together last night. – Barbara
Thanks again for a great class, a new take on swimming, and good notes on mindful movement in general. – Ann
I have really enjoyed your class. You are an excellent teacher and have re-inspired me to swim again. I am looking forward to continuing in January! Travel safely. Diane (Physical Therapist)
I am SO grateful to have taken the plunge and signed up for your class. I enjoyed every minute and very much look forward to the next opportunity to add to my skills. Some things that were especially useful in the learning process include:
- The first night of introductions. It was really nice to learn people’s backgrounds and to have the lecture with facts etc. It helped me be much less nervous about swimming with my classmates.
- I appreciate you taking the time to learn all of our names and to use them. That makes it feel much more personal and comfortable.
- I enjoyed that you started each week still on dry land and moving through things. I really struggle with coordination and can quickly slip into improper practice thinking I’m correct. Each time you did this with us you helped cement things into muscle memory as you say “before we’re face down in the water”.
– Amy (read more about Amy’s TI journey on her blog, skirtrunner.com)
It was just fun – if it was this enjoyable for me (someone who is truly petrified of swimming and really can’t stand it) imagine how much an average person who isn’t pool adverse feels! – Amy
I really so enjoyed our time together. It was great to get feedback and new insight, and I look forward to viewing the various materials you’ve sent and working to integrate the many observations and interpretations they support.
Much work ahead! I’ll keep “sharpening the axe”.
I just wanted you to know that I am still referring to your detailed notes and dvd’s following my full day session in Ithaca last November. Since then, I have spent a LOT of time on “open the gate” drills, and actually made up a couple of my own that I warm up and cool down with.
As I mentioned to you at our meeting, my triathlon coach is not a huge fan of the TI method of swimming (secretly, I don’t think she fully understands all the drills, etc.). I have signed on with her once again as a coach, and began her swim-bike-run workouts about two weeks ago. Following a base swim workout with times being recorded for repeats of 50’s and 100’s, she actually said that my time spent with you and working on technique has paid off handsomely.
Guess we’re never too old to learn. – Chris
The swim clinic was really great! Always interesting to hear new theories and try out different techniques. All of the women were really engaged and the time flew by. I think it was a smashing success! – Lisa, SheJams Tri Club
Swimming like this changes things [out of the] water too. My breathing overall has slowed down, I’ve relaxed and I can only imagine that good things are yet to come.
I completed my first Ironman triathlon this weekend in Louisville, KY.
I owe you a big thank you for helping me get here!
I signed up for this awhile ago, but had been keeping this under wraps
while training in case things went awry. Fortunately, the fates
aligned and I was off the dock at 7:34am on Sunday morning.
One of the key areas I had been worried about was the swim, and thanks
to your expert coaching, I got out of the water feeling refreshed, and
ready for the day. Thank you!
I’ve told a lot of people about your classes, and I can now say from
experience that by following the techniques you taught me, I was able
to have a comfortable and controlled swim. I wasn’t nervous or
jittery at the start, and I wasn’t fatigued for the remainder of the
day – just like you said in class! – Brad
Thank you for the weekend of invaluable instruction that feels like it could be life changing. You are a truly wonderful and gifted teacher! Your enthusiasm and dedication are infectious and your mastery of the subject profound.
I went to my local Y tonight to do my Tuesday night 1 mile workout — the same freestyle workout I’ve been doing for the past 25 years, give or take a year or so. Tonight was a totally new experience! Whereas, in the past my 1-mile-push-through-and slog-it-out swims have often felt like a struggle, tonight was effortless. I felt like I could (and would like to) swim for hours and hours. My swim tonight felt like art, like a dance or meditation — a truly spiritual experience that I could enjoy and dedicate myself to for the remainder of my life. So I’m not exaggerating when I say your instruction could be life changing. Be well, and, again, I’m very grateful for what you do so thoughtfully and well. I look forward to reading your book. – Mark
Thank you Shane!! And thanks for sharing all your gifts so openly and freely – you are a true asset to the organization and an amazingly inspired individual. Look forward to future teachings and spiritual moments. – Erin (TI Coach)
Thanks Shane for a great time last week. You know what you’re talking about.
– Louis (TI Coach)
I thoroughly enjoyed Levels 1 and 2, and want to thank you for the wonderful instruction and experience! Over the 16-week period, I’ve remade my swim stroke, and actually ENJOY getting in the water to practice. Before, I dreaded swimming for the thrashing I knew I’d be in for, and now I get a good workout AND a sense of inner calm after swimming. Thank you!
– Scott (read more about Scott’s TI journey at scottpdawson.com)