The 4 Biggest Myths about Learning to Swim

The 4 Biggest Myths about Learning to Swim

Learning to swim is a major bucket list activity, and for many people it stays on that list far too long because of basic misunderstandings about what it takes to swim. Recently, I met a woman in her 40s who was ashamed to admit that after months of group lessons, she still couldn’t swim more than a couple yards without total exhaustion. She described herself as “unteachable,” and figured that she just wasn’t a “water person.” As I worked with her, it was clear that she had as much swim capability as the…continue reading →

How Do I Swim Fast? Try Slowing down.

If you want to speed up in a car, just hit the gas. In swimming, though, it’s not always so clear how to increase our usual swimming speed. Should we speed up our stroke? Add more muscle to the pull? At the Olympic level, there is not much debate. If you want to swim fast (which means efficiently), you need to lengthen your stroke. One famous Russian coach, Gennadi Toureetski, cited the work of a zoologist, John Videler, to train his swimmers. Videler’s research, published as “Fish Swimming,” showed that every time stroke…continue reading →
Conquer Fear of Water and Manage Chronic Pain: Swimming and the Alexander Technique

Conquer Fear of Water and Manage Chronic Pain: Swimming and the Alexander Technique

The Alexander Technique is a set of skills that helps improve our performance with less stress and tension. It's a natural complement to swimming. By applying the AT to swimming, students have been able to overcome fear, stroke with greater efficiency, and breathe easily. That's why I am offering a special – you guessed it – Surf & Turf package that combines the two. The Alexander Technique helps to:  Improve the body's coordination, from as "simple" a movement as sitting, to swimming the front crawl.  Improve posture and natural muscle strength.  Dramatically increase…continue reading →

Where I Swam on My Summer Vacation

My summer never feels realized until I've crawled into the middle of a freshwater lake. This year, my family headed up to Canada to spend time on the shores of Lake Ontario. This is our second year going up to Sandbanks Provincial Park which has white sand, clear blue water, and uncrowded beaches. This video is from a swim I did on East Lake, which feeds into Lake Ontario and is about 7 feet deep (with patches of creepy crawly vegetation) for its 2.5 miles across. My hardy boat crew consisted of Vincent  and Valerie,…continue reading →
Time to Learn to Swim NYC!

Time to Learn to Swim NYC!

Last week, I described the right mindset for teaching children or yourself to swim. This post is about one of the most essential and overlooked skills in learning how to swim: effortless floating. There is no better time to learn to swim (or for that matter, teach people to swim) than the summer. Walking to the pool or beach in shorts and flip-flops sure beats encapsulating oneself in polar protective gear before trudging to the pool (I have clear memories of wearing snow boots home from the pool this winter as my towel…continue reading →
Teaching Children to Swim without Fear

Teaching Children to Swim without Fear

Many parents and adults recognize the value in learning to swim: for water safety, enjoyment, and fitness. But people often come away from swim lessons frustrated that they can't "get it," or worse, have been traumatized by an overly zealous teacher who dunked or let go of them in an unsafe way. All in the name of helping them "get over their fear." Well, I've never wanted to send the message (especially to a child) that they can't trust me, the teacher. Think about it: if you can't swim and you can't stand,…continue reading →
Outdoor Swimming Season Is Here!

Outdoor Swimming Season Is Here!

After nine months of crowded pools, returning to outdoor swimming in a lake or ocean is like liberating a lab rat. There's so much freedom without having to follow that black tiled line beneath you or worry whether the angry Masters swimmer is going to start slapping your foot at any second. So give yourself the time and the space to lengthen your stroke, and start to listen for a more natural rhythm that can emerge when you're not worried about people in front or behind you, or hitting a lane line. There's a…continue reading →
How an Average Swimmer Crossed the English Channel

How an Average Swimmer Crossed the English Channel

How this self-described “middle-aged, middle lane swimmer” went from barely being able to swim a couple laps to being the 280th woman to ever cross the English Channel Interesting side note: first recorded person to ever cross the English Channel was shipwrecked seamen floating on a bundle of straw. What athletic or adventurous feat do you dream of? Given that history pain in my hands, I'm not thinking of anything too crazy. But I would like to swim a mile in clear ocean water where I can't see the bottom. I'd like to…continue reading →
The Waves of Lake Ontario?

The Waves of Lake Ontario?

I spent the last week camping on the shores of Lake Ontario. Just a 2 ½ hour drive from Toronto, we camped on one of the largest freshwater sandbanks in the world. You had to wade out at least 60 yards to get over your head in the clear and surprisingly warm water. Sometimes the lake was still as a bathtub and other times wind roughed up the surface and created choppy waves. On one of my last days there, I spent time floating on my back with my feet towards the shore…continue reading →

Early Summer Swimming

Here’s some photos from a frigid but picturesque swim in the Catskills last weekend. My good friend built a cabin up near Prattsville, and his neighbors kindly let us swim in their shallow pond. A complex civilization of salamanders and frogs could be found (and caught by hand). The day was incomplete until my friend Ben was ejected from a rowboat.continue reading →