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Why Swimming is Different by Terry Laughlin - CrossFit Journal

Why Swimming is Different

By Terry Laughlin

In Classic, Sports Applications

March 01, 2005

PDF Article

The world’s best swimmers move through the water with grace, economy, and flow, while novices are awkward, clumsy, and inefficient. But the rest of us can learn to swim well if we take the time to master swimming as an art before tackling it as a sport.

How many land-based athletes have concluded that swimming requires some exotic or elusive kind of fitness after an experience like this: Joe, who can breeze through a 5-mile jog without breaking a sweat, decides to try a pool workout one day. Within a few minutes, he’s panting for breath and wondering, “How will I ever get in a decent workout if I can’t even make 100 yards without dying?” Experiences like that convince many adult athletes that swimming is only for those who swam competitively as kids and leave them suspecting that the time and effort required to master swimming may not even be worth it.

But mastering the “swim challenge” is decidedly worthwhile. Not only is it ideal as a restorative, general fitness workout for virtually any aging athlete; learning to swim well also gives you the option to try triathlons or Masters swimming. And I’ve yet to meet an otherwise well-rounded athlete who could not learn to swim well enough to stay fit or tackle a triathlon. All they have to do is discard everything other aerobic activities such as running have taught them, as soon as they enter the pool.

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6 Comments on “Why Swimming is Different”


wrote …

Well spoken article...I would love to see Crossfit break through to the "dryland arena" of swimming genre!!! I do WOD hybrid type stuff on the pool deck and incorporate swimming into the ..........aaahhhhh, what a pump!!!!


wrote …

I can't agree more with this article. I began swim workouts last summer and quickly noticed marked improvement in my abilities. There are so many ways to set up interval type swimming workouts. Swimming workouts are some of the hardest I have ever done, but the benefit to your overall fitness is huge. I had the advantage of training with a guy who had swam competitively throughout his youth, so my advice is find somebody who knows what they are doing to guide your early training.


wrote …

Swimming is a lot like CF in some ways. It provides an awesome "whole body" workout in a comparatively short time. It's scalable. And without first mastering the basics, it can be easy to give up on both. Give them time and dedicated practice however, and you will reap big rewards.


Me wrote …

That is one of my largest problems except backwards. Instead of having issues when I get into the water, I have issues when getting into the dryland workouts. I swam all through high school and as I hit the college scene and the college I go to does'nt have a swim team I struggle with trying to find dry land work outs that I feel like I get something out of. Instead of dying within the first half mile of a run...


wrote …

Several years ago, when I was 75, I thought seriously of doing triathalons: swimming would be a big part of that so, because I had not had any formal training in the discipline, I went on-line to see what I could find.
Of all the 'systems ' available, TI appeared to be the best and I started to follow the routines they promote.

I can say that my ability to function in the water at a reasonable level went from gasping at the end of 20 metres to doing 1000 metres in a respectable time, (for an 'older' person).
I highly recommend the TI system,( and,no, Terry is not paying me a cent !), it's just that his system works !!!

Peter T


wrote …

Terry remains the single source for assisting novice swimmers to gain technical proficiency in the water.
Articulate insightful and demanding he is the kind of coach I strive to be.

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