Total Immersion Swimming Drills

Total Immersion techniques can be used by swimmers of all ages.
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Total Immersion is a training methodology used to teach swimmers how to improve their performance by learning how to move through the water efficiently. The method utilizes a variety of drills to help the swimmer develop a better feel for moving through water as well as improve balance and body position. Total Immersion was developed by Terry Laughlin, a U.S. swimming coach and winner of five U.S. Masters National Open Water Championships.

Back Balance

Balancing on your back in the water teaches you to trust that your body is naturally buoyant in the water. Start by rolling on to your back with your arms straight and along your sides. The water should be level with the sides of your goggles so you will be able to easily breath through your mouth and nose. Use a gentle flutter kick to help keep your body balanced in the water. Focus on relaxed breathing and use the flutter kick to slowly propel you across one length of the pool.

Sweet Spot

The sweet spot drill teaches you how to find your body's natural balance point when swimming on your side. During the front stroke, or crawl, you rotate your torso to the left or right so your face can clear the water to take a breath. Start the drill by floating on your back and while keeping your arms at your sides, rotate so the left side of your body, from your shoulder to your hand, is out of the water. Your mouth and nose should also be out of the water so you can continue breathing. Imagine leaning on your underwater shoulder to keep your hips and feet light in the water. Gently kick to move down the length of the pool. Repeat the drill for your right side.


The fish drill is designed to improve your head-neck-spine alignment and to give you a feel for how your head should be positioned while swimming. Start in the same position as the sweet spot drill and rotate your head so your face is underwater and your nose is pointing at the bottom of the pool. Although your shoulders will rotate slightly, do your best to stay sideways in the same body position as the sweet spot drill. Keep your arms at your sides and exhale through your nose as you rotate your head back to the starting position. Inhale and repeat the head rotation until your nose is pointed at the bottom of the pool. Work each side as you move down the length of the pool.

Skating Position

The objective of the skating position drill is to develop the feel for lengthening your body in the water by creating a long line from the tips of your fingers through your spine to the tips of your toes. Begin in the same starting position as the sweet spot drill. Extend your underwater arm so that it that it forms a straight line with the rest of your body. Your hand should be just an inch below the water's surface. Keep your underwater ear next to your shoulder. Roll your head up to break the water's surface to breathe. Gently kick the length of the pool and then repeat for the other side.

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