Advanced Total Immersion Seminar in SF with Dave Cameron

Yesterday I took an Advanced Total Immersion Seminar in SF with Dave Cameron, a coach who teaches at Minnesota Tri Masters and is known as Distance Dave and has swam the English Channel among other things.
This is a relatively new seminar as most of the ones I’ve seen prior, including the one I took way back in 2003, were more basic. They go through the basic drills of TI which is about all you can do in a few hours, or now over two days. If you’ve never encountered TI drills before, you can only pretty much get to some basic level of mastery of the drills in a few hours.
I am glad to see that they are finally creating seminars which go beyond the basic drills and help us figure out what to do next after we get proficient in the drills.
The session consisted of one hour of swimming, then an hour of video examination, then another hour of swimming. First we were videotaped at the beginning, which we examined during the hour of instruction. In the first hour of swimming, Dave ran us through a whole bunch of new drills, and each time we swam we would have a different focus. This was important, as even though we were swimming freestyle each length, we would have a different aspect of the stroke to focus on and make sure we were doing exactly right.
Some of the focal points we practiced were:
1. Swing the arm on recovery using internal shoulder rotation, don’t jack it up and over. (This was very interesting as it helps prevent shoulder problems by not putting your shoulder in a disadvantaged position during each stroke).
2. Kick in the shadow of your body.
3. Shoot arm forward to the outside, not crossing over.
4. As you extend, feel the stretch diagonally across your body, from your finger tip down your arm, across your chest to the opposite hip.
5. Extend forward arm as much as possible forward.
6. Use hip turn to drive arm forward.
7. As recovery arm comes up, wait, wait, wait (feel the glide), until the last moment to shoot arm forward.
8. Let the catching hand perform catch naturally in front, as recovery arm comes up and then shoots forward into the water.
9. Keep back arm in water (not swiping back the stroke) and then snap arm forward out of water into recovery.
Other things:
1. Don’t be stacked at 90 degrees to water; be angled somewhat, like 60 degrees.
2. To practice the inner shoulder rotation recovery, feel as though you are scraping your bicep across the water. Swing the arm around and don’t lift shoulder.
3. Forward arm needs to be deeper, not so shallow.
4. Avoid DDE (Dreaded Dropped Elbow) upon stroke back.
5. Potentially the kick can be corrected by fixing the track on which we stroke.
6. Somehow today I was able to kick a whole 25 yards in side skate position! I’ve never been able to do that before.
We also worked a bit with the tempo trainer. First we found our nice, comfortable tempo. Then we swam this and they videotaped us. Then we dropped .3 seconds in tempo to simulate a sprint and got videotaped this way too.
After this, Dave will send us all flash drives with our videos along with commentary on each video. I love this part: technology certainly enables great teaching and delivery of materials we can study. I can’t wait to get to the pool and practice, and also looking forward to seeing what Total Immersion comes up with next.

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