Synopses & Reviews
In Swim Speed Secrets
, 4-time Olympian, gold medalist, and triathlon world champion Sheila Taormina reveals the swim technique used by the world's fastest swimmers.
Over the course of 4 Olympic Games and throughout her career as a world champion triathlete, Taormina refined her exceptional technique as a student of the sport, studying the world's best swimmers using underwater photographs and video analysis. From Johnny Weissmuller to Michael Phelps, the world's fastest swimmers share two common elements: high stroke rate and a high-elbow underwater pull.
Many swimmers and triathletes neglect the pull, distracted by stroke count or perfecting less critical details like body position, streamlining, and roll. Swim Speed Secrets focuses on producing power--the most crucial element of swimming--to help triathletes and swimmers overhaul their swim stroke and find the speed that's been eluding them.
With a commonsense approach that comes from decades of practice and years of hands-on coaching experience, Taormina shows swimmers how to transition to faster swimming. Swim Speed Secretsincludes:
- The best drills to cultivate a more sensitive feel for the water
- Dryland and strength building exercises to develop arm position and upper body musculature
- Crisp photos of Olympic swimmers and variations in their high-elbow underwater pull
- Clear descriptions of the key moments of the underwater pull
- Tips that helped her perform at a world-class level for two decades
Sheila Taormina's Swim Speed Secrets, brings the focus back where it belongs--to a powerful underwater stroke. With this book, triathletes and swimmers can stop swimming for survival and break through to new levels of speed and confidence in the water.
"The concept of 'holding' water and generating propulsion is fundamental to swimming performance, and Sheila's book clearly unlocks the secrets of this through words and vivid underwater photos. It is what every top swimmer trains and searches for each day at practice, and it is what allowed me to win Olympic medals as a teenager and into my 40s." — Dara Torres, 12-time Olympic medalist
"In her book, Sheila Taormina gives a great understanding of the art of high performance swimming. With her help, you can stop swimming for survival and start swimming like a pro." — Laura Bennett, 2010 ITU #1-ranked swimmer, four-time ITU World Triathlon Championship medalist, Olympian, and two-time U.S. triathlon champion
"A ripper! Great to get a no-b.s. perspective on swimming from a champion." — Chris McCormack, 2-time Ironman® World Champion
“Taormina’s Swim Speed Secrets is a compendium and reference, a tool box no triathlon swimmer can afford to ignore… Taormina has seen thousands of open-water and competitive swimmers of all levels...The insights and lessons provided in Swim Speed Secrets are the distillation of those decades of experience, thousands of hours of coaching and training and thousands of competitions in only 174 pages…This book is a more effective training aid than paddles, a kickboard and even a swimming pool. Swim Speed Secrets is your most important swim tool.” — TriSports
"Sheila's book Swim Speed Secrets is the best swim manual—PERIOD!" — Ashley Whitney, Olympic Gold Medalist
"Sheila Taormina may be the greatest athlete in the modern Olympic era. She's the only person I know who has made four Olympic teams in three different sports." — Jim Richardson, Head Coach of the University of Michigan women’s swim team
"Sheila T. is just 5' 2" but she swims like she is 6' 2". We still use her as a model for our swimmers today on how to swim the strokes." — Jack Bauerle, Team USA Olympic Swim Coach and Head Coach of the University of Georgia swim team
In Swim Speed Secrets, 4-time Olympian, gold medalist, and triathlon world champion Sheila Taormina reveals the swimming technique used by her peers, the world's fastest swimmers. Taormina describes propulsion, feel and the critical components of the freestyle swim stroke. Appropriate for beginners through national level swimmers and triathletes, this book is an indispensible tool, filled with color photos, highlighting the freestyle technique used by the best swimmers in the world.
About the Author
Sheila Taormina has competed in four Olympic games and is the only woman in the world to have competed in three different sports on the Olympic stage—swimming, triathlon, and modern pentathlon. At just 5’ 2” tall, Taormina refined her exceptional freestyle swim technique to win a gold medal in the 1996 Olympics and the 2004 ITU triathlon world championship. Taormina has coached elite and age-group swimmers and triathletes for 15 years, helping them to develop the same strong underwater pull that propelled her to athletic success in her racing career. Taormina conducts dozens of swim clinics around the world each year. For more information, please visit sheilat.com.
Table of Contents
1. The Pareto Principle: Applying the 80/20 Rule in the Pool
2. The Big Picture: Understanding the Swimming Equation
3. The Vital Element: A Case to Prove It
4. Fluid Dynamics and Theories of Propulsion: The Challenges and the Beauty
5. The Underwater Pull: Vital Elements of the Vital Element
6. Developing the Underwater Pull: Exercises to Improve Strength, Flexibility, and Feel
7. The Swimming Equation Applied: Stroke Counts and Rates of Top Swimmers
8. Piecing It All Together: Conclusions and "Calling the Suit"
Appendix A: One Last Toast, 1924-2008
Appendix B: For Beginners: Understanding Swimming Lingo and Workout Design
Appendix C: Ask an Olympian