Paul Newsome enables us to swim faster and with less effort. Yes, it really does work. He has applied scientific method to the dynamics and mechanics of swimming, and this book shows us how to apply these techniques to improve our efficiency in moving through the water. I will never be a Tri-athlete because my knees and ankles will crumble away, but I can swim much further than I can run, and I noticed an immediate improvement in my swimming efficiency in the first session after a careful cover-to-cover read of the book.
The book is broken down into relevant sections: 1. Getting Started, three chapters show how to use the book and what to expect from it; 2. Technique, twenty-three chapters and half the book on the details of the stroke and how they apply to the different `Swim Types' we all tend to slot into; 3. Training, nine chapters explaining why and how we should train to prevent injury and maximise efficiency; 4. Open Water, seven chapters on why it is so different from a pool and why we should be thinking about the skills even if we don't swim triathlons; 5. Three Appendices, sixty pages full of further details on stroke, correction of bad habits, drills, and example training sessions
All the chapters are well illustrated with photos and diagrams and clearly explained without too much repetition. Despite being a late learner of swimming, shamed into it when SWMBO and Hon No2 Daughter decided to take it up, and now solidly grooved into my bad habits, I found it was a fascinating read; the scales fell from my eyes.
I found the sections on Swim Types a revelation (almost a decade of using the methods of Total Immersion had made me a classic 'Overglider'), and the fit with the details describing my typical profile was uncanny. I had over-analysed my technique, worked on reducing drag to such an extent that I was no longer putting enough effective power into the propulsion; a few years ago I hit a plateau at just under 20 minutes for a kilometre, and advancing age had begun to slow me down again, such that sometimes a kilometre was taking closer to 25 minutes. By the end of my first session after some careful self-analysis of my stroke, especially the catch and hand positioning, I was back under the 20 minute mark. Yes, there were more strokes per length, and at a higher cadence, but to my surprise I was also less tired and my pulse was slightly lower than usual!
Two more 3km swim sessions later the improvements are significant and stable, and now I am much happier with sustaining bilateral breathing than before. All I need now is someone else who has also read the book to look at my stroke and apply the essential fine-tuning necessary to correct what I am still doing wrong but cannot see for myself.
I am an engineer, and cannot resist applying scientific and engineering principles to most activities in life as well as the usual amounts of common sense. So I can appreciate how well Paul Newsome has applied his degree in Sports Science and I admire all the years of hard work he has dedicated to researching how we move in the water.