By now you’ve probably heard the sad news of the passing of Terry Laughlin, the founding father of Total Immersion Swimming. TI, as many refer to it as, was/is a revolutionary way of learning to swim and becoming efficient by not fighting the water. It has become incredibly popular among triathletes, Master swimmers, and adults yearning to learn to swim. Today, there are more than 350 certified TI swim instructors in 30 countries.

Tim Ferris, arguably the world’s most famous podcaster, didn’t learn to swim until he was in his 30’s. It took an enforced New Years Resolution from a friend and the introduction of Terry’s philosophy to finally get him moving up and down the pool. Oddly enough, Chris Sacca was the person that introduced Tim to Total Immersion. If you are a Tim Ferris fan, you’ve probably heard him talk about Terry Laughlin and his journey in learning to swim. Here’s a clip of Tim’s TED Talk from a few years ago. 

Swimnerds alike might find some of the technical information to be rudimentary but it is important to keep in mind that 98% of American adults can’t swim 1/4 of a mile! The focus of TI is not to create world record breaking swimmers but instead to teach the basic principles of balance, drag, and propulsion. It never hurts to revisit the basics — how can you make your vessel sleeker? 

Days before Terry passed away, he recorded a podcast with Tim. It was just released a couple days ago. The intro is gut wrenching, as Tim dives into the love, respect, and gratitude he has for his friend. It’s a beautiful conversation from a man who dedicated his life to passing on the the gift of learning to swim. “It’s never too late,” Terry remarks, after meeting a 93 year old that taught himself to swim freestyle with TI.

Terry speaks on the mastery of a skill, embracing plateaus, and his cancer diagnosis. He also talks a bit about Bill Boomer and cites a couple of nuggets that influenced him and his work profoundly, specifically:

“The shape of the vessel is more important than the size of the engine.” – Bill Boomer

I hope you take the time to listen to this podcast and purposefully share it with at least one person that does not know how to swim. Challenge them to get in the pool — New Years is coming up. Plus, Total Immersion is offering Tim Ferris’ listeners a 7-day free trial to their online training course

Rest in peace, Terry Laughlin! Thank you for your passion in spreading the joy of swimming!