Hi, my name is Christophe Keller. I created this website in 2010 to share my passion for swimming.
Before 2003 I seldom swam and only knew the breaststroke. But then a series of circumstances brought me back to the sport of swimming.
I started to swim regularly and improved to the point of being able to swim all four competitive swimming strokes. Afterward, I even participated in triathlons.
With the right instruction, I think this can be achieved by everyone. So I started this website to help other people learn to swim, and to have fun in the process.
You can read more about my swimming journey and the creation of this website below…
In elementary school, we had compulsory swimming lessons. Every two weeks, a bus drove us to a swimming facility in a nearby town.
The instructor was old school and taught us to swim the hard way (which means there were many “sink or swim” moments).
My swimming abilities at the time were average. Nevertheless, I always liked to be in the water.
When I graduated from elementary school, I was able to swim a few lengths of breaststroke, yet the other swimming strokes still eluded me.
I rarely swam after leaving elementary school. On those occasions where I did, it was mostly with friends, and we often preferred to play and have fun rather than swim.
Nevertheless, I always admired good swimmers and wanted to be able to swim like them.
The Baywatch show was popular during my teenage years, and I was quite drawn to the idea of being a lifeguard.
Spending my days at the beach, saving people in distress and being surrounded by beautiful women sounded like a dream job to me :-).
Alas, I still couldn’t swim front crawl, and so I had to keep dreaming.
Swimming Lessons as a Young Adult
In 2000, a local newspaper published an advertisement for swimming lessons intended for adults who already possessed basic swimming skills.
The lessons lasted ten weeks, with a schedule of one lesson per week. I enjoyed swimming again and improved a bit.
Yet when the swimming lessons ended, I still couldn’t swim a whole length of front crawl without struggling and swallowing water.
I wasn’t meant to be a good swimmer, or so it I thought.
Summer of 2003
In the summer of 2003, Europe experienced a heat wave, and Belgium, the country where I live, was also affected. Since I was on vacation at the time, I went swimming most days to escape the heat.
After a while, I began to practice the swimming exercises I had learned in the year 2000 when I took the swimming course mentioned above.
Finally, after three weeks of training, I was able to swim one length of front crawl without too much difficulty.
This success was sufficient to keep me motivated and to try to improve further.
One day while browsing the Internet, I stumbled across Terry Laughlin’s Total Immersion swimming method.
Total Immersion differs from most other swimming methods because it teaches swimming more like a martial art than a sport. That appealed to me because I did Taekwondo as a teenager.
Total Immersion makes you practice a series of specific exercises for each swimming stroke. Those exercises build on each other in a clever way so that you can learn each swimming stroke one step at a time.
Sometimes the exercises you are doing seem completely unrelated to the swimming stroke you want to learn, but in reality, you are acquiring important basic skills for the stroke.
Total Immersion also puts a lot of emphasis on relaxation and relying on sensory feedback for training clues, so that at times it can feel like you are meditating in the water, which is very pleasant.
Total Immersion was a turning point in my swimming journey as it allowed me to relax and feel in harmony with the water, working with it rather than against it.
My motivation went through the roof, and at times I swam five times a week simply because it felt so good being in the water.
Amateur athletes like to talk about how much they train and what competitions they have participated in.
That’s why it was always easy for me to get in touch with other sports enthusiasts at my various workplaces.
With the increasing popularity of triathlon, it happened several times that colleagues came up with the idea of participating in a team triathlon.
Since runners and cyclists are usually easy to find, but swimmers seem to be a rarer species, I was usually chosen to do the swimming leg (most often between 500m and 700m) of those triathlons.
The preparation for these competitions usually consisted of swimming in open water for a few weeks before each competition. This allowed me to successfully complete my swim every time, usually arriving in the middle of the pack, exhausted but also happy.
The most important lesson I have learned over the years is that swimming well requires a lot of attention to details. To improve you need to swim smarter rather than harder.
This often means the mindful practice of specific drills to correct one’s technique rather than just doing laps.
Besides, swimming smarter is a lot more enjoyable than swimming harder. And you need to enjoy yourself to keep swimming for hopefully many years.
So the purpose of this website is to teach you what I’ve learned since I started to swim again.
Most of the articles on this website were written by me, and in addition, there are also a few articles written by guest authors.
I’m also the person demonstrating most swimming drills, as you can see here for example. Most of those videos were shot in 2010-2011, with my young nephew behind the camera.
The videos may look a bit dated and shaky by today’s standards, but, if you want to learn to swim, they are still as relevant today as they did back then. I hope to redo them at some point with modern equipment when I get the time.
In closing, I hope you will have as much fun reading my articles and putting them into practice as I had writing those articles.
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