From “Almost Non Swimmer” to 1500m Triathlon swim in 6 Months!

Grant Baker tells his personal story of how swimming lessons changed his life.

I had done a lot of running but had got a little bored with the longer runs and wanted a new challenge and also I had turned 50 – I decided I wanted to do a triathlon but as I was already a good distance runner and not bad on the bike I wanted to do something with a decent distance – the only thing holding me back was the swimming which I have always been very poor at – my boss hearing I wanted to do this suggested Total Immersion as this was something he had looked at.

I booked 6 initial lessons with Claire Sutton in New Year 2019 – I had an initial 6 lessons in the Endless pool at Swimfinity and then also downloaded a learning module via the expert academy on line. At first I struggled as apart from my sessions with Claire I had nowhere to practice. Public pools are busy and vary in depth so there is no way of stopping whilst practicing and re-starting during a length which is all part of the TI learning approach – then I discovered a 20m single depth quiet pool so I joined there and could practice – I practiced on my own 3-4 times a week for up to an hour – with occasional follow up sessions with Claire to check I was following the correct path

Prior to January 2019 – I was almost a non swimmer – I could about manage a 25m length but this would be at pretty much maximal effort and I would end the length exhausted and need to cling on to the edge to recover I had tried a few private lessons in A local Pool to try to help with my breathing as I couldn’t understand why I struggled so much for such a little distance seeing as I could run for hours – but these were little help – after about 2 months of practising the drills and the follow up lessons with Claire I finally reached the stage where I could put it all together – that first day I swam 25 lengths non-stop and only finished because I was a little fazed and didn’t really know what to do – I wasn’t even out of breath and could have swam on but I had no plan as to what to do – I remember saying to myself “f*£k me I can swim!” –(Claire remembers receiving a phone call that day to share in the achievement) Since then I have continued to practice day in day out and was swimming 3-4 times a week before lockdown – I have continued to improve with following the drills and occasional videos form Claire and youtube – I also started to swim outdoor and will happily for swim for the full 2 hour session non-stop – I am planning to do the Coniston water swim this year if it goes ahead which is 5.2miles but with TI I am now able to pretty much swim indefinitely with almost no fatigue and am easily the quickest and strongest swimmer in nearly all environments I swim in – in short TI has changed my life – I love swimming now and it has opened up a whole new variety of exercise for me so that not everything is about running anymore – I look around now at people I swim with and cannot believe how hard most of them are fighting and how hard they are working when it is so unnecessary – I cant believe the TI technique is not more widely practiced because if I can get it surely almost anyone can.

A huge thanks to Grant for sharing his story and well done with your Coniston swim, totally awesome.