-bringing ideas to life







The Art of Swimming


Bryce Rome reports on Steven Shaw's presentation to AT Friends on October 23 at Swedenborg Hall.


An evening with Steven Shaw was attended by 30 AT Friends, including members of the public, pupils, students and teachers.  Held in the impressive Swedenborg Hall with its glass domed ceiling, painted bright blue it held a certain likeness to being in the depths of a Victorian bathing pool.


Stephen recalled his early love of the water and his competitive swimming career with long hours of end gaining practice which ultimately ended in tedium and injury.  At the age of 17 he decided it was time to leave, what for him had become a joyless and painful experience. He vowed never to return to the water but Alexander Technique entered his life and in a wish to explore more he trained to teach the Alexander Technique in Israel in 1990.  This led him to return to swimming and his realisation that he had to forget what he knew and to relearn how to swim. 


With a selection of beautiful slides and video images Steven  described his journey into the unknown and the application of Alexander principles into his evolving swimming instruction method.  He described how being immersed in water is a good way of getting feedback as to where you might be holding tension in your body.  We were guided through a series of dry  land preparatory swimming exercises  in breaststroke and crawl. These were very reminiscent of tai chi and yoga exercises and gave us a taste of Shaw Method in action.


Stephen also brought along copies of his books, DVDís and other tried and tested equipment for improving your use in the water.  I bought some goggles which I have since tried and have been amazed at how a clear, larger lens and frame gives you an enhanced peripheral vision. This has definitely given  a new and improved dimension to my swimming. I think most of us were inspired by an evening with Stephen. If anyone wants  to find out more then visit his website : www.artofswimming.com


© Bryce Rome January 2009



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