And now for something completely different...this demonstration of the Total Immersion school of swimming. This instructor mesmerizes me every time I stare at the video. I also employ the TI method of swimming, only I can assure you I look nothing like this man. Rather, think Great White meets Arthritic Orca. Either way, being "slippery" in the water truly is much easier than slamming the water and gasping for air at the end of every length. Since I began studying TI in books and on video, I've reduced my crawl strokes from 25 to 15, per 25 yards. Not bad for an old lady who is turning one year older. 
                                                    Everybody in the pool. It's open thread time. 



Laura Novak
11/19/2011 11:32

I'll start with this HuffPo story on the events at UC Davis:

How horribly disturbing. Davis is such a peaceful campus. And the statement by the president was disturbing as well.

mistah charley, ph.d.
11/19/2011 11:35

One thing I read a lot about yesterday on the web is the fall of Robert H. Schuller's televangelist empire, and the sale of his trademark building the Crystal Cathedral to the Catholics - it will soon be a real cathedral (the seat of a bishop), not just a "cathedral."

Basically, Schuller gave his children too easy a life, and treated his church as a family business. The handover to his son Robert A. Schuller was sabotaged by the son's jealous sisters and their grifter husbands, who made a complete mess of things once they had control.
Schuller's son's wife's blog discusses it in more detail in the most recent two posts - don't miss the comments, in which I share my own conclusions.

The Lord works in mysterious ways.

11/19/2011 11:52

Can't wait to watch the video. I've always hated swimming, and this may be the equivalent of barefoot running, of which I'm a devotee.

Mistah Charley-- My husband's grandparents were founding members of Schuller's church. It was such a CA religion: all happy and good. I had only known about it-- from my east coast life-- as the church Philip Johnson designed.

Flash forward to 2006, and I go to Crystal Cathedral with my new husband for an Easter service because he was nostalgic for it. OMG. The service was a cobbled together bit of everything wonderful from every religion. It totally freaked me (an Episcopalian) out because there was no tradition. The congregation then was shabby and old and a real contrast to the SHINY "campus" buildings, all designed by superstar architects. The gift shop was mindblowing.

I be betting the Catholics sprinkle a boatload of holy water when it's theirs.

And let the Mega Church preachers of now pay close attention.

mistah charley, ph.d.
11/19/2011 12:23

About the UC Davis pepper spray incident, the following is from Gaius Publius writing at AMERICAblog.


This is from an open letter to Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi (a name to remember) from Prof Nathan Brown, UC Davis:

When students covered their eyes with their clothing, police forced open their mouths and pepper-sprayed down their throats. Several of these students were hospitalized. Others are seriously injured. One of them, forty-five minutes after being pepper-sprayed down his throat, was still coughing up blood.
[end of quote from Brown's letter]

Torture. There's no other word for this behavior.

You can talk about one cop, or provocation (if they can find it), or cop behavior, but that's small-bore analysis.

This is the Bush–Obama torture regime come home. When a nation tortures, forgives torture, justifies torture, glories in torture — it corrupts itself from the core. This nation, my nation, is rotting from the core.

11/19/2011 12:29

I'm not sure what you mean by "slamming the water" as there should be none of that regardless of your swimming method. What I see as notably different is the head is riding about 3" lower in the water, causing the water to ride over the top rather than breaking at the front of the head and moving around the body. One would probably have to look at aerodynamic principles to determine the efficiency of that. Second, because the head does still need to break the surface to breathe from side to side, a dolphining action of the body is added to the total effect. I noticed also that the swimmer is kicking once per stroke, a long distance technique. It would be interesting to see how this method of TI works on sprints.

Did you see the letter from Rev. Rich Lang, the Methodist minister who was pepper sprayed by police this week in the Occupy Seattle demonstration? He says, "the emerging police state ... protects the property interests of the Marie Antoinette’s who have seized control of our government, commerce, media, military and increasingly the Church itself."

The full text of his "Pastoral Lament for My Country" is at

Rev. Lang says that "The Occupy Movement is the prophetic voice of God calling out to the nation to 'repent' and turn from its ways of corruption."

Another person pepper sprayed in Seattle was 84 year old, 4' 10" tall, veteran activist Dorli Rainey. Everyone should see her interview with Keith Olbermann.

mistah charley, ph.d.

11/19/2011 14:08
"I want to be very clear in calling upon the Egyptian authorities to refrain from any violence against peaceful protesters. The people of Egypt have rights that are universal. That includes the right to peaceful assembly and association, the right to free speech, and the ability to determine their own destiny. These are human rights. And the United States will stand up for them everywhere." —Barack Obama!/williambanzai7
...and (read from the bottom up) tweets from the smartest lawyer I know:
williambanzai7 williambanzai7
You'll find a used condom to be more useful than Eric Holder.
1 hour ago

williambanzai7 williambanzai7
And yes, you don't want to hold a demonstration there.
1 hour ago

williambanzai7 williambanzai7
Singaporeans have a name for that place: speakers cornered.
1 hour ago

williambanzai7 williambanzai7
It is right next to the downtown police station.
1 hour ago

williambanzai7 williambanzai7
If you want to protest anything, that is where the law require you to do it, with a permit...
1 hour ago

williambanzai7 williambanzai7
There is a place in Singapore known as Speakers Corner.
1 hour ago

williambanzai7 williambanzai7
You think you have a First Amendment right? Please explain how that works. I don't understand anymore.

Laura Novak
11/19/2011 14:38

WakeUp: I see swimmers all the time who slam the water so hard it makes waves. Of course it's a waste of energy and it's truly disruptive if you're in a lane next to them. In fact, one day, a guy next to me was splashing so hard, I inhaled drops of his splash and had to stop to cough. It's inefficient and I always wonder how they become such strong swimmers like that. And this guy's kick (on the video) I don't have down yet. But I did have someone tell me that I slice through the water with precision. I'm glad I found the TI method. It was recommended to me by a really good swimmer friend. And I waste much less energy and have a much better swim.

Laura Novak
11/19/2011 14:42

Thanks for all those links, nsfwn. The Davis video makes my stomach turn. And those sites are all over this story with great links and more footage.

For those who don't know: Cal refers to UC Berkeley and it is the flagship of the 10 campus UC system. And one might expect this level of intensity at Cal given the milieu around it and the history it holds. But Davis is such a peaceful campus. Quiet and full of bikes. let's keep our eyes on this.

And this is open thread so thanks for introducing other stories as well. Way to go Mistah Charley on your comment on the Schuller blog!!!

mistah charley, ph.d.
11/19/2011 15:11

Just a bit more about the catastrophic collapse of Hour of Power tv show and the Crystal Cathedral congregation - the faction who shoved Robert A. Schuller aside were in the process of disaffiliating it from the Reformed Church in America (formerly Dutch Reformed), and making it into a modern bible-believing evangelical church using the "praise-music" style of worship. As things continued to fall part, this spring all the choir members were asked to sign a pledge recognizing that sex is only for married people - specifically one man, and one woman, married to each other. There's a lot more to this "Covenant" but what it comes down to is "be quiet and obey" - full text is at

11/19/2011 15:47

Thanks, Mistah Charley, for your last comment and the links. I hope I didn't offend you with my comment about my visit to the Crystal Cathedal. I only meant to write that whatever was happening to the Church, by 2006 things felt very wrong there (to me). The disparity between the congregation and the obscene expansion and over-large gift shop was glaring. My husband found nothing of the dream his grandparents had had when they were friends of Robt Schuller's and founding members of the Garden Grove church. My husband also felt like his boyhood memory of what the church community had been wiped away by greed. It seems a dangerous religion when it all rests on one man or woman.

11/19/2011 15:55

@Laura, how does that man in the video breathe??! It's beautiful to watch-- and I envy you being able to swim like that.

11/19/2011 16:14

I didn't mean to infer that slamming the water doesn't occur, just that it shouldn't occur. Yes it does look to be a more efficient swim. Part of the reason may be that it is easier to feel "new" water by being a bit deeper in it. To move forward efficiently, the swimmer must be sliding the palm slightly from side to side to find better resistance to push against. The straight through pull is inefficient. As for the kick, what he is doing is kicking with the foot that is opposite the pulling arm. This helps the swimmer to keep balanced in the water and minimize roll. If you try using only your arms and let your legs drag in a relaxed manner, you will most likely start to do the alternating kick to keep your balance in the water. Likewise, the dolphing of the body should not be forced, but rather a natural flow of energy starting at one end and travelling to the other.

11/19/2011 16:26

Ok, I'm totally wrong on the kick. He isn't using the long distance technique. What he is doing is more like a one-legged dolphin kick. It might help you to understand if you find a slo-mo film of the butterfly stroke. What the TI swimmer is doing is really more like a one-arm/one-leg alternating butterfly than a traditional crawl. I would expect that this technique will revolutionize the stroke much like the dolphing action now used in the breaststroke. Way cool, and I can't wait to try it as I swam fly competitively and totally sucked at free. I still think the kick will come more naturally for you if you try to just relax and drag your body while stroking. You should start to feel the natural flow of the dolphining in your kick. Don't force it.

11/19/2011 16:31

My swimming goals are to use MORE energy -- to lose weight, of course. And to build the right muscles. TI is so foreign to me, and intriguing. I'd never heard of it. Thank you, Laura.

I do the old-lady breast-stroke: my head out of the water at all times, staring straight ahead, as if it mattered. A frog kick instead of any attempt at flutter, which I can't do strongly enough. I usually do 30 min. I enter the pool way too hot from 30 min on treadmill, so the coldness of the water is a pleasure, the first 15 minutes of swimming are okay but not great, the last 15 are sort of in an altered state, almost. I get new ideas I like in this state. The endolphins.

By the way, I looked up that quote and I had it wrong. It was NOT about jogging, it was about s e x. Carrie asks the starlet (Annette Bening, who is sooo interesting as that character) why she is so promiscuous. and Annette replies "I just do it for the endolphins." I hate to admit what it says about me that I forgot that little part.

11/19/2011 16:32

The chancellor has issued a statement referring to the incident as "chilling" and called for an investigation.That sounds promising. As a Californian, I feel very disturbed by what is happening at our campuses. AWhenthese incidents occur, I keep having flashbacks to Kent State. I feel it is only a matter of time before that horror is repeated.

11/19/2011 16:35

"...staring straight ahead, as if it mattered." ROFLMAO What a great description!

"Endolphins" Hahahaha, are those endorphins for dolphins? Cute. Must be why dolphins always looks so happy.

11/19/2011 16:40

Re Laura's identifying Cal, I want to add my own misperception for many years: I just assumed that U.C. Davis, being away from the SF Bay Area, was sort of a provincial cow college. Indeed it does have one of the hardest-to-get-into vet schools in the U.S., but it also is the only CA university that has an illustrious art community, respected even in the NYC art world, with such stars/teachers as Richard Diebenkorn and Wayne Thiebaud.

Laura Novak
11/19/2011 16:50

I should study TI for the breast stroke, but I am happy doing it the way I do it. And I am never out of breath. The whole idea is that a sailboat glides through the water much more efficiently than a barge. So the rolling side to side makes us more "slippery" through the water. Also, pushing the head down and letting the water glide over the top of the cap forces the right position all the way down. I will try that with the kick though. For now, I'm happy just to have eliminated all those energy sucking strokes!

Laura Novak
11/19/2011 16:52

And Mistah Charley, where is the Catholic Diocese getting the money to buy new property like that? I thought it was reducing its holdings to pay out the abuse settlements.

WakeUp, I was glad to see the chancellor address this, but convening another task force to report back in 90 days made me tired just reading it. Always in response to. By this time, do universities not have some policy on how to respond to any imminent threat? And I know what you mean about Kent State. That occurred to me as well.

11/19/2011 16:54

WakeUpAmerica -- Yes, I know I look pretty ridiculous when I swim. I remember my grandmother swimming: she put a scarf around her hair, tied at the top, and didn't get it wet. She was from the era before swim caps, at least not affordable ones. She's the one who visited Rasputin to get her fortune told.

My latest swim trick, to avoid sunburn of my scalp as I swim, is to do the Geo Washington hairdo upon getting into the water: You submerge; as you come up, keep your face down as if looking at the bottom of the water, so your hair falls straight from ears to nose; when the dripping slows down, fold it back onto the top of your head, keeping your forehead covered. I look pretty bad -- like Geo Washington, never a style icon for older ladies -- but I don't get my forehead and scalp burned anymore. A hat works too.

Laura Novak
11/19/2011 16:57

The other key thing to notice about this swimmer is what TI says to do, and that is you keep your arm out until the other one is outstretched, then you pull down that first arm. It forces you to be able to stay afloat at all times. And it's part of the drills before you get to use your arms. My tendency was to always have arms doing two different things. But having them both outstretched even for a few seconds makes a difference in body posture the entire way down.

11/19/2011 17:01

I swim at a Coast Guard base with rescue swimmers. They really enjoy chaotic water and often swim without the lanes. I think they do it to mimic swimming in the ocean. It is utter hell to try to backstroke with them, but a good breast stroke is a good workout without the ropes!

I do 30 minutes every day alternating breaststroke and then backstroke. I recently learned how to use the dolphin kick in the breaststroke. It was irritating at first, but now seems natural. And I now notice I am turning more side to side during the backstroke. At first that seemed oddly difficult and now is natural. Do you actually turn your head side to side when you swim freestyle? My head would fall off. I find I breathe every other stroke but only one side.

I too do it for weight loss, and have to admit that after a year I have only lost 16 pounds. But, I don’t diet. Only 4 more pounds to go! I am curious though — is the pool you swim in outdoors or indoors? I am beginning to tire of the pool chemicals.

11/19/2011 17:17

Lisa -- I'm thinking about chemicals, too. The place I swim has two outdoor pools, one is the usual chlorine-smelling kind, the other is with UV. I don't notice the difference, although I wonder if the chlorine is bad for my hair.

11/19/2011 17:35

Re Phillip Johnson designing the Schuller palace, does anyone know a good source for his style of glasses? I.M. Pei too. Iris Apfel too. The eye guys never have them. I usually buy my frames elsewhere, for way cheaper, than the ones available for $300 at the eye guy. I see some sources on the web, but I wonder if anyone knows more?

11/19/2011 17:47

90 days!!! WTF? Totally unacceptable. If they want the protestors to leave, just ignore them. There is no joy in protest without publicity. Idiots (police)!! BTW, I totally support OWS.

Laura Novak
11/19/2011 17:57

Yes, I swim outdoors year round. There is still chlorine in the pool. I try to scrub it off as best I can.

It's really hard when you have to share a lane with someone who's a splasher. Fortunately, I have gotten familiar with some of the swimmers who are there at the same time as me. So you get to know who is compatible for sharing a lane if it comes to that.

I've never thought of using a different kick for breast stroke. I'll check out the TI video online and see what they do.

As for eyeglasses, I have no idea. Mine are German and were $300 frames that were on sale for $67 including tax. So, I bought them. It's the darned lenses that cost so much! So I can't afford to change them now!!!

Gay Zundheidt
11/19/2011 19:42

Re: the Crystal Cathedral ... only when businesses which profit off Jesus' name cover the most spartan of operating budgets and donate the remainder of their income to making the world a better place ... only then are they <b>truly<b/> spreading the word of Jesus Christ.

Re: the current epidemic of pepper-spraying ...

<b>Say, Laura ?</b> Would you know if there's any way of 1) determining who's responsible for okaying the use of pepper-spray in these situations so that 2) victims can sue them PERSONALLY rather than suing some tax-payer funded law enforcement agency ?

Maybe there isn't ... all I know is that these days <b>the key to live is loopholes</b> amd it's gonna take some pretty radical, innovative strategies if we're ever going to reverse America's descent into total kleptocracy ...

That, and a whole lot of moxie.

11/19/2011 20:12

I do a lot of water exercises, deep water walking, and underwater treadmill for my Physical Therapy, it's the best form of exercise, because it allows free movement without the forces of gravity. I love my time in the water, more than the torture chamber my regular physical therapists make me do.

I found this film fascinating, and tried to look it up on wiki. Though the article needs more research, I find it intersting that it's compared to yoga and zen, as in "becoming one with the water", ironic that it meshes with your always insightful "Tao" posts!

Mr Charley, thanks for the links about the Chrystal Cathedral, it's always sad to see something like this happen because of the weakness of man (as in greed and money being the root of evil), but I find it astounding that the Catholic Church is expending so much money to acquire this Cathedral.

I live on the east coast, the Catholic High School I attended has been shuttered, and it seems every time I watch the news or read a newspaper, there's a story about closings and mergers of Parrishes and Schools due to "declining enrollment" (cough cough, choke choke). We also just had the archbishop resign/retire while a second phase of settlements for abuse cases is being settled in the courts.
It certainly tests everyone's faith, but it's man's trangressions, not God's.

11/19/2011 20:17

Ottoline: way to cut to the chase. It's all about the glasses. Check out LA Eyeworks. Some of theirs may be Philip Johnsonish. And if you find the style you like, you can also source the frames on ebay. My daughter who works in NYC fashion buys and sells her designer and couture clothes on ebay.

11/19/2011 20:27

The conduct of the police using pepperspray (and looking at the footage, the force and amount of spray seems more like a cannon than a cannister gun) is an affront to democracy. Keith's interview with that wonderful octogenarian brought me to tears.
Pepperspray is most harmful, and possibly deadly, when used against the young, elderly, and those with breathing conditions like allergies and asthma. Forcing it down people's throats is torture. Capsaiasin is an oil derived from peppers that can't be easily washed away, and it's effects last for hours and days.
This will galvanize ows and I hope the photos and videos identify the police who take the law into their hands and brings them to justice.
I fear this "police state" mentality will escalate, and as someone else posted, we don't need another Kent State.
The silence of our Government is inexcuseable.

11/19/2011 22:17

Thank you so much for sharing your experience with the TI technique. It looks wonderful. I used to be a lifeguard and I would experiment with strokes and kicks...I'd love to learn this.

11/19/2011 22:40

She's had it "up to here." More ABC-DEF than this post but...I like it.

11/19/2011 23:24

For a few months now, I've been watching every TI youtube video I can get my hands on. My favorite clips are the ones that compare the TI swimming in open water vs. conventional swimming. If I were rich, I'd get personal coaching from the guy who invented the technique (btw, he says there is nothing "easy" about it. Everything you see on the videos is the result of hard effort, he says.)

TI swimming is about elegance and efficiency. It's meant for long, open water swimming.

i've been tempted to purchase the TI dvds but I barely qualify as a swimmer and I don't know if I can teach myself just from watching. It's not like you can set your laptop at the edge of the pool. I tend to learn most things better from a real live teacher.

I have my own unique style of swimming, which I thought I'd come up with on my own. Turns out it's a legit, old folks stroke: Old English Backstroke.
(I learned about it from Swimming Without Stress Btw, I love this site as much as I love the TI videos.)

I swim about 25-50 yards per workout, 2-3 times a week alternating between Old English Backstroke, Side Stroke and using a kickboard. I'm sure lifeguards think I'm a weirdo. My pool is populated by splashers and thrashers, people who seem intent on literally boxing with the water. I try to go during the last hour of the day and oftentimes am rewarded with a lane to myself for at least part of the workout.

TI is a fascinating topic but I'm wondering why write about everything and anything except what's happening in your own backyard of Oakland. Occupy Oakland shut down the port of Oakland on Nov. 2 and nary a peep from this blog.

Likewise the other recent goings on there. Mayor slips up and admits to being part of multi-city effort to crack down on Occupy. Silence.

Now Oakland is at the West Coast epicenter of the movement and is calling for a Nov. 12 West Coast strike. Still, no comment, insight or reporting on the topic here. Oh but the mileage that we got out of Palin's faux baby bump! Now, if only we could get Palin to fake a birth in Oakland, then perhaps we'd get more coverage on the Occupy Movement there.

11/20/2011 05:15

i'm also uber-interested in finding out how and why the Catholic Church is purchasing a Cathedral. Not only is the Church in the NE selling churches (and in some cases profitable ones ) and being sued by parishioners, but they are also selling other missions such as hospitals because they can't afford to make necessary capital investments. So mant Catholic hospitals have been sold to for profit entities.

It is possible that they want the cathedral so they can consolidate several smaller parishes and have one priest minister to a larger flock. The scarcest resource in the Church today is priests & nuns.

And Laura, a whale? Nothing could be farther from the truth!

11/20/2011 06:48

UP - what I heard on NPR is that the Catholic diocese of Orange county "needed" a cathedral. (which may be because of the county's growth, size and wealth) Purchasing the Crystal Cathedral was at least 1/2 the cost of building a new cathedral, according to the diocese spokesperson. By purchasing the CC, they automatically own one of the most architecturally significant buildings of the 20th c-- which they never could have afforded to build. The campus also contains two other architecturally sig. buildings: a modernist classic by Richard Neutra (the original drive-in Garden Grove church, where members never had to leave their cars because the church opened up to reveal the sancuary and the cars had sound boxes like in a drive in movie) and a huge marketing complex by Richard Meier-- not to mention lots of gold statues of biblical figures.

11/20/2011 07:57

@Up - rereading your post, I also think that owning a MODERN cathedral bought from a FAILED organization puts the Catholic church in a new role! The Saviours with a New Future -- not that old-fashioned pedophile-infested denomination.

11/20/2011 08:01

@Tom - if you're here. Your last comments on the Blind Side Penn State post lead me to wonder this: it IS possible that Paterno is their patsy, and that the larger issue to cover is a child-prostitution ring (involving professors, donors) of which Sandusky was a major part. I know this sounds farfetched and conspiratorial, but I for one would not be surprised. A scandal of that nature would destroy the university. Paterno is a small price to pay to save PSU. Today This American Life is doing a show on the Penn State case. It might be interesting.

Laura Novak
11/20/2011 10:10

Up et al., There is this unusual cathedral that the Oakland Diocese built not long ago:

I believe they too shuttered numerous smaller churches and consolidated into this behemoth. It's not what I cherish in a church, but I've not been through it and I'm sure it possesses its own kind of beauty.

I hear there is some interesting new footage out of Davis. I'm going to try to find that now. And I need to go back to the chancellor's letter to see who authorized the police action. So I don't have an answer on that. But perhaps more will be revealed from the 90-day task force (don't get me started!)

I'm going to look up the other swim videos you all provided. And Tom, thanks for this Gwen video. Are you a fan? I might not have guessed!

And clf, you know, I have indeed "peeped" about Oakland, but don't recall you joining the conversation then. And while I appreciate your contribution to the swimming topic, you might have missed that this is an "open thread" and I began it with links about Davis, which others have contributed to.

Perhaps you can contribute links to the conversation if you want to talk about Oakland, or provide us with the link to your own blog and your 24/7 coverage of the constantly changing scene there.

Laura Novak
11/20/2011 13:59

Looks like Chancellor Katehi will make it a 30-day turn around for that task force to investigate the Davis incident.

And this is an interesting essay from the NYTs on the Cal protest.:

11/20/2011 19:54

@Viola--I'm tired right now, Vi, and don't want to respond but I did see this blog post that I thought was good.

I wrote the from the beginning that something was missing. The reason for my consternation was that ir was extremely difficult for me to believe that Joe Paterno would not have made every effort, within his power, to right these wrongs. I mentioned also that PA Gov. Corbett is neck deep in this whole business. Take a look at him, Vi, vis-a-vis the Penn State/Second Mile scandal. You'll find something interesting shit, I promise.

11/20/2011 20:07

@VA, thanks for the info. Interesting.

Comments are closed.