Gary Fahey
South Florida's "Stroke Doctor"


Video Tips

Tired of Getting Drilled? Part 2
Here's an example of a drill that is virtually useless to all but the most highly skilled of swimmers because it is so difficult to execute properly. If you ever tried this single arm drill, then you already know that it will only make you feel less competent and more awkward in the water, while providing practically no tangible benefit. Competitive swimmers with nearly unlimited pool time might find it useful, but recreational swimmers and triathletes are better off with this substitute drill: Underswitch. It combines the clear benefits of linking core body movements to stroking movements in an easy-to-manage drill that anyone can do well. When your hours in the water are limited, you can't just choose any drills--you need to select the ones that foster the most improvement in the least amount of time.

Tired of Getting Drilled? Part 1
Properly understood and executed drills can improve your stroke mechanics by isolating and resolving specific problem areas. Unfortunately, many 'old school' drills like the "thumbies" or "zipper" drill featured in this video imprint more bad habits than good. We've seen many athletes do this drill, most with only a vague notion of why they're doing it--usually something about 'high elbows.' So we're here to set the record straight: don't bother. A better drill: easy fingertip drag. You'll learn to build in adequate rotation, maintain a relaxed recovery and eliminate unnecessary tension in your hands and shoulders. If you're a triathlete with limited minutes in the pool it is essential that you select only the best drills, with the biggest 'up' side, that are the easiest to execute. You can have 20 prescription bottles in your medicine cabinet, but you really only need the one that solves the problem at hand.

How Many Lessons?
We focus on helping you swim better, and use decades of full-time swim coach experience to cut through the clutter and help you make rapid, permanent improvements. This before and after video--striking, for sure, but not atypical--shows a client who transformed her aggressive, inefficient technique into a thing of grace and economy in only three lessons. We didn't waste her time proving how many drills we know. We got in the water with her, videotaped her technique in the first minutes of Lesson 1, and in 2.5 hours of instruction...well, the video speaks for itself.

Performance Camp for Kids: Smarter, Faster Swimmers
This video sample from our Spring Break Performance Camp shows why our teaching methods are not only the best, but also the best value. Where most camps have coaches on the deck in street clothes, we get wet with the kids. Video analysis at many camps is a pricey extra; we use it every day with every swimmer, showing them exactly what they're doing right and precisely how they can make improvements. We teach our athletes to develop a coach's eye, critiquing each other to develop a rich understanding of the sport. When we see seven year olds holding intelligent conversations about swimming, we know we've passed our passion along to the next generation!

Tempo Trainer: Develop Speed, Sustain Efficiency
The smallest swimming tool in your swim bag may prove to be the most effective in marrying efficient technique to appropriate race intensities. In this video Broward Aquatic Coach Nico Lilly demonstrates a set of 6 x 50 freestyle using a tempo trainer to dictate the frequency of his strokes. He begins at a leisurely 1:30 Tempo Trainer setting (one stroke very 1.30 seconds) and works up to the 0:80 racing tempo he used as a record-breaking distance freestyler at Xavier University. Nico is able to retain a high level of skill and efficiency (14 strokes down, 15 strokes back) even at this very aggressive tempo. Used properly, tempo trainer-focused workouts can help you develop speed where the rubber meets the road: the marriage of stroke length and stroke rate.

Skillful Synchronization: Why Our Methods Work for Anyone
Stroke Doctor swimming teaches you reliable, skillful movements that can turn anyone into an efficient swimmer. In this video, student and teacher swim side by side, demonstrating great technique. Can you distinguish student from teacher? When one swimmer demonstrates clean form you can chalk it up to finding the right model for your video. But when swimmer after swimmer masters great technique, you know your teaching methods work. The end product speaks for itself.

World Championships: 2-Beat Kick
This video contains footage of Laure Manaudou of France and Kate Ziegler of the US battling in the 800 meter free at the 2007 World Championships. Both swimmers employ an efficient 2-beat kick throughout the race: 1 kick per arm stroke or 2 kicks per stroke cycle (right + left.) Ziegler fires up a six beat kick over the last 50 meters while Manaudou sticks with the 2-beat. Ziegler wins by a touch in 8 minutes 18 seconds. The 2-beat kick is ideal for long distance swimming. For anyone considering masters events of 400 meters+,open water swims or triathlons, this is a great way to save your legs while getting surprisingly effective propulsion from them. I'll re-post this with audio commentary soon.

2-Beat Kick: The Key to Energy Savings
To swim as far as you want with greater efficiency, you'll want to develop a 2-beat freestyle kick. While many swimmers think they're using their legs for propulsion, the truth is that most kicking movements are wasted in an attempt to create balance and stability. Once you learn core balance and the proper freestyle timing, your legs are free to work in tandem with your body to swim efficiently, not just fight gravity. Stroke Doctor swimming explicitly teaches the 2-beat kick. It saves your legs, especially if you're a multi-sport athlete with miles of cycling and running after your swim. A 2-beat kick also keeps your heart rate down, ensuring you can swim as far as you want with comfort and confidence.

Before & After/Masters Swimmer
You can swim better in just two days. This masters swimmer proved a fast learner at a recent Total Immersion workshop, taking the skills we learned from drills and putting it all together for a smooth, efficient stroke. If he can look this good after two days, just think how several months of thoughtful practice will further transform his swimming. This is why we know our methods work. We see the proof in the water, in every workshop, in every private lesson.

Terry Laughlin, founder of Total Immersion, endorses Gary Fahey
'StrokeDoctor' Gary Fahey has worked with Terry Laughlin over the past decade teaching TI to swimmers across the United States. Gary assisted at the December TI coach certification course at Coral Springs, helping Laughlin add new coaches to the Total Immersion ranks. "Our relationship dates back to 1998," Gary notes, "when I assisted Terry in Naperville, IL. I found the TI drills to be the perfect complement to the swimming science coming out of the US Olympic Training Center back then. Over time the TI concepts have taken root at every level in our sport, so much so that what was once considered revolutionary is now just good common-sense swimming."

Freestyle Tip: Extend to Air
Improve your balance, stroke length and access to air by lengthening your stroke as you breathe. The instinctive move is to chop or slice with your lead arm as you take a breath. This compromises your body position, undermines the propulsive value of your stroke and actually makes air less available to you. You can't go wrong by going long. Extend to air and you'll develop a more efficient, streamlined stroke!

© 2021