The Bottom Line
- Philosophical look at swimming from a Total Immersion angle
- Good insight on getting the thought and actions of a swimmer in-touch with each other
- Sample workouts
- Lots of action shots of the West Point tri team
- If you are not a Total Immersion-type, this book is not going to be #1 on your list
- No technique visual aids - no drawings, no pictures of how to swim
- If you don't know the basics of swimming, this book is not the place to learn
- The author's introduction says it well. "It's about emails." But it is well assembled and is not choppy or hard to follow.
- Section 1 covers ideas on stroke mechanics, pacing, and some of the mental aspects of swimming, the main focus of the book.
- Section 2 covers the nuts and bolts of stroke count and splits.
- Section 3 is about motivation and what worked for the West Point Team.
Guide Review - Overachiever's Diary by Louis Tharp with Laurie Ferguson, Ph.D.
The Overachiever's Diary tells the story of a year in the life of the US Military Academy (West Point) Triathlon Team. Louis Tharp, the coach recruited by the triathletes themselves, retells the 2006-2007 season. He helps these athletes break down their technique and their training, gets them to buy into his philosophy, and the results are a big step forward (or a splash forward?).
There are the usual chapters found in swimming books on stroke mechanics, training, and pacing, but there is much more. Author's Louis Tharp and Laurie Ferguson, Ph.D. include their insights on the mental and even emotional side of swimming, and how to use these to exceed expectations - how to be an overachiever.
The book is essentially about how to combine and merge the physical act of swimming, swim training, stroke mechanics, desires, and feelings. It shows how this was accomplished for many of the West Point triathletes, and how doing so probably helped them to be the overachievers of the book's title.
I admit that I am not always enamored with all that is Total Immersion, but I enjoyed the book. I think it is important to keep an open mind and to look at what works and does not work for any swimmer. There is not one single swimming philosophy that will fit everyone; the philosophy woven throughout the Overachiever's Diary will be for some of you.