Welcome to the Art of Swimming online magazine!
I am a Shaw Method swimmer: Rebecca Gaster
Rebecca Gaster remembers splashing about in swimming pools from a very early age, and she could swim by the age of 5. Swimming was always fun and she was a keen member of a swimming club. She remembers being very proud to earn her 1,500m distance badge at about 9 years old. But as an adult, Rebecca got out of the swimming habit and had lost confidence in her front crawl until she discovered Shaw Method …
How did you hear about Shaw Method?
I discovered it through my Alexander Technique teacher a few years ago. I have been interested in the Alexander Technique for a number of years and it just appealed to me to integrate it with swimming.
Tell me about your first Shaw Method lesson.
My parents bought me a voucher for a one-day crawl workshop with Steven Shaw as a Christmas present, and I loved it. I started swimming a bit more then, but I got back into it fully when I started doing triathlons. I am not sure I would have had the confidence to sign up for my first triathlon if I hadn’t been to that workshop. I’ve done a few more crawl workshops and had a couple of private lessons with Steven over the years since then.
And what have you been up to recently?
Well, although I was completing triathlons, I couldn’t maintain my front crawl for the full race and had to revert to breaststroke halfway through. So I felt I was ready for some more lessons. This time I went on a three-week group course with Maciek Sikora called Free Up Your Freestyle.
What difference did that make to your stroke?
Now I can keep going for as long as I like! I recently completed the 1,500m open water swim at a triathlon without any breaststroke, stopping or panicking. It felt really good.
How is your swimming now?
I’m loving the feeling of swimming crawl now. At the moment I’m practising getting some power behind the stroke for a bit of variety. And I’m having some more lessons with Maciek. We’re covering breaststroke and backstroke, and he is going to teach me butterfly, which should be fun.
Would you recommend Shaw Method to others?
Yes. Whatever your background or aims, I would recommend SM lessons with Art of Swimming. Just be prepared to find swimming a pleasurable experience! Both Steven and Maciek are excellent teachers, and break the stroke down into easy parts so you can learn it a bit at a time. They create a relaxed and non-judgemental atmosphere which is great for learning and can help everyone in the group even if they are at different levels. The private lessons are good too as they are more tailored to your own specific needs.