Steven Shaw is the founder of Shaw Method. He is based in London where he does the bulk of his teaching, but he is a regular visitor to Yorkshire.
My earliest memories of swimming are of splashing around in the local open-air lido where I spent much of my leisure time and gained much of my confidence in the water playing games in the children’s pool.
From the age of 8 I attended local swimming lessons and graduated to a swimming club a few years later. I swam breaststroke competitively between the ages of 13 and 17. I was totally committed to my training: four hours of swimming lap after lap every day. However, in my A level year at school I realised that I would never be good enough to win a scholarship to a top US university so I gave it all up to concentrate on my studies.
Right through my late teens and early 20s I stayed away from the pool: it seemed like a waste of time now that I wasn’t working on winning races. It was not until I started my Alexander Technique (AT) training in my late 20s that I decided to get back into swimming. My AT teacher told me that the postural habits I had on dry land were influenced by my swimming so it made sense to do some work in the water.
By 1990 I was working as an Alexander teacher and because of all the work I had done on myself in the water and observations I had made in helping others to swim I trained as an ASA swimming teacher. Increasingly, the work I was doing in the water was influenced by the AT and in 1996 I released my first book, The Art of Swimming. This book was written in conjunction with one of my early pupils, Armand D’Angour who had conquered a lifelong fear of water.
At this time I worked with my first wife, Limor Shaw, to further develop Shaw Method from the principles of Alexander Technique and our work with many different pupils in the water.
Since those early days I have taught literally thousands of pupils to change th eir relationship with water and to re-imagine their strokes. I have also taught around 150 Shaw Method teachers, many of whom I able to work with (and gain inspiration from) regularly.
I am constantly working to improve my own front crawl, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly, not to mention the fundamentals of Shaw Method: breathing, gliding, floating, and undulation. I take great pleasure in passing on this constant discovery to my pupils, and the other Shaw Method teachers.
Teacher of the Alexander Technique (MSTAT)
ASA Swimming Teacher Level 2