My name is Liz Robin and I teach tai chi and the Shaw Method of swimming principally in and around Bath.
I first discovered Steven’s teaching method after I had enrolled to swim in the Dart 10k and realised I needed to learn some swimming technique – one Shaw Method front crawl workshop in Harrogate and I was hooked.
As a tai chi teacher, I found Steven’s methodology completely intuitive – the walking practices and the calmness were very familiar but the way this translated into swimming was an absolute revelation to me. The idea that one could find that meditative calmness and enjoyment of the water, particularly if swimming long distances, was so inspiring – which was why I went on to train with Steven as a Shaw Method teacher.
What I love about the Method is that it provides a way in for almost any standard of swimmer. I teach a number of adults who have either never learnt to swim or who have never learnt a technique which allows them to enjoy the water. Many of them have back, neck, hip or shoulder problems and the focus on good body alignment in the Method ensures they are exercising in a way which often improves their condition. I am married to a neuro and spinal surgeon who fully endorses the Method and who’s changed his own swimming to incorporate Steven’s technique, particularly enjoying the fact that it allows him to do a sustainable long-distance butterfly – a brilliant stroke for exercising the spine!
I also teach those who want to swim longer distances. I love introducing people to river, loch or longer sea swims – the relaxed nature of the Shaw Method allows people to swim comfortably for longer periods and once they have been out with others it becomes something which isn’t scary. It’s lovely to see people’s confidence grow and it’s also a lot of fun swimming outside in a pod together. Someone this year said she went from feeling like a reasonable swimmer to feeling like a mermaid in the water! I can’t imagine a job which gives more satisfaction than giving people such a gift for life.
My teaching is principally with adults but those children I have taught have really got the fact that the water is something to have fun in and work with and it has been inspiring to see how well they have understood getting their body position right in order to relax and breathe easily. I wish more children could be taught this way – I know of at least one traditional children’s swimming teacher who is now incorporating Shaw Method into her teaching so let’s hope there will be many more out there soon.
Find out more about Liz Robin.