Swimming, But Not As You Know It! The Shaw Method

The Shaw Method of Swimming, also known as the Art of Swimming, teaches you to swim with ease, grace, and power, while having fun! The teacher joins the student in the water and, as in Alexander Technique lessons, provides clear, hands-on guidance along with demonstrations and verbal instructions. The clear, logical, and simple progressions build confidence and comfort so that students learn to move in the water with awareness, efficiency, and ease while getting fit.


Steven Shaw is an Alexander Technique teacher and former competitive swimmer whose group classes, private lessons, one-day workshops, and swim holidays have an enthusiastic following in the United Kingdom, where there are more than 30 certified Shaw Method instructors. In the United States, there are only seven qualified Shaw Method teachers, including Phyllis Richmond in Evanston, IL.

Alexander Technique teacher Steven Shaw teaching a swimming lesson

The Shaw Method swim instructor helps non-swimmers become more comfortable in the water and learn to trust the buoyancy of water to support them while they float and transition from floating to swimming simply and easily. Shaw lessons offer advanced swimmers greater efficiency and ease in mastering four strokes: front crawl, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly.

The Shaw Method is based on four principles inspired by the Alexander Technique:

1. The head-neck-back relationship is paramount. Learning to maintain proper use of the neck, head, and back while swimming, results in better body mechanics overall.

2. Every propulsive movement is preceded by a non-propulsive movement. Instead of expending needless effort fighting with the water, Shaw Method swimmers alternate active and recovery phases in movement creating a healthy, sustainable, effortless stroke.

Art of Swmming

3. Never take a breath. Shaw Method teaches you to allow the inhalation to happen and to exhale slowly and effortlessly—as in the whispered “ah.”

4. Be easy on yourself. Enjoy the moment. The Shaw Method encourages enjoying the process. You learn to work with the water, which aids in releasing tension, in effortless breathing, and in efficient, sustainable movement.

To learn more about Shaw Method swimming, visit www.artofswimming.com and the US website www.swimshawmethod.us.