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"Thanks so much for all of the support and kindness you have offered my daughter over the years. Working with you was one of the best swimming investments we ever made.  I believe her shoulders and elbows stayed uninjured because of the mechanics you changed in her stroke."

Karen Laverdiere

"I am a 24-year-old Naval Special Warfare Candidate with little swimming experience before I swam with Cathy.  In order to gain a contract to attend Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) Training you must take a physical standards test that includes a 500-yard swim using the combat sidestroke.  Before learning the correct techniques for the stroke from Cathy, my 500-yard swim time was 9:30.  I told Cathy that my goal for the swim was a sub 8-minute swim time.  After attending lessons with Cathy for 3 months I gained a SEAL contract with a 500-yard swim time of 7:45.   

Cathy was able to teach me the basic principles of freestyle that transfer to the combat sidestroke.  In properly learning freestyle I was able to gain better awareness of my body in the water, which made me a faster swimmer.  In every lesson with Cathy she was able to communicate my mistakes in stroke and was able to provide the correct solutions. Even now after quickly achieving my goal with Cathy I will continue to meet with her for lessons to fine-tune my technique.  I would recommend Cathy to anyone, not just special operations candidates.  Prior to meeting with Cathy I was a lead weight in the water, now I am steadily improving as a swimmer, with all of the credit going to Cathy because of her dedication to help me improve as a swimmer.

I have to tell you how much I enjoyed our six sessions together. You are kind, generous and have limitless patience. I took many things away from our classes that I hope to continue to focus on—one at a time, of course!  I had a great swim at the tri this past weekend. I won my age group and truly my swim seemed effortless.

Megan Bilodeau

Prior to swimming with Cathy, I was a 22-year old with no history of swim experience or technique. The greatest distance I could cover in the pool was one lap, which left me exhausted and confused as to why my fitness on land did not translate into efficiency in the water. At the time, I was seeking a Navy Special Operator (SEAL) contract with the intention that I would be able to pick up swimming as I had any other physical activity; however I soon discovered I was severely mistaken. Having reached out to Cathy for swim instruction, we soon met for an initial swim lesson, and began working on the basics of freestyle: balance, length, rotation and breath.  

All Navy Special Warfare/Special Operators swim a particular stroke called the Combat Side Stroke (CSS). With no prior history teaching this stroke, Cathy diligently researched the technique, and came prepared to both demonstrate and teach the CSS. In just my second lesson, I understood the coordination of the stroke, and began fine tuning my technique under Cathy's help and the total immersion principles. Cathy and I met for lessons a total of five times across the summer of 2013, and in that time Cathy gave me all the tools I needed to be successful. In due time, my 500 yard CSS swim time fell from over 12:00 minutes to below 8:30, I've fulfilled many open ocean swims of 3+ miles, developed confidence in the water, and was contracted by the Navy to attend SEAL training in the coming months.  

Cathy Adams approached all of our lessons with an expertise that was second to none. She researched a stroke she had never taught before and was able to fluently speak to and demonstrate on all the finer points of the CSS. In many of my one hour lessons, Cathy stayed well beyond the allotted time I had scheduled with her, and was happy to stay until both she and I were satisfied with my progress of each lesson. Cathy's passion for the water and teaching was always on point, and I owe all of my progress and young career to her patience, professionalism, and attention to detail. For aspiring swimmers of all abilities, I highly recommend seeking Cathy Adams for swim instruction and water confidence. For future SEAL, SWCC, EOD, and Diver candidates, Cathy's expertise in both enunciating and demonstrating the CSS is second to none.

SEAL Candidate /Amston, Connecticut

Ma’am, you gave me swimming lessons last spring, 2014, (I was preparing to try out for special forces). (I passed the tryouts back in October), but they actually moved the swimming test back to a later phase of training. This morning, we conducted the test and swam 50 meters in our uniforms and boots, and I passed with flying colors! Thank you so much for your help; I definitely would not have passed without your instruction last year.

P. B./ Connecticut

Just wanted to let you know Eric made Varsity swimming this year as a freshman at Minnechaug. He is doing so well and we attribute his growth as a swimmer to you!  He just had his first meet and qualified for Western Mass his first time swimming the 500 free! Thank you! Thank you!  

Kate Dzierzgowsky

Since swimming with Cathy Adams I’ve gone from struggling to finish 100 yards in the pool to completing a 1.2 mile Half-Ironman Triathlon swim in open water!  I first met Cathy at a Total Immersion Clinic in 2012, and have been driving 200 miles round trip to take lessons with her since then.  She’s skilled, observant, insightful and clear in her instructions.  Every lesson I take away a new focal point to work on.  My speed has increased 20% and my “Swim-Golf” score has gone from high fifties to below 45-- and is still improving.  I’m an age-group triathlete and, thanks to Cathy, I feel totally prepared to swim the distance and get out of the water with energy to spare for the bike and run. 

Megan Moynihan  

"At age 35, I realized I was long overdue in establishing a daily exercise routine and the only sport I ever enjoyed was swimming. I connected with Cathy during a weekend Total Immersion workshop after researching various instruction methods and feeling drawn to the TI approach. During the workshop, I learned how to analyze my stroke technique through video analysis, stroke counting and the use of a tempo trainer. I also learned how to identify stroke flaws which could eventually lead to overuse injuries. These are all skills I continue to use during my daily swim practice and they have helped me to drastically improve my speed and endurance over time. I joined my local US Masters group shortly after starting private lessons with Cathy, and was immediately regarded as one of the more skilled swimmers on the team. I continue to receive many compliments on my swimming technique from swimmers and non-swimmers alike. Cathy’s ongoing guidance has helped me to continuously refine my “feel” for the water, while remediating stroke flaws before they develop into habits. Since my swimming is always improving it is easy to stay motivated. I am in the best shape of my life and swimming has become a healing sanctuary, helping me to significantly reduce chronic pain and stress."

                                  Victoria Conroy

"My 14-year-old daughter Erin has worked regularly with Cathy for five years.  With Cathy's patient and smart coaching, Erin has gone from an average age-group swimmer to one of the top swimmers in her age group in New England.  There is no doubt that Erin's efficient and long strokes are a result of the thoughtful and consistent coaching from Cathy.   Cathy's approach is based on the Total Immersion philosophy, and Cathy takes substantial time to explain not only how to do things but WHY to do things.  She has done a great job teaching Erin to think about her stroke and to adjust it when things don't feel right.  Over the years, it has been very satisfying to feel that Erin is swimming and improving at her potential and not just going through the motions of swimming laps."

                                                                                                  Susan V/ Northampton, MA

Susan’s first testimonial was written in 2010 and is below.  Erin’s 2013 winter season concluded with a Massachusetts High School State Title in the 500 yd Free and 2nd in the 200 yd Free, as of this posting she is ranked by USA Swimming as the 11th  fastest 14 yr old in the country in the 1650 Free for 2013, and she finished 2nd overall for 14 year olds at the 2013 New England Age Groups.

"Cathy is a first-rate teacher. She's smart, patient, clear, encouraging and engaged. She swims like a fish herself--so relaxed, beautiful, efficient and fast. And she knows how to communicate her technique to her students."

"I'm a triathlete who used to thrash through the swim on the way to the "good stuff"- biking and running. After just 12 lessons with Cathy, I went from having regular panic attacks (from going out too fast) and coming out of the water near last to enjoying the swim and finishing mid-pack overall and near the front of my age group. With the improvements in my swim last year, I was able to qualify for Nationals, win a local sprint triathlon and win my age group in a few others, even one with a .9 mile swim."

"The best part is that I love the water now. I actually look forward to the swim in the triathlon. I relax and enjoy practice in open water or in a pool. I'm confident I can finish even long distances. I highly recommend Cathy to anyone wanting to improve and enjoy his or her swimming."

JoEllen C/ Conway, MA

"My experience with TI was so positive, I went to Cathy to offer a testimonial.  First, I will say that prior to taking TI, I was a ROCK. I had been doing triathlons for about 14 years.  Prior to taking the TI class, I had suffered through sprint and olympic distance swims (1/2 - 1 mile in length).   Put me in the water and I would sink to the bottom.  And, if I ever really got going, I was out of breath after 25 yards.  Swimming was BY FAR my weakness.  As a triathlete, with the hopes of one day doing an Ironman, I knew this had to change.  And that was my stated intention when I first sat with my TI group, and gave our introductions."

"What once was my weakness, is NOW MY STRENGTH.  I will never set the world record for the fastest swim in a triathlon, sprint distance or Ironman.  But what I now have is the confidence that I can swim any distance in any race.  When I exited the water in my Ironman, I was completely "fresh", not breathing hard, and fully relaxed.  My 2.4 mile swim (1:26:41) was effortless."

"AND, I can now state that swimming is my strength in Triathlon.  While I might not be setting any records, I know that I can swim for a long time.  In fact, I am certain that I can swim for hours (provided I have food and drink).  I am not considering a Channel crossing anytime soon, but...never say never. When I swam with a friend the other day, I saw the old me.  He is new to swimming (at 40 years old), and splashed and flailed his way through the pool.  He is now signed up for TI.  To sum up TI in two words...IT WORKS! Swim on.  And thanks Cathy, your training made all the difference!"

Jeff N, West Hartford, CT, Ironman finisher

"When I started lessons, I had been away from swimming for years. I am learning to improve my technique with Cathy's detailed stroke analysis. The lessons are tailored towards my specific fitness goals. My stroke has benefitted from the drills. The visual aids have shown me that I am becoming more efficent and am extending less effort while swimming."

Marilyn H, Pittsfield, MA

"I served in the military for several years and it took a toll on my knees and back, not to mention recently having my hand reconstructed. I needed to change my workout. I grew up swimming on a lake and I always considered myself to be a strong swimmer, until I met Cathy. Cathy showed me that strong doesn’t necessarily mean efficient or good.  It has been six months since I started training once a month with her and I can not believe the difference. Through her instruction, I learned that there was more to swimming than kicking and splashing. Nothing can substitute good quality instruction and training.  Cathy is an excellent teacher, coach and friend. She has increased my confidence and motivation.  I look forward to my next lesson with Cathy and the open water season."

John O, Waltham, MA

"After being a runner for many years and being persuaded to give triathlons a go, I quickly realized I would have to do something about my non-existent freestyle stroke!  I had a few lessons at the local pool but still couldn't do more than 1 lap without feeling like I was in serious danger of drowning when someone suggested I contact Cathy Adams, a TI coach.  In less than a year in the pool and around 12 lessons with Cathy, I was able to improve my triathlon swim place from 379/418 to 283/491, good enough to place me 67th overall out of a field of almost 500.  Yesterday whilst swimming my 100 laps (yes, consecutively!) I was thinking about how did Cathy make such a difference possible. Apart from the fact that I now have a recognizable stroke driven from my hips and core rather than my shoulders and a breathing pattern that I can sustain almost indefinitely, I realized that the biggest difference is that that Cathy helped me become aware of all the different aspects of my freestyle stroke and now I can almost instantly recognize and analyze problems as they arise and so take steps to correct them.  This is huge and means that although the improvements now are smaller, they are still happening and hopefully I will continue to improve even further. Cathy's sessions are fun whilst still giving you tons to think about - 90 minutes used to whizz past! In addition to explaining concepts to you, Cathy also uses video footage of your stroke which I found especially useful. I will never trouble Dara Torres in the water but I am getting to a point where my swimming is good enough not to hold me back in the triathlons and allows me to get to my stronger events cycling and running in a much better position and significantly less fatigued, ready to "kick some butt" in those elements!  And, just in case you're thinking you've missed the opportunity, I was 42 and not able to freestyle when I went to Cathy, providing you're prepared to put in the practice doing the (at times) slightly strange drills, it's never too late - my advice, give yourself a new year's present and book those lessons with her, worth every cent."

Kathryn P, Cheshire, CT

"My 10 year old daughter has worked with Cathy for one year and I  couldn't be more impressed with the progress she has made in swimming.  Cathy has helped her learn to think about how she swims, how her body feels, and also how to develop an efficient stroke.  After a few months of working with Cathy and essentially re-learning all four strokes, my age-group swimmer started achieving multiple best times at almost every meet.  It is very satisfying to feel that she is now swimming and improving at her potential and not just going through the motions of swimming laps at practice after practice."

Susan V, Northampton, MA

"As someone who swam for exercise for 20+ years, I had an inefficient stroke.  Once I got into competitive swimming I took a TI course.  It was an immense help in streamlining my body and making me more efficient.  It now takes less strokes and effort to go the same distance.  Also, I can do distance swims much faster.  I continue to train with Cathy, one of the coaches' at the TI workshop,  to keep it an ongoing process.  One needs to continually work on stroke and technique to improve swimming race times." 

Michael D, Windsor, CT

"I began swimming competitively at age 8 and never experienced any physical injuries until my freshman year of high school.    I went to a physical therapist who recommended I see Cathy to look at how my stroke could be contributing to my pain.  So, I began working with Cathy. Over the next year, I re-learned all four strokes and the pain in my shoulders and lower back stopped.  In addition, I saw significant improvement in all my strokes and my times. While teammates reached plateaus during my junior year, I excelled and continued to go best times.  I continued to work with Cathy through high school and am now a sophomore in college and still enjoy swimming competitively. I still revisit Cathy for stroke check-ups during breaks. Following my high school freshmen swim season, I thought very seriously about retiring from the sport of swimming due to injury and freshmen year plateau. However after working with Cathy, I contribute my success and happiness as a swimmer to Cathy and the Total Immersion Program."

Chelsea H, Bolton, CT

Swimming Instruction with Catherine Hall Adams
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