Having suffered from neck and shoulder stiff ness for almost 30 years, I jumped at the chance to take a swimming lesson with Sue McGovern at the Ardoe House Hotel and Spa.
Sue is one of just 150 instructors worldwide qualified to teach using the Shaw Method, which is derived from the Alexander Technique. Sue explained that the Shaw Method was developed by Steven Shaw, a former competitive swimmer and an Alexander teacher and is designed to allow anyone – even non-swimmers – to feel comfortable and relaxed in the water without any unnecessary muscle tension. It’s ideal for anyone recovering from injury or with residual weaknesses, or experienced swimmers who want to add more power and control to their technique.
Sue started my lesson with a dry land introduction to the four basic principles of the Shaw Method followed by a hands on approach in the water during which Sue was constantly monitoring my stroke and breathing and providing gentle encouragement. My technique was videoed, then Sue explained how my technique could be improved using this method and by working with the water instead of against it. The Shaw Method encourages you to be aware at all times of your body in the water and to use your body to lengthen the spine and move through the water with minimum eff ort and stress. After just half an hour in the water, I felt much more relaxed and comfortable and even managed at one point to lie flat on my back without any neck or shoulder strain. Success.
Sue offers both private one to one tuition and group sessions with four to six swimmers in each class. Courses range from 4-6 weeks, some concentrating on specific strokes and others helping to build water confidence or pure fluid joy.