Swim Speed Secrets, 2nd Ed.

Master the Freestyle Technique Used by the World's Fastest Swimmers

By Sheila Taormina


In Swim Speed Secrets, 4-time Olympian, gold medalist, and triathlon world champion Sheila Taormina reveals the swim technique used by the world’s fastest swimmers.


Sheila Taormina’s Swim Speed Secrets is America’s favorite guide to faster swimming.

In this new edition of the best-selling Swim Speed Secrets, the 4-time Olympian, gold medalist, and triathlon world champion reveals the swim technique used by the world’s fastest swimmers. Taormina’s guidance is clear and easily understood so any swimmer or triathlete can learn and master the fastest way to swim.

Over the course of four Olympic Games and throughout her career as a world champion triathlete, Taormina refined her winning technique through a close study of the sport, examining the world’s best swimmers using underwater photographs, video analysis, and historical archives. From Johnny Weissmuller to Michael Phelps, Taormina found that the world’s fastest swimmers share two common elements: high stroke rate and a high-elbow underwater pull.

Though she stands just 5’ 2” tall, Taormina honed her swimming technique to victory and shares her Swim Speed method in Swim Speed Secrets. Many swimmers and triathletes neglect the underwater pull, distracted by low stroke count or perfecting less critical details like body position, streamlining, and roll. Swim Speed Secrets,2nd Ed. focuses on the most crucial element of swimming—producing power—to help swimmers and triathletes overhaul their swim stroke and find the speed that’s been eluding them.

With a commonsense approach that comes from decades of intense practice and hands-on coaching experience, Taormina shows swimmers how to transition to faster swimming.

Featuring 4 completely new speed secrets, new drills, and an all-new chapter, Swim Speed Secrets offers Taormina’s essential guidance and new discoveries that are vital for swimmers, triathletes, and coaches:

  • Crystal-clear photographs and descriptions of the underwater freestyle stroke.
  • New elite swimmers: Step-by-step breakdowns of the strokes of the world’s fastest swimmers including Peter Vanderkaay, Allison Schmitt, Jack Conger, Margaret Kelly, Townley Haas, and more.
  • New levels of detail on the stroke path, stroke timing, hand speed change, and over-water recovery.
  • NEW! Undeniable, real-world visual proof of the curvilinear, or S-curve, stroke path in elite swimmer strokes using Taormina’s patent pending grid analysis tool.
  • NEW! A simplified guide to stroke rate and “gears” to guide every swimming workout.
  • New drills to cultivate a sensitive, faster, and more effective feel for the water.
  • Dryland and strength building exercises to develop arm position and upper body musculature.

Sheila Taormina’s Swim Speed Secrets blows up the old myths that have held swimmers back. Her best-selling Swim Speed Series—including Swim Speed Secrets, Swim Speed Strokes, and Swim Speed Workouts—brings the focus back where it belongs: to a powerful freestyle swim stroke. With Taormina’s method, triathletes and swimmers can stop swimming for survival and break through to new levels of swimming speed and confidence in the water.

For more Swim Speed articles, reader questions, drill videos, tips on swimming technique, FAQs, and favorite drills of elite swimmers, please visit the Swim Speed Series page here.

Swim Speed Secrets, 2nd Ed.: Master the Freestyle Technique Used by the World’s Fastest Swimmers
Sheila Taormina
Paperback with full-color interior and photographs throughout.
7″ x 9″, 208 pp., $21.95, 9781937715816

Swim Speed Secrets, 2nd Ed.: Master the Freestyle Technique Used by the World's Fastest Swimmers

Sheila Taormina

Paperback Full-color interior with photographs throughout.

Shipping Dimensions: 7in x 9.00in x 1.1875in 208pp $21.95, Inventory 9781937715816, Shipping 1.19lbs




1 The Pareto Principle: Applying the 80/20 Rule in the Pool

2 The Big Picture: Understanding the Swimming Equation

3 The Vital Element: A Case to Prove It

4 Theories of Propulsion: The Challenges and the Beauty

5 The Underwater Pull: The Vital Element

6 The Other 80 Percent: A Review of the Nonvital Elements

7 Developing the Freestyle Stroke: Drills and Exercises

8 Piecing It All Together: Stroke Data and Conclusion

Appendix: Stroke Data Analysis



About the Athletes

About the Author

Preview book.

“The concept of ‘holding’ water and generating propulsion is fundamental to swimming performance, and Sheila’s book clearly unlocks the secrets of this through words and vivid underwater photos. It is what every top swimmer trains and searches for each day at practice, and it is what allowed me to win Olympic medals as a teenager and into my 40s.” — Dara Torres, 12-time Olympic medalist

“Freestyle gone funky on you? Stuck in a rut where you can’t seem to get faster? Swim Speed Secrets could be the cure for the freestyle blues. Master swimmers and coaches at every level can learn something from this book…Both the book and [the Swim Speed Workouts] training program are outstanding.” — USMS Swimmer magazine

“In her book, Sheila Taormina gives a great understanding of the art of high performance swimming. With her help, you can stop swimming for survival and start swimming like a pro.” — Laura Bennett, 2010 ITU #1-ranked swimmer, four-time ITU World Triathlon Championship medalist, Olympian, and two-time U.S. triathlon champion

“Sheila Taormina’s ideas on swimming have influenced me and my swim coaching more than anyone else. Her knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm are unmatched. Her book is the best resource out there to help all different types of athletes improve their swim.” — Siri Lindley, ITU Triathlon World Champion and coach to triathlon world champions and Olympic medalists

“Sheila’s book Swim Speed Secrets is the best swim manual—PERIOD!” — Ashley Whitney, Olympic gold medalist

“Sheila T. is just 5′ 2″ but she swims like she is 6′ 2″. We still use her as a model for our swimmers today on how to swim the strokes.” — Jack Bauerle, Team USA Olympic Swim Coach and Head Coach of the University of Georgia swim team

“[Swim Speed Secrets] is a ripper! [It was] great to get a no-b.s. perspective on swimming from a champion.” — Chris McCormack, 2-time Ironman® World Champion

“Taormina’s Swim Speed Secrets is a compendium and reference, a tool box no triathlon swimmer can afford to ignore… Taormina has seen thousands of open-water and competitive swimmers of all levels…The insights and lessons provided in Swim Speed Secrets are the distillation of those decades of experience, thousands of hours of coaching and training and thousands of competitions in only 174 pages…This book is a more effective training aid than paddles, a kickboard and even a swimming pool. Swim Speed Secrets is your most important swim tool.” — TriSports.com

“Sheila possesses a great depth of knowledge and passion about swimming that she has often shared with me and many other athletes. Her new book will be a very useful tool to anyone who wants to improve their performance in the water.” — Leanda Cave, ITU Triathlon World Champion and ITU Long-Distance Triathlon World Champion

“As a lifelong coach, the four-time Olympian shares what she’s learned with clarity and authority, explaining all of the small details that go into mastering freestyle.” — LAVA magazine

“Sheila Taormina may be the greatest athlete in the modern Olympic era. She’s the only person I know who has made four Olympic teams in three different sports.” — Jim Richardson, Head Coach of the University of Michigan women’s swim team

“While I’ve spent the last few years training under a fantastic coach, there were still some key elements that didn’t ‘click’ until I read [Swim Speed Secrets]. Having been on a plateau for some time, my swim has improved immensely within a few weeks.” — TriEdge.net

“This second edition of Swim Speed Secrets offers Taormina’s essential guidance and new discoveries that will be useful for all swimmers, triathletes, and coaches.” Triathlon Canada

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