Dark Trolls Abound


My wife and I teach people how to swim, I admit we charge higher than most other swim instructors, but we get results. Some of our students started from never going into the pool, to being able to do 50m swim. We market ourselves through social networks such as facebook and Instagram, which leads to our website at effortlessswim.com. Teaching swimming supplements my salary, while it is currently the main income for my wife.


Recently, someone on facebook commented on several of our posts, posting the same comment to more than 40 of our posts. Degrading our classes, our methods and our results. Reading it, I admit I was upset, I was angry, I was frustrated. But I kept in mind, haters be hating. I was torn for a moment to not feed the trolls, but realized that they posted on several of our posts, more than 40! So, I thought, hey this person really wants to be heard, so I decided to reply to them to ensure them, that they have been heard by replying to their comment.

The troll comments

I only found out the troll comments 2 hours after the posts.



My reply

This reply I made was composed as soon as I read the comments. And copy pasted as replies to other comments the person made.

Thank you for your input.
however we do what we can to get students to be able to swim. in the end most of our students are able to swim, that is what we feel is important, we do recommend our student to practice on their own after the classes. we hope our students who have tried our classes for the last 2 years to be our testimonials.
but let me present from our side.

1. improper teaching and injury. we haven’t have any feedback from previous students about injuries, we do try to teach the “proper” techniques, but we allow for “imperfections” as we do not expect the students get everything perfect in their first swimming classes.
*drag water, resistance, and short glide. we actually try to tell students to reduce drag, unfortunately some have heavy legs, and still new to the techniques to maintain a streamline position. and some are even uncomfortable with a long glide as it requires them to be under water for longer than they are comfortable with.

2. high price is a matter for perspective, and mastering the basics of swimming takes a lot of time and effort, even for people who have swam for a while, we do what we can to share or to inform or educate our students on the basic skills, but to master and perfect it will take some more time and practice after the class.

3. pay more? we don’t force them to join and pay for our next classes unless they are comfortable with what they learnt in the previous classes. if they choose to, some (very rarely) may take the same class again to master what they learnt. but others often choose to practice on their own until they are ready for the next level.

4. the “talking” i guess you are talking about may refer to when we are sharing the principles behind the swim techniques, in other cases it may be to help get the students comfortable, before and in between drills. we believe that an effective method teaching method is not just showing the students what they should do, but also informing them, and reminding them of the reasons behind it. sometimes it is also a time for us to give them feedback on their techniques on what they can do to improve.

5. beware? sure, everyone should be wary or be aware before they take any class. do their own research, own due dilligence, they might even be wary of any positive or negative comments, everyone should practice making up their own minds before accepting anything they read or hear. including our classes. make up your own mind. make your own decisions, if you choose that this class is worth it or not, it is your choice.

6. no improvements and getting worse? we are unclear where you are getting this information, most of our students starts from zero, as in not being able to swim, to being able to swim, at least the width of the pool, to even 50m of the people. we do not expect everyone to learn at the same pace, we admit different people may learn at a different rate, and we have had a rare few have not been able to swim as well as the other students. but everyone does their best.

7, 8, 9. waste of time, energy and money? everyone has a right to subjectively determine that own their own. we do not judge anyone who have their own opinions, if you believe so, then it is your choice to do so, if anyone do not believe that this class is worth their time, energy and money, then we may not be a good fit for them, and then you may choose any other available options.

to be honest, we do feel upset reading this comment, and trying our best to reply calmly and reasonably to this post, we do feel that your approach in commenting to our page is unprofessional and quite spiteful, but we understand that people are entitled to their opinions, however misguided. thank you for your comment, we will not delete these comments, to be fair and to show that we are open to any feedbacks, but we will copy paste this and reply to all the comments that you have made, to ensure that everyone sees both sides.

As we are sharing this with our previous students, they actually support us, they actually express their understanding of our teaching techniques, and remind us what a good job we have been doing, and how much they (our students) have achieved since.
it has been quite heart warming to get feedbacks from our students to affirm us that we are doing is contributing and adding value to their lives. thank you (our students) on reminding us of this.



I was curious about who was this person that commented in such a demeaning manner, and what incited to them to express themselves in such a negative way. so I tried to check on their profile, but found out it was a fake account possibly to just comment on our facebook page. I have to acknowledge this person’s tenacity to actually create a fake account, and to comment a long post, and to copy paste it to more than 40 of our posts.

My head has been wildly speculating on the identity of this troll.

  • could it be the lifeguards that we annoyed by complaining about the closing times?
  • could it be the other swimming instructors, jealous of our success in getting new students every month, and charging a higher fee and thus earning more than them, and so “stealing” their income.
  • Could it be a previously unsatisfied student? a possibility that I cannot honestly accept, as most of my students seem to be satisfied by our classes, being able to do things they were never able to do in the first place.

But looking at the comments, it doesn’t look like they understand our technique and purpose. Especially about the resistance and short glide, as the first things that we teach our students is to reduce resistance, and do long glides, we revise this every lesson, and remind the students repetitively.

This person seems to “know” the “perfect” technique, so most likely is an instructor.

My guess is this person is simply judging from either looking at the videos we posted or from observing from the pool itself. I admit some of the videos of students swimming are not the “perfect” technique, but it shows them completing a swim across the width or length of a pool. We try our best to teach efficiency and effectiveness. But we will take up effectiveness to efficiency every time. We would prefer to let the students be inefficient but get across the pool, than to try to be perfect before they can reach the end of the pool. We do not expect all our students to have a perfect technique, we will guide them to use the technique that they are comfortable with in order to be able to cross that pool.

One of my concern is that some of these comments are not accurate simply because of mistaken identity, they may be associating a different instructor with effortless swim.

These wild speculations had begun to cause suspicions to people around the pool. But I realized, it is a futile effort. There is currently no way of identifying this person, so It is better to believe that none of these people are suspects or else my brain is just going to get haywire as this person’s. Thinking badly of other people. Not my style. Although…

Funny things about the troll

a swimming student of mine pinpointed a few interestingly funny facts that I would love to share here as well.


This troll is “friendless”.


This troll has no visible experience or history. They have “nothing to show”.


Personal Opinion

I am blessed to be smart, generous and kind. And in addition, I have been trained in education, counselling and self-development. I understand trolls appear out of nowhere. It is not that they hate a particular person, item or idea, but they may hate a lot of other things as well. It is not us, it is them.

I do not belittle any other instructors, what they teach is how they teach, their technique is their technique. Our general goal is the same, to get our students to swim. The approach or the specific goal/objectives is different. Some focus on competitive swimming, we focus on being able to swim for leisure and recreation.

I actually even give the contact numbers of other instructors that are friendly to me, to people who we cannot cater. For example, those who ask for swimming lessons outside our available schedule, or for kids (we prefer not to teach kids, different skill sets and motivation), or to those who want the competitive edge.

I am aware great people are liable to get scrutinized, to be judged, and even harassed. So I thank this troll to confirm that we have reached that level of success.

For the benefit of anyone else who may have experience trolls like this, I recommend to watch a few YouTube videos that explain and outline the science of trolls.

In general,

  • trolls like to troll because they enjoy trolling,
  • they often don’t hate anything for specific or personal reasons, they hate anything in general,
  • they are often sadistic, which means they enjoy inflicting pain upon others
  • Do not feed the trolls, ignore them and they may fade away. But if necessary, point out inconsistencies in their points.

The troll commented on a significant amount of posts, and contained several inaccuracies, so I decided that they really wanted a response. Not sure what type of response, but I gave mine, and interestingly so did a few students.

Silver Lining

In all this virtual commotion, we shared with some of our previous students, and it was heartwarming to know that the students didn’t share or agree with the troll. Some gave motivational replies, and others even replied to the troll in our defense (we did not ask them to do so). Despite the frustration this troll has caused us temporarily, It has been our students’ satisfaction, loyalty, and support that gives me relief, hope and joy.


Counting Swimming Laps

When I started to practice Total Immersion Swimming, I was able to swim non-stop, upto 3 hours, even then I didn’t feel tired. I only stopped cause I was hungry. The other problem that I faced was losing count of my strokes and laps. One cannot improve something if it cannot be measured. In order to improve my endurance, I need to know how far I swam. In order to improve my efficiency, I need to count my strokes. And in order to improve on my speed, I need to measure my time along with my distance. In this post, I would like to share how it can be done.

There are 2 main methods of counting laps. The first one is to count manually. The other is to use gadgets. Note that laps is one length of the pool, which is different from running tracks where one lap is when you return to your starting point.

The problem with counting manually is that it relies on the person’s mental capacity, and it can easily fail, especially when it gets to double digits. So personally, I started of with counting individual laps, but i usually lose count after 20 or 30 laps. At some point, I started to count pairs of laps. So going two laps then I count as one set. This helped me count upto 40 laps (20 sets) before I lost count.  And then when I started to do drills, as in focusing on different parts of the body when swimming or technique, then I started to count 5 sets, as a drill set. so I could do handle more than 50 upto a 100 laps (10-20 drill sets). Keep in mind though, with counting my strokes every lap, I do still miscount my laps. Then I just reset to the smaller number that I remembered.

At some point, I got tired and dizzy of trying to count my laps and strokes, and I just wanted to experience the silence of the swim, one of the reasons I like the water is the sense deprivation, counting in my head actually disrupts the silence. The silence sometimes gives me ideas and insights that I enjoy. I still have insights, but I find that they are more clearer when I don’t think about anything. I guess it is my way of meditation. In fact, one of my insights was “There has gotta be a way to do this automatically”, so I searched online and found a variety of options. And the options are increasing every year.

There are cheap options and expensive options. generally the cheapest is enough for certain people. But for others they want something more, and in that case, will have to and should be willing to pay for the higher price. Lets take a quick look at the options.

  • Cheap option – lap counters. Usually counts laps only, they are worn on the forefinger like a ring, there are manual ones where you have to press after every lap. and there are slightly more expensive ones where it does it automatically. look for www.sportcount.com for some of this.
  • Moderately Expensive option – Swimmovate Poolmate, Finis Swimsense, and garmin swim. These are swimming pool specific. Generally after a minimal set up they  count laps and strokes, and calculate and measure your distance, time, speed and SWOLF (your swimming golf score, or swimming efficiency index). Upcoming is a kickstarter project called swimmo. check www.swimmo.com.
  • Really expensive option – suunto ambit; garmin vivo, 920 xt and the fenix series. These are actually multisports watches. So if you do more than just swimming, or plan to do a triathlon, then these are the watches to buy. They can even track an open water swim, as they have GPS that can track distance. If you want to get an in depth review of these watches (I seriously mean in depth), go to www.dcrainmaker.com, he is a triathlete and a gadget geek, and he reviews a lot of sports gadgets.

Personally, I chose swimmovate poolmater as it was the cheaper option, It was all i needed, it automatically tracked my laps, distance, speed and SWOLF. But I had to manually copy those info onto my endomondo. The other qualm I had about it, is the straps were broken, and I can only send back to the manufacturer to fix, and it cost almost the same price of buying a new one. The more expensive ones had options to sync with mobile or computer. But if money wasn’t a challenge, I would buy the Garmin 920xt, as it has everything an Ironman Triathlete would need. The garmin swim apparently has the same chipset, but only for swimming laps, and no GPS.

hope you can make your own research and your owned informed decision after reading this post. Good luck and Keep on Swimming.

For information about swimming classes I conduct in Brunei, go to www.effortlessswim.com.




Floating vs Treading Water

“Do you teach floating?”

I often get this question, either in promoting the swim classes, or during the class.

First and foremost…

What most people mean when they ask this question is actually treading. What’s the difference? Floating is when you don’t move and your body floats, treading is usually when someone needs to move in a certain way to keep their body afloat.

It is a lot easier for a floater than a sinker to tread water. see another article.

It is difficult, or impossible for a sinker to float. Because… sinkers sink.

The main reason some people ask this is because it is a requirement, mostly for entering the military, they are required to tread (what they say is float…) for a minute.

In my classes, I may teach this by request. But I must emphasize that treading or floating is not a sustainable way of surviving in the water, especially most people do not know the proper techniques to do so.

For more information on swimming classes. Go to www.effortlessswim.com

Sinkers and Floaters

When I learnt swimming properly at the age of 16, I thought there was something wrong with me, most of my friends were able to easily float, I seemed to struggle. As I refined my swimming technique, I realized my sinking legs tend to slow me down. I tried and I tried I couldn’t make it float, Teachers and friends keep on saying, just relax, allow your body to float, it seems unreal to them that one person doesn’t float as well as they do.

But as I started to learn to relax my swim, and doing open water swims, I realized that my legs sank less. As I taught others to swim, I began to see a pattern. Here are a few points I realized:

  • Most women float regardless if they were skinny or not
  • Most obese/overweight/fat people float.
  • Most runners have sinking legs
  • and in very rare occurences, ripped people, who have six packs? sink… like a rock… (regardless of how relax i tell them, or how much air they breath in and hold, they just sink slower)
  • the body interacts with the Pool water and Sea water differently. in general most people, if not all, float better in sea water.

So I have come to my own conclusions base on a few scientific facts.

  • Most women float, because in general they have higher body fat percentage then men. In general a healthy body fat percentage for a guy can go as low as 5% while a female will go as low as 15%.
  • Fat is less dense than water, so most people with more fat, will float better.
  • Most runners have more muscles than fat in their legs compared to people, in addition, runners experience a lot of impact in their legs, and in turn may cause their leg bones to be more dense than normal.
  • ripped people have low body fat percentage, as I understand it as low as 5%.
  • Sea water is more dense than pure water, of fresh water. therefore the body is more buoyant in sea water.

But I have learnt to accept my stature as a sinker. there are pros and cons.

  • Sinker
    • Pros
      • Can sink and dive
      • and due to that, have more control of movement in the water.
      • Still untested, the lack of buoyancy might mean that there is more inertial momentum (where is a physicist when you need one?)
      • generally sinking legs mean more muscle and more power, therefore they can actually propel themselves a lot faster.
    • Cons
      • Sink, I can actually sink effortlessly in the deep diving pool, I just need to breath out a few breaths. Thankfully for me, I still float in sea water (one of the fears I have, I have yet to ask my sinking students to try and tell me about it.
      • will use more energy to move upwards in addition to forwards
      • due to sinking legs, the forward motion is slowed down by the body’s profile which is less streamlined in the water.
  • Floater
    • Pros
      • can be easily relaxed in the water
      • they don’t have to try too hard to breath
      • most of their energy can be spent on moving forward rather than keeping them upward.
      • since their legs easily float, they can streamline in the water a lot easier. and can glide further without much effort.
    • Cons
      • they will find it difficult to sink or to dive
      • and relevent to that may find it more difficult to move around in the water
      • In worst cases, the body will float significantly making it difficult for the swimmer to balance and move in the water

When I teach people to swim, I actually assess first whether they are one or the other. It most cases for the sinkers, they will float (at least their head and chest) if they take in a deep breath and hold it in, and will start to sink when they let it out. A floater might even feel wrong for not being able to sink, as they can see their instructor (me) sinking to the floor, and they try to follow. Either can panic as they float or sink in the water. I share with them these facts and its pros and cons, and tell them they are who they are, and nothing can really change it in the short term. For now they just have to deal with it, and just use whatever is theirs to take advantage.

I don’t Recommend Using Kickboards



I don’t like kickboards

I… Don’t… Like… to use… Kickboards.

Granted… I have had used them before for myself and when I taught other people.

What are Kickboards? and why do people use them?

Kickboards are those flat floating devices that some people use to focus on kicking their legs in swimming.

Why don’t I like to use kickboards?

I am cheap, so using them would in general require for them to be bought.

I am lazy (or efficient as I like to put it), so I don’t want to carry things that I don’t have to, plus its a hassle.

But ultimately, I consider them as a handicap, especially for sinkers like me, (more on that soon), holding a kickboard puts the body in a significantly different body position than in actual swimming. So kicking while using it may differ in efficiency and effectiveness without it.

Why am I sharing this?

Partly just to express my thoughts and opinions, and the rest is to convince people they don’t need it in most cases, especially for beginners. I find that people who depend on kickboards to swim, tend to kick too hard and too fast, which tires them out, and discourages swimming, which might leave the learning swimmer negative thoughts about swimming.

Also, a student ask why I don’t teach swimming using them. So I share with them, I share with you.

What would I recommend?

for beginners, in a shallow pool, Just hold your breath and start to kick in the water, feel how the body position in the water and leg kicks work together to propel them forward. Floaters in general need to focus on their legs not being too high and splashing, while sinkers need to focus on pushing themselves upwards as well as forwards. In fact, I would also recommend everyone try and see how slow and relax they can kick and still move forward. One of the most common mistakes in kicking is thinking the faster your kick the faster you move, but in fact, it also depends on how you kick, it quite possible to kick the wrong way that the person sinks and even moves backwards.

What if you decide to still use kickboards?

Well, that is totally your choice, your choice to purchase one, and your choice to spend your time on it. And if you do, I would recommend to learn kicking without using it first, and later use the kickboard to train the legs to continuous kick, to build up a resistence to fatigue from kicking so much. But as my philosophy in swimming goes, It is better to do it slow and right first, before doing it fast.