Yoga for Swimmers: Tom Shields Talks Yoga

More and more swimmers are incorporating yoga into their training to enhance their performance and improve their wellness. One of those swimmers is 2016 United States Olympian Tom Shields.

Shields, who also holds the American records in the short course meters 50, 100 and 200 butterfly, has been doing yoga since 2010. That is when Nick Folker, his strength and conditioning coach at the time, gave him an ultimatum and the motivation to find a way to increase his mobility, “It was the need for flexibility and mobility,” says Shields. “Nick Folker told me he would not let me lift or do certain exercises until I became more proficient in those areas.”

Currently Shields does a structured yoga practice three to four times a week along performing a few poses everyday. The two styles he practices most are vinyasa and yin. The emphasis on which style changes at different points in his training.

Through a consistent yoga practice he has experienced many more benefits than just increasing his flexibility and mobility, “Eating well, sleeping well and believing well. Yoga is a part of all that.”

In fact Shields does not like to think of his yoga practice being restricted to his time on the mat, “I like to think I practice yoga at all times.”

But when he is on the mat he definitely has a favourite pose, “Pigeon, for sure.”

You can learn how to do pigeon in this pose tutorial brought to you by Swimming Specific Yoga the world’s premier website for online yoga classes, courses and content designed for swimmers.



This Yoga for Swimmers article is brought to you by Swimming Specific Yoga the world’s top resource for online yoga classes and courses designed for swimmers.


Take a Tour of our Website!!!



Swimming Specific Yoga

Sign up here to receive the Swimming Specific Yoga newsletter

The newsletter includes information on how yoga can enhance both your swimming performance and your wellness.


In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
5 years ago

Tom no longer has the 100 yard FL American Record. Dressel broke it at the 2017 NCAA champs.

crooked donald
5 years ago

Apparently, yoga does not stave off the piano.

5 years ago

Yoga and swimming go so well together, especially kinds of yoga such as Iyengar where precision control of one’s entire body is emphasized. Every movement in every moment counts these days especially and yoga really helps anyone, not just swimmers, to be aware of each of those things. Very glad to see it being more widely practiced and talked about.

About Jeff Grace

Jeff Grace

Jeff is a 500 hour registered yoga teacher who holds diplomas in Coaching (Douglas College) and High Performance Coaching (National Coaching Institute - Calgary). He has a background of over 20 years in the coaching profession, where he has used a unique and proven teaching methodology to help many achieve their …

Read More »