October 23, 2021


I love training and hope to instill that spirit in my clients. That doesn’t mean I advocate training hard until you puke every session. It just means that I love movement of all sorts and want to get people moving as much as possible.

For land based training, I love kettlebells and bodyweight exercises. With most people I try to keep things very uncomplicated and give people the minimal dose necessary to achieve their goals. In many cases, 30 minutes is all you need, maybe even less, per day.

I like to see people achieve their goals and then do a little more. Challenges in life are what keep life interesting and new. Instilling a sense of continual improvement is one of my chief aims in building sustainable training for health and performance without burning out or injury.

Be strong. Move well. Come train with me and let’s get there together!

My main areas of focus are:

Russian Kettlebell Certification (RKC).
Original Strength Level 2 coach.
Progressive Calisthenics Coach.
Animal Flow Level 1.

Swimming is where I began my journey as a coach. Emerging from my years as a triathlete, I sought the best methods of bringing someone from novice to advanced in the water. In that, Total Immersion Swimming is unique amongst swim instruction systems in its ability to address the issues of the beginner all the way to the elite. We teach swimming in this order:

  1. Balance – being horizontal in the water.
  2. Streamline – reducing drag and being needle-like in the water.
  3. Propulsion – using the whole body to generate propulsion on a properly shaped and floating vessel.

A fourth step I like to add is called Optimization, which is to take Balance, Streamline, and Propulsion into time, distance, and speed.

Total Immersion uses drills and focal points to teach optimal swimming form in all four strokes, Freestyle, Butterfly, Breast Stroke, and Back Stroke, and the Combat Swim Stroke. By far, the most popular stroke I teach is Freestyle, given the high triathlete population in the San Francisco Bay Area.

For Freestyle, I work on the 3 (+1) stages above one by one. First we get you floating horizontal in the water and teach you how to control it. Next, we show you how to form the body shape with the least drag, and to rotate efficiently about your spine as an axis. Then, we show you how to use your whole body to generate propulsion, and not just through swiping your arms or kicking your legs faster and faster. We teach the Two Beat Kick which only kicks once per stroke and coordinates the kicking leg with the rotational energy of the body to send momentum out the spearing lead arm.

We also teach you how to use tools to effectively measure your progress. Using metrics such as stroke counting and tempo, along with speed, time and distance, we give you the ability to measure efficiency of your stroke that is consistent from practice to practice. We love the FINIS Tempo Trainer for this purpose and show you how to use it to hold form over longer and longer distances and faster speeds.

My sessions are videoed entirely for your own record and review. We may also do an initial swim video and occasional videos to show progress.

I coach swimming at Menloswim, with instruction at their Burgess Pool in Menlo Park.

I have been a Total Immersion Certified Coach Level 2 since 2011 and occasionally help out at SF Bay Area TI workouts.

Prehabilitation, or pre hab, a form of strength training, aims to prevent injuries before the actual occurrence.Wikipedia

When I began coaching swimming back in 2011, I would apply the drills and techniques but often wonder why swimmers weren’t taking to them as readily as I was taught they would. Upon further examination of the swimmers themselves, I realized that they had limitations brought on by years of lack of movement, or improper movement, or injury that they had sustained in the past. While the drills and techniques might eventually have gotten them to successful swimming, I always look for faster and efficient paths to reaching their goals.

This led me to explore a number of disciplines that I apply to my athletes to prepare them for not only swimming but other athletics as well:

Original Strength
Immaculate Dissection
Anatomy in Motion
Primal Movement Chains by Perry Nickelston
Hanna Somatics
Neurokinetic Therapy (NKT) L1

We typically start with an assessment and history intake. We then look at what you’re trying to accomplish and set you on the path to get there. This usually means an exercise/movement prescription which will improve your situation and your ability to perform athletic movements.

Note that if you feel pain, you should consult with a clinician first before we meet and work together.

Please contact me for more information about your situation and how we can help achieve your goals, either on land or in the water!


I completed the Oakland Sprint Tri yesterday and can’t begin to tell you how much more comfortable I am in the water. The conditions helped (it was perfect), but the spearing, looking straight down, rotation, etc. really helped! – Shirley, Triathlete

David Shen is one of those rare individuals, who, as a coach, is able to effectively translate his passion, experience, attention to detail & knowledge into an extremely meaningful learning experience for his students. I’ve been working with him as a swimming coach for about 3 months now and look forward to every coaching session with him – his conceptual approach to Total Immersion Swimming combined with his intuitive skills as a teacher make every session with him so worthwhile and inspiring. He’s been able to make me believe that I could “do it” despite my initial lack of confidence – an important trait for a coach to have!

Just last week, and with only 3 months of unlearning old habits and learning new ones and much practice, after getting out of the water from a half hour swim, a total stranger approached me from the dock and said, “I was watching you swim for the last 10 minutes and wanted to tell you that the way you swim is so beautiful and such a pleasure to watch”.

I couldn’t believe it and I was totally touched by her comment, and thought “so much work and such a great teacher”. Very grateful to be able to work with David and looking forward to experiencing more of his “coaching magic”. – Joe, Swimmer/Duathlete

I was looking to improve my long distance swimming because I am training to earn a place in the US Air Force Special Operations Command (not in the service yet). I was referred to David Shen from a family friend of mine and to be honest with you, I was skeptical at first about paying a pretty large amount for swim lessons. However, the moment the lesson began, I knew for a fact that having David as a swim coach was beyond priceless. The fact that he analyzed my form with one lap, and gave me critical feedback which caused my swimming to improve immediately, shows his extraordinary competence as a swim coach! Now y’all might not believe his competence as shown above. So here is the difference 3 lessons (a total of 3 hours) made to my 500-meter swim time. My very first 500-meter swim time was approximately 14:00. Now even for this time, I was exhausted after completing it. But now, after being taught by David, my 500-meter swim time has gone down by around 6 minutes and is now at 8:44! Moreover, I can now swim upwards of 3,500-meters (70 laps on a 25-meter pool) without exhaustion! I still can’t believe how much a great coach, like David Shen, can improve a person’s swimming. If you are looking for a coach who is passionate about his job, has a truckload of experience, and can effectively translate those characteristics into his coaching, then you have come to the right place. If you hadn’t guessed already, I highly, HIGHLY recommend David Shen! – Tomoki, Aspiring USAF Pararescueman

I made a special trip from Israel for two weeks for swimming lessons with Coach DShen after I learned about him from his website and from his videos. I learned so much on details that I could not have picked up otherwise. I now have a great plan to improve! – Elan, Swimmer