I read this book nearly two years ago when it came out. Not a fish myself, but having gone through the whole TI-thing myself (great for beginners, not so great after that imo), I agree with everything she says.
I did feel it was a 'one-trick' pony book, being all about the EVF. I didn't feel I really needed to buy the whole book to get the msg. The key things in the book that I feel sum up the entire book:
- 80% of speed comes from your pull and its power (assuming you've solved major drag issues). I found this to def be true - I can let my legs drag a bit in the water, kick errantly, even fishtail myself to slow myself down, but I'll still be very close to my normal swim time; for sure, I'm not losing 80% of speed from all that lack of hydrodynamics.
- The EVF is by far the most powerful and hydrodynamic position in the water that every single elite freestyle swimmer uses. It's also very non-natural and has to be worked on.
- She very carefully goes through the stages of the pull, and while the illustrations are good, it honestly it didn't help me improve my EVF significantly. If you watch a video on youtube of Sun Yang, you will see in real time what a near-perfect EVF is, which is more instructive than looking at pictures in a book.
I'm far from a good EVF, but I will add a bit of what I've learned in getting better at it - I honestly believe most beginners don't have the arm muscular endurance to do a proper EVF for more than trivial distances. I just got a Vasa swim trainer, which really encourages true EVF and it was shocking at how weak my EVF pull power was. Like useless after a mere 2 minutes of pulling on a Vasa (I'm not even a raw beginner - I swim a very middling MOP 1:35/100yd pace for 1500 in the pool.) If that EVF was tough for me at 1:35/100, you can imagine how impossible it would be for a beginner at 2:00+/100 - I honestly think it's near impossible for them.Furthermore, if you're so weak you can't do a good EVF in the pool, you learn to swim without an optimal EVF as a beginner and it makes it even harder to gain the correct muscular endurance. Taormina doesn't make this point in the book, but it's something that seems to becoming very clear to me after working with the Vasa and seeing how terrible my swim pull power was in the EVF position.
I guess that's my biggest critique of the book - she makes the EVF sound a lot more like a pure technique issue, but I felt she never really emphasized how important the muscular endurance was to even being able to do it. I actually feel it's much, much more of a muscular endurance issue than a technique issue for beginners, who I'll bet most of whom wouldn't even last 2 minutes on a Vasa/power-meter with good EVF technique, similar to myself.
I didn't buy the book myself, just read it in the bookstore. I think she does talk some about the need for muscular power/endurance though and she has several pages on using the "Halo trainer" and the stretch cords to develop this muscular endurance. I don't think she's saying that EVF is "all technique" at all because she emphasizes the use of dry-land training. I'm surprised she did not have your VASA trainer in that section but maybe she just didn't have easy access to one. It could be the VASA will completely change your swimming life:)
Also, regarding most people not having the power/endurance to hold EVF for very long, I see that all the time in the pool w/o even looking, e.g. I notice the dropped elbows or the too straight-armed/too deep pulls every day, just because I can't help but notice at other people's form.
When I first started swimming competitively, we had no dry-land training at all but rather we just swam lots of fast 50s, 100s, and maybe 2 x 200 per practice on long rest, as in 3 to 8 min between each swim. Prob swam a total of maybe 1500 yds at the most. We went off the blocks on every swim and every swim was supposed to be as fast as you could go. Dropped about 20 sec off my 100 free in the first 6 months, and 15 in the 2nd 6 months. That's how I developed EVF, lots of hard swims:)
"Anyone can be who they want to be IF they have the HUNGER and the DRIVE."