Esther Visser, founder of Swim in Balance®

Esther Visser, founder of Swim in Balance®

Esther Visser is a professional violinist, specialized in historical performance practice, Alexander Technique teacher, PhD researcher and she leads Swim in Balance®.

Esther visser


Esther is very interested in how you can perform a certain activity (playing the violin, moving, swimming) with so much quality that a beautiful result automatically arises. The Alexander Technique can help enormously with this.

When Esther studied violin at the Amsterdam Conservatory, she noticed that there was a room where students always came out with a big smile. She became curious and knocked on the door to ask what class was being taught there. The lady who opened the door said that she gave Alexander Technique lessons and offered her a trial lesson. Esther was 19 years old and at that time had never heard of Alexander Technique. During the lesson she found all the exercises a bit strange, but at the end of the lesson the lady said: “Now play something on your violin?”. To Esther's surprise, her violin suddenly sounded three times better. This convinced her that in order to become a good violinist, she needed these lessons.

During her Bachelor's and Master's degree she continued to hold Alexander Technique classes almost weekly and became more enthusiastic about it with each class. She already had the wish to become an Alexander Technique teacher one day, but since this is a very expensive private education, she first worked (internationally) as a violinist for 10 years before she decided to start teacher training in 2012. Esther specializes in Baroque music and works as a guest teacher at various conservatories in the field of historical performance practice.

Esther visser


During her 3-year full-time study to Alexander Technique teacher at ATCA in Amsterdam,, Esther heard that there was a swimmer in London who gave swimming lessons based on the Alexander Technique. This appealed to her enormously, because Esther has always loved water and, as a student, had also worked as a sailing instructor and trained other instructors. She went to London and was convinced of this way of swimming within a few lessons: it was so much lighter and smoother!

She says: “Especially about the butterfly I was surprised, because I always thought you had to be terribly strong for the butterfly stroke. However, the butterfly stroke in our way is very light, even people with weak arm muscles can achieve this, and gives a wonderful feeling to your spine. You literally move like a dolphin does. Using the principles of the Alexander Technique and good timing, the arms move forward through the air just over the water... creating much less resistance. I would therefore encourage anyone who dreads the butterfly stroke to take one Butterfly stroke course try, because you will be amazed!”

It then turned out that at that time another Dutchman, also a musician (horn player) and Alexander Technique teacher, was also interested in this approach. Together they started Swim in Balance®. 

A year later Esther also graduated as an Alexander Technique teacher and started her own practice free up in Harlem. She specializes in musicians with pain complaints, but also gives Alexander Technique lessons to people in other professions.

PhD study

A few years ago, Esther won a full-time scholarship at Canterbury Christ Church University (UK) to do a PhD study. She investigates how violinists around 1870 balanced their violin on their shoulder. Her hypothesis is that this may have been much healthier than how it is done today (too far to go into here, see her website She is currently completing this study.

What corresponds to swimming is that the way you perform something has such an enormous impact on the (sporting or artistic) result. In her method of balancing the violin, she uses exactly the same principles as when performing an efficient swimming stroke. They seem to be two different subjects, but at their core they are exactly the same.

She says: “Many violinists and other people suffer from shoulder, neck and back problems. The Alexander Technique and our way of swimming offer safe and healthy support for such complaints and teaches you a skill that you can continue to apply independently. That's why I enjoy teaching using the Swim in Balance® method: We teach people something that they will enjoy for the rest of their lives.”

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A wonderful holiday, during which I learned to swim in a whole new way. Nice location, quiet pool and on the sea, so all possibilities to practice in between. Nice lessons with a lot of personal attention. I thought I would find two hours of swimming hard, but learning this technique is wonderful.

- Floortje (swimming holiday)

Super good way to learn how to crawl in a relaxed way. Top!

- Hester

Recommended! A very nice front crawl basic course in Utrecht! Good teachers teach you a special way of swimming in a very personal approach. I hope to really learn to master the front crawl in a follow-up course.

- Manon

With the aim of being able to participate in a quarter triathlon, I naturally immediately came to the conclusion that my swimming needed an improvement (literally). Through Swim in Balance I laid the foundation to do this with the Shaw method front crawl. In the course you really received personal attention and a lot of guidance and coaching to improve the details and to be able to swim more easily, faster and more relaxed. The lessons are nicely structured; you learn step by step and keep getting new “aha” moments, at a fast and easy pace. Now it is simply a matter of practicing and building up fitness. In any case, the basis is there; for that, thanks!

- Andrew

It is really fun to learn butterfly stroke at Swim in Balance. The exercises are playful and pleasant to do. Float like a crocodile, 'wave' underwater like a mermaid. Recommended!


I learned a lot in a short time! I would recommend the lessons at Swim in Balance to anyone who would like to learn how to swim better.


I've been doing laps for years. Breaststroke as we learned it at… school. When I finally allowed myself front crawl lessons with a traditional teacher, who works with planks, shouts Zoomers and instructions from the side and lets you make all movements at the same time, I was quite disappointed. I was and remained a thrashing dog with sour muscles. That method is not for me. Stopped after 2 lessons. He reported and showed from the side that my breaststroke could be better, which I saved but did nothing with. When I saw Swim in Balance, it immediately appealed to me. I know what Alexander Technique is. That also helped. But this immediately felt like the method for me. Maybe I didn't stand a chance after all! Have now done the front crawl basic course and move on to level 2 and breaststroke. Because pulling jobs with that last stroke now pulls too much on my lower back. And 'I save them all'. Ultimately, I want to learn all strokes at Swim in Balance.

- Hieke

Just followed the front crawl lessons in Zandvoort. Very pleasant swimming lesson and good teacher; everything is discussed very calmly and practiced immediately. Laughed occasionally. First I had to get over my underwater fear. But with the right swimming goggles (bought on the spot), it worked surprisingly quickly. Now it's a matter of a lot of practice.


When I went to the course for the first time, I found it very exciting. But that was soon over: I learned so much there! With my age (67 years old) I thought 'that won't work' but after 6 weeks of lessons I learned a lot. The system of breathing, relaxing and the alignment of your neck gave me a lot of confidence. It gives you peace in the water. Good instructors, learned a lot. Now I don't have to stay on the shore and watch, which was until now because I had drowned at a young age. You are never too old to learn. This swimming method is highly recommended.

- Harry (Water Confidence course)

Very nice course! You learn the front crawl step by step with very good explanation and exercises. It is a technique that is very good for your posture and a lot of fun to do.

- Christina

With a torn inner knee ligament, swimming breaststroke was not possible for the time being. Great opportunity to learn the front crawl at Swim In Balance. Pleasant lessons in small groups and the teacher takes you step by step in the new stroke, in a swimming pool where you can stand. This allows you to practice relaxed. Definitely recommended, I really enjoyed having swimming lessons again after 40 years. It is important that you take time to practice between lessons and as far as the front crawl is concerned, it is useful to do the follow-up course immediately afterwards.

- Kim

This is a great course to give you confidence and bring you further in your quest to master front crawl. Small group and can be tailored to wishes and needs of the participants. Thoroughly enjoyed the lessons and look forward to learning breast stroke next time as the method in which the lessons are taught is a perfect combination of technique, tips and giving you confidence to continue. Great teachers with lots of knowledge and patience Thanks!


If you have fears of water, this is a great way to get through it.

- Miriam

After 3 swimming courses (breaststroke and front crawl 1 and 2) I can say that I am a fan of Swim in balance. With a good structure of the lessons, a lot of personal attention and in a nice, relaxed atmosphere, I learned 2 very nice swimming strokes. I'll definitely come back!


Thanks to the Water confidence course, I dare to swim under water and I no longer panic when I end up under water from the water slide. Now I can practice with my daughter for her diploma swimming and have fun surfacing rings from the bottom. I'm glad I found you and took this step. Thank you very much.


I have completed the water confidence course and this has helped me a lot to make me feel safe in water. However, I would recommend that you call before purchasing this course and indicate what your goal is to get out of the course. This way you can better sharpen your expectations. Everywhere is a very safe environment with a lot of patience. You as an individual are looked at a lot and at what you can or cannot do. The exercises are therefore also adapted to your abilities. Highly recommended if you want to find ways to stay calm under and in the water!


Fantastic method to learn a completely new swimming stroke in a short time! I looked forward to the lesson every week and always came out of the water excited! Recommended!

- Marianne

Swim in Balance rocks! The safety and trust you get is simply nice. The feeling Esther gave me during the course was very special and it will stay with me forever. Keep it up, Esther. I guarantee everyone that you will not have any fear of water after the course 'Water in Confidence'

- Derya

With the Swim in Balance basic crawl course I mastered the technique in a short time and in a nice way. In a nice bath and with a motivated group. Many thanks, Jenny!

- Marjoram

Very good course, Trijntje takes the time for everyone.

- Marcel

The course is recommended if you want to be able to swim the front crawl in an efficient manner, with as little stress as possible on your body.

- Kim

Now done the Chest Crawl 2 course. Can also recommend this course to everyone to dot the i's and cross the t's!

- Arjan

I really enjoy the lessons and get many new insights that help me further. Every swimming lesson I come out of the water so happy. Very nice of you to do this! Esther also looks and feels well with me. Very valuable!

- Joshine

I just wanted to say that I still have a big smile on my face now. Although I know I'm not a born swimmer, it's about the fun and I experienced that a lot yesterday. Very cool to experience what (part of) the global movement of the butterfly stroke feels like. It was so much fun!


Thanks to the breaststroke course, I have overcome my aversion to swimming underwater and am much more relaxed in the water. The guidance was very nice. This allowed me to step out of my comfort zone with confidence. Many thanks and maybe see you soon!

- Maaike

Nice courses! I have done both the breaststroke course and the front crawl course and I will continue until I have done all the courses. Why? It made me happy and I learned new swimming strokes in a nice way. Learning takes place in small steps, so that it is easy to follow for everyone and yet it is not boring for anyone. So the material is well put together. In addition, the courses are given by well-trained instructors who stand next to you in the water and clearly show the steps a number of times. If you want to learn how to swim well in a relaxed way, this is definitely recommended!

- Femmy

An absolute must - during the course (breaststroke) you learn to swim in a different way than you are used to. The teachers give clear instructions and also give individual feedback. In addition, I had a nice group (8 people).

- Nard

A nice personal course in a small group. Where you can crack your brain while learning a (new) swimming stroke.


Very nice course! Good teachers and pleasant temperature water to practice well!

- love

I have rediscovered swimming in a very relaxed way.


I am very satisfied with the way Tyrone and Esther have taught. I feel like a fish in water more than ever and the lessons at Swim in Balance definitely contributed to that. Satisfying.

- Sat

I really liked the lessons. Esther teaches in a clear and professional way and there was a relaxed atmosphere. I notice that because of this course I now come out of the water nice and relaxed after an hour of swimming. Very glad I took this course.

- Floor

Take a course. Swim in balance is good for your body and mind!


The step-by-step learning approach worked very well for me. Esther's feedback did the rest.

- Lidwien

I think you are doing very well from the course. You will also learn something that will benefit you for the rest of your life. Keep it up. I am glad I came to you.

- Marian

In 3 months time I can now swim 1km front crawl, I never thought that! I could barely front crawl for this.

- Martine

Very nice course where you can get out of your head and learn something new!

- Alexandra

Nice, clear, didactically well structured swimming lessons. Have therefore learned the technique and breathing at chest crawl in a relaxed way. Recommended.

- Ineke

I have (already) followed a very nice course. Under professional guidance I was taken step by step in learning a new swimming stroke. It feels like dancing in the water. Recommended!


During the basic front crawl course, it was explained step-by-step and clearly how we can crawl according to the Shaw method. This is quite a bit different from what I've ever learned. But because of the clear explanation and the slow build up of the battle, it was easy to adjust. Lydia was also a very nice and enthusiastic instructor.


If you want to learn how to swim better and have 6 evenings in a nice group…. then Swim in Balance is the right choice! in 6 evenings I learned to crawl well.

- Peter

Fantastic, every lesson gave a feeling of victory and euphoria. Guidance was excellent, no pressure but just the will to try.

- Bruno (Water Confidence course)

Every lesson something was conquered and every week my confidence in the water grew. The last two lessons I cycled home with a big smile.

- Mirella (Water Confidence course)

In 12 weeks I now swim 1000m front crawl, before this I barely made the 25m, so crazy!

- Martine

Great meaningful DIY vacation. Didn't think I could learn so much in a week.

- Rosita (swimming holiday July 2022)

What else do you want? With nice people on a trip to a sunny holiday resort and then also learn a lot. I loved this swimming vacation! Thank you Esther, Tyrone and fellow swimmers!

- Femmy (swimming holiday July 2022)

“Last Wednesday I had my first private lesson with you. We are now two days later and I am still living on the energy and relaxation of 1 hour of swimming. Every euro of the almost 600 I spent is so worth it. And that is largely due to the way Esther teaches. She is calm and knows how to convey the technique in a special way that I don't need to explain it a second time. I have already decided that after this I also want to follow front crawl 2 through private lessons.”.

- Salima

Very nice week in a beautiful environment to learn the Shaw method.

- Martin (swimming holiday May 2022)

If like me you thought you could never learn how to crawl, and if you want to learn how to get more effect (not just in the pool) with less power, this is a course to do. Accessible, nice people, interesting method, wonderful location and real results.

- Cilia (swimming holiday May 2022)

I wholeheartedly recommend the swimming holidays of Swim in Balance. Learning a new stroke really well, with all the individual guidance that every participant needs, is guaranteed to succeed here. Moreover, I learned a lot about the Alexander Technique, on which Swim in Balance bases its swimming method - also super valuable for other sports, making music and life in general. Although we worked hard, it really felt like a holiday – great to dive into the sauna after swimming! I wish Swim in Balance many more happy participants!

- Alix (swimming holiday May 2022)

A memorable adventure, where to my amazement I really learned to front crawl, unbelievable!

- Nicolien (swimming holiday May 2022)

Great, fun course, does what it promises

- Show

During the basic front crawl course, it was explained step-by-step and clearly how we can crawl according to the Shaw method. This is quite a bit different from what I've ever learned. But because of the clear explanation and the slow build up of the battle, it was easy to adjust. Lydia was also a very nice and enthusiastic instructor.


All my life I was afraid of water and afraid of learning to swim. But after 6 weeks of Water Confidence I managed to leave most of my fear behind. Fantastic, I am very grateful to you!

- Gabor

Take a course. Swim in balance is good for your body and mind!


I have (already) followed a very nice course. Under professional guidance I was taken step by step in learning a new swimming stroke. It feels like dancing in the water. Recommended!


I really benefit from the lessons and come home happy every time.

- Marian

Haven't dared put my head under water in my whole life. After 2 lessons with Esther I completely got over my fear and I was able to snorkel with the sea lions and their babies during my holiday on Galapagos! Top!

- Hannah

“I've been trying to teach myself the front crawl for years. With regular lessons you are quickly “forgotten” as a beginner. Esther teaches you, in a relaxed way, a very nice stroke without forcing your back or shoulders. From water habituation (floating) to the entire stroke. Recommended!”

- Hester

“The course really made me realize that the more aligned you are in the water, the more comfortable swimming is. Very glad I learned this, thank you!”

- Wilma

Taking a vacation and learning something has never been so much fun!

- Esther (swimming holiday)

“Instructive course, recommended!”

- Marjoram

"Finally working on my front crawl in a relaxed way, before I mainly did this with brute force, but now through Swim in Balance courses and exercises this is done in a relaxed way, very happy with it."

- Nard

This special journey has brought me a lot, through the Alexander swimming technique and the relaxing way of teaching I have become friends with water again. In addition to this “reunited friendship”, other wonderful people and experiences have also crossed my path. Thanks for this special week.

- Sylvia (swimming holiday)

“My experience with the course was teaching the professional approach of the correct technique, in both the group instructions and the individual guidance, as well as the conviviality.”

- Janine

“Being always a bit afraid of the water, this has really been a life changing experience. I will not be doing the Olympics any time soon, but I definitely am happy with the outcome.”


”I thought the crawl basic course was a very nice course, very relaxed setting, Niels is a great teacher with an eye for detail, and a clear explanation. Before the course I had no experience with the front crawl, and now I can swim the front crawl in a good and relaxed way, and I have the basics to train this stroke in a good way. Outside the bath I also benefit from the body awareness that you get in this method, so that I am more often aware of my posture and can improve it.”

- Timo

“Nice course. You learn to swim again, but in a constructive way. Very nice to discover that you can swim quickly with not much effort. And the crawl like this is a beautiful stroke.”

- Willemiek

“In small steps, with good instruction and stimulating guidance, the basics for chest crawl learned in a short time.”

- In the

“Great lessons, fun and effective.”

- Peter

The swimming holiday to Croatia was wonderful! Good weather, beautiful people, learning new things every day in the salt water pool, fun optional activities and plenty of free time to go your own way. Perfect!

- Lydia (swimming holiday)

“I thought it was a great experience to learn so much in such a short time! The classes were at the same time very relaxed, completely relaxed! Delicious! I had surgery on my back a few months ago, the result is not good, I hesitated to take the classes, but it has given me a lot of good! Recommended!"

- Saskia

“I was very happy with the front crawl level 1 course (in the swimming pool) as well as the 2 hour workshop in the lake 't Wed. Both have given me the skills to feel confident to swim laps in a pool or to swim in open water. Esther is a great instructor with patience and a passion for this sport. She is very relaxed and explains things in a concise and encouraging way. Anyone interested in improving their technique so you can swim more efficiently would benefit greatly from following Esther's courses.”


“This course completely fulfills the promise! Really fun and educational to do.”

- Nicole

“Perfect course. Never thought that something I've wanted to do for years could be taught so easily. I wish I had done it years earlier.”

- Hans

A wonderful mix of sporting effort and relaxation. Exactly what I needed! Sun, sea, salt water and inspiring swimmers!

- Annelies (swimming holiday)

“I have experienced the Shaw Method as subtle, friendly, logical, natural, intelligent and effective. The instructors are calm and thoughtful. The technology is made up of building blocks so that you can fall back on the basics if you have lost the technology for a while.”

- Tess

“Esther taught me the basics of the front crawl in 6 lessons. The lessons are very clearly structured and ensure that you slowly get used to a new habit. The Shaw Method provides a relaxed way of swimming where relaxation is the most important. The advanced lessons allowed me to continue working on my technique and since then I have been jumping in the pool with great pleasure and confidence. Thanks!”


If you thought you could swim you should give this a try. You will learn relaxing techniques from expert teachers in a beautiful swimming pool on the coast of Croatia.

- Nora (swimming holiday)

“A wonderful hour of relaxing in the water and at the same time developing more feeling. Nice to experience how effective it is to apply the Alexander Technique to swimming! I recommend it to all swimming enthusiasts.”

- Carolina