Never learned to swim as a kid? Do you struggle with a fear of water? If so, you are not alone. The good news is, plenty of people overcome their fears and learn to swim as an adult. And you can too! No matter what your age, it’s never too late to learn. All it takes is a little determination and practice.
Like any new sport, it pays to start small. Take one step at a time, and before you know it, you will be sensational! Here’s how to get started.
Get the right swim gear
To make your first swimming experience a positive one, it helps to get the right gear. First things first…your swimsuit. Look for a swimsuit that offers support and flexibility, like a trendy one piece or a two piece tankini. Chlorine resistant swimsuits are a great choice for value, comfort, and style if you think you will be swimming a lot. Once you find a swimsuit you love, you can walk out to the pool in confidence and style!
Next, you will want to find a pair of goggles that fit well. You should be able to feel a light suction around your eyes when you put them on. This suction will keep the water out. Goggles allow you to open your eyes underwater and see clearly. This is a big step in getting over your fear of swimming.
And last, consider buying a swim cap, especially if you have long hair. Swim caps help to reduce the effect of chlorine in your hair and alleviate the tangling. Most importantly, they keep the hair out of your face while you are swimming.
Start small to conquer your fear of swimming
As a new swimmer, you should start swimming in the shallow end until you are certain you can handle deeper water. Here are some tips for overcoming your fear and getting adjusted to the water:
- Start by bobbing.In a standing position, dip yourself down in the water, and pop up, going deeper each time until you build up the courage to put your head under water.
- Dip your face in the water.Getting used to having your face in the water is an important milestone. From a standing position, take a good breath, bend at the waist, and dip your face in the water. Next, blow bubbles! This may sound funny, but blowing bubbles will get you used to exhaling in the water—an important component of swimming.
- Use the wall.When you’re ready to take your feet off the ground, start by grabbing onto the wall. Put one hand on the ledge, and the other a little lower on the wall to brace yourself. Then lift up your legs, let your body float up, and feel yourself stretch out. You’re in swimming position!
- Use a kickboard.Next, try this same exercise, still in the shallow end, with a kickboard. Keep your body as straight as you can, using a flutter kick to keep your legs afloat. See if you can cross the width of the pool with the kickboard.
- Use a pool noodle.Pool noodles are great for learning to float on your back. With the noodle wrapped behind you and under your armpits, simply put your head back and look at the ceiling as you drift along on your back. By now, you should be having fun in the pool!
Floating and gliding
Are you ready to float by yourself? If you trust in yourself, you can do it! To float on your back, the secret is looking at the ceiling. Just fill your lungs with air, arch back, and lift your feet up, keeping your eyes on the ceiling. Do not look towards your feet. Do a gentle flutter kick and a skulling motion with your hands, and you will float!
Next, try gliding on your stomach. Put your shoulders in the water, with your arms out in front of you. Take a deep breath, put your face in the water, and then push off the bottom to glide on the surface of the water for just a few feet. When your gliding motion slows down, just stand up. Now you’ve got it!
Finding the most comfortable stroke
Once you feel comfortable floating on your back and gliding on your stomach, you have the foundations to learn a stroke. Most beginner swimmers want to learn freestyle (crawl), but there are other options, too. You might find that the backstroke or breaststroke are better beginner strokes for you. Work with a swim instructor to learn the mechanics of these strokes, and sooner than you think, you will be ready for your first lap. We can’t wait to see you at the pool!