Anxious Swimming To The Deep End

I am female and learnt to swim about 3 years ago at the age of 60 after a lifelong fear of the water. I now have confidence in the water but am still struggling with my deep water fear and get anxious swimming to the deep end.


I will swim to the deep end when instructed but get very anxious as i approach the end - I constantly feel that I am not going to reach the end - I get anxious before I go to the pool and cannot get it out of mind before and after my lesson. I seem to have a mental block regarding this. Any tips?


First of all congratulations on learning to swim. You have achieved something that many adults wish they could but dare not try.

As for swimming in deep water goes, it is important to understand that the buoyancy of the human body remains the same in all depths of water. In other words you will float in deep water just as well as you float in shallow water, therefore your ability to swim in all depths of water remains the same.

You may be experiencing some fatigue and breathlessness as you approach the end of your length in the deep end, which may give you that fearful feeling that you are going to sink.

You could try starting your swim from the deep end of the pool and swim to the shallow end and see how it feels in terms of tiredness.

A little test to try out on yourself: swim away from the poolside to an area of the pool that you know you are able to stand in if you need to. Then turn around and swim back to the wall where you came from.

The most important part here is when you change direction to swim back again you must do so without placing your feet on the pool floor or stopping to touch the bottom at all.

Changing direction like this can be tiring and make you a little breathless but with some practice you will begin to find it easier.

What you are effectively doing here is attempting to convince yourself that no matter where you are in the pool you are able to change direction and swim back to the side of the pool. Therefore the depth of the water is of no relevance.

The most important thing of all is not to let it put you off of swimming in anyway. You have achieved a huge amount so far so keep going to the pool and practice practice practice. Soon your confidence will grow and it will not be a problem.

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Jan 28, 2017
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Same situation
by: retired_nurse

I also learned to swim as an adult. Only person in my family who can swim. A Masters Swim Club was starting just after I moved to a new place .
That was in 1986 . Still swimming in Masters .
Still not happy in deep end. My biggest fear is someone bumping into me and me going into panic mode . So I can swim events where I have a lane to myself . I focus on the lane line below me.
But warm ups are a problem and I often avoid them and just take my chances with my swim. At our public pool I prefer the lane beside the wall - just to know it is within reach helps me . I am a distance freestyler and the 400 and 800 are my favorites so I have the physical ability but can easily get mentally undone . I am a very even paced swimmer . Once swam 100 lengths in a 25 yd pool and even split swim to 10th of a second. Freq even split 400 + 800 m swims too. But still not happy in deep end .

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