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Fear of swimming holding you back?

Is your fear of swimming preventing you from learning how to swim, or holding back your swimming strokes?  Maybe it stops you from going anywhere near the swimming pool at all? 

The Complete Beginners Guide

"This book has taught me so much. I'm a relaxed, confident and happy swimmer. Thank you!"


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The Complete Beginners Guide

"This book has taught me so much. I'm a relaxed, confident and happy swimmer. Thank you!"


Click for more info

Conquering your fear involves coming to terms with how your body behaves in the water and then learning to take control of the thoughts and feelings associated with various states you body can find itself in when in the water.  

There are several key areas to address:

Click on any of the above areas to learn about them in more detail.  

Why do we have a fear of water?

The most common reason for having any kind of anxiety when it comes to getting in the swimming pool is usually linked to a bad experience in the past.  This could have been a terrifying swimming lesson, an accidental fall into deep water or even a near drowning. 

Now when you go near water or a swimming pool your body's self defence systems kick in and raises your heart rate, tightens your muscles and accelerates your breathing.  

These are all your body's way of saying 'don't even go there'!

You might not have quite such a fear.  Instead you could be one of those swimmers who swim happily around in the water until suddenly out of nowhere you feel like you're going to sink.  You are swimming in deep water and it is going to pull you down and you instantly find yourself scrambling for the side to hold on to.

Overcome your fear of swimming

How do you conquer your fear?  The short answer: slowly and gradually, step by step.

Step 1: learn how to hold your breath and to breathe out into the water.  Yes, blow bubbles!  Human beings cannot breathe underwater (sorry to state the obvious here), so we have to learn to control our breathing whilst in the water.  If we control our breathing, then our heart rate will be lower, our muscles will be less tense and overall we will become more relaxed.

conquer your fear of swimming

Try standing in water of about chest or shoulder depth, take a deep breath and partially submerge your face into the water.  Allow your mouth and nose to become submerged, holding your breath the whole time.  

Do this slowly and gradually and eventually you will become used to the feeling of breath holding and having water on your face. 

Try breathing out through your mouth by blowing gently.  Allow the bubbles to tickle your nose and splash your face.  These feelings are all common part of swimming so practice this until you are used to it.

Feeling brave?  

Step 2:  Try again but this time venture a little

deeper by allowing your eyes to become submerged, still holding your breath.  

You might want to wear some swim goggles for this one.  The ability to see everything clearly under the water can be quite calming and reassuring. 

Once you are used to submerging yourself in the water, your fear of swimming is nearly conquered and you are ready to take your feet off the pool floor and begin to swim. 

Learning to swim is a whole other chapter but our best-selling book 'The Complete Beginners Guide to Swimming' contains help with all aspects of fear of swimming and conquering your fear, including floating, relaxing, submersion and stopping and standing mid swim.  Plus tons of exercises to learn how to swim the four basic strokes.  You can download it, print out the parts you need and take them to your pool to try out.  Click here for more details.

Fear of Swimming In Deep Water?

One important point you must understand here: the buoyancy of the human body is the same in deep water as it is in shallow water.  In other words your ability to remain at the water surface is the same regardless of the depth of the water.

Try this simple psychological test: 

Swim away from the pool side for a distance of 5 to 10 metres, but to water that is still within your standing depth.  Then change direction and swim back to poolside you came from, but WITHOUT touching the pool floor with your feet.  

If you are able to complete this without any problems then you have just proved to yourself that you are able to stop, change direction and return to poolside in any depth of water.  The fact that you managed this without putting your feet on the bottom of the pool means that the depth of the water is of no concern whatsoever.

Hey well done, you have just conquered your fear of swimming!

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