Last year, it was my New Year's resolution to learn to swim; I feared water and gained confidence when I went Aqua Aerobics. I'm just worried that when I do learn with floats, I won't be able to get my feet off the floor. I'm fed up with excuses. I've got a burning desire to swim. Please help!
Well done for getting in the water and having a go at aqua aerobics. That is no mean feat when you have a fear of water. Aqua aerobics is great for getting used to the water and discovering a bit about how your body moves and behaves. However, it doesn’t teach you about floating, holding your breath and all the important stuff when learning how to swim.
As for getting your feet off the floor, believe it or not, that is not the scary part. The scary part is getting them back down and safely onto the pool floor again. Once you can do this, you will feel a little more confident about lifting your feet and trying some swimming.
Like most adult beginners, you will probably wonder about floating and how you float. This is all down to your body shape and composition. You will find that either you float easily or you do not float at all. Some people are good floaters, and some are not so. But even the bad floaters can learn to swim.
If you are a poor floater, remember that the human body does not sink like a stone. You will sink very slowly and gently, allowing some time to add arm pulls and leg kicks to help keep your body at or near the water's surface.
Your first exercise to try out is holding the poolside, better still, a trusty friend's hands, and lifting your feet off the floor. Then try bending your knees forwards under your body and placing your feet back on the floor again. You can do this with the security of holding something or someone, which will help massively regain a standing position again.
When you’re ready, you can then progress to holding the poolside and then letting go just as you stand up. You will have to use your arms and hands to pull down through the water to help to stand again. Doing it near the poolside will give you the added security of grabbing it if you need to.
For a clear diagram and explanation of how to regain a standing position, click here.
An absolute must for you to learn is holding your breath and putting your face in the water. Use some goggles, as this makes it a little easier. Once again, practice this whilst holding the poolside, breathing out into the water, lifting your face, taking another breath and then repeating the exercise. The more you do this, the more it will become second nature, and your fears will gradually disappear.
Once you have become confident with these two key elements of learning to swim, the rest is just a matter of what to do with your arms and legs, which is the easy part!