Essential Swimming Tips for Beginners

Consider these most important swimming tips for beginners before you start learning any swimming technique.

These essential water skills will provide you with a solid base with which to conquer fear and build confidence, all before you start to learn a swimming stroke.

Safety First! 

It's important to stay safe in and around water, so remember:

  • Never swim alone
  • Learn the basics
  • Use buoyancy aids correctly
  • Stay within your depth
  • Get professional lessons

For more essential swimming safety tips, click here.

Top 5 Swimming Tips For Beginners

Take a step back and consider these 5 confidence building skills that will help build a solid foundation from which you can easily develop your swimming strokes.

1. Discover your level of buoyancy

Understanding how buoyant you are will help determine if you are a floater or a natural sinker.  It's all down to your relative density and you will discover just how your body behaves in the water by following the steps outlined here.  Things like gliding, breath holding and submerging, will help you to work out how well you float.  To learn more about how to float, click here. 

2. Learn how to relax

This is one of the most important swimming tips for beginners. Relaxing is easier said than done I hear you say.  Not at all.  It just takes time.  A combination of floating, gliding and breathing at a comfortable time will lead to you being at one with the water.  The result: total relaxation.  For more in-depth information on how to relax, click here. 

3. Learn how to glide

Gliding is the missing link between floating and relaxing.  If you can glide through the water from a push from the poolside, then you are halfway to mastering one of the most important parts of swimming - streamlining.  A streamlined body position is an essential component to any of the four basic swimming strokes.  Find out more about gliding by clicking here. 

4. Stopping and standing mid swim

An often forgotten skill when learning how to swim, stopping and regaining an upright standing position from a front (prone) or back (supine) swimming position is vital.  Click here to discover a simple explanation along with some clear diagrams.   

5. Learn how to submerge

Although this is at number 5, it is arguably the most important of all swimming tips for beginners.  If you can learn how to hold your breath and let yourself sink down underwater (within your depth of course), you will not only discover a whole new world of peace and quiet down there, but the more you do it, the more you will begin to relax.  Going underwater is explained right here, so click and discover. 

Loads more swimming tips for beginners right at your finger tips...

Everything you need to know about learning to swim, including relaxing, floating, submerging and basic swimming techniques can be found in my massively popular book, The Complete Beginners Guide To Swimming.

Click below to download a copy to your computer, tablet or mobile device.  Or, click here for more details


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I would like some help with swimming training to be a lifeguard. 'This sounds like a challenging test for a lifeguard position, and it is clear that your stamina and overall fitness level are holding you back.'

I would like to learn how to swim faster. What are techniques for faster swimming? 'Good swimming is about efficiency through the water, and fast swimming is about good efficiency.'

I want to swim longer distances without getting tired. 'The secret to swimming long distances is to relax and make your strokes long.'

My 5-year-old son has dyspraxia, which means he finds it difficult to coordinate himself and has poor muscle tone. 'This is a very common occurrence with children learning to swim and may have little to do with his dyspraxia.'

I am not quite a non-swimmer in that I can swim widths (even, occasionally, a length) of backstroke... 'It is important to take a step back from swimming for a moment and understand what is going on here, and please forgive me for stating some very obvious things.'

I have a question about swimming pool etiquette... 'This is an interesting one. As far as I am aware, there is no right or wrong answer, and I do not think there are any rules.'

I am getting frustrated learning to swim. I am a fit and healthy 61-year-old non-swimmer. 'I have met many like you over the years, and you are by no means alone here.'

Learning to stand up is holding me back. 'Stopping and standing up mid-swim is a vital part of learning to swim and is a cause of stress for many adults I have taught over the years.'

Do you have any advice for me on why on some days I can swim quite well, but on other days I can't swim at all? 'There could be several reasons for this, some of which could be related to the pain you are experiencing in your leg.'

I can only swim with the help of a swimming noodle or facing up, if I try to swim on my own facing down, my body starts sinking. 'From the information you have given us, your problem could be related to the power of your stroke, your ability to relax, or a combination of both.'

I would like to know which swimming techniques one could use to swim with head above the water.  'I have met many people like you over the years, and your desire is not uncommon.'

How do you return to standing when swimming in a prone position? 'Getting back to a standing position whilst swimming requires a combination of movements, some of which are simultaneous.'

I am trying to master breathing when swimming. How do I control my breathing... 'The most comfortable method of breath control is trickle breathing. This is the act of slowly breathing out into the water whilst swimming or gliding.'

I need to some help with learning to put my face in the water. 'Learning how to put your face in the water can sometimes be scary when learning how to swim. The best thing to do, if it is something that you find challenging, is to approach it in stages.'

I am wondering where to start learning to swim. 'As a beginner learning how to swim for the first time, the most important parts to concentrate on will depend mostly on your confidence level.'

I lack everything about swimming. I want to learn some basic swimming tips and what to do to keep afloat. 'First, it does not matter who will notice that you are not a swimmer. Many adults cannot swim and wish they could, but most stay away from the pool because they are embarrassed.'

I am kicking when swimming, and I think I never bend my knees enough. What is the correct movement required? 'This depends on which leg kick or swimming stroke you are learning.'

I would like to learn treading water. I am currently learning to swim, but the pool is too shallow to learn this technique. 'Treading water is simply swimming in an upright position, with your head remaining above the water level, in one place without travelling through the water.'

I would like to learn how to dive without holding my nose. 'The first thing you need to do is learn to submerge without holding your nose. Step back from diving and swimming altogether and start standing in the pool with the water about chest depth.'

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