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Confessions of a nervous swimmer - week one

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Having overcome her embarrassment of being a 29-year-old female who is totally useless at swimming, our nervous swimmer is now seeking to overcome a fear of water as she registers for Free Swimming Lessons at her local pool. Keep up with her progress in her regular ‘confessions’ blog.

I know you want to ask the question. How did I manage to get to 30 and not be able to swim properly?  Firstly, I am not 30, yet! And I am not alone in not being able to swim. Apparently one in five adults can’t swim at all.

From that moment I have been petrified of putting my head under the water... I know there are many other people across the country like this. But I am going to change and hopefully others will follow.

So before I reach 30 I have decided to learn. So, why didn’t I learn when I was younger? Well, don’t laugh, but I thought I could walk on water!

Oh, embarrassment. When I was six my dad was on a yacht with his mates and I decided I wanted to join him. Off I went and thought I could walk through the water to get to him. Under the water I went. I was pulled out choking.

From that moment I have been petrified of putting my head under the water without squinting my eyes really tightly, pinching my nose and holding my breath. I know there are many other people across the country like this. But I am going to change and hopefully others will follow.  Saying that I did almost pull out of my first lesson.

It wasn’t fear of the water that hit me, it was the thought of turning up alone and being seen in a swimming costume!  However, everyone at the pool was really friendly and everyone was walking around in swimming costumes, so I held my head up and went to find my swimming teacher.

Victoria turned out to be really friendly and put me at ease straight away. I was in a group of four so I wasn’t alone anymore either.  Thank goodness for swimming costumes that hold your stomach in though, mine’s a Speedo Sculpture.

We were in the training pool. It was only 0.9m deep so the bottom for me to put my feet down was never very far away, thank goodness. The first thing was to show Victoria what I could do. So I took a deep breath and off I went in my best ‘secretary swim’ - breaststroke without putting my head in the water/getting my hair wet.

After having a bit of a panic as the water splashed into my face, I made it to the other end of the 20m pool. I stopped halfway but Victoria helped me to regain confidence by getting me to put my head under the water. Not easy given my fears.

Fifteen minutes of encouragement from Victoria later and I was able to breathe out through my nose with my head fully submerged – a real result!  It became obvious, though, that I don’t float, so I need to work on that.

My ‘secretary swimming’ continued up and down the pool to practice the timing of my breathing, stopping for a rest every now and again.  A number of lengths later I was beginning to tire but was really pleased with the progress I had made after just one lesson.

My muscles really ached the next day. I had no idea how good a workout swimming was and once I’ve learned to swim, I’ll definitely be getting in the pool more often. I feel as if I have run a mile and done 100 press-ups!

In all, a good first lesson. I am glad I went. I have lessened my fear of the water and found a potential new exercise, when I can swim better that is. So, top things I am going to do next week:

  • Take a swimming hat (long hair + water = lots of tangles)
  • Start learning to breath under water whilst moving

Stay posted, I'll let you know how I get on.

Useful?

Talk

  • 3

    4.29pm 9th January 2013
    Katie Tomlyn

    Hi Anna, as the Poolfinder does not include Ireland you may be best to contact Swim Ireland about learning to swim in your area: http://www.swimireland.ie/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1230&Itemid=334

  • 2

    7.26pm 2nd January 2013
    Anna Nolan from Ireland

    i have tried for 30 years to learn to swim but never manage anything other than holding on the rail and kicking back. Now a lot of swimmng pools don’t have rails so I am snookered!!!! (I nearly drowned as a five year old and still feel the fear of the water) I am now 67 and would love to learn to swim.

  • 1

    11.36am 17th June 2010
    Janice Simms from London

    Good work nervous swimmer. Fear is always the worst thing. Once you get in the water it can be amazing how quickly the fear goes away. Look forward to the next blog and progress update.

Go Swimming has everything you need to know about swimming. If you are a parent, a non swimmer or just want to improve your technique this is the section for you.

In British Swimming you will find information about the world of high performance sport, including the disciplines of Swimming, Diving, Synchronised Swimming, Water Polo and Para-Swimming.

The ASA is the governing body for the sport in England. In this section you will find all you need to know about joining a club or competing in England and becoming a swimming teacher or coach.

The IoS delivers the ASA’s courses and is a member organisation. Whether you are a teacher, coach, employer or club you will find everything you need to know about qualifications or educating your workforce.

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