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Confessions of a nervous swimmer - week two

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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 by taking swimming lessons. Keep up with her progress in her regular ‘confessions’ blog. Week two: learning to float.

I had a dream the night before my second lesson about breathing under water while moving. My number one target for this week.  It was an amazing dream as I managed it without spluttering and I woke up feeling like I could conquer the world - well, not quite, but breathing under water is almost as good in my book.

Chanting quietly to myself “you can do this Vicky!” in a Dory from Finding Nemo "keep on swimming, keep on swimming" sort of way, I grabbed my woggle (a big sponge noodle) and held it out in front of me so it helped me float.  I managed to make it the whole length of the pool breathing in and out of the water. 

So off I trotted off after work to lesson number two armed with my new Speedo swimming hat. And yes it matches my swimming costume. Colour co-ordination is very important to us ladies!  You could tell the football had been on; there were hardly any men in the pool or the gym.

Buoyed by my new found confidence, off I went into the water and started by holding on to the side and breathing out of my nose under water.  I had no hesitation this time and stuck my head straight under. The lesson last week must have had a huge impact.

After doing that for a few minutes it was time to practice breathing while moving.  Chanting quietly to myself “you can do this Vicky!” in a Dory from Finding Nemo "keep on swimming, keep on swimming" sort of way, I grabbed my woggle (a big sponge noodle) and held it out in front of me so it helped me float.  I managed to make it the whole length of the pool breathing in and out of the water. 

My kicking left a lot to be desired though (a bit like Wayne Rooney’s – a bit hit and miss at the moment).  I think Victoria (the swimming teacher) is really pleased with my progress. I have gone from someone who wouldn’t put their face in the water last week to someone that has no hesitation with it this week.  She is really calm and supportive though so I feel really safe.

After a few lengths of practising my breathing and getting a bit disheartened that my legs kept sinking, I discovered that it’s easier doing freestyle kicking legs than breaststroke legs.  So I grabbed a normal float and decided to see how I’d get on adding one arm in.  I was quite surprised with myself, I managed to get my head out in almost the right place but I need to lift my arm higher.

Eventually I got rid of the float and managed a length with both arms.  My technique needs a lot of work (I won’t be entering the Olympics any time soon, I can assure you) and I was getting quite frustrated that I kept sinking.  I was also getting really tired – I have done quite a bit of exercise this week so the tiredness was not helping my co-ordination.

A few of us were having this floating problem, so we all went to one end of the pool and practised starfish style floating.  To my amazement I floated straightaway!  I could also do it on my back (although I found that harder).  Then we did lots of push and glides off the pool wall and again, to my amazement, I could glide along breathing under water for 10 metres without taking a breath.

Time for the lesson to end and I couldn’t be happier.  I managed to breath under water while moving AND learnt how to float.  AND I feel like I have had another good workout – I am more tired and achy after half an hour of swimming than I am after an hour-long step aerobics class - my former favourite exercise before I discovered swimming). 

I am so happy with my progress that I am going to look up my pool’s timetable to see when lane swimming is before my next lesson so I can practice! 

Top things to work on next week:

  • Continue timing my breathing whilst moving both my arms and legs
  • Learn to lift my head out both ways whilst doing freestyle
     

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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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