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Barbara’s story: overcoming a fear of drowning

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Barbara Macdonald had a lifetime of bad experiences both on and in the water, including nearly drowning on a couple of occasions.

A complementary therapist and retired nurse in her sixties, Barbara had the opportunity to tackle her fear of water with thought field therapy.

She had grave doubts anything so simple would work but booked swimming lessons on the strength of the reassurance she received from her fellow therapist.

Barbara had tried to learn to swim a number of times without success and on this final set of lessons she was facing a lifetime of fear of being underwater

In her first lesson Barbara challenged her fears and, using goggles, finally managed to put her head under the water.

She came up laughing and the floodgates just opened - a breakthrough moment. Finally she stopped associating ‘being underwater’ with fear and could start to enjoy it.

Further on her journey, when Barbara had gained water confidence and learnt to swim, she decided she wanted to help others do the same. She could empathise with other adults’ fear of water and wanted to encourage them not to give up and that it’s never too late to learn.

She and husband Alan went to an Everyday Swim Open Day in Bury St Edmunds to have a go in pool based taster sessions and by the time they left they were both ASA volunteers.

Shortly after, Barbara and Alan took their commitment to encouraging others further and embarked on a new venture. They set up a swimming club called ‘Aquarius’ targeted at helping adults learn to swim, particularly those who had a fear of the water.

Barbara is now a local ambassador for swimming; inspiring and encouraging others to get in the water.

The ethos of their club attracts adults of all ages wishing to improve technique and learn new skills. It has also proved popular with those anticipating or recovering from orthopaedic surgery.


  • 1

    8.36pm 17th January 2012

    I’m so glad that Barbara finally had a successful swimming lesson and has overcome her fear of drowning. I’m sure that Barbara is inspiring many people as her role of local ambassador for swimming.  What a great story of an adult conquering their fear of the water.

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