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Learner Andrew’s simple advice to adults who can’t swim

Andrew Kamara has one simple piece of advice for any adult who has doubts about learning to swim.

“If you can’t swim, start booking lessons,” he said. “Don’t give up, be consistent and, trust me, it’s going to come naturally.”

As a child growing up close to a beach in Sierra Leone, Andrew had always wanted to dive into the sea and enjoy the water.

However, superstitious beliefs prevented him, and many others, from learning as a youngster.

Now he has ambitions of joining the Royal Navy so decided the time was right to take swimming lessons.

Andrew said: “Because I lived near the beach in Sierra Leone, I always wished that I could do it. It looked cool and fun but I never could.

“I went to a pool once in Sierra Leone but I didn’t go in the deep end and just stood there. 

“A year ago, I could not swim and was so scared of the water. 

“When I first got to the pool and I saw little kids swimming, I was like ‘wow I wish this was me’! 

“I tried not to show fear, but inside I was panicking. I was shaking, thinking how am I going to do this. 

“Even though I could reach the floor, I was like ‘I’m going to drown’. I was nervous, panicking, scared.

“At one point I was getting embarrassed as when I tried to float, I just sunk. I was feeling very overwhelmed, thinking is this actually going to work. 

“But the teachers were patient and they really encouraged me – they were really motivational and so helpful. 

“Now I feel more confident and I can swim a full length which is amazing.”

Swimming has ‘helped me a lot’

Andrew has noticed the physical and mental health benefits of going swimming – and believes being in the water has helped him with other aspects of life. 

“Physically it has helped me a lot,” he said. “I go to the gym and I try to stay as fit and lean as possible and swimming was amazing for this. 

“When you swim, you use every body part and I use a lot of energy. I have become more lean and it’s helped me use the muscles I don’t use. 

“Also, it’s really helped my breathing pattern. Running and swimming has really helped my strength and breathing. 

“Swimming is all about consistency. If you are consistent you will get better at it. 

“It has taught me that you just have to be consistent in whatever you do. It has changed my mindset about a lot of things.”

Andrew has shared his learn to swim journey as part of the latest Swim England-led #LoveSwimming campaign.

It’s Never Too Late To Learn aims to inspire the 14 million adults who can’t swim in England to take the plunge and book lessons.

Andrew is hoping more adults who can’t swim follow in his footsteps.

“Whatever energy you give to the water, the same energy you get back,” he said. “Just love the water, keep calm, keep patient and, one day, you’re going to be the next Michael Phelps!”

To find out more about swimming facilities and lessons near you, visit swimming.org/poolfinder.

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