Learn to Swim

A guide to the Learn to Swim Programme

4 adult swimming aids to help you learn


During your swimming lessons and on your visits to the pool, you might see or use different types of floats and equipment around the poolside. Many of these will be adult swimming aids and a great to help you learn to swim.

Some centres will provide the equipment as part of the swimming lesson itself. If not you might want to buy some of these from your local swim shop or sports shop.

How to use each piece of equipment isn’t always very clear. So here we’ve added a simple explanation of what each is and how best to use it, as well as video to help master them.

Adult Swimming Aids 1: Floats or Kickboards

These are often called kickboards rather than floats and are most commonly used to practice leg kick. They are a great aid when learning to swim. Simply hold the float out in front of you, with your hands through the two hand holes or gripping over the top of the float. Try to get your body in a horizontal position at the surface of the water. Then begin your leg kick. It is easier if you start with a strong push-off from the wall. If you want to practice your backstroke leg kick, simply lie on your back and either hug the float to your chest, or place it above your head flat on the water, to help keep the body streamlined as you kick. This video from Speedo will help you get the technique right. You can find more Speedo equipment technique videos here.

Adult Swimming Aids 2: Pull Buoys

The pull buoy is a figure of eight shaped float, which can be placed between the thighs or ankles to provide support to the body without using the legs. This means that you are free to focus on your arm strokes, whilst also developing upper-body strength. Using a pull buoy will help promote good body position, improved arm technique and a chance to focus on the correct breathing action. This video from Speedo will help you get the technique right.

Adult Swimming Aids 3: Fins

Fins, also known as flippers, are used by swimmers of all levels. For beginners, fins are a useful tool to develop the correct leg kick for front and back crawl. Fins are also great for developing core stability and leg strength, as well as improving technique. This video from Speedo will help you get the technique right.

Adult Swimming Aids 4: Noodles

Noodles are long cylindrical pieces of foam which are used by all ages, especially in a learn to swim environment. They can be used in a variety of ways, whether held out in front to use as a float while practicing leg kick, under the armpits as a support when swimming, between the legs or under the waist, or even for different forms of aquatic exercise, such as aqua aerobics. The video below is a good example of how noodles can be used to learn to swim.