Learn to Swim

A guide to the Learn to Swim Programme

Angellica Bell takes her first adult swimming lesson

BBC TV presenter Angellica Bell has started her own swimming journey at her local Virgin Active centreShe explains why she decided to start swimming and what it was like to take her first plunge into the water with an adult swimming lesson…

Water is my nemesis. Always has been. Our relationship was doomed from the start. No one in my family swam and no one wanted to.

When I was a small child I hated getting my frizzy afro wet and the one time I do remember going to a swimming lesson (it was sort of compulsory at school but I managed to always get out of it), I had clumsily stepped in dog poo on the way there and had dripping wet hair for most of the day.

You see, it didn’t begin well.

Then there was the time I nearly drowned while on holiday with my family.

My young sister was on a lilo in the sea then all of a sudden the weather turned and we were dragged out by the current.

It’s always difficult to learn a skill for the first time, especially when you’re a little older, wiser and you can almost taste fear!

Luckily, two men, who did incredible impersonations of fish, swam out and rescued us. That was the first time my life actually flashed by me and I thought that was it.

Taste The Fear!

Let’s be honest, it’s always difficult to try something new or learn a skill for the first time; especially when you’re a little older, wiser and you can almost taste fear!

Yes, I feared water. Its power as an element is a force to be reckoned with and therefore I decided to leave it well alone.

But there was always that niggle that it was something I hadn’t conquered. When I started seeing my other half and he boasted he used to swim for his county, I felt a little embarrassed.

Then to make matters worse, my two adorable children, who are so inquisitive and ‘fearless’, wanted to go swimming more and I quite frankly didn’t want to miss out on all the fun!

My First Official Swimming Lesson

So today was the day of reckoning. I officially had my first official swimming lesson ever.

I didn’t sleep well last night and I’m not ashamed to admit that, as I wasn’t sure what to expect or if I’d be any good, I nearly backed out and abandoned the whole thing!

Luckily I didn’t and my Virgin Active swim instructor Sharon was just brilliant and somehow managed to get me to breathe underwater, make my legs move like flippers and move through almost 10 metres of water. It was brilliant!

So this is where my swimming journey begins and I’m so excited.

Thank you to the ASA and Virgin Active.