Learn to Swim

A guide to the Learn to Swim Programme

Help to overcome a fear of swimming


To overcome a fear of swimming can be difficult. It can hold many people back from learning to swim, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Rio2016 Olympic gold medal winner Adam Peaty was afraid of water as a child. He worked to overcome it and became a champion. If you are nervous of getting in the pool don’t worry, you’re not alone and help is at hand.

Most pools offer adult classes in a friendly and supportive environment and you’ll meet plenty of people going through the same experience as you.

A few tips to help overcome a fear of swimming

  1. Start by getting your feet wet and try to gradually get deeper into the water
  2. When you can stand in water deep enough splash water on your face as if you are washing it. At the same time think of positive images while you are splashing your face.
  3. Next try to learn to hold your breath under the water and breathe out into the water. Basically, blow bubbles!
  4. Hold the side and practice kicking with your body stretched out
  5. Don’t feel rushed to make progress.
  6. And finally, remember you are not alone. Comedian Frank Skinner was 55 when he decided to face his ultimate fear and learn to swim for the Big Splash Mile for Sport Relief. He said: “I really threw myself in at the deep end and faced one of my biggest phobias, swimming, by completing a 25 metre width. It felt great to challenge myself.”

Video to help overcome a fear of swimming

This video from Speedo with Sports Psychologist Julie Johnston could also help. She highlights some of the tips we cover to overcome a fear of swimming.