I never learned how to swim. The only opportunities I had to learn was in middle school with my cousins and in high school gym class. In middle school I did not have any interest and in high school I didn’t have to learn because I played on a team. Somehow I managed to not learn how to swim for 30+ years considering I live literally a few miles from the beach. I have snorkeled with the assistance of a vest and flippers in Hawaii and Mexico. Then we went to Thailand and I tried to snorkel without flippers. I fumbled big time! I got scared because I didn’t know how to kick properly, I didn’t like having my head in the water, and I didn’t even know how to keep myself afloat (I kept floating face-in). The Mr. was nearby and saved me. This was the turning point of where I NEED TO LEARN HOW TO SWIM. It’s not that I never tried, friends have tried to teach me. However, telling someone who has no idea how to float/kick to hold onto the edge of the pool and “just kick” does not work!
Since friends have tried teaching me, I thought the next best option was to get a professional. I ruled out group swim classes because I needed to get over my fear of water. So I got private swim lessons. Best decision ever! I wanted to share some of the tips I’ve learned as an adult learning to swim for the first time!
The first thing my instructor taught me was to breath. Get used to breathing in the water, not holding your breath in the water, but actually exhaling in it. Duh who would’ve thought? Before when friends told me this, I would hold my breath and never attempted to exhale. My instructor noticed immediately things I did that made it ineffecient to breathe (i.e. wiping my face/nose everytime I went up for air, holding my breath and not trying to exhale).
Kicking, oh the infamous “just kick” that EVERYONE tells you to do. Yes it really is kicking, but when you’ve never kicked in the water, I think of kicking a soccer ball. She noticed that I kicked from my knee. She taught me something useful, kick from your hip as if your hip and leg are part of a whip. Your hip is like the base of a whip. When you use a whip, all of the action happens at the base and everything follows in a curve. AH, so it’s more like whipping your legs up and down. Relax your legs, start your kick from the hip, and your leg/knee/feet will follow! This was a gamer changer!
Freestyle swimming. My instructor noticed that I kept my face facing towards the direction I was swimming. The next game changer was that your head has to face down, looking at the floor. Yeah, another “duh” moment. It’s something friends do not teach you because they think you’re supposed to know. Shockingly, this is when I floated. BUT YOU NEED TO KEEP KICKING!
Essentially I learned the basics of freestyle, how to swim on my back, and breaststroke. She also taught me how to tread using the eggbeater method (you need to learn the breaststroke first) but I haven’t mastered that. I still need to work on my breathing. Right now I will inhale, swim, exhale, then stop. However I’m so happy with what I’ve done so far. If you’ve ever been scared to learn, I highly recommend getting professional swim lessons. It also helped that I just came off of my half marathon training, so cardio-wise I wasn’t super tired or sore from the swim lessons. Learning how to swim is exhausting and requires so much coordination! Sometimes your friends/family can’t help you with everything and you need to hire a pro! 🙂
I’m so excited to take a dip in the water now and on our future trip!