Overcoming Fear of Water: Tips for Adults Learning to Swim


Learning to swim as an adult can be both exciting and rewarding, however for many it can also be accompanied by a certain degree of fear. The truth is swimming is not second nature to human beings, and having some level of fear is completely normal. The good news is it can be overcome – and it’s never too late to get started!

Take the plunge with a professional

If you are an adult wishing to learn to swim, the first place to start is with professional tuition. A good swim teacher who is well versed in teaching adults is a great way to begin your journey, as having a professional in the water with you is likely to immediately alleviate some anxiety. Beginning in a controlled environment such as a pool with a professional is also the safest place to learn and means you can gradually become acclimatised to the water, as you can begin in a shallow pool where you can stand and feel at ease before moving to deeper water as your confidence grows.

A feel for floating

Learning basic floating techniques, both on your back and stomach, are important first steps to feeling more comfortable in the water. Not only does it give you peace of mind, but it also allows you to rest and regain composure if you get tired once you begin to start swimming. Treading water is also an important basic skill to learn, not only in terms of safety but also in terms of ensuring you feel more confident and capable in the water.

Beginning to breathe

Proper breathing technique is essential for swimming and one of the most important factors when it comes to feeling at ease in the water. To begin with, practise exhaling underwater and inhaling when your face is out of the water, while standing; gradually, this can be incorporated into your swim technique. Some people find rhythmic breathing (e.g., every three strokes) helpful for maintaining a steady breathing pattern.

Teaching technique

As basic skills such as floating, treading water and breathing begin to develop, it’s likely that your fear of the water will diminish. The next step is to begin learning swim techniques, from effective kicking to mastering various strokes. Freestyle is an excellent starting point, while breaststroke and backstroke are also often taught, as they can be very useful in a variety of situations. As you progress with you swimming, your teacher will help you refine your stroke so that it becomes more efficient. Overtime, you’ll find that you’re able to swim faster and for longer.

Get started with Aquastar

If you’re ready to take the plunge and begin your swimming journey, finding a swimming pool with a supportive atmosphere and friendly staff is a great way to ensure you get off on the right foot. Feeling safe and encouraged will help you feel more at ease, helping you to overcome your fear of the water and therefore allowing you to develop your swimming ability.

Aquastar Swim Schools offers swimming lessons for adults. It’s never too late to learn how to swim, and if you would like to book a lesson you can find out more about our Adults Program here.

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