5 Tips on Learning to Swim


Today, many of us are sitting at home doing our part to keep others safe. Soon it will be summer and if we do everything right today we will be able to find ourselves enjoying the summer heat at a pool or lake. Can you already feel the warm sunlight on your skin? Can you smell the sunscreen? Let’s face it, we live in a state full of bodies of water, it’s in our DNA to spend time at pools, lakes, and rivers. Yet, can you believe that so many of us do not know how to swim? I’m not just talking about little Johnny who is just turning 3 and whose family is making plans to go to the beach when it is safe to do so. I’m also talking about the parent or grandparent that never learned to swim. Even they are wise enough to make sure their own kids know how to swim. Swimming is not only a life-saving skill, but it is an exercise you can continue to do until you are bedridden. So why take a look at learning how to swim? Here are five easy steps to help you learn:

1. Understand water

Water is all around us. The world is made up of 71% water; it’s why Earth is called the blue planet. Our bodies are made of 60% water. In Texas there are over 200 lakes and 15 major rivers, that’s not including creeks, pools, and beaches. You also need to understand that water has its own set of rules. You can’t walk on water, you can’t breathe underwater, you can’t see well in water. Water has its own set of hydrodynamics that will affect how you move from point A to point B. Knowing and understanding this is important because this is the first step in being able to know how to set expectations.

2. Set a goal

Set a goal, sounds logical but this takes some more thought. Learning how to swim is NOT the goal. The goal is more in-depth. Are you looking to swim a triathlon? Are you wanting your kids to be able to stay safe when at the pool? Are you joining a swim team? Setting the right goal will help focus your energy on reaching that goal. Don’t forget to also be realistic with your goal. If you have a trip coming up next week, learning to swim in one week is not realistic. Know that learning to swim will take A LOT of practice and work. Also, if you are petrified of the water and won’t go in past your waist, let’s set smaller goals and work towards bigger goals. Success feeds into success.

3. Have a healthy fear of water

Having a healthy fear is not a bad thing. Water is fun and gives us life but it can also be dangerous. A healthy fear of water means you have respect for water. By viewing water this way you will approach your learning with more attention and focus. You will be serious when in the water and understand that every little arm movement and body movement has an effect on how you swim. Now, don’t go around letting this become a real fear that prevents you from performing the skills or trying something out. Remember, mind over matter! Ultimately, the first hurdle in learning how to swim is overcoming your fears of the water. Once you accomplish that you will streamline through the rest of the learning.

4. Register for some swim lessons

Learning how to swim is not easy on your own. As much as you want to try to teach yourself how to swim, you cannot see what your legs are doing while your face is in the water. You need to have someone there that can help give you pointers. Not only that, but it also gives you a buddy that can be your support while in the water. The fourth step is registering for some type of formal swim lessons. Not only will this add a layer of commitment but it also gives you access to an instructor, someone who is there to share with you their knowledge and skills. Swim lessons also break down the learning to its building blocks making it easier to reach your goals.

5. Practice

Learning to swim does not end with the swim lessons you take. The last step is to practice! Both in the water and out of the water. Take the skills you learned and apply them again and again until you feel that you are becoming more in tune with the water. You can also search for videos online that will give you pointers and viewpoints on how movements look inside and outside of the water. In the end, practice makes perfect (or at least as perfect as one can get).

Now you can go out there and when your child/grandchild tells you to join them in the lake, you won’t be that person that only goes in waist-deep. Or if you are the parent, you will be more confident that your child can get out of the water if they need to. I hope this all helps, even if I did simplify learning how to swim to five steps. Stay safe, and hopefully, I will see you at the pool soon. Until then, hasta luego!


Octavio Sanchez
Aquatics Director
All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and/or contributors and not of their employer. Any questions or concerns regarding the content found here may be sent to info@austinymca.org

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