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We're an online swim community dedicated to inspiring and helping adults learn how to swim. Think you're alone? Think again. As many as 50-65% of U.S. adults can't swim. Stay a while. Have a look around. We can help you find your inner swimmer. Join the Swimmunity®! 

Stuck in the process of learning how to swim? Don't stop! Read these 10 facts every new adult swimmer should know.

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WHAT'S IN A NAME?

What exactly does Swimmunity® mean? Well, it can actually be a couple of different things. It's the combination of swim + community. Or it can be read as swim(m) + unity. Either way, it gets the job done. Join this community to unite with other adults on our common quest of learning how to swim.

Larissa's Blog: Getting Into the Swim of Things

Learning to Swim as an Adult: Why a Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With a Single Stroke 


Once a week, I swim at my favorite community center pool and the other three days I swim at my health club. When I first decided to learn how to swim two years ago, I went to that community pool right before my lessons started to begin to familiarize myself with the world of swimming — something I knew absolutely nothing about. When you can’t swim, you don’t exactly spend your time hanging out at pools. In fact, you avoid them. Well, at least I did and I live in the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” (Minnesota) to boot — a double whammy of self-inflicted water avoidance.

I hang out at pools now! (Well, and I usually swim in them, but this
was on vacation … requisite lounging by pool.)


That particular day I went to the pool during open swim which meant a lifeguard was on duty. I remember getting in the pool and having no idea what to do. I didn’t know how to float on my back or put my head underwater. I tried a little doggie paddle (I even did that badly) and generally just hung out in the water reconfirming I had no swimming skill whatsoever. None. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Clearly the 16-year-old lifeguard could see that as well as she eyed me as a potential rescue. (As if!) Embarrassing.

In a moment of inspiration (or desperation), I thought maybe we were born with some kind of innate swimming skill that I had somehow overlooked all these years, but after several attempts of “letting nature do its thing” in the water, I quickly realized we do, indeed, have to be taught how to swim. That stunt earned me an even higher level of scrutiny from the lifeguard. And so I left the pool more ready than ever to learn. (SIDE NOTE: The idea [myth] that you can just throw a child into the water and they will “figure out how to swim” is ridiculously naïve. Many adults who were treated that way as a child never did learn how to swim and developed a fear of water as a result. Formal swim lessons exist for a reason!)

But back to my story at the community pool. I absolutely hated having no ability to safely (or productively) be in the water. I was deeply frustrated by that and wondered if that pool would ever stop feeling so completely foreign to me. What’s that line for on the bottom of the pool or the “+” on the wall? How many swim strokes are there? Which stroke was I going to be taught? Why are there flags above the pool? Do I have to wear a swim cap? I couldn’t conceive what it was like to be a swimmer because that goal, at that moment, felt as if it were a million miles away. Mentally I had lived in the land of NonSwimmerstan for 40 years. What was it like on the other side in Swimmerland? Could I really, finally get there — to become one of THEM?

Fast forward to today where I am now the proud recipient of 9 months of swim lessons and a year and a half of lap swimming. Recently, when I was at that community pool for my weekly Sunday swim, I stopped for a minute and reflected on just how far I had come. It was time to acknowledge that the journey had been long and hard, but oh so absolutely, fantastically worth it! Looking at me now you would never guess that I haven’t been a swimmer my whole life. I’ve even had a few people ask me if I swam competitively in high school with my backstroke. That’s funny, but a wonderful compliment! (And yes, my backstroke is THAT good. Who knew!)

I now swim during lap swim (no lifeguards) and switch back and forth between all four strokes (although butterfly is still physically challenging for me — I’m working on it!). The strange thing is … now that I am a good swimmer, I find it really difficult to remember what it was like to feel so utterly useless (helpless?) in that pool. Now I don’t know how NOT to swim. That doesn’t really make sense to me because the beginning was excruciatingly hard; how can my 40 years of non-swimming have faded so quickly? But here’s the thing about that initial embarrassment and frustration. You can either allow it to stop you (and you can quit) or, like me, you can use it to push yourself through the learning process. Decide if you will let it help or hinder you. Better yet, decide that Swimmerland isn’t such an unobtainable destination after all.

Learning is a lifelong process that applies to absolutely every subject and skill in life. “Learning to swim and overcoming that fear made me realize that I could do anything,” said Algernon Kelley in a recent learn-to-swim article in The New York Times. Learning something you perceive as impossible or difficult, once achieved, will open up a whole new world of opportunity for you. And that’s a mighty powerful payoff in the game of life. What are you waiting for? Swimmerland is a whole lot closer than you think. Come on over, the water is great here! 


For more of my perspective on learning how to swim as an adult, read my full blog on the Swimmunity Wordpress site.

FIND SWIM LESSONS IN YOUR AREA

Find swim lessons in your city by entering your location on this web site. Look for programs targeted at adults and/or at those adults with water phobia (if that applies to you). There are many skilled swim lesson providers across the United States. 

Blog Posts

Kicking Around With The Kickboard

Posted by Mei Yen on December 20, 2014 at 12:29am 0 Comments

Gliding Without the Kickboard

Posted by Mei Yen on December 18, 2014 at 6:58am 0 Comments

Shivering In The Pool

Posted by Mei Yen on December 17, 2014 at 6:04am 0 Comments

3rd Lesson and Finally Floating

Posted by Mei Yen on December 5, 2014 at 9:33pm 0 Comments

Swimming cap crud

Posted by Jacqueline Andrews on October 29, 2014 at 3:07pm 0 Comments

Swimming News

Latest Activity

Mei Yen posted a blog post

Kicking Around With The Kickboard

Today, I've moved on to doing the breaststroke kick with the kickboard and streamlining towards the wall (with the kick)See More
Saturday
Mei Yen posted a blog post

Gliding Without the Kickboard

Today I can finally glide without the kickboard... So happySee More
Thursday
Mei Yen posted a blog post

Shivering In The Pool

Went for swim practice this evening. I had thought my instructors won't be there but guess what! They were there with the other students and it was raining. Gosh! The pool was cold! Left early See More
Wednesday
Mei Yen posted a status
"4th lesson, learning to glide but with the help of a kick board"
Dec 12
J.R.B. is now a member of Swimmunity
Dec 12
Larissa Rodriguez posted a discussion

Please report spam, inappropriate posts

Hello everyone, I hope you're all happily learning to swim or close to deciding to learn! From time to time, this site gets an inappropriate spam posting (as much as I try to pre-screen members, some spammers still make it through). Please continue to report them to me and I will promptly remove them. Many thanks! :)LarissaSee More
Dec 7
Mei Yen posted a blog post

3rd Lesson and Finally Floating

Today I made it to the pool at 0815 hours and I started practising. I can finally float. I've not pushed off from the wall but I told my instructor I will be going for extra practises on weekdays. Hopefully that will help build up my confidence. Then I can finally push off from the wall.See More
Dec 5
Mei Yen posted a status
"Told my instructor I need extra practise time - can't believe that I'm going to be at the pool sometime after 8am...... Brr..."
Dec 5
Profile Iconjim sheehan and Mei Yen joined Swimmunity
Dec 5
Emily Kyle is now a member of Swimmunity
Nov 30
Krishna posted a discussion

Switching to bilateral breathing

HiI learnt to swim only at 36. Now 3 years later, I enjoy it so much that I want to get better.I am comfortable swimming breathing on the right only.. But I now realize that breathing every 4 strokes and then switching to 2 strokes once I get tired is not taking me far. Also I am losing form when I get tired.So I am very determined to switching to bilateral breathing, which will allow me to breathe every 3 strokes. I am hoping this will give me better form and give me better rythm.I tried this…See More
Nov 22
Caleb Brown is now a member of Swimmunity
Nov 14
tony umeria is now a member of Swimmunity
Nov 8
Jacqueline Andrews posted a blog post

Swimming cap crud

Hello swimmers.  I swim a half mile just about every day.  My swimming caps have grown some kind of black, mold-looking spots, inside and out.  I have tried cleaning them with every substance I can think of:  plain soap, comet, toothpaste, etc.  Any ideas?  It must be some interaction with the chlorine and perhaps with my own chemistry.  It looks unsightly, but does not smell and does not keep the cap from doing what it does.What do you think?See More
Oct 29
Jacqueline Andrews is now a member of Swimmunity
Oct 29
 
 
 

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