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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 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 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

Back in the Pool After 5 Months

Posted by Jeremiah on May 20, 2015 at 1:06pm 0 Comments

Swapping To Prevent Stress

Posted by Mei Yen on February 21, 2015 at 3:33am 2 Comments

How Deep Is Too Deep?

Posted by Mei Yen on February 12, 2015 at 1:48am 1 Comment

Belated Swim Class Wrap Up

Posted by Jeremiah on January 20, 2015 at 10:00am 1 Comment

Swimming News

Latest Activity

Jeremiah posted a blog post

Back in the Pool After 5 Months

So after procrastinating all winter I finally got back in the pool today.  I did some clumsy freestyle with a float belt, some kickboarding without a belt, and made some meager attempts at back floating with a kickboard, but they didn't last more than a half a minute each. I paniced each time, as I still have my irrational fear back floating and swimming.  I actually did a few good strokes of freestyle without the float belt, and was lifting my head out of the water well enough for some good…See More
NewSwimer is now a member of Swimmunity
May 7
Adriana is now a member of Swimmunity
Apr 28
Melanie is now a member of Swimmunity
Apr 24
Mei Yen posted a status
"Feeling more and more comfortable being in the water. Standing further and further from the edge."
Apr 11
Naomi is now a member of Swimmunity
Apr 11
Kenyatta is now a member of Swimmunity
Mar 18
CHRISSYTINA left a comment for Ravi Shankar
"Go Ravi! Hope you find a nice pool and can enjoy some summer water fun!"
Mar 11
CHRISSYTINA replied to Larissa Rodriguez's discussion Site Content Ideas -- What are we missing?
"Hi Connie, I used to be a swim instructor in high school which was in the late 70's. I regularly swim and very much enjoy helping anyone, esp kids, improve their strokes! I feel like I grew up in the water. I help out informally at the gym or…"
Mar 11
CHRISSYTINA commented on Mei Yen's blog post Swapping To Prevent Stress
"Great! Keep on practicing!"
Mar 8
Mei Yen posted a blog post

Swapping To Prevent Stress

My instructor decided to switch over to teaching me Freestyle kick so I'm not so stressed with Breaststroke. So relieved. I find Freestyle kick easier to learn. Don't have to think so hard.See More
Feb 21
Mei Yen posted a status
"In a rare moment, I managed to get my head up to breathe yesterday but it was too fast, so I didn't really inhaled either."
Feb 15
Jeremiah commented on Mei Yen's blog post How Deep Is Too Deep?
"If you can float on your back, if you find yourself swimming in the deep and having trouble, you can roll over on your back into a float.  This should bring your head above water so you can breath.  But the trick is to try not to panic,…"
Feb 14
Mei Yen posted a blog post

How Deep Is Too Deep?

I've learned how to float, glide, breaststroke kick, arm pull, breathing, but I'm still unable to come up for air (re: breaststroke). I figured that I probably need extra practices at the pool... but how deep is considered too deep? I've been so used to 3 ft deep pool that 4 ft is so alien to me. Even more so when it's an infinity pool. I worry that when I push off, I can't get to the surface fast and if I panic,... I won't be able to stand as easily as I can - in a 3ft deep area.See More
Feb 12
Mei Yen posted a status
"Feeling rather disappointed - wondering if I'm trying too hard..Putting unnecessary pressure on myself. Still can't do it. :("
Feb 6
Mei Yen commented on Mei Yen's status
"Hi Chrissytina - no. It's breaststroke, I can't get my head high enough. If only eyes can breathe."
Feb 3

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