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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. 


Swimming Caps

Started by Donny H in General Swim Topics. Last reply by Jeremiah Jul 15. 4 Replies

Site Content Ideas -- What are we missing?

Started by Larissa Rodriguez in General Swim Topics. Last reply by Jo Beth Standish Jul 10. 3 Replies

Swimming Cap Issues

Started by Bianca Dias-Halpert in General Swim Topics. Last reply by Jo Beth Standish Jun 13. 5 Replies

Reasons to Swim Poster

Started by Jonathan Morgan in Swim Accessories. Last reply by Jeremiah Nov 6, 2013. 1 Reply

Swimming News

Latest Activity

Jeremiah replied to Donny H's discussion Swimming Caps
"It's your pool and you have a right to ask and a valid concern, so I'd cheerfully wear a cap if you asked.  But if you made me wear a shirt, no, I'd cheerfully decline and swim elsewhere."
Jul 15
Jo Beth Standish replied to Larissa Rodriguez's discussion Site Content Ideas -- What are we missing?
"How about a discussion on where to purchase attractive swim coverups to get you from the cabana to the pool deck and to wear to keep the sun off you in the lounge chair."
Jul 10
Jo Beth Standish replied to Donny H's discussion Swimming Caps
"Would it be to much an imposition on the fellows to ask them to wear a swimming cap when they swim at my pool?  I would provide them caps.  Do the guys have an issue about wearing a swimming cap?  I'm  really a pest about…"
Jul 10
Jo Beth Standish replied to Bianca Dias-Halpert's discussion Swimming Cap Issues
"I wear the silicone caps.  They have one for longer hair. I also make all swimmers including the fellows wear caps when they swim in my pool."
Jun 13
Lori Pailet posted a blog post

Fear of Water You Are Not Alone 64% of Adult Population in the U.S.A. Have a Fear of Water

You have a secret fear of the water and summer is drawing near. Please do not to even think about it as unusual. At least 64% of the adult population in the United States alone not including the rest of the world have fear of water. You are Not Alone!Fear of water also known as Aqua phobia is an abnormal and persistent fear of the water.The difference between a fear and a phobia is that a phobia gets in the way of your life.Aqua (Water), Phobia (Fear), is more common than you  may think. We are…See More
Jun 10
Emily's Swim School commented on Larissa Rodriguez's group Swim Instructors/Coaches
"This is Water Safety Week in Canada.  You can find out more information about it on our blog."
Jun 9
Emily's Swim School joined Larissa Rodriguez's group

Swim Instructors/Coaches

This group is for Swimmunity members who are swim instructors or coaches. Welcome and help spread your knowledge to our other members!
Jun 9
Lori Pailet is now a member of Swimmunity
Jun 9
Profile IconEmily's Swim School and pumpkin joined Swimmunity
Jun 6
Jeremiah posted a blog post

Practice 6-5-14

So it's been almost 5 months since I was last in the pool, which was Jan. 28.I didn't really regress or anything, I can still do what I was able to last time.  I kick-boarded down to the deep end and back, free-styled a little, all with a float belt of course.  I tried to see how far I could go under water, starting about mid-pool toward the shallow end, just to see if I could save myself if I found myself in the deep end without a float belt.  I don't think I would have done very well.One…See More
Jun 5
Jo Beth Standish replied to Donny H's discussion Swimming Caps
"Hi Donny I am in agreement.  I have tried to tie up my hair but have found a cap the fastest way for me to get from the showers and changeroom to the pool. I bought a home that has a swimming pool and I ask my female guests if they…"
May 26
Jo Beth Standish is now a member of Swimmunity
May 26
Rene M Paley posted a group

Find Your Peace With Your Perfect Pipe

Smoking pipes are perhaps one of the more traditional methods of smoking your favourite tobaccos and smoking blends.We’re very proud of our huge range of pipes and bubblers, here at EDIT. We think we’ve got something to suit every style, every situation and every pocket.This range of glass hand pipes from Red Eye off the chance to own an original piece of glassware at an entry level price. Red Eye’s glass hand pipes are made from…See More
May 17
Gigi is now a member of Swimmunity
May 2
Judy Daniels is now a member of Swimmunity
Apr 5
Ker posted a blog post

Being a 28 year old non swimmer is comparable to introducing the alien ET to your mom as your new boyfriend. Frankly, the latter might be easier for some people to process. I have been to countless p…

Being a 28 year old non swimmer is comparable to introducing the alien ET to your mom as your new boyfriend. Frankly, the latter might be easier for some people to process. I have been to countless pool parties and lakes with my friends and I have had to explain repeatedly why I am the only one one on the sidelines. The naked truth is that I am terrified of water. I would watch a movie with people swimming and have an actual panic attack. So I have decided to make an effort to learn how to swim…See More
Apr 5

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