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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

Belated Swim Class Wrap Up

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

Lesson 7: Arm movement

Posted by Mei Yen on December 27, 2014 at 3:25am 2 Comments

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

Swimming News

Latest Activity

Mei Yen posted a status
"I'm beyond 10th lesson and struggling with coming up for air."
16 hours ago
CHRISSYTINA commented on Mei Yen's blog post Lesson 7: Arm movement
"How's your breaststroke going? Feel like you're getting better at it? What else are you working on? You sound so dedicated to learning!"
Wednesday
CHRISSYTINA commented on Jeremiah's blog post Belated Swim Class Wrap Up
"Hi, I was wondering if there was another pool in your area that might be kept warmer. If there is a pool that is also used for rehab at times, they are usually warmer. There are also swim shirts available (surf shirts) they will help keep your core…"
Wednesday
CHRISSYTINA replied to Dawn Davies's discussion Stuck in the Middle
"Hi,Hoping I can help you with treading water and floating. When I was a kid (60's), they told me I had to be perfectly still and use the air in my chest since you never can breathe out all your air. So it was "keep your chest…"
Wednesday
Sue Romanowski is now a member of Swimmunity
Jan 25
Dawn Davies replied to Krishna's discussion Switching to bilateral breathing
"When I was learning to breath bilaterally I worked on starting my lap warm ups with kickboard sets and breathing on one side going down and on the other side going back up.  I'd then work on breathing every breath from one side to the…"
Jan 24
Dawn Davies replied to Dawn Davies's discussion Stuck in the Middle
"Sorry to confuse.  I can swim three strokes and laps but it has taken a long time to get to that.  Depending on which gym I swim at sometimes doing laps takes me across the 9' depth at the other the pool never gets deeper than…"
Jan 24
Ravi Shankar is now a member of Swimmunity
Jan 23
Dawn Davies replied to Dawn Davies's discussion Stuck in the Middle
"THANK YOU CHRISSYTINA.  I've been getting more adept with sculling and work a lot on my treading skills along with learning how to use the least possible movement and energy to keep my head above water.  I have a swimming partner now…"
Jan 20
Jeremiah replied to Dawn Davies's discussion Stuck in the Middle
"I'm a little confused. You can swim "3 strokes" but you also say your a "capable" lap swimmer, which I'd think would bring you out to the deep end and back.  Can you float on your back?  Can you tread…"
Jan 20
Jeremiah replied to Jeremiah's discussion Has This Forum Been Abandoned?
"Hi Chrissytina.  I seldom visit this place because every time I did I seemed to be the only one here.  Thanks for responding.  Any comments you could make to my blog here would be appreciated."
Jan 20
Jeremiah posted a blog post

Belated Swim Class Wrap Up

I was meaning to add this entry a long time ago, but I procrastinated so long it's been slipping in and out of my "things to do" memory.  A comment to one of my forum posts has prompted me to finally get it done.My last day of last August's swim class I was the only one there.  That's fine.  More instruction and coaching time for me.I was pleased with one breakthrough.  I floated on my back holding a kickboard, and also swam with it this way.  I didn't realize a kickboard could keep me afloat…See More
Jan 20
CHRISSYTINA replied to Jeremiah's discussion Has This Forum Been Abandoned?
"Hi, if you're still there, I like to comment and help new swimmers!"
Jan 14
CHRISSYTINA replied to Dawn Davies's discussion Stuck in the Middle
"Great bravery! Good for you for looking so specifically and being able to verbalize it so well! I have been swimming since I was a kid, but I'll never forget how hard it was for me to learn! Have you ever learned to "scull" or…"
Jan 14
CHRISSYTINA replied to Larissa Rodriguez's discussion Site Content Ideas -- What are we missing?
"Hi, I'm not an instructor, but I had a WSI card years ago. I love,love,love, helping people learn to swim every where I go.I would love to swap tips and maybe start a "tips" list that could be organized for people to browse and see…"
Jan 14
CHRISSYTINA replied to Krishna's discussion Switching to bilateral breathing
"I recently read on a website, can't remember which one, that you can develop scoliosis (curvature of spine) from breathing on one side. That actually happened to me in high school! I didn't realize why at the time. Looking back, I know…"
Jan 14
 
 
 

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