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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

Post swim

Posted by Patty Jackson on November 3, 2015 at 9:36pm 0 Comments

Learning to swim at age 59...

Posted by Patty Jackson on November 3, 2015 at 5:08pm 0 Comments

Swim Class Wrap Up, Sept./Oct., 2015

Posted by Jeremiah on October 22, 2015 at 9:19am 0 Comments

Started Another Adult Swimming Class

Posted by Jeremiah on September 17, 2015 at 7:22pm 0 Comments

Possible Rotator Cuff Problem

Posted by Jeremiah on July 12, 2015 at 9:18am 0 Comments

Swimming News

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ShellyC is now a member of Swimmunity
Nov 17
Profile IconThomas Hallinan and Patty Jackson joined Swimmunity
Nov 4
Patty Jackson posted blog posts
Nov 3
Patty Jackson posted a status
"5th swimming lessons in and its hard..."
Nov 3
Jeremiah posted a blog post

Swim Class Wrap Up, Sept./Oct., 2015

This YMCA swim class was on Tuesdays and Thursday's for a total of seven 45 minute sessions.  It started out with 6 members and ended with two.  The last day we had a substitute teacher. As always, I was given bits of new instruction and advice that I think helped me move forward. I think I'm a lot more confident with my back float than before.We worked on free style, backstroke, breast stroke,  touched on the dolphin kick, and for the first time in my life, I did a few beginner's dives, which…See More
Oct 22
Jeremiah posted a blog post

Started Another Adult Swimming Class

My rotator cuff did heal, thankfully.  It was probably just a pull and not a tear, which I really fear it might be.I started another class which began Tuesday, the day before yesterday  It went okay.  There are 5 people in it, including myself, with a new teacher.Doing a side-breathing exercise the teacher gave, I focused in on the process a little better and understand it better now.  I also noticed that I'm better at side breathing on my right than I am on my left, but in both cases, I tend…See More
Sep 17
Jeremiah posted a discussion

U.S. Divers Swim Goggles

I've bought two of these in the last couple years, both from Walmart.  The first pair started leaking after about a year or so.  I bought a second pair recently and I'm not sure how well they're working.  I bought this pair for $8.96, nearly the cheapest available.  How well should such an inexpensive pair last?  How well should they work?  Is it to be expected that they start leaking soon, or not work well at all?  Has anybody bought more expensive goggles and found they worked better than…See More
Jul 12
Jeremiah posted a blog post

Possible Rotator Cuff Problem

Last week I developed a very painful upper arm and I'm pretty sure, shoulder.  This was probably due to my work, which involves quite a bit of lawn mowing and weed trimming.  I'm self-employed in lawn care.I cancelled as many clients as I could to rest it as much as possible.  I also called my swimming teacher for some advice for an adult class I recently signed up for, and we decided i probably shouldn't go through with them.  It is much better now, probably due to the rest I've given it, but…See More
Jul 12
Cheryl George is now a member of Swimmunity
Jul 6
Profile IconBrikti Woods and FRANK KWABENA joined Swimmunity
Jun 30
Mei Yen posted a status
"Yes folks! Finally able to swim. Took a long time....but I can finally do breaststroke. I don't have it all there yet....but at I'm moving."
Jun 26
Meg@ www.tolearntolovetoswim.com is now a member of Swimmunity
Jun 25
Mei Yen posted a status
"After the n-th session, I finally can come up for air."
Jun 21
Barath Krishna is now a member of Swimmunity
Jun 10
Jeremiah posted a blog post

Practice 6-9-15

I ventured out in the deep end today.  I thought it was now or never.  All the times since I've returned to the pool other people have been using the edge lane, and keeping to the edge.  So I've had to summon the courage to use an inside lane.  With my training belt, there's no reason why I should fear going down to the deep end.  I physically cannot sink if I tried.  Yet, the panic remains.  I started down with a training belt and a kick board, and started to panic about 3/4 of the way, and…See More
Jun 9
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
May 20

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