Holy dolphin! Who would have thought that athletic swimming requires such coordination? From my occasional self-testing experiments I know that a dive from the pool deck gone wrong can result in enormous back pain. Or that a self acquired front stroke can resemble the paddling of a dog in the water. Well, whatever. Until a few years back I had the perfect excuse not to learn to swim and improve any of these skills because I was basically blind without wearing my contact lenses. Every drop of water close to my eyes freaked me out and I thought that I might lose one of my EUR 200 contact lenses. So swimming was not on my activity list.
What’s your excuse not to learn how to swim?
In Germany we learn to swim in grade 4 or in reality how to keep our head above water for 15 consecutive minutes. Classes are taught by certified school teachers (not swim coaches). No goggles required. When I hit the pool in teen years or early adulthood I was the captain of my inflatable mattress. On vacations where one of the activities was snorkeling I tried to coordinate how not to freak out, breathe and recover from the leg cramp all at the same time. To say it short, I had anxiety issues. And this was why I never really figured out why swimming was considered to be so beneficial. All I experienced after a “head above water swim” was actually back pain and the relief to be alive. Lasik surgery changed everything. Not only did I get the eyes of an eagle overnight but also my major excuse why I couldn’t learn to swim in an athletic way evaporated. And then the same (German) friend who convinced me that it would be a good idea to sign up for a half-marathon for a first race ever, kept saying that some day she would love to learn to swim like the athletes during the Olympics on TV. And this is how it all started. We were jealous of such athleticism and wondered if we would ever swim like a recreational pro.
When you can put your face in the water, you can float and eventually learn to swim like a pro.
And now, the first thing I discovered at the adult learn to swim class is you don’t swim with your head above water (at least if your goal is to float like a dolphin, not paddle like a duck). So I had to erase that from my hard drive and finally get my face wet. So there goes one of my struggles. When you can put your face in the water, you can float and eventually learn to swim like a pro. Swimming doesn’t need to be so hard. All you need is a good coach that knows what makes swimming enjoyable and puts an end to fighting the water. Now after six month of adult learn to swim lessons I’m able to glide effortlessly and with confidence through water. I got the fundamentals down for the front crawl and backstroke. I still struggle with taking an efficient breath without losing my balance on my left side. I declare my legs lazy kickers. I still prefer licorice tea to a sip of pool water. But pool water makes for a great involuntary nasal rinse. I still find reasonable excuses not to get wet (cold pool water, kids that actually swim faster than you, ugly goggle dents around my eyes, chlorine in the pool water) but I stopped wondering if I would be able to learn to swim like a pro.
26 reasons why you should learn to swim
- Boosts your confidence and you can show off at the pool
- You become a role model for your kids, parents and/or friends
- Releases happy chemicals in the brain and lowers stress
- Challenges your brain to manage new tasks, which keeps you young and on the tip of your toes
- It cools you down in the summer heat
- There is a chance of making new friends
- It’s a sport you can do no matter your age
- It’s a sport you can do 365 days in a year, summer and winter
- You have an excuse to buy a new swimsuit
- It’s a great excuse to get a new pair of shoes (they call them flippers)
- It only requires a little investment into gear
- No one can see that you are actually sweating
- Complementary sips of pool water
- Complementary self-massages while you move through the water (bye-bye cellulites)
- Complementary nasal rinse
- You actually can enjoy your snorkeling activity on vacation because you know how to move with confidence in water
- It’s a safety skill everyone should know, think Titanic
- You work your body without harsh impacts to your skeletal system, which makes it a great alternative when you’re injured or have arthritis
- It’s a strength workout and builds muscle mass, which burns calories
- It’s an aerobic workout and trains your heart and lungs
- It’s a great cross training workout
- It burns calories (depending on the intensity) and helps with weight loss
- It makes your body look gorgeous. Just look at the body shape of these swimmers
- You can soak in the hot tub after
- You are already a pro. You did nothing else but float in liquid for the first 9 month of your life and didn’t worry about breathing
- The skill you acquire might open the door for new adventures. Think participating in a triathlon, becoming a lifeguard and appearing on “Bay Watch” like Pamela Anderson or taking up scuba diving.
Your anxiety issues will evaporate with this swim coach
For adults I can highly recommend Seahiker in Vancouver. Various levels of courses are available. Absolutely no swimming experience is required. The founder and head coach Peter Scott competed for Canada in the free diving World Championship. So if someone knows how to deal with anxiety issues around water, Peter is the one. He knows how to shorten the process of learn to swim and supports all his clients with brimming enthusiasm. Sign up for a trial class if you are still not sure if it’s the right thing for you.26 Reasons why you should learn to swim like a pro by Tanja Knapp