Thinking of taking on your fear of water – this post offers three tips for making new swimmers, especially adults, less scared their first few times in the pool. The decision to contact a swim school for help, let alone learn to swim, can be super scary and like being thrown into an anti-gravity chamber, getting into the water can bring on new, unfamiliar sensations that make any beginner extremely uncomfortable – or even afraid.
At the Aqua Life Swim Academy, we help beginners to understand these sensations and give them the time they need to acclimatize to the water. Working one on one with an instructor our students gain confidence in their ability to be in and under the water so that they can move on to develop more advanced swim skills. Here, we discuss three of these sensations and how new swimmers can get used to them. For a visual and little more in-depth explanation, check out my video below!
It’s important for beginners to know that water is more dense than air. On top of this, it’s always in motion. So, for someone who’s not used to the sensation of being in the water, the rocking that naturally comes with it can feel a lot more like unwelcome turbulence.
Rather than fighting the swaying of the water, try to relax. It’s just going to move you gently, and that’s completely normal. Widen your stance a bit, try to keep your feet flat on the ground and centre your weight. This helps you to remain more steady. Bending your knees slightly allows you to move with the water while strengthening your stance.
2: Shortness of breath.
New swimmers often feel pressure on their lungs or a shortness of breath once the water level reaches their chest. Though this can feel scary, don’t be alarmed – it’s completely normal! Since water is more dense than air, it creates pressure when you immerse yourself and we feel this most intensely in our chest where our lungs are located.
Just like the other two sensations discussed here, this goes away with time. Just know that you’re not actually short of breath – it just takes a tiny bit more effort to breath because of the pressure the water exerts on your lungs.
3: Shock when water touches your ears or nose.
It’s common for beginners to double back when their nose or ears touch the water. It only makes sense, since these will be among the last body parts you submerge while you’re learning. The important thing to remember if you get a little bit of water in your ears or nose is that it’s not dangerous. It certainly feels funny, but it’s a sensation your body will eventually get used to.
Wearing goggles and learning the proper way to hold your breath while underwater can help stem feelings of unease when introducing your head to the water. It’s common for beginners to try to stay under the water while holding their nose for as long as they can stand. Instead, we recommend that you try introducing your ears and nose to the water in short spurts, so that you can build confidence and a healthy comfort with dipping your ears and nose underwater.
A good teacher will go a long way in helping beginner students to move past these sensations. One-on-one lessons in a warm pool can make the whole experience much less stressful and help your body relax so that you can focus on learning.
Have a question? Find us on Facebook or Twitter! If you’re an adult working on overcoming your fear of the water, hashtag #AquaLifeBeginner so we can check out your progress. We wish you luck as you set out on your aquatic journey!