View Full Version : Learning to Swim As An Adult

January 6th, 2011, 04:06 PM

I'm 22-years-old and recently I've decided that I'm FINALLY going to learn how to swim.

So far, my girlfriend and I have been going to our local gym and she's teaching me the basics. But, I came here to seek more advice/suggestions on learning how to swim.

Anything at all would be really appreciated. I'm not really asking for anything in specific. Thank you.

January 6th, 2011, 09:27 PM
Take a class.
I took Beginning Swimming when I was 27-years-old, in graduate school. It was such a beginner class that on the first day, a guy showed up in shop class goggles because those were what he had. I had never done any real swimming other than kid's swim lessons when I was young.

By the end of that first term, I had learned the basics, and caught the bug. I sought out swimming lessons when I moved East from Oregon, and joined a Masters team 8 years ago, truly refining what I had learned.
13 years later, I swim up to 10-mile open water races and am in the A lane at my Masters practices.

Give yourself time, have patience, and learn from someone who is trained and skilled at teaching swimming.
Good luck, and oh, MOST IMPORTANT: Have fun!!

January 7th, 2011, 03:59 PM
So I should seek lessons instead of my girlfriend teaching me?

January 7th, 2011, 09:19 PM
:applaud:Be committed to it; don't be hard on yourself. You'll be GLAD you did:) Find a good TEACHER; join a class with other adults who are learning how to swim.......Keep going!

January 8th, 2011, 08:06 AM
So I should seek lessons instead of my girlfriend teaching me?
Probably. Even if she's a qualified swim instructor, there may be times when it puts strain on your relationship. I once knew a ski instructor who packed her kids and husband off to someone else to learn.

January 8th, 2011, 01:44 PM
I think you should definitely seek out an instructor. Work with someone who is qualified and trained to teach you.
And again, enjoy it!

January 8th, 2011, 02:35 PM
Thanks to all of you for your advice.

January 8th, 2011, 03:10 PM
IF both of you are willing to listen to each other & not fight, then she will due for a while. Is she a swimmer on a team or has been on one ? She will give you full time attention.
Lessons are good but you will have to watch others do what you want to do right now

January 10th, 2011, 05:35 PM
Okay, so as a total novice I'm sticking my neck out here, but...

If you'd rather not take lessons there are ways of teaching yourself the basics. There are several very good books. Youtube offers a wealth of how-tos and examples. This website is a great resource.

Be patient. Concentrate on getting comfortable breathing, then on the "form" of your stroke -- don't worry about speed, or you'll just reinforce bad habits.

My impression is that the hardest part about teaching yourself is not figuring out how it should be done, but realizing what exactly you're doing instead. Your girlfriend might be a great help for both.

But then, I'm no expert -- I started swimming as an adult, entirely for exercise and conditioning. I largely taught myself, but in the process fell in love with the breast and fly and found that I enjoy the challenges of all the strokes. I'm sure lessons would be great if you're willing and find the right instructor, but it's not the only way to learn. Good luck, and welcome to the pool.

January 10th, 2011, 07:34 PM
It helps to have somebody take videos you swimming, too, so you can see what you are doing wrong. Better yet, post the clips on the forums for feedback from the experts! :agree:

January 11th, 2011, 11:04 AM
So far, my girlfriend and I have been going to our local gym and she's teaching me the basics.

I was never a certified instructor, but I taught lessons for many years for our club team when I was younger. Here's a couple bits of advice:

1. Take it slow. It is difficult to focus on correcting multiple things at the same time, so you want to slowly put all the pieces together.

2. It starts with the kick. Learn the kick of any stroke first, usually with a board because it provides stability and the person instructing you can give you advice while you do it (except for fly, go without a board for that). With freestyle, we always taught this progression for brand new people (maybe too basic for you, I don't know):

kick with a board (arms out in front of board, not on top) - make sure you're not kicking with your legs straight, but the knee shouldn't bend *too* much. If you can get it on video, we can help you with this.
kick w/ board, now practice inhaling, face in water and exhaling, head lift up and repeat
kick w/ board, practice arm strokes alternating left and right
kick w/ board, arm strokes and breathing
kick w/ board, arm strokes and now breathing to the side instead of up and down
kick w/ board, arm strokes and 3/3 breathing pattern (left arm, right arm, left arm - breath, right arm, left arm, right arm, breath, repeat)
swim w/ 3/3 breathing pattern (usually assistance is required at first, but once you get used to keeping your hips up, you should be good)

Good luck!