If you had a bad experience when you were younger that’s left you somewhat nervous of the water, or if you just never took the plunge and learnt as a child, it’s never too late to learn to swim.
We here at Everyone Active have teamed up with Zoggs to bring you some top tips and tricks to support you through those first few dips and help you on your learn-to-swim journey.
The first thing to remember is that you mustn’t rush! Make sure to go at your own pace and not to try anything before you’re ready to give it a go. What’s important is that you’re having fun and enjoying the water as you begin to learn to swim.
Lastly, see if you can find a friend or family member to learn to swim with you, or at least help support you on the journey, especially when you’re in the pool away from lessons. Having someone with you to support you will help keep your confidence up, and help keep you motivated too.
The First Steps on Your Learn-to-Swim Journey
Heading to your local Everyone Active pool for that first swimming lesson can feel like a daunting task. Don’t know what to take, where to go? We’ve put together a guide to make it a little less scary:
Pack your bag the night before so you won’t be running around trying to find everything at the last minute and run the risk of forgetting something. You’ll need the following:
- Your Everyone Active card
- Swimming Costume – some people like to put this on before heading to the leisure centre. Make sure you don’t forget your underwear to put on afterwards. Goggles
- Swim cap
- Nose clip/ear plugs (if needed)
- Bottle of Water
- Locker token – most Everyone Active Pools require a £1 coin or a token to secure a locker.
Making sure your kit is comfortable to wear and fits properly is key. You want to make sure you are going into your swimming lesson confidently and with complete trust in your equipment.
- Swimwear – whether you want to go sporty or more of a leisure style as long as you feel comfortable and confident then that’s the swimsuit for you. Check out Everyone Active’s revised swimwear policy to see what you can wear as you continue to learn to swim.
Are your goggles steaming up? Leaking? You need to find the perfect fit. Everyone Active leisure centres provide a great goggle fitting service where you can try on a selection of goggles and get to know which is the right fit for you. Want to check the goggles you have fit correctly, check out the Zoggs goggle fitting guide.
Visit the Pool Beforehand
If you’re not sure where to go, where the pool is, where the changing rooms are, then visit the centre a day or so before to work out where everything is.
Get Comfortable in the Water
Getting in the pool for the first time it is about feeling the movement of the water. Water has a natural buoyancy and the key to swimming is learning to trust this. A Zoggs Zoodle float can be a great support when beginning your learn-to-swim journey.
Try wrapping the Zoodle round the front of your body placing each end under your arms. Slowly rest your weight on it and let your legs float up behind you. When you’re feeling comfortable, try kicking your legs gently and you’ll start to move around the pool. Try doing the same on your back as well by wrapping the Zoodle round your back with each end under each arm.
Take a Breath
As they learn to swim, one of the biggest fears people have is of putting their face in the water. This is why it’s important to tackle breathing in the water before anything else. To start with, slow your breathing down. Lying on the Zoodle with it wrapped around your front, breathe in for three seconds then place you mouth in the water and breathe out for three seconds. If this proves difficult, just try blowing bubbles on the surface of the water until you feel comfortable.
Lower your face gradually as you become more confident until you can place your whole face in the water. Be sure to wear goggles. They allow you to see everything clearly, helping to remove any fear of the unknown. Keep the three in, three out rhythm with your breathing as this will help when it comes to the strokes.
Once you’re comfortable with the breathing rhythm try tilting your head either side to breathe mimicking the breaths of freestyle (front crawl). While still on the Zoodle try kicking so you can see what it feels like to breathe while moving through the water.
Once you trust the water and you’ve learnt to breathe, the only thing left to master as you learn to swim is your stroke technique and you’ll be powering up and down the lanes in no time.
Butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle, where will you start? As they learn to swim, people usually start with breaststroke or freestyle as these are the easiest strokes to get the hang of and most swim teachers will start with these.
Place a Zoodle underneath your waist to keep the support. Start by getting used to the stroke and trying to move around the pool using your arms. After this is mastered try adding the kicking technique to improve this movement. Once you feel confident enough move from the support of the Zoodle to a Kickboard. While this gives you peace of mind with a little floatation support, it also gives you much more freedom of movement. Holding the top edge, use alternate arms to practice your swim stroke. Try adding the breathing to bring all the elements together. Check out these Zoggs technique videos for more tips:
Well you’ve done it, you’ve taken the plunge and now have the chance to develop your swim technique. Swimming, however, is all about practice, but this doesn’t have to be on your own. Head to the pool with friends or join a swimming group to learn together.