What a Great Day! My wife just learned to swim. In her late 30’s and from the Philippines, she never had the opportunity to swim as a child. When we married a handful of years ago, I was determined she should learn.
Twelve months ago we moved to Monte Pego in Spain, and when not on business trips, I got busy helping her to gain confidence in our pool.
Now let’s get this straight, I was a guitar geek in my youth, and never learned to swim until I was 22 years old. But that was my advantage. See, I know how it feels to be nervous of water. Although a mediocre swimmer, I can jump in and swim a breast-stroke, float, and swim under water.
Looking back I can see that learning to swim is a mental challenge – not a physical one. The trick for me was getting the brain to acknowledge you can float. Going back millions of years, I guess there must be something hard-wired in our brain – that once in the water, some form of swimming stroke kicks in. Doggy paddle or whatever…
But I’d like to share with you some ideas that seemed to work in getting Jude swimming…
1. Buy a pair of goggles – the ones that also cover your nose. Sit your pupil in the shallow end and get them to dip their head underwater – get used to submerging their face.
2. Hold onto the edge of the pool and submerge their face – encourage them to feel how naturally buoyant the human body is.
3. If possible, get them down onto all fours – then in their own time try to spread-eagle themselves (and thus float). In shallow water they will have more confidence to try to let themselves go. I found that the more I tried to ‘teach’ Jude the less she did. So let them ‘play around’ with some of these ideas.
4. I still remember my unorthodox way of learning to swim. I got into water up to my shoulders – and did mini jumps bring my legs and feet up under me. They were only jumps in the sense of bringing my feet under my rear – I didn’t raise my self out of the water. After a few I tried to start a pedaling movement with my feet and arms – so I then started to feel the buoyancy of my body. Soon I began to ‘tread water’ – I was swimming!
5. Yes, get some arm bands or a small polystyrene float, and encourage them to use their legs to get around – all the usual ideas. She them how to use their arms and feet for a simple breast stroke.
Well, I could go on, but this is not a blog to learn to swim – just some simple ideas to get a novice started
Good Luck My Friends!