Author Topic: Learning to swim/improving swimming  (Read 44191 times)

Gattopardo

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Learning to swim/improving swimming
« on: August 28, 2008, 01:58:05 pm »
Well I've decided that I really should learn to swim or should I say improve my lack of swimming.

I learnt when I was younger and was a poor swimmer.  I could get my head under the water.  Well after a few water incidents I have decided that I should learn to swim.

Can anyone recomend a course that guarantees you being able to swim?

I'm think of some one on one tuition just to give me the confidence to swim.  Is this a good idea or better if its in a small group?

Any hints and tips to get the head immersion thing sorted would be really good for me.

Thanks

tiermat

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Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2008, 02:13:07 pm »
I don't think ANY course will guarantee that.

However your best first port of call would be your local leisure centre, they nearly all do adult learner classes, and most will do one to one tuition for a modest extra fee (most class sizes are <6 anyway)

HTH and good luck, swimming is, IMHO, one of life's key skills, like good manners and being able walk.
I feel like Captain Kirk, on a brand new planet every day, a little like King Kong on top of the Empire State

andygates

  • Peroxide Viking
Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2008, 02:25:07 pm »
In 06 I needed to learn to swim after accepting a dare to do a triathlon (see where I ended up? Just did my first mile nonstop!).

I went to the local pool and booked a session with their adult swim instructor.  Then I went away and had a few practises of my own, then booked another session, and after the third such session I was getting there. 

I'd recommend the on-on-one approach.  You don't have to bother with any of that "looking all back-of-the-bus" angst that you might get in a class.
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Gattopardo

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Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2008, 02:32:05 pm »
I don't think ANY course will guarantee that.

However your best first port of call would be your local leisure centre, they nearly all do adult learner classes, and most will do one to one tuition for a modest extra fee (most class sizes are <6 anyway)

HTH and good luck, swimming is, IMHO, one of life's key skills, like good manners and being able walk.

I've looked in to some of the course and group seem to be £120-140 for six - eight week courses or around £190 for six half hour one on ones.  Both seem pricey as I may not be able to get over the putting my head under water thing.

I also can't swim by myself as I panic I'll drown.  Almost did a few years ago in my friends pool hence the fear now.

Gattopardo

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Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2008, 02:33:42 pm »
In 06 I needed to learn to swim after accepting a dare to do a triathlon (see where I ended up? Just did my first mile nonstop!).

I went to the local pool and booked a session with their adult swim instructor.  Then I went away and had a few practises of my own, then booked another session, and after the third such session I was getting there. 

I'd recommend the on-on-one approach.  You don't have to bother with any of that "looking all back-of-the-bus" angst that you might get in a class.

That seems like a good approach unfortunatly from what I've found is that my pools are run by comapnies so don't do instructors for individual lessons but will only block book.

Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2008, 02:39:17 pm »
I was looking into this a while back. At that time none of the local classes suited me time-wise so I abandoned, but I'd like to revisit the issue. I might even consider a residential course - have you thought about that, Lynx? Get it done in one hit?

My problem with swimming is that I just sink, no matter what I do. Each attempt to swim involves at least one near-drowning  ;D. Are there certain body types that just can't do it?

mattc

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Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2008, 02:43:47 pm »

I've looked in to some of the course and group seem to be £120-140 for six - eight week courses or around £190 for six half hour one on ones.  Both seem pricey as I may not be able to get over the putting my head under water thing.

I also can't swim by myself as I panic I'll drown.  Almost did a few years ago in my friends pool hence the fear now.
You sound like you've got an even worse version of what I had.

I had maybe 3-4 solo lessons, with lots of practice in between, and got to the point of happily swimming a length very slowly, and knowing I could build on that by just putting in the hours. I doubt this would have happened with scheduled group lessons. I don't think group teaching is any good for fixing these 'irrational' fears.

Money VERY well spent.

There MUST be some private instructors in your area that would do this - I'd recommend persevering and tracking them down. Try the phone book, local schools, phsyios, swimming/triathlon clubs, just keep making phone calls.
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

tiermat

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Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2008, 02:46:00 pm »
In answer to your last question SP, yes there is.

In order of most- to least able to float are:
teenage boys
adult females
teenage girls
adult males.

It's all about physiology, you see.

TBH the residential course may get you to be able to swim a length by the end of a week, BUT unless you keep going you will forget it in a month or so and be back to square one (a bit like those MCSE course that guarantee a pass after a week of classroom cramming).  Really the best option is to find a local-ish pool that offers the training in weekly 1/2 hour or 1 hour blocks and get yourself there.  Many many people are in your situation and I think it's shame.

As I a side note, I feel fortunate as I have been able to swim since an early age and managed to pass my pool life guard qualification, although it has now run out (it only lasts 3 years).  TLD is now learning to swim, and she has gone from being terrified of water to looking forward to her Saturday morning trips to the pool.
I feel like Captain Kirk, on a brand new planet every day, a little like King Kong on top of the Empire State

Maladict

Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2008, 02:51:50 pm »
I was always a poor swimmer but I went along to a local pool and did the intermediate beginners classes.  One of the best things I've done for myself over the years.  In the end I found myself in the advanced class.

Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2008, 02:58:59 pm »
Can anyone recomend a course that guarantees you being able to swim?

Well, you're a mammal. So you will be able to learn to swim! I think the only thing that stops people is confidence - or rather lack of it.

Don't really have much advice as I was bunged in a pool at a very young age. I was also Essex schools champion on numerous occassions  :)  Like I said - the most important thing is confidence. Seriously, you are not going to drown! It would be interesting to have some stats on how many adults drown in public swimming pools. I bet it's hardly any. Just don't accept any invitations to parties from Michael Barrymore.....
Those wonderful norks are never far from my thoughts, oh yeah!

tiermat

  • According to Jane, I'm a Unisex SpaceAdmin
Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2008, 03:05:11 pm »
It would be interesting to have some stats on how many adults drown in public swimming pools. I bet it's hardly any

Correct, the number who actually suffer from terminal apnea in public swimming pools in the UK is miniscule, but then that is probably down to the training that all pool staff MUST have (even if not employed as a life guard).  From what I can remember from when I did my pool life guard training more people die of heart attacks in swimming pools that drown, and even that number is low as swimming is a low impact exercise so puts less stress on the heart (and indeed is generally recommended as the first sport a heart patient should attempt)

EDIT, the only figures I could find were for 2002, when 7 people drown in swimming pools in the UK, but that figure is not divided up into public/private pools
I feel like Captain Kirk, on a brand new planet every day, a little like King Kong on top of the Empire State

andygates

  • Peroxide Viking
Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2008, 03:18:52 pm »
I'd say definitely the one-on-one.  A good instructor - go by feel - will keep you calm and progress at your pace, plus you don't have to commit to a whole course, so if you don't get on (I hate the "booyah! no pain no gain!" ones) you just waste one session.

Your issues are psychological, and getting in there with someone who supports the counter-issue (viz: swimming is something you can do and it's fun) they'll be challenged and eventually clubbed over the head with a stick made of Achievement and Win. :thumbsup:
It takes blood and guts to be this cool but I'm still just a cliché.
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cometworm

Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2008, 03:19:09 pm »
Check out swimfortri or Stephanie Ellis. Both can do one-on-one lessons afaik.

Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2008, 03:20:03 pm »
It would be interesting to have some stats on how many adults drown in public swimming pools. I bet it's hardly any

Correct, the number who actually suffer from terminal apnea in public swimming pools in the UK is miniscule, but then that is probably down to the training that all pool staff MUST have (even if not employed as a life guard).  From what I can remember from when I did my pool life guard training more people die of heart attacks in swimming pools that drown, and even that number is low as swimming is a low impact exercise so puts less stress on the heart (and indeed is generally recommended as the first sport a heart patient should attempt)

EDIT, the only figures I could find were for 2002, when 7 people drown in swimming pools in the UK, but that figure is not divided up into public/private pools

Indeed, I have much respect for lifeguards. When I was a kid my mate decided to launch himself off the 5 metre platform to land as close as possible to me. He landed close alright - he drove his chin into the top of my skull!! He was unconscious and I was seriously dazed. We were soon fished out though and taken to A&E to be stitched up.

I also had a surfboard/face incident at a beach in Sydney a few years ago - again, lifegaurds were straight in dragging my semi-conscious body out of the drink and dropping me off at the medical centre to have my upper lip stitched back onto my face.

Loads of respect for those guys - you're in safe hands....
Those wonderful norks are never far from my thoughts, oh yeah!

mattc

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Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #14 on: August 28, 2008, 03:23:46 pm »
Pools and busy beaches may be very safe, but it's the canals, rivers and lakes you have to watch.

Strong swimmers are statistically far more likely to drown than non-swimmers.

+1 for us crap swimmers who timidly stick to the shallow end!
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

andygates

  • Peroxide Viking
Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #15 on: August 28, 2008, 03:38:04 pm »
Strong swimmers take risks - we went out for a sea-swim last year and got caught by the tide at Elie, in Fife.  For about ten minutes we were both swimming as hard as we could and got *nowhere*, then had a little revelation that if we didn't swim harder NOW, before we got tired, our wetsuited bodies would wash up in Norway.

Or worse, we'd end up as those idiots on the telly being rescued. 

We swam harder.  Afterwards, it was exhilerating.  But mostly, it was just stupid.   :-[
It takes blood and guts to be this cool but I'm still just a cliché.
OpenStreetMap UK & IRL Streetmap & Topo: ravenfamily.org/andyg/maps updates weekly.

Gattopardo

  • Lord of the sith
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Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #16 on: August 28, 2008, 03:43:46 pm »
Strong swimmers take risks - we went out for a sea-swim last year and got caught by the tide at Elie, in Fife.  For about ten minutes we were both swimming as hard as we could and got *nowhere*, then had a little revelation that if we didn't swim harder NOW, before we got tired, our wetsuited bodies would wash up in Norway.

Or worse, we'd end up as those idiots on the telly being rescued. 

We swam harder.  Afterwards, it was exhilerating.  But mostly, it was just stupid.   :-[

Thanks for sharing but that really doesn't inspire me to learn but to make sure the boat doesn't break down.

agagisgroovy

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Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #17 on: August 28, 2008, 03:44:56 pm »
It's very nice to walk up the beach after going for a swim/surf to see a sign saying 4 People Have Died on this Beach in the last 4(?) Years - Enter at Own Risk. That was at Port Nis last year on Lewis.  :o  :)

toekneep

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Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #18 on: August 28, 2008, 03:48:30 pm »
I learnt to swim as a child at primary school although I was never particularly confident. Then as an angst ridden skinny teenager I avoided swimming pools or any situation that involved showing off my puny body to the general public. Later in life I found that I could no longer swim due to fear of the water. In my twenties a friend had a go at teaching me in Lake Windemere and that was a disaster. The only reason I didn't drown was because he had to fight me to get me out of the water and as luck would have it I was worse at fighting than swimming.

Skip a good few years and at the age of 40 I decided enough was enough, I was going to learn to swim. I enrolled in adult classes and drove there on the first night terrified. There were several moments between getting out of the car and reaching the pool edge when I nearly chickened out but somehow I made it into  the water. Over the next six weeks I managed very very slow progress and completed my first width on the last evening.

I progressed to another pool where friends went and eventually managed a length (only 25yds but hey, a length sounds good). The problem was I just never conquered the fear. After a year of regular visits I would spend an hour in the pool and maybe complete ten lengths, I even strung two together once, but the fear never subsided. I learnt to swim but I remained afraid of the water. So I gave up. I decided I would drown if I fell in a river or lake, and if I ever had the misfortune to be present when a small child fell into the water I would just have to live the rest of my life feeling like a complete failure.

I wish you all the luck in the world Lynx, and I'm sure you will succeed but please don't beat yourself up if you don't, we can't all achieve everything in life.

tiermat

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Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #19 on: August 28, 2008, 03:49:48 pm »
It's so nice for people to relate water borne death stories in such a thread, I hope I can redress the balance a little bit, I have (and my two brothers) have been swimming for over 30 years each and have yet to suffer a water borne tragedy.  this is most probably because we can swim, do it I say, learn to swim you might never need to use the skills you learn, but you can guarantee the time you do need to use them you will be glad you did (and it will be too late to start learning at that point!)
I feel like Captain Kirk, on a brand new planet every day, a little like King Kong on top of the Empire State

Gattopardo

  • Lord of the sith
  • Overseaing the building of the death star
Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #20 on: August 28, 2008, 03:51:40 pm »
Check out swimfortri or Stephanie Ellis. Both can do one-on-one lessons afaik.

Thank you and have emailed them for more details.

Gattopardo

  • Lord of the sith
  • Overseaing the building of the death star
Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #21 on: August 28, 2008, 03:53:25 pm »
It's so nice for people to relate water borne death stories in such a thread, I hope I can redress the balance a little bit, I have (and my two brothers) have been swimming for over 30 years each and have yet to suffer a water borne tragedy.  this is most probably because we can swim, do it I say, learn to swim you might never need to use the skills you learn, but you can guarantee the time you do need to use them you will be glad you did (and it will be too late to start learning at that point!)

Thank you.

Gattopardo

  • Lord of the sith
  • Overseaing the building of the death star
Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #22 on: August 28, 2008, 03:57:37 pm »
I learnt to swim as a child at primary school although I was never particularly confident. Then as an angst ridden skinny teenager I avoided swimming pools or any situation that involved showing off my puny body to the general public. Later in life I found that I could no longer swim due to fear of the water. In my twenties a friend had a go at teaching me in Lake Windemere and that was a disaster. The only reason I didn't drown was because he had to fight me to get me out of the water and as luck would have it I was worse at fighting than swimming.

Skip a good few years and at the age of 40 I decided enough was enough, I was going to learn to swim. I enrolled in adult classes and drove there on the first night terrified. There were several moments between getting out of the car and reaching the pool edge when I nearly chickened out but somehow I made it into  the water. Over the next six weeks I managed very very slow progress and completed my first width on the last evening.

I progressed to another pool where friends went and eventually managed a length (only 25yds but hey, a length sounds good). The problem was I just never conquered the fear. After a year of regular visits I would spend an hour in the pool and maybe complete ten lengths, I even strung two together once, but the fear never subsided. I learnt to swim but I remained afraid of the water. So I gave up. I decided I would drown if I fell in a river or lake, and if I ever had the misfortune to be present when a small child fell into the water I would just have to live the rest of my life feeling like a complete failure.

I wish you all the luck in the world Lynx, and I'm sure you will succeed but please don't beat yourself up if you don't, we can't all achieve everything in life.

I see alot of myself in those comments.

This year we when to lanzerote and I had a swim in the pool (and the sea) after taking over an hour to just emerse myself.  This was improved by buy a pair of decent gogles for the first time ever, and that gave me better confidence to open my eyes under water.  This all had to be with the gf by myside as I was really paniced incase she was too far to save me from drowning.

Hence I want to keep the momentum up.

toekneep

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Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #23 on: August 28, 2008, 04:00:12 pm »
I learnt to swim as a child at primary school although I was never particularly confident. Then as an angst ridden skinny teenager I avoided swimming pools or any situation that involved showing off my puny body to the general public. Later in life I found that I could no longer swim due to fear of the water. In my twenties a friend had a go at teaching me in Lake Windemere and that was a disaster. The only reason I didn't drown was because he had to fight me to get me out of the water and as luck would have it I was worse at fighting than swimming.

Skip a good few years and at the age of 40 I decided enough was enough, I was going to learn to swim. I enrolled in adult classes and drove there on the first night terrified. There were several moments between getting out of the car and reaching the pool edge when I nearly chickened out but somehow I made it into  the water. Over the next six weeks I managed very very slow progress and completed my first width on the last evening.

I progressed to another pool where friends went and eventually managed a length (only 25yds but hey, a length sounds good). The problem was I just never conquered the fear. After a year of regular visits I would spend an hour in the pool and maybe complete ten lengths, I even strung two together once, but the fear never subsided. I learnt to swim but I remained afraid of the water. So I gave up. I decided I would drown if I fell in a river or lake, and if I ever had the misfortune to be present when a small child fell into the water I would just have to live the rest of my life feeling like a complete failure.

I wish you all the luck in the world Lynx, and I'm sure you will succeed but please don't beat yourself up if you don't, we can't all achieve everything in life.

I see alot of myself in those comments.

This year we when to lanzerote and I had a swim in the pool (and the sea) after taking over an hour to just emerse myself.  This was improved by buy a pair of decent gogles for the first time ever, and that gave me better confidence to open my eyes under water.  This all had to be with the gf by myside as I was really paniced incase she was too far to save me from drowning.

Hence I want to keep the momentum up.
Oh yes the goggles, I'd forgotten how important they were. I also used a nose clip which reduced the panic caused by breathing water through my nose. (But made me look like a prat.  ;D )

tiermat

  • According to Jane, I'm a Unisex SpaceAdmin
Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #24 on: August 28, 2008, 04:05:40 pm »
Sounds like you have made the first step yourself and you are on the way, like you say keep the momentum up.

If all else fails, or you feel the need to go to the pool more often that the lessons, get a able swimmer friend to go with you for support and assistance.

If you can get out of work, go during the day, the pools are usually quietest midweek (or strangely enough midday Saturday during term time), ask the local pool when they are quiet.  Go then and just mess about in the water, don't go thinking you are going for a swim, just go with the intention of having a laugh.  Confidence in water is the number one barrier to people not swimming, and if you can remove yourself from the things that affect your confidence (usually what other people will think) then you will be more relaxed and enjoy the time in the pool more.  I have found that the midweek swimming session usually just have 3 or 4 old ladies who are there to keep their circulation going, and they aren't in the slightest bit bothered by someone getting in the water to build up their confidence (indeed most have been in your position and may well offer words of encouragement).  Just DON'T GET IN THEIR WAY, THEY ARE DEMONS!!!! :)

Swimming is a fun sport, have fun, don't see it as a chore, and once again I'll say JFDI....
I feel like Captain Kirk, on a brand new planet every day, a little like King Kong on top of the Empire State