Swimming is a fun activity. While many engage in it because of the benefits to be gained from it, some regard it as a sport. Others swim just to ease the summer temperature and some swim because they see it as a bonding activity for friends and/or family.
Some or all of these are reasons why many people are constantly trying to learn the art of swimming. Instead of just diving headfirst into the water and swim, there are certain things new swimmers should know. These things have the potential to help you have a better and more rewarding swimming experience.
- Let go of your fear
Yes, there are reports of deaths, near-death and drowning incidents in the news. Yes, you have seen horror movies that portray swimming to be a dangerous activity. Yes, you are scared of swimming. These are, however, not all the facts of the matter.
As dangerous as swimming is, there are positives to it; just like there are the pros and cons of almost every activity we engage in.
One breath at a time, let go of your fear of swimming. Constantly remind yourself that there are benefits it delivers and these outweigh the inherent risks. Note also that there are safety measures which if strictly adhered to, can help you stay safe while in the water.
- Know that you cannot learn it all in a day
Swimming is an art and an act. There are many things to learn, unlearn and know. You need to learn to float, practice breathing underwater, practice kicking your legs, learn how to crawl to move quickly, learn what to do in unlikely situations, and learn many other things. While you might be eager to replicate the things you have seen in swimming videos, remember that you are in reality.
So, get a trainer or sign up at a training school. Take lessons seriously and learn all you need to. After learning, practice. Practice, they say, makes perfect. To be perfect, or at least, near perfect when swimming, you need to practice loads.
Try, however, not to practice in isolation. Instead, practice with family, friends, or in public spaces where people are; people who would be quick to provide or get help if you run into any difficulty.
Before diving into the water to try out the swimming lengths you learned from watching Michael Phelps’ old clips last night, glide around a little. Doing this helps to warm up your blood, help start-up your heart rate and prepare for more intensive swimming activities.
- Don’t venture into the deep ends, yet
Being new to swimming means you have to be patient. This patience involves staying away from the deep ends till you are a pretty good swimmer. Instead, stay in the shallow water.
Here, you get accustomed to being in the water, you can move around better, you panic less if you run, or swim, into difficulty, and because it is near the edge of the pool, you have something to hold on to, if the need arises.
- Use floating devices
Before swimming unaided, use devices that help you stay afloat and provide needed support for you while in the water. These include life jackets and kickboards among others.
Yes, they might be embarrassing to use, especially if you are in a public pool. But, it is better to be embarrassed in this way than to drown. Moreover, the joy of finally being able to swim outweighs the “embarrassment” of being seen in a floating device.
- Remember that you can always put your feet down
If you are swimming and you have troubles staying afloat or you are suddenly in a panic, remember that you can put your feet down. In these times, don’t just remember it, put them down.
- If you are nervous getting into the pool, slowly put your feet in first and slowly lower
the rest of your body into the pool. Doing this helps you get accustomed to the pool instead of feeling the chills from diving in headfirst.
- Close your mouth
When in the pool, try to keep your mouth closed. For one thing, keeping your mouth closed helps protect you from ingesting contaminants as you don’t know who has been in the water, what has been done in the water or who has put what in it.
Also, keeping your mouth closed helps you panic less, as in a moment of panic, you might be inclined to open your mouth and take in more water than you can handle; this panics you further.
- Carefully pick your gear
While you might want to pick the trendy items you see on sale or those the marketer is trying to sell to you, you should instead pick the gear that is good for you and would meet your needs.
Get goggles to protect your eyes while underwater (optional), nose plugs for your nose till you get used to swimming without them (optional), floating devices to help you stay afloat, and comfortable swimsuits that are your size.
When choosing goggles, you might want to opt for shaded ones that you can use in open pools during summer. These shaded goggles will protect your eyes both when you are in the sun as well as when under the water.
For your swimsuit, you might opt for ones that are lined on the inside. These lined ones might be comfortable for you if you want to be warm while in the cold water.
When choosing your gear, you should also get a plastic box for them. A plastic box is advised because this wet gear would not get it wet as it would wet cloth bags.
- Practice breathing
When underwater, you will be holding your breath a lot, and coming up for air. Being able to breathe properly and knowing when to breathe, delivers a better swimming experience.
The more you practice your breathing technique, whether or not you are in a pool, the better you get and the better your swimming experience.
Wrapping It Up
Adhering to these tips, and more you might pick up, would help ensure that you as a new swimmer, become a better swimmer.