Around half of the people in the UK don’t know how to swim.
Learning to swim as an adult can be challenging, but it can also save your life.
Read on to find what it’s like to learn to swim as an adult, and why so many people recommend it:
Swimming is the only skill you can learn that could someday save your life. So why do so many people put off learning?
For many, it’s a fear of water from childhood that it’s hard to get over.
We spoke to Tammy Dewhurst, swimming co-ordinator at Andover Leisure Centre, to find out how swimming lessons for adults differ to those for children.
When adults come to you with a fear of water, how do your teachers help them overcome this?
The teacher will teach them slowly, at their pace, and stay in the water with them at all times.They will start with putting their faces in the water, and blowing bubbles – but if it’s a very strong fear, we can teach people with heads out of the water.
Aside from a fear, why do you think some people put off leaning to swim until later in life?
Some people start later as they have raised their children, and now have more time for themselves.
For the older generation, swimming is a fantastic exercise as it’s low impact and non-weight bearing.
What usually makes adults decide to learn to swim?
When adults see their children having swimming lessons, they often want to set a good example for them.
As well as this, it’s nice to share in family holidays and be able to swim all together. When you get older, swimming is a great social way to exercise.Of course, we also have people who would just love to conquer their fear of swimming.
What are the challenges that come with learning to swim as an adult?
Adults can have added fear, as they know the dangers of water. But on the other hand, they can understand and follow instructions better than children.It’s also usually a safe bet that adults are there because they want to be, rather than enrolled by their parents!
Why do you think it’s so important for adults to learn to swim?
It’s a very valuable life skill, and could even save a life. It also opens up more things for people to do, as it’s great exercise and can be a very social activity.
It’s difficult to tell how long it takes for an adult to learn to swim – it depends on a case-by-case basis.
How many adults do you have learning to swim at Andover Leisure Centre?
We currently have 30 adults doing swimming lessons. This covers both one-to-one and group sessions.
One-to-one usually works better if you have a big fear of water, but group sessions are great as you get a lot of encouragement from peers.
Helen, 43, came to The Rapids with a huge fear of swimming – and can now swim 25m confidently on her own!
Speaking about her lessons, Helen said: “I started with an intensive one-to-one course, which really helped to build momentum.
I’d say to others in my situation not to put it off like I did. I could have done this a few years ago – but now my lessons have really built my confidence. It’s just what I needed!”