Before getting in the water, let's think about a few things. First, swimming is done in a horizontal position which is not natural for many people. Most beginner swimmers feel disoriented when laying on the water, they sometimes feel as if they will fall down or that they do not have control over their bodies. However, this feeling should be overcome as it is not the case. Try to think of it more as laying down into a nice soft bed. Second, let's stay with the bed analogy. When you lay down to sleep, your body is relaxed, all muscles are loosend up. This is very similar how you should feel when floating in the water. Believe it or not, but the more relaxed you are the easier it is to stay afloat. So listen to Frankie and RELAX. Third, do not use any floating equipment. True, it is easier to kick with a kickboard or rely on some sort of a belt around your waist, however, most folks start getting dependent on the floating equipment and then it is hard to learn to swim the right way. Fourth, BREATHE. Do not hold your breath. Every time you take a breath and put your face into the water, start slowly exhaling bubbles. This will relax you and will let you enjoy your swimming exercise that much more. If you are having trouble breathing, perhaps this drown proofing advice will help. Fifth, do not be afraid, water is your friend. Many have mastered swimming before you, so why shouldn't you :)...
Now let's get to the good stuff. You are probably asking, so what do I do in the pool? How do I start? Well, let's see:
1.) If you are afraid of the water, you should start by standing up in the shallow end of the pool holding the wall and try to squat, so you get your chin close to the water. Breath easily. Once you are comfortable, try to go deeper under water while holding your breath. Now, don't just go up and down quickly, relax and use nice smooth motion to get up and down. If that is ok, try to stay with your head submerged for longer. If you have your goggles, open your eyes, look around you and explore the beauty of the water. Try not to wear any floating devices that would help you with floating. Learning to float on your own is the way to go, so right from the beginning you exercise the correct muscles and body positions. If you really need to have some sense of security, you can try the SafeSwimme safety product
|Blowing bubbles by Darkumber|
3. It is time you learn how to stand back up from horizontal swimming position. You are standing up, your arms are at your side, slowly lay on the water facing down while extending your arms above your head. So you end up laying on the water as a tree log stretching your arms as far forward as possible with your palms down. Hold your breath (keep your mouth shut :)) and relax. Your body should be flat, the surface of the water should be hitting you on the back of your hair on top of your head, so get that chin toward your chest. Don't be afraid to even get your head under the water a little. Whenever you are ready to stand up, slowly bring your knees to your chest while keeping your arms extended forward and head under the water. You will notice your body is changing positions from horizontal to vertical. when you butt starts to sink start slowly moving your straight arms (palms facing down) from the front above your head, down toward your hips keeping your arms straight. So, they will make nice half a circle. Then when you are vertical, your face is still in the water, just extend your legs down to the bottom of the pool and rotate your head out of the water (backwards). Voila! Now, try it with exhaling (blowing bubbles) when your head is underwater. This will help you relax more.
If you can master all the swimming skills I discussed above, you should be fairly comfortable being in the water. If not, keep practicing, until you handle 1,2,3 with ease. Good luck and remember, water is not evil. Don't think too much about it, we all have instincts to survive. :)
Update: After you have handled the above with ease, feel free to move on to the next post where I show you how to start your first motion in the H20 or just dive straight into some swim lessons posts.