The past two weeks I have had the privilege to introduce some brave adults to the world of swimming.
Every time I work with adults I think of how lucky I was to learn to swim at such a young age and to gain a love for the water. As I have been working with new adult swimmers, I have been thinking about how Notre Dame required all freshman to pass a swimming test. If they did not pass they would take swimming as their first PE rotation or for as many rotations until they could pass. Of course this is no longer a requirement, and I think that is a shame. I vividly recall the number of my fellow freshman classmates that were terrified of the water or just couldn't swim across the pool safely.
The CDC reports that nearly 70% of all drownings each year are of people 15 years and older . Learning to swim is not just a safety concern for young children, but for people of all ages. Yes, adults should learn to swim for safety, but don't forget for FUN! Just think of all the vacation and family friendly spots that involve water activities--water is the elixer of life.
OK--maybe I am a bit of a fish and love the water more than the average person, but you get my point. Swimming is a life-saving skill that just so happens to be lots of FUN too.
So what are swim lessons like for adults?
Teaching adults to swim for the first time is very similar to children yet at the same time vastly different. Adults who don't know how to swim come to their first lesson with a lot more history and possibly anxiety than the typical child. Some adults may miss out on learning to swim if they come from a culture where swimming isn't widely popular, or they grow up in areas without easy pool access, and other adults are simply afraid—be it from a terrifying water incident early in life or a fear that was fostered by their caregivers.
So where does one begin?
All swim lessons should start at the individual's comfort level and progress from there with the first focus being on breath control. I am always just as excited to see my adult swimmers hold their breath under water correctly and safely for the first time as I am for any of my younger swimmers.
And that's where it all begins....
And what about my new adult beginners?
Well, my brave new adult swimmers have learned proper breath control and are working towards kicking ten yards independently --all in 2 lessons. I am so proud of their strong efforts and facing their fear of the water.
I encourage all adults and especially parents who don't know how to swim to be brave enough to come take the plunge with me!