How Do I Learn To Swim By Myself?

Alex Ortiz
By Alex Ortiz 18 Min Read
18 Min Read
how do i learn to swim by myself featured

Hey there! Let me share something super cool with you. Did you know I learned how to swim as an adult? Yeah, and guess what? It changed my life! Stick with me; I’ll tell you all about it.

When I was younger, I tried swimming lessons, just like a bunch of other kids. But, oh boy, it wasn’t fun. Remember those kickboards that we had to kick around with? For some reason, while everyone else seemed to glide through the water like dolphins, I felt more like a potato stuck in mud.

Oh, and I had this big, HUGE fear of deep water. It’s like when you’re afraid of the dark but imagine that with water. My swim coach didn’t really get it, which made things harder. So, I kinda gave up and thought, “Welp, I guess I’m just not cut out for swimming.”

But here’s where it gets interesting. I LOVE watersports – you know, those fun things you do on the water with lifejackets. Jet skiing, kayaking, you name it! But to really dive deep into these hobbies and to be safe (super important, right?), I had this little voice in my head saying, “You gotta learn how to swim, buddy.

One day, I came across this thing called the total immersion swimming method. Sounds fancy, right? It’s a way of teaching swimming, especially for folks like me. It’s packed with cool drills and tricks that make swimming feel natural and easy. It’s not just about moving your arms and legs; it’s about getting your whole body to dance with the water.

And guess what? It worked for me! Now, instead of being that potato, I feel like a sleek fish (well, most of the time 😄).

How Difficult Is Learning To Swim?

Ever tried something new and thought, “Man, why is this so hard?” That’s how I felt when I started learning to swim. And here’s a little secret – learning to swim as an adult can be a bit tricky! Many swim coaches often use kiddo techniques for adults, and trust me, it feels like trying to fit into a kiddie pool when you’re all grown up.

But here’s the deal. How difficult swimming feels can vary. For some, it’s like climbing a mountain, while for others, it’s more like a walk in the park.

1 – Fear of the Water

Here are some things that can throw a wrench in your swimming journey:

  1. Facing the Water Jitters
    If the idea of deep water gives you the creeps, you’re not alone! The fear of water can be a big, scary monster in our heads, making learning to swim feel like a marathon. This fear can add extra time to your learning journey, but there’s hope!Top Tip: If water scares you a bit, consider getting a personal coach who gets it. This person can be like your swimming BFF. They’ll understand your worries and help you face them head-on. If that’s not your thing, even having a friend by your side can be super helpful. Remember, when we’re scared, our bodies can turn into stiff boards, but in the water, we want to be more like jiggly jellyfish. Relaxing is key.
  2. Starting Simple
    If you’re feeling nervous, start in the kiddie end of the pool! Lie on your back, let the water play with your hair, and splash your face. This might sound silly, but it’s a way to get cozy with the water. The more you chill in the shallow end, the more you’ll feel like the pool’s a friend, not a foe.

2 – Swimming Coordination

Ever tried to pat your head and rub your belly at the same time? Swimming can feel a bit like that at first. It’s like learning to ride a bike, but with water all around. There’s a lot of juggling going on – figuring out when to breathe, when to move your arms, and how to keep everything flowing.

Pro Tip: Want to know a little trick I used? Mantras! Yup, just like those calming words you might repeat during meditation. For me, when I was learning to coordinate my arm movements, I had this catchy line running in my head:

🎵 “Enter, Reach, Extend, Pull!” 🎵

This helped me remember:

  • Enter your arm smoothly into the water.
  • Reach out like you’re trying to touch something just out of grasp.
  • Extend your arm super far, like a superhero in flight.
  • And finally, Pull back, powering through the water.

3 – Swimming Breathing

Okay, let’s chat about one of the trickiest parts of swimming: breathing. Yup, something we do every single second can become a huge puzzle in the water. It’s like trying to juggle while riding a unicycle.

Game Changer Alert! 🚨

I found a super cool tool that helped me with this: a swimming harness. I tried it out in a garden pool, and it was a game-changer. Imagine training wheels, but for swimming. With the harness on, I could just focus on my breathing without worrying about sinking or floating away.

If you’re scratching your head wondering what on earth a swim harness is, don’t worry! I’ve written a detailed piece about it. Check out my article titled: “What Is A Swim Harness? Dive Deep into the Details!”

4 – Swimming Cardio Fitness

Remember when you’d run around as a kid and never get tired? Oh, how times have changed! When it comes to swimming, having good cardio or stamina is kinda important. Without it, you might find yourself getting pooped out pretty fast.

Life Hack: The key isn’t to turn into an overnight marathon runner. Nope! When you’re starting out, the secret sauce is to chill and let the water carry you. Think of it like getting a piggyback ride from the water. Focus on gliding smoothly, like a paper plane in the air, rather than trying to power through like a bulldozer.

And about those kicks? Minimize them! Too much kicking is like sprinting right at the start of a race. You’ll wear out super fast. Curious about how much to kick and when? Dive into my article: “Kick It Right: The Art of Swimming Kicks!” for the inside scoop.

5 – Cost

Okay, let’s address the elephant in the room: money. Learning to swim can sometimes feel like you’re pouring coins into a pool, especially if you’re getting professional coaching or need regular pool access. But there are ways to swim without breaking the bank!

If you’re going the self-taught route, consider finding community pools or local gyms that might have discounted rates. Some places even have ‘swim days’ with reduced prices. And hey, buddy up! Sharing costs with a friend can make pool time more affordable (and fun!).

Self-Teaching Stages In Learning to Swim

It is possible to self teach yourself swimming.

Below is the method I used to teach myself how to swim.

Learning to swim might seem like a puzzle, but guess what? It’s totally doable to piece it together yourself!

Stage One – Gain Water Confidence

Remember how I mentioned being a bit freaked out by deep water? Yup, that added an extra layer to my DIY swimming lessons. But here’s the thing – fear is a lot like fog. It might seem thick and scary, but with the right guidance, you can see right through it.

Pro Tip: If the deep blue gives you the jitters, consider spending just an hour with a swimming guru. Sure, by the end of that hour, you might still feel those butterflies, but remember, swimming is a mix of confidence and technique. Once you get a grip on those, you can totally take charge of your own learning journey!

Learn to Float – How do you teach an adult to float?

Before you swim like a fish, you’ve got to be comfy in the water. Think of it like getting to know a new friend. You start slow and build trust.

Let’s Get Started:

  • Head to your local swimming spot and stick to the shallow end. Just be in the water. Feel it. Splash around. And hey, just walking in water is not only super fun but also a fantastic workout (bonus!).
  • Ready to up your game? Try these:Floating Fun: Wondering how to float? Floating is like lying on a water bed. It’s relaxing and an essential swimming skill (plus, it could be a lifesaver in tough spots!). To kick off, stay where your feet can touch the ground. Lie on your back, spread out your arms and legs, and just let go. The water’s got your back!

Stage Two – Gain Fundamental Swimming Skills

Floating to Swimming
Once you’re good with floating, it’s time to kick things up a notch (literally).

Kicking It Off

Kicking might seem simple, but trust me, it’s a workout! If you’re struggling, don’t worry; you’re not alone. But here’s a hack: grab a kickboard! This little tool is like a mini surfboard that will help you focus on your kicks. Imagine you’re a mermaid or merman, and let those legs do the magic!

Tread and Lead

Treading water might sound like you’re running in place in the water, but it’s a bit different. It’s all about staying afloat without really ‘swimming’. I had to work hard at this, and if you’re scratching your head, thinking about the kitchen while I talk about treading water, the “eggbeater kick” is probably why. Ever seen an egg beater in action? It’s kind of like doing the breaststroke while floating on your back.

Training Fins: My Secret Weapon

These aren’t your typical scuba diving flippers. Training fins are like little speed boosters for your feet. They’re like turbochargers for your legs, helping you zoom through the water and giving your kicks that extra “oomph”. For me, these fins were a game-changer, making me feel like Aquaman!

Stage Three – Improve Your Swim Technique And Really Learn To Swim

The Total Immersion Method – My Swim Bible
Here’s a little secret: learning to swim wasn’t a quick dive for me. It took me two years, lots of floundering, and a tad too many mouthfuls of pool water. But then, I stumbled upon my swimming game-changer – the Total Immersion Swim Method.

Imagine learning a dance; you’ve got to get the steps right. This method is like that, but for swimming. Within a week, I went from being a doggy paddler to a graceful swimmer!

Wondering where to start? I’ve got you covered! Check out this must-read:
“Total Immersion: The Revolutionary Way To Swim Better, Faster, and Easier”.

For those who prefer visual learning, there’s also a DVD showing the drills in action.

And, because I’m a fan, here’s a big shoutout to the creators of the Total Immersion Swim Method. If you’re looking to dive deep into self-taught swimming, it’s a must-try. Plus, they’ve got some neat freebies on YouTube to kickstart your journey.

How Long Does It Take To Learn To Swim For Adults?

Wondering how long it takes for adults to grasp the techniques of swimming? Let’s break it down:

  • Individual Factors Play a Role: For someone like me, with a phobia of water, it took a considerable time of two years. That’s right, two whole years of perseverance and overcoming my fears.
  • However, a Silver Lining: When I finally battled my water-related demons, I fast-tracked my learning. Thanks to the total immersion swim method, I mastered swimming in just a month.

Here’s a neat breakdown for you:

Swimming Level vs. Time Taken

Swimming Level Average Time To Learn To Swim Well
Novice (with fear of water) 2 years
Novice (no fear, without technique training) 1 year
Novice (no fear, with technique training) 15 days to 1 year with the Total Immersion Method

Am I Too Old To Learn How To Swim?

Absolutely! Think of swimming as a rejuvenating elixir; it’s not just a sport but a way to keep yourself agile and mentally sharp.

  • Gentle on Your Joints: As age advances, our body seeks exercises that are tender on the joints. Swimming offers just that. It’s like giving your body a gentle massage.
  • Brain Workout: And don’t get me started on the cognitive benefits. Every stroke, breath, and glide requires a harmony of mind and body. Perfect for keeping those neurons firing!
  • Beyond Just Exercise: Swimming isn’t just about physical well-being. The social aspect of swimming – be it at local swim clubs, community pools, or swimming classes – offers a great opportunity to mingle, bond, and create memories.

So, Too Old? Never!

Age is not a barrier but a new chapter to dive deep into the world of swimming. Each splash, each kick, and each breath is a testament to your spirit. Go ahead, dive in, and let the water tales begin! 🌊🏊‍♂️🌟


Learning to swim was not a quick dive in for me; it was a journey. A two-year odyssey where I faced, grappled with, and eventually conquered my deep-seated fear of water. Those initial splashes, nerve-wracking moments in the shallow end, and countless attempts to glide were marred by a panic that only those with aquaphobia can truly comprehend.

However, like all great stories, mine too had its turning point: the discovery of the Total Immersion Swimming Method. For those seeking to navigate the waters of self-taught swimming, this technique could very well be your lifebuoy. It was not just a method; it was a revelation. Armed with a book and a DVD, I was introduced to an approach that not only demystified swimming but made it an art form. The emphasis on efficiency, balance, and streamlined movement transformed my frantic doggy paddles into graceful strokes. I went from being paralyzed by fear to embracing the water’s embrace, swimming miles effortlessly.

In reflection, my swimming journey underscores an important life lesson: It’s never about how fast you learn, but how well you learn. And while challenges may seem insurmountable, with the right tools, guidance, and persistence, even the deepest fears can be surmounted.

To everyone out there harboring reservations about taking that swim, remember my story. Let it serve as a testament to the power of perseverance and the wonders of finding the right method. Dive into the world of swimming; you never know, it might just change your life as it did mine. 🌊🌟

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I really learn to swim by myself without any prior experience?

A: Yes, it is absolutely possible to learn to swim by yourself as an adult. With the right guide and practice, you can become a proficient swimmer.

Q: Is it necessary to have a swimming pool or access to open waters to learn to swim?

A: While having access to a pool or open waters can make the learning process easier, it is not mandatory. You can start by learning in shallow waters, such as a lake shore or a calm beach, and gradually progress to deeper waters.

Q: How long does it usually take to learn how to swim by yourself?

A: The time it takes to learn to swim by yourself can vary from person to person. It depends on factors like your comfort level in water, physical fitness, and practice frequency. With consistent practice, most adults can become comfortable swimmers within a few weeks to a few months.

Q: What are some common mistakes to avoid while learning to swim by myself?

A: Some common mistakes to avoid include holding your breath for too long, tensing up your muscles, looking down instead of forward, and trying to learn complex strokes before mastering the basics. It is important to focus on relaxation, correct body position, and gradually progressing through different swimming techniques.

Q: Can I learn to swim in deep waters without any flotation devices?

A: It is not recommended to start learning in deep waters without any flotation devices if you are a beginner. However, as you gain more confidence and improve your swimming skills, you can gradually practice in deeper waters without relying on flotation aids.

Q: Is it necessary to take swimming lessons from a professional instructor to learn to swim by myself?

A: While a professional instructor can provide personalized guidance and help accelerate the learning process, it is not the only way to learn how to swim. With a well-structured self-learning guide, practice, and patience, you can become a proficient swimmer on your own.

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