Sunday, 3 June 2012

Lesson #1 - Getting In!

Well, the time has finally come. You are a beginner in a world that seems completely new to you - the water. Perhaps you fear it, perhaps you find it too cold or uncomfortable. Whatever the reason, you have begun your journey to becoming one with the water simply by searching the internet for advice, and for that you should be commended. Fortunately, you've come to the right place!

The first thing that must be realized, even if you've had a traumatic experience with water before, is that the water cannot hurt you unless you allow it to. It is not the water that is the danger - it is your inexperience with it that can put you in harm's way. That is about to be solved, however, with these simple steps. Remember that the best way to gain comfort in the water is to take small baby steps; do not feel like you are rushed, because then you will panic. This is a very gradual process, and one that will most likely take time.

First, find a public pool/recreational centre to test out your swimming. Although you may be embarrassed to try this out in public, it is the safest way and you'll find that many generous people will be willing to help you. It is best if you find a friend that has experience with swimming to help you out. Now, before you get in the pool, remember back to the days when you would take a bath as a child. This is as far as this lesson will take you, so there is nothing to worry about.

You will want to slip in the pool, preferably by sitting on the edge of the pool deck with your feet in the water. The shallow end of the pool should be about 2-3 feet deep, so your head should be well out of the water when you climb in. Climb in slowly, letting your feet softly touch the ground so that you are standing up. Easy, right? You are simply standing up, just as you do every other day. With your friend/partner, while staying close to the wall, try walking down the width of the pool; you can even keep your hand on the wall if necessary. Remember to keep in mind the amount of resistance that you feel when walking; this will be useful in the future to judge the amount of pressure you will need to force when you start swimming.

Once you feel comfortable enough, the next step is to go about a meter away from the wall and walk the width of the pool again. While doing this, try keeping your hands underneath the water, wading them back and forth, trying to get a good feel for the resistance. Your hands should be flat with your fingers held together. As you walk, you can even lift one hand up, pull back on the water, and then switch hands and do the same thing with the other; essentially alternating them. You should feel a slight pull forward every time you pull your hand backward. Congratulations, you have just taken your first strokes!

I hope you enjoyed this lesson; it is not by any means difficult, but it will help you get used to the water, it's temperature, as well as the resistance it causes compared to air. Stay tuned for the next lesson when we will find out the easy way of doing what most beginners consider the biggest challenge: putting your face in the water!

See you next time!

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