Learning how to swim is an exhilarating process, but it can also be intimidating in the very beginning – whether you’re 4 or 44 years old. The key to building your skills as a novice swimmer is to take it one step (or stroke!) at a time. Here are a few simple tips to get you gliding through the water with confidence.
1. Focus on your breathing.
A lot of new swimmers get anxious about putting their faces in the water and learning to breathe while swimming. It’s true that this takes some practice, but it becomes easy and natural once you get past the newness and comfortable with the rhythm. Resist the temptation to hold your breath; this will make swimming more challenging. The secret is to exhale underwater and inhale when your face is above the surface. You’ll learn the proper technique for this in your swimming classes. You can practice getting used to this feeling by blowing bubbles underwater in the shallow end.
2. Get comfy in your goggles.
It can be scary to open your eyes underwater at first. But a good pair of goggles, properly fitted to your head, eases this fear immediately. Adjust the strap of your goggles so they seal snugly around your eyes. Then gradually put your face in the water in the shallow end of the pool, opening your eyes and looking around. When you come up for air, notice if any water leaked in, and make the goggles tighter if necessary.
3. Work on developing your stroke.
Building good stroke technique is incredibly important for new swimmers. So even if you’re eager to swim as fast as possible, slow down and take the time to learn how to do each stroke the right way. It will make swimming easier and more fun in the long run. Focus on the quality and length of each stroke, and feel yourself getting stronger.
4. Don’t try to do too much, too soon.
You won’t swim a race in an Olympic-size pool your very first week of classes – but you will be able to do just that someday soon if you keep practicing. Get comfortable with each new technique your instructor teaches you, and practice it over and over. Aim to get better at each one – side breathing, correct body position, a strong kick – and you’ll keep growing as a swimmer.
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