I don’t quite remember the last time I swam, probably two years ago. There aren’t many opportunities to swim unless you make effort to go swimming, whether it’s going to the swimming pool in the gym or traveling down to the beach. In fact, I do know how to swim but it’s not one of my favorite activities to do which probably why I haven’t swam in a while because I’ve never made an effort to go swimming even though there might have been many times where I could have.

Today, I swam in a swimming pool, a facility provided for the residents of the condos. It was nice to swim in an indoor pool where in fact, nobody was there but myself and four other friends. I wish that the pool was deeper than five feet, so that I could have taught my friends who didn’t know how to swim better. Although I’m not an expert on swimming, I do have a few tips as a swimmer (someone who can swim). The water is a wonderful gift from nature; full of possibilities and potential that provides the benefits that air or being on land can’t offer.

Learning how to swim is a survival skill and always something good to know, like driving a car, skiing, and biking. They all take time to learn but once you learn it, you usually never forget it. You either know how to or don’t.

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1. Don’t be afraid.

When I didn’t know how to swim, even after taking many swimming lessons and having help from friends, I wasn’t scared of the water per se but I was scared of being short of breath and having that idea of drowning always in my head. It’s funny because the more you don’t know how to do something, the more you’re scared to do it, which makes it harder for you to learn. Once you learn it, you won’t be as scared because you know you can do it and have less risks. This is difficult if you are still learning, but trusting the people around you who want to help and having confidence and hope in yourself that it is possible, you’ll get it sooner or later. It’s the right mindset that you need to have to help you succeed.

2. Wear googles.

This is extremely helpful for me when I was learning and also for others that I’ve taught. You don’t feel comfortable being wherever you are if you have your eyes closed and you don’t even know what’s going on around you. After you wear googles, you can finally see and navigate slowly. Just the fact that you can see under water gives you more comfort in knowing where you are and what is happening around you. This is true for those who are scared or doesn’t feel comfortable with opening their eyes under water without any eye protection.

3. Have time alone and figuring it out yourself after having others teaching you.

People learn skills in different ways; while some pick up skills better under the supervision and guidance of others, others needs time and space to figure it out on their own without the pressure of others. My parents signed me up for swimming lessons where they taught us using the board and parents have tried to teach me in the pool as well, in giving tips. In the end, I figured it out when everyone else is swimming in the pool and having fun and I was at a place in the pool, pacing myself to do what others have taught me. I guess not having the pressure of others, I slowly figured it out myself. My ultimate turning point to not knowing how to swim to knowing how to swim is training yourself to relaxing to every muscle of your body to as much as you can as if you’re falling asleep. When all body parts are relaxing, you automatically float without moving any part of your body. The water lifts your body up without you doing any work! Try standing upright and relaxing all parts of your body and let the water do it’s magic in holding your weight. You will end up floating with your back on the surface of the water, face down, as if you are sleeping on the bed with your face, chest and stomach on the bottom.

4. Knowing how to breathe rather than holding your breathe.

Some people can swim fine from point A to point B, but I bet that distance isn’t that long if you don’t know how to breathe. Some of my friends know how to move their arms and kick their feet and they “swim” from one end to the other end, but all with holding one breathe! It’s a good starting point if you can get your way through a certain distance without your feet touching the ground but if you don’t know how to breathe properly, your distance and swimming duration is limited to only how long a breath can take you. Learning how to breathe is very important and it’s just another thing you have to worry about as a beginner swimmer. When you’re just getting started, it feels like there’s too much to take in; the arms have to move in a some motion, the feet have to kick nonstop, and now I need to worry about when to breathe and what swimming motion I do to take a breath. That’s what happens when you’re just learning, everything seems like it’s too much or difficult, but then over time, through practice, it becomes natural and your body acts naturally without your head thinking actively on every step of the way.

5. Practice. Practice. Practice.

Isn’t that what they all say when you’re learning or mastering anything? From piano to online coding, through practice, you’ll get better at it and becomes more natural. What was hard for you at one point in time is now a piece of cake and a new challenge is at your door. What can I say, take the time to do it over and over and over until you get it, that is after knowing that you’re doing it right. Hopefully you’re not practicing countless hours only to find out that the reason you’re getting better is it’s supposed to done like that than this.

6. Don’t give up.

If you don’t float the second time you’ve tried, know that it’s okay. Learning takes persistence and patience. Baby steps will get you to a destination, but no steps at all will keep you at the same square. Keep trying and your hard work will pay off, in time. Not giving up means you still have hope in yourself, you still believe that you can do it, even if it takes time. If you truly want to learn it, you will put in the time and effort and in time, your progress will pay off and maybe even mastering swimming or any other skill that you’re learning.

7. Have fun! 

When you’re having fun, it helps with learning. Take a break and play some water volleyball, monkey in the middle, or even tag. There are so many awesome things that you can do in the water! Try doing a handstand or make a 360 degree flip. The water’s resistance allows you to do cool things that is much harder to do normally on land.

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“This life is like a swimming pool. You dive into the water, but you can’t see how deep it is.” ~Dennis Rodman

 

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