I teach swimming to nervous adults. In the past I have had swimmers who say they have a form of aqua-phobia. One woman I taught was fearful of water she could not stand around the pool, her heart rate would go up just the thought of swimming would make her shiver down her spine. She is now, after a few lessons, swimming on her own. She can swim 25m non stop freestyle, backstroke. I had this another swimmer father of two, who asked me that his kids tell him to swim with him but he cant as he does not know how to swim. Just swimming few lessons and he was able to swim across the pool without help and enjoy more with kids in the pool.
I have taught people of all ages and from all walks of life. My oldest swimmer was 82 year old who was also with one leg. She picked up quick and in few weeks she was on her own in the water. It was a lovely moment.
A lot of new swimmers often tell me that they can’t put their faces in the water, but no one ever has a problem with this when it comes to the lesson. So far, I have not had anyone who hasn’t been able to do it within about five minutes. There are simple techniques I use to overcome this fear and they always seem to work. Once you can put your face in the water, you can float. More or less everyone floats. Occasionally you do come across someone who is less buoyant than most, but this just means they need a little bit more forward propulsion to actually swim or they may float a little lower down.
The biggest feat for many people is taking their feet off the bottom when they have nothing to hold on to. I must say letting go is the hardest part to teach because so much of it is in the mind. Many people are fine as long as they can hold my hands but, as soon as they try to let go, panic sets in. It is only by letting go and trusting that the water will hold you up that you can learn to swim. This is far more important than technique, but it takes time.
Being with people and helping them to overcome fear that they may have had for their whole lives is a rewarding and humbling experience. For me, the water is a comforting and safe environment, but for many of the people water is a source of fear and panic. Set your self free from the fear of water.