Water can become your enemy or it can be your friend. Usually when I talk to people who don’t know how to swim, or want to take up swimming, their main concern is always the fear of being in the water. As a matter of fact, that fear is actually drowning, or the inability to control themselves when they're in the water. So here are 5 tips in overcoming that fear.
Take it slow
As the saying goes, dip your toes in the water before jumping in. There’s no rush to your safety. You can try to take it slow by simply sitting nearby the water. Touching the water with your hands or putting your feet in a little bit. Use a container of a bucket to scoop the water and wash it down on your head to let you familiarise with the sensation of the water.
Then when you’re ready, blow bubbles first before doing anything else. Do that until you’re comfortable. This is so that every time your face is in the water your instinct is to breathe out by blowing bubbles.
Care for your body
Because there are so many elements surrounding the water like rocks, land and water species, you want to be wary of where your body is. When you’re in the water, know where you place your feet or arms. Try to avoid stepping on slippery rocks or putting feet between rocks. This would avoid you from getting stuck or injuring yourself. Also don’t touch marine life even if it seems docile.
It is good practice to wear protective swimwear clothing and safety gears like inflatable donuts or lifejackets. Now, there’s also an inflatable waist belt that only comes out when you open up the zip. Some swimmers in the ocean clip on an inflatable around their waist. I use this when I teach swimming in case of emergencies for students. Here is the shopee link to the one that I use: https://shopee.com.my/Swim-Buoy-%28-open-water%29--Model-B-i.48872668.6244983403
Video of inflatable waist belt
Learn about the water
Did you know that there are many types of currents like longshore current and rip current? There are more to this which I will share in upcoming posts. But for now, learning about the different currents would be useful to determine whether it is safe to get in the water.
You should also notice weather patterns before jumping in. For instance, a sudden heavy rain could increase river flows, making you more susceptible to drowning. Rule of thumb is to avoid water during thunderstorms and lightning. So check out the weather before jumping in.
Image by Oak Island Water Rescue
Take up safety and rescue skills
Taking up a safety and rescue class would help you overcome your fear by knowing what to do in emergency situations. When you know how to handle different emergency situations, you would have a better peace of mind and enjoy being in the water more.
In these classes, you learn about saving yourself, and how to save others. This could also give you a peace of mind knowing that you have the ability to control emergency situations for your family or your friends. A simple safety or survival skill to learn is water treading. This is used to conserve energy while waiting for emergency responders to rescue.
Of course one of the easiest ways to take over control of your fear is by learning to swim and the most important of all. Learning to swim enables you to have water confidence, be aware of your surroundings and improve your technique.
Perhaps the best way to overcome your fear is by heading it straight on. Getting in the water, feeling it around your body, experiencing it are all part of the process. Trust the process and in time you will be great. I believe in that and I believe in you.
The good news is that swimwithcoache is the best place to start. All these 5 tips are things that you will learn in your lessons with me. You will learn to be comfortable in the water, learn swimming, safety skills and how to read water.
I hope to see you at the pool overcoming your fear!