I’ve always been a self sufficient person, capable of teaching myself skills–both useful and amusing–with little impute from others. One of my proudest achievements was teaching myself how to swim when I eight. If you’ve never learned how to swim, and want to without getting lessons from someone, here’s a few pointers.

Access To Water

This is fairly obvious. Without water flapping your arms and legs results in a bird imitation. Pools or lakes are the best, although I’d recommend the former. Pools have a limited area which makes it easier to catch yourself during your first flailing attempts. Also, there’s more likely to be people around who can leap to your aide if you start imitating a gold fish.

Learn To Float

Before you attempt to swim, learn how to float. And don’t even think about using anything inflatable. I’m talking about laying in the water on your backside without sinking to the bottom like a brick. As an inexperienced swimmer your going to make mistakes and tire easily. Floating will allow you to rest if you find yourself to far from the edge and to far into the deep end to get to safety. And that leads me to my next point.

Stay Out Of The Deep End

I’m serious. Do not go into water above your collarbone. If you do–and your fledgling skills fail you–the only thing you’ll be inhaling is water. Stay in the shallows where you can instantly stop if your exertions tire you. As I’ve already stated, there should be no imitations of a gold fish–not at this juncture anyway.

Paddling (1 and 2)

When it comes to navigating the water, operating your arms and legs simultaneously is important. But it can also be difficult for a new swimmer. Your best course of action is to practice one and then the other. Practice paddling with your arms so that one stroke comes smoothly after the other. Next, hold onto the edge of the pool and practice kicking your legs. Get a feel for both and then do some practice tests combining both. IN THE SHALLOW END!


Once you’ve worked on these aspects long enough to be comfortable, it’s time to put them together. Work to build up your coordination and stamina before attempting to swim from one side of the pool to the other. You should also limit your laps to one or two until you’re sure you can do more. And for the sake of safety, do this when others are in the vicinity. Don’t want anyone biting off more than they can chew.

And there you go. Five points on how to teach yourself to swim. If you’re still feeling daunted then look at it this way. If an eight year old can do it, you can to.


Disclaimer: I do not own the imagery used in this blog post and have no artistic claim to it.


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