According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 37% of adults cannot swim the length of a recreational pool. Adults—including those who are able to swim—make up more than 70% of drowning deaths in the U.S. each year, according to the CDC.
Adults may have skipped the whole swim thing as they were growing up for many reasons. Maybe there was no access to a pool locally. Maybe it wasn’t an activity their parents felt was necessary. Maybe their parents felt that the best way to keep their child safe is to stay away from the water. Maybe they instilled their own fear of the water into their children. Maybe the adults had an incident in the water that terrified them. Teaching late learners tends to take longer and requires different techniques than those used with children.
Adults can be impatient, especially when they need to learn core swimming skills that they do not feel is “swimming”. Floating, breathing, forming aquatic lines and kicking are all composite skills that lead to the next step they are looking to minimally achieve. And when they are learning these core skills, adults can also feel embarrassed, especially as the 5 year-old in the next class is swimming past them. Often it is best for adults learning to swim to do so in group or private classes that are taught in the off hours where tiny eyes are not looking at them.
Why is it so important for adults to learn? Here are a few reasons:
- Avoid the risk of drowning when in a recreational pool or the ocean.
- Being able to responsibly watch children in the pool. If you can’t swim, how can you assist others that are in distress?
- You are getting older and so is your body. If you haven’t seen reductions in your muscle tone yet, you will. Swimming exercises every muscle in your body including your heart. It is low impact and a great way to stay in shape.
When looking for adult swimming lessons, make sure that the program offers instructors who have experience working with adults of all abilities. This includes adults who are afraid of the water. Talk to other adults who have taken lessons. Are they happy with their progress? How long did it take for them to swim independently with confidence? How much did it cost? How many other adults were in the class? Does the program have availability in the off-hours to fit your needs? Will you be swimming with teens or with other adults?
These are just some of the questions to consider when selecting a program to fit your needs.