Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Swimming Lessons as an Adult

When I started telling people that I was planning to have swimming lessons the declaration was met with some surprise. "But I thought you could swim?" Yes I can swim but I can't swim well. Or more specifically I can't swim front crawl (or "freestyle") well. I can quite happily swim a mile with breaststroke but no more than six lengths of front crawl on a good day.

Since I’ve enjoyed my triathlon and open water experiences to date I thought I might try out some lessons to see if I could improve my technique. There are lots of websites offering advice on drills and so on and even my coach attempted to give me swim drills but honestly I found it all a bit daunting and disheartening. I’d rather have someone explain things to me in person, in a language I can understand, at least initially.

My gym membership includes the use of a centre on the other side of town that has a pool. I sometimes go to the early morning swim sessions in an attempt to better myself and noticed some time ago that they do adult swimming lessons. So I phoned up and discovered they had one of these "new year, new you" deals on so I booked a block of 16 sessions before I had a chance to change my mind.

I turned up to my first lesson last week, with four other ladies of varying ages and abilities, feeling pretty nervous and fully expecting it to be a hideous and humiliating experience. Just to make matters worse my instructor turned out to be a rather lovely chap called Courtney. I was going to be impressing no one. I had a quick chat with C poolside to outline my aims then it was into the water to flounder through a few lengths so he could see what he was starting with. He didn't point and laugh so that was a good start. In fact C is the king of constructive criticism and gentle feedback. Over the course of the next half hour I got lots of pointers about hand positioning, arm motion, and even an introduction to tumble turns. I left feeling pleased as punch, already feeling some improvements.
This is what "pleased as punch" looks like.
My lessons work out at £3 for a half hour class with the introductory offer (normally £6.25 a class) and while half an hour doesn't sound like long it was plenty of time for C to give us all some individual instruction and time to practice. Ideally I'll be going to the pool to practice between lessons but I know that's not always going to be possible. I'm just glad to have found a class and instructor I like and I'm looking forward to being able to swim front crawl in a race environment.

Have you taken swimming lessons as an adult? Beginner or improver? What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting lessons?
Post swim cosiness... soon I'll get to sport a Team Bear swim cap too!


  1. I've been having swimming lessons since June 2013, started in the beginner group, worked my way up to intermediate, and now in the advanced/triathlon group. People also asked me why I was having lessons initially! My technique, stamina and fitness have improved so much over the past 18 months. I couldn't swim a width of the pool when I started, now I cover about 1800m in a hour's lesson. Glad you found an instructor/class you enjoy- the price sounds really reasonable too.

    1. That's fantastic Lucy! I love hearing about other people's experiences of swim lessons. Thankfully all positive so far.