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Bloodheart
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07 Mar 2013, 12:50 am

I'm determined to learn to swim this year, hopefully the Mr. will help me...but I'm worried I'll look stupid, it's bad enough being 29 and unable to swim but I have very little awareness of my own body so I could be flailing round like an idiot out there!

I've had a water phobia my whole life...my autism is a factor in this as I have sensory issues with anything touching the upper part of my body and water in my face especially freaks me out.

When I was young, and my autism was more severe, I wondered into a pool without anyone watching me....I had armbands and a floating ring on so I was fine on a sensory level as my upper body got no where close to the water and thus I barely realised I was in the water, but I didn't fully appreciate that although I was safe I had no control over where I was going. I floated under a water slide and a fat girl landed on top of me, I was pushed under the water and unable to get up from under her, I had a severe meltdown and the next thing I remember was waking up with a lifeguard and the whole pool (excluding my mother who hadn't even noticed I was gone, but who later beat me for this incident) watching me. As you can imagine, this made my phobia far worse!

The phobia is gone, but obviously there's nothing I can do about the sensory issues so trying to focus on swimming with all that going on makes it tough, chances are it'll take longer for me to learn good form as a result, thus that effects my confidence. Swimming in a public pool is also going to add a new distraction - ie the worry about looking like an idiot - to learning to swim.

Basically, I'm posting wondering if anyone has any suggestions to help...


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Esther
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07 Mar 2013, 10:51 am

I've no clue; I don't know how to swim either. I really wish I did as not knowing is obviously very limiting.

Well this was of no help. I just wanted to commiserate. :D



goldfish21
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07 Mar 2013, 4:46 pm

If you're over the phobia and the worst anxiety, that'll help.

My mother had a near drowning incident at a pool party as a kid and hasn't liked deep water ever since, but she'll still go in a pool - especially shallow water - and can float and sort of swim.

As a result, we were all put in swimming lessons from the time we were quite young - 5ish?? and can all swim well. I was in a swim club for a year, swam on my jr high swim team, completed all of the swimming lessons and most of the lifeguarding courses etc.

I know none of that helps you.. but this bit of info may help your confidence and thus your ability to learn to swim if you're determined to: I've read, and it makes complete sense, that those of us on the spectrum can really excel at swimming because we feel much more natural and coordinated in the water than out. The pressure of the water on our bodies just sort of.. balances things, equalizes them, and is very comfortable. We're also much more fluidly coordinated and moving in the water vs. out & it's why myself and my siblings could all swim for hours and enjoy it, do quite well at it, then get out of the pool and be back to our clumsy uncoordinated selves. :lol: but IN the pool, it's very very peaceful and relaxing, fun, and good exercise.. and it does feel good to be able to move "right," for once. I hope you find your own experience to be similar once you get the swing of things!

As for public pools, if you go really early in the morning you won't have all of the kids and noise to deal with - just a few people exercising and some serious swimmers training and focused on themselves. You could try wearing earplugs meant for swimming to block out noise, or if you really wanted to get fancy they do make underwater headphones/mp3 players for use while swimming - eventually I'd like to pick one of these up for myself, as I listen to the radio almost all the time while out in public these days or while running/working out etc and I think it'd be nice to have in a pool as well. But I rarely swim these days and can't really justify the expense right now, but maybe later. Earplugs are dirt cheap, though. And swim goggles can provide a bit of tunnel vision so you're not distracted by things in your peripheral vision, too.

Good luck!



kx250rider
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08 Mar 2013, 11:03 am

I had a HORRIBLE time trying to learn to swim, and the problem was the method of teaching. My mother took me to the YMCA for swimming lessons when I was about 6, and the instructor was nice, but just tried to force me to swim, and that backfired by causing me fear (not of the pool, but of failing and of the instructor). I failed miserably at the YMCA lessons. But then a year or so later, we had a neighbor who invited me to come use their pool, and it was on my own terms, and all I can say is that I taught myself to swim by goofing around in the shallow end of the pool, and I think it took about 30 minutes for me to master it. I still don't know how to swim using "traditional" strokes, but I guess that doesn't matter because I can swim as long as I want to with no problem, and in fact I even had to "rescue" my ex-GF and myself on the Colorado River on a jet ski, which had stalled out in fast-moving water. I got off, and dove under it and was able to get debris out of the intake that had stalled it. Luckily that was before running into any rocks or otherwise crashing. I have also been caught in a riptide in the ocean, and following the rule "swim parallel to the shore", I got right out easily. The key to the whole thing is to understand how the body floats, and to be absolutely confident and without fear, which could lead to panic. I have read that 90% of drownings happen due to panic and thrashing about; exhausting themselves, and not due to the victim being unable to make their way to land.

So some may accuse me of "not really knowing how to swim", but who cares? I think I'm proven at this point :wink:

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08 Mar 2013, 3:55 pm

i taught my daughter the very basics at age 18. she had even gone swimming as a child, or at least splashed around in the pool and played water games and such. she got more afraid as she got older, to the point that she considered taking "scared stiff" lessons at the local pool, but the procedures and attitudes around the pool scared her off. she needed someone to realllllly walk her through it.

for the first lesson, i just got her comfortable in the pool to about chest height.the next couple of lessons, i got her feeling zen about the experience of water moving around her body and neck. i encouraged her to get familiar with the firsthand feeling of the surface tension, the sensation of "pull" when rising out of the water, the feeling of waves underwater, the way that light waves bend, the muffling of sound, etc.

it was basically lessons in familiarity with the sensations of water and becoming "one" s much as possible with the water. it took hours before i could even get her comfortable enough to float, but she did. she can't totally properly swim yet, but she's on her way.


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1000Knives
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08 Mar 2013, 5:36 pm

Find a "barbell" or a kickboard and first master floating backwards and forwards with it in front of you, then try stroking with your hands. I taught myself to swim this way as a kid.



Dragonlover4
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18 Mar 2013, 10:21 am

I'm 30 and just learning to swim, it's my 4th lesson tonight. Sign up for some adult lessons at a pool in your area, if you're a complete beginner most places focus on building up your confidence in the water first before teaching proper technique. Not sure about your local facilities but down here they close the pool off to the public during lessons, so the only people you'll have to worry about are the others that are learning.



deltafunction
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18 Mar 2013, 10:54 am

I agree with Dragonlover. Take adult swimming lessons.

If you're practicing on your own, you can start out with just putting your head under water and blowing bubbles (bobs). Repeat it more quickly when you are comfortable so that you exhale in the water and inhale out of the water. Then, you can try floats with aids.

But it's really best to do with a swim instructor who can get you in good habits right from the start. I've seen too many people try to teach themselves how to swim only to have learned it incorrectly and have had to be re-taught the basics. It's much harder for them to learn because their muscles are so used to using the movements they did before. Also, because they were still afraid of drowning, they would tense up or use fast and incorrect movements - the opposite of what you want when swimming.

I've also seen some people successfully learn some strokes by going to the pool, getting to know swimmers and asking experienced ones to teach them. But that takes a certain confidence level and comfort level in the water. Adult swimming lessons are better to get you comfortable and teach you step by step.


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18 Mar 2013, 11:23 am

I remember I used to be dead scared about going to the deepest parts of the pool where I couldn't stand up. But one day, during one of the swimming lessons, I saw that everytime my feet reached the bottom, I was able to jump back to the surface and catch some air, and I could do this in any part of the pool for any length of time, and from that moment onwards I stopped fearing that specific pool. It was a breakthrough moment, but maybe it was only possible because I'd been previously taking swimming classes for weeks, which made me more accustomed to water in general.


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izzeme
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20 Mar 2013, 11:44 am

i got swimming lessons in elementary school, but i never was good at it
i am able to stay afloat (actually, i'm unable to sink if i wanted to, so that's not my swimming skill); and i can move around in the water.

basically, if i fall in, i can reach the edge and get out, but it takes energy and i dont enjoy it...



billiscool
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20 Mar 2013, 5:22 pm

well, this month I swam in the deep end, first time ever for me.



hanyo
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28 Mar 2013, 2:20 pm

I never got to learn to swim. When my mother took me for swimming lessons they wouldn't let me use a noseplug and I can't put my face in water without a noseplug.



auntblabby
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28 Mar 2013, 6:40 pm

hanyo wrote:
I never got to learn to swim. When my mother took me for swimming lessons they wouldn't let me use a noseplug and I can't put my face in water without a noseplug.

you've got to learn how to exhale [mostly through your nose] in the water, and inhale above it.



billiscool
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29 Mar 2013, 7:32 pm

when I swim In the deep end, I have to be near the ledge. I can't swim in the deep end of the center of the pool.
I self taught myself to swim.



1000Knives
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29 Mar 2013, 8:41 pm

Man, I feel like the best swimmer in the world now. The only thing I can't do is flip to turn at the end of a lap. I've even swam to buoys at beaches.



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30 Mar 2013, 1:39 am

I learned to swim at age 11 years old & it was great to learn to swim in the deep end for the 1st time. Still love swimming today.


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