Short answer: Yes. Yes, you do.
It is not all about the kids!
When we think about swim lessons, we automatically think about children. The truth is, many adults need and would benefit from swim lessons. According to a national survey done by the American Red Cross, “Overall, the survey finds that more than half of all Americans (54 percent) either can’t swim or don’t have all of the basic swimming skills” (American Red Cross, 2014, para. 6).
There are varying reasons people may not have the basic swim safety skills. Lack of access to a pool or body of water is a real concern for many who live in remote or low-income areas. For instance, my grandparents took swim lessons in their 70s. Crazy, right! They live in a rural part of Wyoming, but they took the initiative to drive an hour to town and take adult swim lessons. They always joked that they signed up for lessons so they would know how to swim in case they fell overboard on one of their cruises.
Other primary reasons include traumatic events and negative memories associated with the water. Several years back, I had a client who was terrified to put his face in the water. He used to be an avid surfer and scuba diver, until he suffered a traumatic event on a routine dive. He got caught in a rip tide off the shore of an area in Malaysia. He screamed for help, but it seemed like no one heard him. Scared he was going to drowned, he was finally rescued. From then on, he never got back into the water. At least until his daughter was born. He wanted to be able to get over his fear of the water so he could one day take her swimming. And he did it!
Adult Swim Lessons
If you are an adult interested in swim lessons, I want to empower you to sign up. Think of the reason(s) you have not taken swim lessons thus far in your life. Ask yourself, Why you want to take swim lessons? Next, ask yourself, What are some fears you have with taking lessons? It doesn’t have to be a big reason, it could simply be that you feel uncomfortable and are scared of failing or looking foolish.
The truth is, we all have fears when doing something new. In many studies, large portions of fear have been attributed to the unknown. As an adult, the unknown is paired with your ability to critically think through tasks. Our frontal lobes are fully developed now, allowing for executive function. Executive function is the ability to plan, problem solve, self-monitor, and have self-awareness, which, when applied to swimming, can create unfortunate but rational fears before lessons.
However, when we go many years without knowing and understanding something, it is easy to build upon these fears. It is a simple thing to let your fear continue to grow and become more elaborate. The most challenging part is to begin. Let me assure you that after starting your lessons you will find out your fears did not live up to their expectations.
So what are you waiting for? Stop thinking about the five year-old who might be swimming fearlessly next to you– we all have to start somewhere. Remember, you are not alone. You are not the first adult to take an adult swim lesson, nor will you be the last. The key is to recognize why you want to learn to swim and identify how it will add to your quality of life. Then go for it!
You can be a hero … through swim lessons!
Have you taken the first brave steps of beginning? Do you want to help empower others to overcome their fears and be confident, safe and successful in the water?Partner with us today to teach economically disadvantaged families, special needs children, and Service-Disabled Veterans to become One with the Water! You can be a hero to those that lack traditional access to swimming and swimming lessons.
Molly is a member of our creative team, mom of four water-loving babies, and a fierce advocate for CPR training and really early swim instruction.