Swimming All Stars - Emma Day

Learning to swim as an adult

It’s not just children that learn to swim with us at Places Leisure. 1 in 5 adults can not swim, a staggering statistic that we would love to reduce.
Emma is one of our Swimming All-Stars - learning to swim as an adult is no mean feat and she has embraced the experience and shared her story in the hope that it will inspire others to give it a try and see the benefits it can bring.

Emma joined us back in September 2020, mid-pandemic, so there were a fair few lockdown interruptions along the way. But this didn’t put her off.
Emma’s initial motivation was to learn to swim as a way to keep fit and stay active. She’d had a few bad experiences of learning to swim starting as a child and an adult, leading to a belief that it just wasn’t meant to be. Initially quite scared of the water, Emma had a fear of not being able to float and that her head was like a brick. She would panic if her feet couldn’t touch the bottom or if the water came above her chest.

But this time around, she was determined. Emma told us how she’s been getting on.

“I believe this time around my whole attitude was different from when I had my previous lessons. Also, my new instructor’s approach was different from the previous ones. Instead of asking me to kick my legs whilst holding onto floats for my first lesson, she encouraged me to put my face into the water and blow out of my mouth or hum. This was all we did for the first lesson, until I felt comfortable in the water. We didn’t move on to the next stage until I felt totally comfortable and relaxed in the water. The more times I did this, the more I realised it wasn’t that bad. I would, however, recommend wearing goggles and a swimming cap! After a few lessons of doing this and other basic instructions, I was able to float on my front, I was ecstatic, and I was no longer sinking! She then taught me how to float on my back and how to regain a standing up position calmly and safely. Throughout my lessons, my instructor has encouraged me and believed in me, which is something I hadn’t experienced before. My safety has been her priority and not to force me into something I wasn’t ready for. However, in order to progress, I had to sometimes be out of my comfort zone, which was extremely daunting, but very satisfying when I realised I could do it.

Currently, I can enter and exit the water safely, move into a stretched floating position without any aids or equipment, regain upright position from the front and back without support, push and glide from the wall on my front and back unaided, rhythmical aquatic breathing and comfortably submerge. I am now in the process of learning the front crawl.”

Since learning to swim Emma has been able to take part in activities she would never have dreamed of doing before. She now swims in the pool and the sea on holiday and last summer tried paddleboarding for the first time. Emma is continuing her lessons and hopes to be swimming lengths in the pool by herself by the end of this year – we know she can do it!

Emma was really keen to share her story with us in the hope that it would encourage other adults who can’t swim to take the plunge and learn to love the water and see the benefits it can bring. She had this message for anyone who was thinking about trying adult swimming lessons:

“You are never too old to learn how to swim and you will be surprised how many people admit to not being confident in the water. Everyone learns at a different pace, so don’t feel pressured into keeping up with others, just keep going at a pace that is comfortable for you. The more relaxed you are, the more at ease you will feel in the pool. You will experience difficult lessons, but I promise you, it will all come together in the end, so enjoy every moment!”

We couldn’t have put it better ourselves!

If you are interested in taking up adult swimming lessons and would like to find out more, pop your details on our enquiry form below and our friendly swim team will be in touch.