Vimmii came to me a few weeks ago. She told me that she could not swim at all and that she was very frightened of the water. Here she is during our third lesson. She is continuing to make fantastic progress.
She told me that she had taken I think six different courses of lessons at various different pools in London and abroad. She was in despair of ever learning to swim although it was something she very much wanted to do. One teacher had even told her that she was a hopeless case and would never learn to swim.
I often have new pupils who tell me that they have tried to learn to swim but have given up. Some like Vimmii have tried many times and had lots of lessons with little or no success. I don’t really know what the teachers are doing in these lessons but whatever it is not working. I think that the main barrier for adult learners is fear and it seems that this is the one issue that many teachers do not or cannot address. Learning to swim is not a matter of moving your arms and legs in a particular way, it is about learning how to let go and feel comfortable and in control in the water.
This video is of Vimmii’s third lesson with me. She is 49. It turns out she could swim after all, just no-one had shown her how.
Today my swimming pupils were a father and his six year old son. The Dad was more or less a beginner, the son could only swim a couple of metres unaided, but he was full of underwater tricks and turns, like a little tadpole.
The little boy was a stern critic of his Dad’s swimming. His highest praise for his Dad’s glide was ‘quite good’ but his attempt at a longer swim using just a leg kick was ‘very bad’. He said ‘My Dad is letting his toes drag on the ground and his legs are all bent.’ I could see his point. My younger pupil was however a keen demonstrator of amongst other things, the mushroom float, which we then persuaded the Dad to try. Teacher’s verdict ‘Head not tucked in enough’.
It was the father who suggested the joint lesson and afterwards his wife told me that she had not thought it would work. In fact it was lovely. I think it was a fantastic idea and they will both learn more than either would if they had separate lessons. The father told me that he works long hours and has to travel quite a bit with his work. It seemed to me like a delightful way for them to spend time together, and what a great feeling for the little boy to be able to help and teach his Dad.
Sports journalist Sam Petherick interviewed me about my approach to teaching swimming. Listen to the clip here. http://