Are you a new swimmer? Or getting back in the pool after a long time away? Here’s how to get started and feel more confident than ever in the water!
1 – Find Your Motivation
Feeling like a beginner swimmer is really tough. Maybe you are uncomfortable in a swimsuit, or you just don’t feel like you know what you are doing when you go the pool. Don’t worry, every swimmer has gone through this.
Overcoming your fears and finding confidence in the water is a journey – it will not happen overnight. Whether you are brand new, or coming back after some time off, it’s important to shift your focus on what is motivating you to swim.
Do you want to get healthier? Try a new sport? Overcome an injury? Try your first triathlon? Lose weight? Whatever it is, find what you truly want to gain from swimming and focus on those positive thoughts.
Dig deep and try not to allow fear or insecurity to get in the way of you reaching your goals.
Watch Video: Learning How To Swim At Age 53
2 – Keep It Super Simple
It is perfectly normal to have high expectations and feel a little disappointed after your first time swimming.
Maybe you are a great runner or basketball player, but you might feel a little awkward in the water? That happens all the time, so you are not alone!
A good goal for beginners is to learn how to swim freestyle.
If swimming makes you feel nervous, unsafe or uncomfortable, here are some tips for simplifying the experience and finding joy.
If you feel like you are in danger in the water:
- Enter the water at your own risk, and stay in the shallow end. Do not go in deep water. Or just focus on holding on to the wall while getting more acquainted.
- Talk to a lifeguard or manager at your pool for safety tips.
- Hire a personal coach or find a learn-to-swim-program in your city that offers in-person lessons.
If you feel insecure in a swimsuit:
- Write down a few phrases that keep you motivated and feeling good about yourself. As you walk out on the pool deck, think about those affirmations to help ease your fears.
- Remember, all swimmers have to wear a swimsuit! It does not matter what you look like, or how fancy your swimsuit is… what matters is that you are making an effort to learn a new sport and improve your health!
- Go to the pool during a time where it is not as busy.
- Shop for swimsuits or cover-ups that are more modest.
If you feel like you cannot breathe:
- Get out of the pool, sit on the deck, and focus on deep long breaths so you can relax your mind.
- Hold on to the side of the wall and practice dipping your face in and out of the water, while blowing bubbles.
- Blow air out of your nose while underwater, or plug your nose with your hand.
If you are anxious:
- Hold on to the side of the pool safely, or get out of the water and take 20 deep breaths. Remind yourself that you are capable, confident, and that you are making progress no matter what.
- Focus on your stroke technique, it will distract you from feeling nervous.
- Read this guide to reducing anxiety in the water.
If you have no idea how to swim freestyle:
- Educate yourself on the freestyle stroke. Download the MySwimPro app for helpful workouts and tips. Read our blog posts, watch our YouTube videos, or find a swim team or coach in your area to chat with.
3 – Get The Right Gear
Getting used to exercising in the water is already a weird feeling, but wearing the wrong gear can make for a terrible experience. Your swimsuit and gear will help you move through the water and swim more efficiently without weighing you down.
We recommend purchasing a few items to make your swim really comfortable.
- Durable swimsuit – It should stay on while moving, and you should feel confident wearing it in front of others.
- Goggles – Swimming without goggles is miserable. Find a pair that is adjustable and tight around your eyes.
- Swim Cap – If you have long hair, a swim cap will help you move through the water much easier.
Here is our Gear Guide for Swimmers for all our favorite brands and recommendations.
4 – Find The Support You Need
You will not become a perfect swimmer overnight, it’s a journey! Find a family member, friend, or teammate to help you stay motivated, cheer you on, or even swim with you!
If you are swimming alone, you can always download the MySwimPro app and join our Private Facebook Group. This is a great group of swimmers who can provide support, accountability, and answer your questions!
You can also research local swim groups or masters swim teams for adults. If you are signed up to swim in a triathlon, swim meet, or organized event, contact the event director and ask if they have any support groups for athletes.
Related: 2-Week Getting Started Training Plan
5 – Focus On Technique
It is perfectly normal to feel exhausted, or defeated after swimming just a few laps in the pool. When you are just getting started, it is important to focus on your stroke, breathing, and kicking technique – NOT how far or how fast you are swimming.
Here are 10 Steps to Swimming Smarter Freestyle.
You can start swimming at any fitness level or age, you just have to work at your own level and start simple. Focus on repeating a few drills or movements in the water, and then move on to more advanced exercises once you feel very comfortable.
Related: How To Do a Flipturn
6 – Get Comfortable In The Water
Sometimes beginner swimmers use a lot of energy trying to just swim fast when they start out.
This is counter-intuitive, because they burn themselves out before they’re even warmed up. If your goal is to complete a fully structured swim workout, it’s important that you have energy throughout the entirety of the training session.
Try to stay patient at the start of the workout. It’s easy to feel a false sense of speed when you’re starting out because you have a lot of energy. The more you swim, the easier it will become to control this initial speed and regulate your energy expenditure across the entirety of a swim workout.
7 – Do More Than Freestyle
Once you feel comfortable swimming a few laps of freestyle, we definitely recommend learning the other strokes! Try breaststroke, backstroke, and even butterfly if you’re up for the challenge!
Switching up your strokes will work different muscle groups and is a fun way to make your workout more interesting.
Do you like to just swim back and forth continuously? We recommend incorporating interval training so that your workouts are more dynamic. You will improve your technique, improve your stamina, and have more fun doing it!
Related: 5 Freestyle Drills For Beginners
8 – Set SMART Goals
It’s very important to set goals for yourself so you can track your progress and stay on track. If you want long-term success, be clear about what you want to accomplish.
When setting goals, it’s crucial that they be very defined and methodical in your approach. To help you succeed, use the S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound) goal process. The five building blocks for reaching your goals are below:
- S – Specific
- M – Measurable
- A – Achievable
- R – Relevant
- T – Time-Bound
Learn how to set a SMART goal here.
9 – Focus On Consistency
Swimming is unique because it uses muscles that you do not typical use in your regular day “on land.” Even if you are slower, or can only squeeze in a short workout in your schedule – it is important to keep swimming!
Try to set a goal to swim a few times per week for a few weeks, and you will definitely see results. Patience is very important!
Related: How Often Should You Swim
10 – Celebrate Your Wins!
Swimming is a great sport because you can track your distance and times as you improve! We recommend logging each swim workout in the free MySwimPro app, and taking notes of how you felt after each swim. Try to remember how fast or how far you swam, and keep a log in the app.
In just a few weeks, you will be feeling strong, confident, and healthier than ever thanks to your great swim workouts! Recognizing the small goals you reached will help you to stay motivated and excited to keep swimming!
Follow a Structured Plan
By following a structured weekly training plan, you can be confident that every swim workout you complete is helping you reach your goals. With a guided plan, you will know exactly what to focus on in the pool, and will see much more progress in your technique.
Get the MySwimPro app on your iPhone or Android to access our digital community, custom workout creator, and swim log.
If you own a smartwatch, you can sync your account to seamlessly record all your swims, gather actionable data, and load your guided workouts on your wrist.
If you’re looking for workout ideas, advanced analytics, and a training plan, an ELITE subscription will help you reach your fitness goals. Click here to get your free 7-day trial.
Stay Motivated & Join Our Global Community
- Join our Private Facebook Group
- Subscribe to our YouTube Channel
- Follow us on Instagram
- Read testimonials here
If you need some more support and workout ideas, start your free 7-day trial of MySwimPro ELITE to get unlimited access to our workout library, training plans, technique videos, analytics and more!