Second in a Series: Learning to Swim as an Adult
“Anyone can learn to swim, regardless of where they are in their lives. It is definitely doable.” – Anthony Jackson, Matteson, IL
Fear of the Deep Water
Anthony was not afraid of going into the shallow end of a swimming pool, but he had never learned how to swim as a kid and had a real fear of going into deep water. “I didn’t ever have a traumatic experience, I just never learned to swim,” he says. “So as an adult, I sought out how to learn to swim.”
First Challenge: Finding the Right Coach
Before finding Chicago Blue Dolphins, Anthony enrolled in adult swimming classes with at least four different swim schools to no avail. For various reasons, they didn’t quite work for him. After trying several classes, “I just wasn’t comfortable swimming in the water,” he says. “I just didn’t get it.”
Anthony almost gave up. (We think most people would have by that point!) But then he learned about Chicago Blue Dolphins and decided to give it another go. This was the turning point. “This is where I learned EVERYTHING,” he says. “The coaches were very helpful, and the techniques they were using worked. The friendliness of the coaches and people in the class helped me get through my fears.
“The way they taught clicked with me. I got to a point where I was confident swimming through deep water. The coach had us jumping in the water, jumping in the deeper water and then treading. I got increasingly more comfortable until I was swimming through deep water without a problem. It was a breakthrough. I couldn’t believe I was swimming through deep water.”
What Was Different About Chicago Blue Dolphins?
Having gone through several swim classes elsewhere, why does Anthony think the swim instruction at Chicago Blue Dolphins worked for him?
“There were several of us in a class, but the coaches worked with us on an individual basis,” he says. “They told each person what we needed to focus on.”
In other classes, “they’d have us using kick boards on our front and backs and stroking with the kick board, and then in the last two minutes of the class time, they’d say ‘Swim.’ They weren’t correcting us, and they weren’t spending enough time with us without the devices.”
Although we use some devices at Chicago Blue Dolphins, they’re secondary, not the focus of the class. “At Chicago Blue Dolphins, it was a progression,” Anthony says. “There were drills with devices that finally lead into the freestyle stroke. You went from side balance and then zip switch and then freestyle. They all connected…like building blocks.”
I Was Hooked!
Once Anthony gained confidence in the water, he was hooked and took several classes with us. “I’ve been through the freestyle and Learn to Swim classes and recently went back for a deep water class, just to improve my treading skills,” he says. “I constantly want to improve. I want to learn as much as I can and do everything technically correct. Almost every time I’m in the pool or swimming somewhere, I get a compliment on my technique. And I owe it all to Chicago Blue Dolphins.”
Right now, Anthony enjoys swimming for fitness, swimming at least once a week for 1,500 – 2,000 yards (0.85 mile – 1.1 miles).
Never Give Up
The American Red Cross estimates that 54 percent of Americans cannot swim or have not mastered all five of the basic swimming skills. That statistic applied to Anthony until recently, but now he loves to swim and encourages any adult who can’t swim to take lessons–even if they’ve tried it before. “Anyone can learn regardless of where they’re at in their lives,” he says. “Don’t give up. I went to several different places, and I also had looked online and watched videos. When you find what fits for you, that’s what you want to stick with. I never would have found Chicago Blue Dolphins if I had just given up.
“I’m grateful to Chicago Blue Dolphins. I got what I paid for. It was worth it. To me, theirs is definitely expert instruction. The coaches are really technical and astute at swimming. They know what they’re talking about.”
(** Note: We sincerely appreciate Anthony being open and sharing his story with us. We’d like to emphasize that many adults who cannot swim are embarrassed by that fact. They often feel like they’re alone, when in fact, that’s not the reality at all. As we mentioned above, the American Red Cross estimates that 54 percent of Americans cannot swim or have not mastered all five of the basic swimming skills.)