What to expect: Learning to swim as an Adult


Learning to swim as an adult can be a daunting decision.

If you have chosen to click the link and read this blog, I’ll have to assume you have considered swim lessons. I can tell you, with confidence, it is not too late to learn or develop your swimming.

So, if you’re considering learning to swim as an adult, here’s what to expect:

Progress will not always occur in leap and bounds

Mastering swimming technique takes patience, persistence and above all, REPETITION. Although strength can be improved outside the water, the only way to improve swimming is simple: by swimming.

The more you swim, the more comfortable you will be in that environment. Great swimmers look natural in the water simply because it is like a second home.

Deep Water RunningAsk questions

Understanding the basics of swimming, such as body position and timing, is fundamental to improving.

For example:

You find that your feet keep sinking. Every action has a reaction: you may be lifting your face too far out of the water when breathing, causing the bottom half of your body to sink.

Don’t be afraid to question why you are expected to perform specific drills or activities. The more you know, the more you will be motivated to improve activities for a specific purpose.

Purposeful swimming is key.

Be realistic and track progress

Swimming is a great activity for setting and conquering goals. There are a number of measures to track improvement including time, lengths swum or developing a new stroke.

If you are learning to breathe, for example, try taking at least one more stroke after performing the breath. That way, your body will get used to propelling after rolling to breathe.

What to be wary of:

Fear of the Unknown

Fear is a big contributor to adults not learning to swim. Do not be afraid to take the leap and book your first lesson.

Teachers are there to support, not to judge.

Communicate your fears to get the most out of your lesson.

Frustration and stagnation

It is likely you will be introduced to a new skill every class, but it is unlikely you will be able to master a new skill every class. Learning to swim is not a quick-fix.

Set realistic goals and do not be dissuaded by a lack of improvement. Swimming is an individual activity.

Frustration is swimming’s nemesis. Any tension in muscles will transfer to a fight-style stroke which is neither efficient nor helpful to your development.


  • Have a patient, persevering attitude to practice
  • Do not feel demeaned by starting small. Comfort is essential
  • Have the right kit. Board shorts or loose fitting garments are a huge hindrance to swimming. Embrace the budgie smugglers! (Speedo has a great range of swimming-appropriate garments)
  • Conquer the basics
  • Set realistic goals/ Swimming one more stroke, one more length at a time
  • Relax. You want to use the water to your advantage, not try to bash through it
  • Enjoy! Learning to swim will be incredibly gratifying and frustratingly difficult, go with the flow