Barnet Post

Barnet Post

Why I teach adults to swim

Planet Swim Adult Swim School's founder reveals how aquaphobia can impact our lives.

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Learning to swim as an adult can be beneficial, says Leigh (Credit: Haley Phelps/Unsplash)
By Leigh Harvey 19 January 2022

Swimming can have a huge impact on an adult’s life. It brings about so many pleasures, from friends to fitness, to the pure joy of being in the water. Swimming can have a huge impact on an adult’s life. It brings about so many pleasures, from friends to fitness, to the pure joy of being in the water.

But, being unable to swim can cause great anxiety and have negative effects on one’s life. People who can’t swim miss out on splashing about in a pool with their children or dipping their toes into the sea on holidays. But, being unable to swim can cause great anxiety and have negative effects on one’s life. People who can’t swim miss out on splashing about in a pool with their children or dipping their toes into the sea on holidays. 

I spent many years teaching babies and children how to swim and love the water, and started noticing more and more nervous parents accompanying their little ones. Often lessons became about teaching the adults how to blow bubbles as well as their children. I spent many years teaching babies and children how to swim and love the water, and started noticing more and more nervous parents accompanying their little ones. Often lessons became about teaching the adults how to blow bubbles as well as their children. 

Planet Swim Adult Swim School came about in response to my experiences. Lots of adults who can’t swim or who are holding onto a phobic reaction to being in water feel too embarrassed to admit how they are feeling. They are not comfortable being in a public pool surrounded by children and spectators. I decided to find a private pool hire so that I could offer group classes specifically for adults with aquaphobia. Planet Swim Adult Swim School came about in response to my experiences. Lots of adults who can’t swim or who are holding onto a phobic reaction to being in water feel too embarrassed to admit how they are feeling. They are not comfortable being in a public pool surrounded by children and spectators. I decided to find a private pool hire so that I could offer group classes specifically for adults with aquaphobia. 

I now use a beautiful, quiet, warm pool at a primary school (no children around) in Barnet. Swimmers-to-be are able to share their experiences and emotions in a safe environment. I am trained as an Advanced Aquaphobia Coach with the incredible Institute of Aquaphobia and Planet Swim is now an Approved IOA Swim School. I have found that all of the adults who attend are able to submerge their faces by the end of their first session and all are able to swim by the end of their course. I now use a beautiful, quiet, warm pool at a primary school (no children around) in Barnet. Swimmers-to-be are able to share their experiences and emotions in a safe environment. I am trained as an Advanced Aquaphobia Coach with the incredible Institute of Aquaphobia and Planet Swim is now an Approved IOA Swim School. I have found that all of the adults who attend are able to submerge their faces by the end of their first session and all are able to swim by the end of their course. 

We also coach advanced adult swimmers who swim for fitness and for competitions such as triathlon and open water events. Since the dreaded coronavirus era, I notice that people are making the most of every opportunity given to them. We had to shut down during the lockdowns which was such a shame and halted progress but the joy on everyone’s faces when we were able to jump back in was evident. We also coach advanced adult swimmers who swim for fitness and for competitions such as triathlon and open water events. Since the dreaded coronavirus era, I notice that people are making the most of every opportunity given to them. We had to shut down during the lockdowns which was such a shame and halted progress but the joy on everyone’s faces when we were able to jump back in was evident. 

I get immense pleasure from being able to change a person’s life. By learning to swim we also learn to understand how our bodies work. Just seeing a previously terrified, rigid adult now floating on their back with a grin from ear to ear is all it takes to reassure me that what we do as aquaphobia coaches is life-changing. I get immense pleasure from being able to change a person’s life. By learning to swim we also learn to understand how our bodies work. Just seeing a previously terrified, rigid adult now floating on their back with a grin from ear to ear is all it takes to reassure me that what we do as aquaphobia coaches is life-changing. 

You can expect to find me in a pool still sharing the joy when I am 99! You can expect to find me in a pool still sharing the joy when I am 99! 

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