Adult Learn-to-Swim Classes with Endless Pools®
Inspired by her son, Sharon learns to swim … for her first triathlon!
"I love the water," Sharon says. "I want to be able to get in there and just have fun and not be so fearful." For decades, she's lived with a fear of the water that has "kept me from feeling comfortable doing more than just jumping up and down."
Finally, she's learning to swim with Endless Pools® and SwimLabs Swim School. Her goal: "I want to get a triathlon done by the time I'm 50. I'm 47 now."
Living with the Fear of Water
As she explains in our video interview, Sharon's fear of the water dates to high school, when she accidentally went into a pool's deep end. It lingered through adulthood. Once she had a son, she acknowledges, "He would see my reaction. 'Don’t go into the deep end! Don't go out of sight!' All those anxieties that I had, I'm sure he picked up on them. It slowed him from learning because he inherited my fear.
"But he has made great progress," she's quick to add. "And he motivated me!"
Actually, two factors inspired her to swim. As she recalls, "I was taking my son to swim lessons" when she thought to herself, "Maybe I can learn too." At the same time, "Some friends that were training for a triathlon. I bike ride, and I always loved running. That would be great to do … Oh but I don’t know how to swim."
Adult Learn-to-Swim Don'ts
"I started a group lesson" at a local full-size lap pool. "It was a six-week class, and I took it thinking that by the end of six weeks, I'd be able to swim. [But] by the end of six weeks, I was pretty much at the same spot. Nothing really changed."
Around the third class, she recalls the instructor telling them "just jump in" to the deep end! "I did it, so fearful, and the teacher had to come in and help me get out of the water because I was so crazed when I resurfaced. It was awful.
"Soon after that, I signed up for private lessons at the same [pool]. I was taking them every Saturday." Sharon admits that her instructor "was good. We got far enough for me to get over my fear of water, but there were just mechanics that she couldn’t understand."
Those lessons went on for "a year and a half. I started in 2018. I stopped in December of '19. She just kept telling me to relax and it would be ok, but it never was."
Adult Learn-to-Swim Dos
After her unsuccessful adult learn-to-swim lessons in a full-size lap pool, Sharon recalls, "I had been looking around for alternatives as things started opening back up last December ." She happened to see a new location of SwimLabs Swim School near her Maryland home.
"I went by there one afternoon and asked about lessons. They were so great!" She recalls telling herself, "'Yes, this is what I need.'"
This SwimLabs location has four Endless Pools commercial models: two Elite pools and two Dual Propulsion pools. "I knew about Endless Pools because I had been looking to get a pool. When I saw that they had them at SwimLabs, [I said] 'Those are fabulous!' I thought 'Oh yeah, this will work.'"
The Benefits of Endless Pools Swimming
At SwimLabs, Sharon now swims in a compact Endless Pools model. "The size of the pool – huge help because the instructor can see." As a result, she's made more progress in three months of a small group class than she had with 18 months of private instruction in a full-size lap pool.
She loves swimming in place with the Endless Pools current. "It's awesome. You don’t have the fear of 'Oh, there's so far to go,' especially as a new swimmer. I'm not thinking about trying to get to the end of the pool. I get to focus the whole time on all the other things: Is my head down? Is my arm straight? Are my fingers closed? I can be thinking about all those mechanics, and the current just keeps me going."
As a result, "I find that I'm swimming longer than I would in the length of a pool. In the current, you can keep on doing the motion, so the workout is harder. It gives me a good exercise in endurance."
3 Swim Technique Improvements
In the Endless Pools environment, swimming coaches can see every aspect of a swimmer's technique up close. They can offer immediate feedback for real-time improvements. Sharon has made specific technique gains since starting at SwimLabs.
"The smaller space gives you more precision – especially for an adult. We need a lot of direction. The instructor can really help you right on the spot to make the necessary corrections to build swim confidence.
"This week," she recalls, her SwimLabs swimming coach told her, "'Your arm comes out, but you're shaking it and grabbing the water. That's not going to help you because you're putting more force in front of your body. You're naturally going to feel like you're going down.'
"And I could correct it right then. I'm not way out in the length of a pool lane trying to figure out what's going on. Right then – right after I physically felt what I was doing – I got it corrected, and then I could just dive in and do another stroke and do it right – have my body feel the way it's supposed to feel."
Another fix she made was with her breathing. In the full-size pool, "they watch you swim the length of the pool, but they're not in with you every stroke." Her former instructor would ask, "'Did you get air?' And I couldn't really tell. Here [in the Endless Pools environment], the instructor said, 'You didn't get air. I saw. Blow your bubbles, exhale out, and let's get air by inhaling.'
"All this time I had no idea that 'getting air' was inhaling air. I always thought it was an exhale. All that time! I had been holding my breath, so I'm exhausted and lightheaded after two strokes!"
A third stride she's made has been with her body roll. In the lap pool, her instructor told her, "'You're not lifting your shoulders.' My shoulders are stiff. I'm older, and I'm a runner." Now with the Endless Pools current, her SwimLabs instructor could see the root cause. "She said, 'Pretend you're rolling from your tummy to your back. That's the motion that gets your hands up and over the water.' So, I'm not thinking I'm lifting my shoulders, but I'm doing it because I'm rolling, and my arms are moving like they should, and I'm getting that power."
A Tale of Two Swimmers
Sharon's son, who's still in elementary school, has made excellent progress. "My son is now good at swimming. He's going to do the swim team at our local pool," she says proudly.
Sharon still plans on completing a triathlon by age 50. "I'm not putting any pressure on myself. I've got three years to get it conquered, and hopefully by next year at this time, I'll nail down which one I'm looking at.
"Right now, I'm still learning to swim," she reports. "I'm very excited about the progress I've made, and I'm really looking forward to being well-positioned for my triathlon. Everything has been thumbs up!"