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How to Learn Swimming on Your Own

Stephen Rampur
For those wanting to learn swimming on their own, here are some very important things you should know and keep in mind before venturing into it. Have a look!
The water is your friend. You don't have to fight with water, just share the same spirit as the water, and it will help you move.
- Aleksandr Popov
Some people view swimming as an exercise, some as a hobby, whereas a small class is into swimming as a professional sport. Swimming is one of the best exercises to keep your body fit and fine. Many people go to the gym and workout for hours to get their body in shape.
However, you need to know that just 30 minutes of swimming everyday can keep you healthy and make you active for the rest of the day. This is a good way in which you can exercise as well as have fun.

People do have a common misconception that it is really difficult to know how to learn swimming on your own.
But the fact is that it is just a matter of learning the fundamental moves first and then trying it out. There are many different ways in which you can learn the basics. After you have an idea as to how to swim, with regular daily practice, you can master the skill.

Learning to Swim on Your Own

As with any new skill, you need to be really interested in order to grasp the techniques quickly and effortlessly. In this FitnessVigil article, we shall make you familiar with the steps to learn freestyle, the most basic stroke in swimming and the easiest one to begin with. So, what are we waiting for? Let's get started.
There are four basic steps that you need to master in order to grasp the nuances of this stroke. If you ever see swimmers perform this stroke, it might appear to be difficult to you. But the truth is that it isn't that difficult after all. All you need is a little patience and lots and lots of practice.

Step 1: Learning to Float

This is the most crucial step for a swimmer, for we all know that we can swim only when we learn how to stay afloat.

► Move towards the shallow part of the pool.
► Grab the rod fixed to the wall of the pool, take a deep breath through the mouth, and hold your breath as you allow your body to rest on the water surface so that you can get a view of the bottom of the pool. Make sure your face is half submerged in water.
► Now, use your nose to slowly breathe out underwater, stretching your body at the same time.
► Practice this again and again till you find yourself floating. Believe me, it's that easy!

Step 2: Learning to Move your Legs

Once you've mastered the art of floating, half the job is already done! Your next attempt should be to master the leg movement.

► When you step into the pool, repeat the steps given above till you find yourself afloat.
► Move your legs up and down alternately, all the while keeping your feet slightly stretched. Avoid bending your knees, moving the entire leg from the hip joint.
► Make an effort to splash as little amount of water with your legs as possible.
► Once you have learned to move your legs, you can take a floating board to propel yourself forward.

Step 3: Learning to Move your Hands

This is the final step, and you'll probably find it a little difficult initially.

► Stretch out your hands in front of you.
► Start moving one hand in a clockwise manner (as shown in the diagram).
► Face to the right while pulling the water with your right hand, and face to the left while doing the same with your left hand.
► Continue moving your legs up and down to propel yourself forward.

What to Refer To

That was a brief and basic guide to swimming freestyle. If you're interested, you can refer any of the following.

► Books and guides which tell you about the basic and advanced swimming techniques.
► Basic and advanced swimming DVDs that feature swimming lessons by swimming instructors or professional swimmers, along with some useful tips.
► You can browse online for free videos that feature swimming instructions. You may have to spend a little time looking for them but chances are you'll find ones that can really help.

Safety Tips for Beginners

When you're a beginner, it's mandatory that you follow the basic safety measures every time you step into the pool. Here's what you should keep in mind.

► Get essential stuff, such as goggles, swimming cap, ear plugs, and a costume that fits you well.
► Keep a floating board handy whenever you practice, especially during the initial days.
► Never swim alone. Always make sure there is someone around who can help you out of an emergency situation.
► Leave the side bar and start moving your hands only when you're confident enough.
► Resist the temptation to "explore" greater depths. Instead, restrict yourself to the shallow part of the pool till you are fairly familiar with the technique.
With regular practice, you can even develop your own swimming styles and techniques. For those thinking of learning swimming on their own, it is a good idea to go through swimming guides and watch videos online.