Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Matthew Kane/Unsplash

Most adults who learn to swim do so because they have a child or grandchild in their life.

"They're tired of being afraid and nervous every time their kids are around water," says Gary Nolden, owner of the Olympian School of Swimming in Toronto.

And make no mistake, most of them are afraid of the water – very afraid.

Story continues below advertisement

To deal with that fear, the most essential thing is for adults to get comfortable being in the water. That means starting by simply stepping into the shallow end of a pool and putting your face in the water.

"It's the biggest thing," Nolden says. "Swimming is all about being relaxed. It's about being comfortable in the water."

Once you're okay with submerging your face, try lifting your feet off the bottom of the pool. These small steps will help you get comfortable.

Unless you can be calm in the water, you'll likely never learn to swim well. You'll certainly never enjoy it.

"Once you're comfortable, then you begin to float," Nolden says.

Start on your back. Many people will find it difficult to lie back enough for water to enter their ears. Take your time. Again, you have to be comfortable at every stage before moving on.

Once you can float independently on your stomach, work on front kicking and back kicking. The next step is to roll onto your back.

Story continues below advertisement

"That's like the safety position. They can breath when they're on their back," Nolden says. "That's the beginning of really learning how to swim."

It usually takes adults about 10 45-minute lessons to go from where you can float on your back by yourself to kicking independently over shallow water, Nolden says. But try not to put any pressure on yourself.

"The less you try, the faster you'll learn," Nolden says.

The Globe's Life reporter Dave McGinn shares what he learned over the last 6 months of eating healthy and working out The Globe and Mail
The Globe's Life reporter Dave McGinn shares what he learned over the last 6 months of eating healthy and working out The Globe and Mail
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to
Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons or for abuse. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies