How to learn to swim as an adult and overcome "Liquid Fear"

37% American adults can’t swim the length of a pool

According to CDC, 37% American adults can’t swim the length of a pool, which puts them at risk of being one of the 10 people who drown every day in the United States. Adults — including those who are able to swim — make up more than 70% of drowning deaths in the U.S. each year.

How to overcome "Liquid Fear"

Two childhood experiences with water left a professional drummer with a phobia that lasted for decades, until another major life event inspired him to face his fears:

Read the full story here:

A growing number of swim clinics are specializing in adult lessons, partly because learning to swim later in life can be a little embarrassing. Teaching late learners tends to take longer and requires different techniques than those used with children.

Lori Pailet, a founder and director of AquaSkills, was featured in the WSJ in 2012, and now in the NYTimes. Lessons there cost $100 to register and $1,200 for 10 private lessons. More information is available in the references section below.

Diagram from WSJ: teaching adults to swim in 4 stages and 3 months:

"Water competency"

The goal is to achieve "water competency," defined by the American Red Cross as being able to enter and exit the water, turn 360 degrees afloat, tread or float for one minute and move through the water for at least 25 yards.

WSJ: Do You Know How to Stay Safe in the Water? You may know how to swim, but do you really know how to keep yourself alive in the water? American Red Cross Greater New York Region CEO Josh Lockwood tells the WSJ's Juhi Desai the essential skills necessary to stay safe in and around the water.


Teaching Adults to Swim - WSJ, 2012.
April is Adult Learn-to-Swim Month - US Masters Swimming
Swimmunity - An online community for new adult swimmers
A New Yorker Faces His Phobia, One Stroke at a Time. NYTimes, 2014.
YouTube playlist from the same group featured in the NYTimes video, AquaSkills:

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