Learning to swim at 45

You’re never too old to learn how to swim

We’re firm believers that you’re never too old to learn how to swim.

Over the years, we’ve instructed countless children, but also adults who, for one reason or another, missed the opportunity to learn to swim in childhood and then decided to learn as an adult. For the vast majority of these adults, learning to swim has made a significant, positive impact on their lives. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – learning to swim isn’t just a skill, it’s a rite of passage to a new lease of life.

When we heard this inspiring story we knew we had to share it. We spoke with Claire, who learned to swim at the age of 45. Here’s what she had to say.

What prompted you to take the plunge and learn?

Two things really, one was being able to swim with my children and feel comfortable in the water. Secondly, my mum was diagnosed with scoliosis in her 50s and it made me want to build up my physical fitness. I wanted to ensure I made my body, including my spine, as strong as it could be.

How did you feel not being able to swim?  Was there ‘mum guilt’ that your kids would learn but you couldn’t?

I never felt ‘mum guilt’. I suppose it was harder when I was a child as I felt I missed out on so much and that is why I made it a priority for my children to learn to swim so they would always have this skill. Once they were confident swimmers I decided it was my turn!

Had you ever tried to learn in the past? 

The only time I properly tried to learn was when I was about 10 and I was put in a group with children a lot younger and I felt very self-conscious, so I left it until recently. 

Tell us about your learn-to-swim journey.  How did you feel before your first session?

I was excited actually - looking forward to it. I chose a pool I that I was used to going to for my children’s lessons, so it was a pool I was comfortable and familiar with.

Were you nervous? Did the teacher put you at ease?

I was more anxious than nervous – anxious about the unknown. But the teacher put me at ease. 

Two Column Claire Learning To Swim At 45

What were the first steps in the lessons? 

We began with blowing bubbles and trying to get my face and head in the water. We built up my confidence over several weeks, each lesson doing more things like using the noodles to gain more familiarity with how it felt to float and then stand up afterwards without panicking. Now I’m swimming 10m and have got my 10m on my front and back. 

Were there any challenges along the way?  Things you found difficult and had to overcome?

The whole thing was a challenge - even holding a float and kicking my legs was hard at the beginning. It was very much a psychological challenge as much as a physical challenge at the beginning. 

Now you have learnt to swim what are you looking forward to doing with your newfound skills?

I’m a Mum of two, so taking the children swimming and having fun together in the water is something I want to do lots more over the coming years. Also personally for me I would really like to be able to swim front crawl with the proper technique so that I can really focus on my fitness in the water. 

How do you feel now you can swim?

I feel a great sense of achievement. I feel it’s really good for your brain to learn a new skill as an adult as it’s keeping your brain active and healthy. 

Any hints for anyone looking to start their swimming journey as a non-swimmer?

  1. Take it slowly
  2. Set yourself small goals
  3. Don’t be too harsh on yourself
  4. Celebrate small successes
  5. Approach it with a positive attitude and focus on the benefits 
  6. Don’t worry about what other people think or their opinions - focus on what you’re doing for you 

Whether you’re an adult, a child, or simply young at heart – learning to swim brings freedom, fun and endless opportunities to create lifelong memories in and around water - from summers at your local lido with friends, to family holidays at the beach, scuba-diving, canoeing, white water river rafting, paddle boarding, windsurfing and so much more!

Find out more about adult swimming lessons at your local pool and book online today.