How Long To Learn To Swim?

My wife and I were discussing vacation. She always wants to go to the beach which we generally do. Anyway this year we got in our usual disagreement.

All my wife does is SIT on the beach. So I said “Fine, if you agree to learn how to swim and can swim the length of the pool (at our health club) before the end of summer, we’ll go to the beach.”

Of course she came up with the reasons she was too old to learn (she’s late 30s) or that it takes more than a month to learn to swim.

I learned to swim when I was like 2 or 3 I can’t remember not swiming so the question is… IS one month long enough for her to learn to live to swim

If so than the bet is on.

Thanks for your opinons.

Usually learning to swim happens within about 6-7 minutes…
After that one usually blacks out and drowns… :slight_smile:

Of course she can learn to swim in a month. 80-year-old ladies can learn to swim in a month. But only if they really want to. Sounds like your wife really doesn’t want to learn.

What’s her level of fitness? How committed to it would she be? That first unassisted dog paddle across the whole length of the pool can be daunting. Someone who knows how to swim but is out of shape can still swim. Someone who’s out of shape and doesn’t know how to swim, may need quite a bit more time.

My wife is very fit. She is afraid of the water, but the health club has professional teachers to teach her. The instructor isn’t the problem. I just wanted to make sure I was being fair to her.

I taught adults to swim back when I worked as a lifeguard. For a committed learner, a month is plenty of time to learn to swim if she works at it every day.

Why should she know how to swim in order to go to the beach?

My wife seems to be afflicted with some sort of negative bouyancy. Despite having taken lessons a number of times, she is convinced that she will sink to the bottom of the pool. Based on the few times I’ve seen her try, she seems to be correct about this.

I’ve been told on a few occassions that I’m basically made of cement. Very athletic, low body fat, high muscle mass including legs because cycling and skiing have been lifetime pursuits. If I can swim, I suspect virtually anybody can.

The issue is not so much bouyancy but how she floats. Or doesn’t float as the case may be. Largely it’s a fear factor. Fear of the water. People unable to swim understandibly tend to want to keep their head above water. That makes the legs sink and then the body quickly follows. The idea is to relax, press the chest into the water to allow the legs to become more bouyant and voila… you’re floating and half way to being able to swim.

Of course stroke technique and breathing are very key to actual swimming and a good instructor will know how best to introduce all these concepts effectively.
Having said that, I do believe you’re being unreasonable. Being at the beach does not require swimming. Wading in the shallows is fun, going for a run/walk along the edge of the surf is pleasant. Just basking in the sun and watching people and the ocean/sea is very relaxing. I’d be more concerned in her knowing how to swim if you were going on a cruise. But the beach… not so much.

Well, I’m 33 and I’ve been trying for my entire life to learn how to swim, and I still haven’t figured it out.

I like the water. I’m not afraid. I’m just incapable of putting my face in the water, pulling it back with my arms, twisting my head to take a breath and repeating all this without inhaling half the pool. It hurts. It makes my nose and my throat burn. I feel like and idiot. Sometimes I cry. A man who’s profession it is to teach adults with downs syndrome how to swim tried to teach me and said I was 10 times more frustrating.

Personally, I feel for your wife. I think you’re being very mean. If her experiences are anything like mine, I can totally understand not wanting to repeat the humilation of swimming lessions again.

I think many people could learn to swim in a month, assuming a decent level of fitness, a willingness to learn, and practice several times a week.

That said, I know some people have a pretty cumbersome fear of the water, and if that’s the case, she’ll need all the support and help she can get. Good luck to you two! :slight_smile:

Why can’t she go to the beach without knowing how to swim? If she enjoys what she can do, what’s the problem?

If the problem is that you’re bored of going to the beach, or that you don’t enjoy swimming alone while she sunbathes or reads, that’s a separate issue - tell her you want to take a vacation where you can do more things together. She’ll enjoy that more than being told that she “has” to learn to swim or you won’t go.

I’m almost 37. I can’t swim. At the age of 9, I was attending an after-school program at the Y, and the idiot instructor decided everybody had to jump into the pool off the one-meter board. Even the kids who said they couldn’t swim. I was terrified. I still shake when I think about it.

I know I should learn to swim, and I want to, and I think I’m going to do something about it as soon as my younger son is far enough along in swim class that he doesn’t need mamma in the water with him. But if someone nagged me about it, gave me a deadline and said I had to do it in a month - hell, I’d never manage. I’d probably get stubborn and refuse to even try; if I did try, I’m sure it would be a disaster.

So please, back off a bit. If you don’t know why she’s afraid of the water, find out. Then respect that, encourage any interest she shows in overcoming her problem, but make sure it’s her idea to learn to swim - that’s one of the great privileges of being an adult, after all.

I used to have serious problems with my swimming lessons. I started getting them when I was 6, but because I insisted on breaststroke-diving (which came more naturally) and the instructor wanted me to crawl (I still can’t coordinate the breathing), I never passed it. So I wasn’t allowed in the Big Pool. For the lessons we had to wear those horrid floating bracelets, which make swimming a lot harder.

One day when I was 9, we were having a birthday party in another pool. I had to go to the bathroom, but the ones close to the restaurant were crowded, so I hopped over to the blissfully-empty ones across the big pool. On my way back I slipped and fell into the pool.

I panicked, started trashing about, went down, all I could see was my own trashing. Then a calm voice somewhere said “listen, you moron, if you’re going to die, at least do it with dignity, willya?” And I thought “ok” and stopped thrashing.

And wooop, once I stopped trashing, I found myself being buoyed up by the water! I took a look around, saw I had somehow managed to get to the middle of the pool, figured which was the nearest ladder, breaststroked/doggiepaddled my way there (remember, the instructors I got refused to teach breaststroke, so my style isn’t very stylish) and got out.

When Mom saw me she asked “what happened to you? What a time you picked to take a shower!” and I said “oh, I just learned to swim”.

Knowing how to swim is good if you’re going to the beach; knowing when and where to swim is a must, unless you plan on spending the day side-up, side-down like the OP’s wife. Does she at least get off the towel enough to play with the incoming waves for a bit or walk along the shore with just her calves submerged? Great exercise both!

That’s crawl. Do your instructors realize that everybody was doing breaststroke until somewhere in the 20s? Do they realize that when a female Australian swimmer whose name I can’t remember first did it in the Olympics freestyle she almost got disqualified because nobody had seen that kind of swimming? Only because someone invented integrals, that doesn’t mean addition has to be thrown out the window!

Ask them to teach you breaststroke, aka froggie-style. It goes faster if you dunk your head in, but you can do it old-lady-style and keep your head out of the water the whole time.

I agree with other posters - why insist your wife has to do something unnecessary to have the holiday she wants?

I was reluctant to learn to swim until I opened my eyes underwater. It was in a basin of water in the bathroom, but it still gave me confidence!

I’m actually a fairly proficient breaststroker (that sounds much dirtier than I intended! :eek: ).

While in pools and whatnot, if I have to get around that’s what I do. It’s not pretty, but it’s effective. :slight_smile:

You have a cite for that? In the 1904 Olypmics there is a breast stroke event listed. The crawl has been around for a long time, though not everyone used it.

That’s because you don’t turn your head, you turn your whole body. You also don’t pull with your arms, it’s your hands that do the pulling.

As for the OP, I honestly don’t know how long it would take. I’ve been in the pool since I was in infant, I’ve always known how to swim. I do feel that knowing how to swim is important, especially if you’re going to get into the water at the beach, there are currents and such that can pull you out pretty quick and knowing what to do can save your life.

No cite, bio movie from way back when color was a novelty, there was a breast stroke event before that but also a free style where people would usually breast stroke again (the "free"style meant you could use butterfly or backstroke if you wanted).

I still can’t crawl, not everybody has to. I’ve still to meet a swimming instructor who offers breast stroke as an option without the students going stubborn about it; it’s like they’ve decided we have to crawl OR ELSE. And I am faster under than over water (which has a physical explanation: surface tension makes surface water “harder” than body water, putting it in equation-less terms).

Actually, if all you’re trying to do is to get her from one end of a 25 yard pool to the other and she’s already in decent shape…probably even less than a month. I mean, teach her to float a bit, then teach her elementary backstroke, and she’s good to go. Maybe a couple weeks, tops, assuming she doesn’t have any anxiety issues.

I’ve been taking swim lessons this summer. I’m almost 32. Two months ago, I couldn’t swim a lick and now I’m doing (admittedly kinda clumsy) laps. Like Quicksilver, I’m fairly lean so I tend to have a natural flotation point that’s about 4 inches underneath the surface, at least when I’m floating face down. I didn’t think I’d be able to learn, but I was wrong.

Some people can’t learn to swim, but most can. A professional instructor is what she needs. And if she’s afraid of the water, I suggest she learn in a pool and not at a beach. I don’t like big water anymore. It would take flaming sand to get me into an ocean or even a lake.

But I agree with the other posters…if she doesn’t want to swim, what’s wrong with sitting on the beach listening to music and reading a book? That’s what I’d be doing if I was at the beach.

My experience is exactly the same as alice_in_wonderland’s. I can swim, but I don’t enjoy it. In the pool, I prefer to lounge on a raft. At the beach, I’ll play in the waves. But how many people really swim at the beach? It seems to me that only really serious swimmers do that. Of course, my beach visits are mostly in the northeastern US, so the water temp might have something to do with that.