If you have ever watched an Olympic swimming race, you will agree that those professional mermaids and mermen make swimming seem like a walk in the park. But even before they became experts, they started out just like you, they were also beginners. Gliding through the water is not a natural sport to everyone, but one thing is for sure – it can be learned if you conquer your fear of the water. Learning how to swim does not need to be stressful or frightening. In fact, it should be a fun-filled activity especially for novices.

Before diving into the basic swimming techniques, lets first discuss the appropriate swimwear. There is no need to spend a fortune on performance swimwear when first learning how to swim. Department stores and boutiques selling all kinds of swimming gear offer loads of options for every budget. Four basic items that you need are swimsuit, goggles, cap and towel. When buying swimsuits, make sure to choose one you feel most comfortable with. One-piece designs for women and briefs or trunks for men are excellent choices for swimming because they eliminate the factor of the body dragging the swimwear across the water. As with swimming goggles, choose a good and affordable pair that does not leak water into your eyes while swimming. In terms of caps, select one that is made from latex as they are more durable and last longer than other styles.

A swimming pool with a lifeguard is an ideal starting place for swimming beginners. If there is no lifeguard, ask a friend who is a good swimmer to come with you. The first thing that beginners need to learn about swimming is how to get comfortable in the water. Starting at the shallow end of a pool, begin by getting used to how the water feels. Proceed by going slowly to the deeper end, up until the shoulders and armpits. This may take a couple of visits before you get comfortable going this far.

Next thing is learning how to float. Hold the side of the pool and let both your legs float behind you. Once youre able to do that, try it while leaning backward. Practice until youre able to float on your stomach and back, then try floating without holding on the pool side.

After floating comes learning how to blow bubbles under water. In the shallower depth of the pool, take a deep breath then submerge your face under the water. Blow bubbles from your nose by slowly exhaling until you are out of breath, then lift your head out of the water. Do this repeatedly until you have mastered exhaling under water.

Next youll learn how to kick your legs. It is advisable to use a Styrofoam noodle or kickboard instead of floatation devices like arm bands as they tend to interfere instead of help in swimming. Hold the pool noodle or kickboard in front of you by straightening your arms. Propel yourself forward by pushing off from the pool wall and kicking your legs behind you like scissors. Always stay first at the shallow end of the pool so when you get tired, you can just easily stand back up and rest. Do another lap until you master kicking, then you can start using your arms. Do the same by holding out the kickboard or pool noodle in front of you, then scissor kicking your legs behind you. Then, lift your left arm from the kickboard/pool noodle, pull it down under the water then lift again, and return to starting position. Do the same with the right arm, switching arms until you have completed the lap.

Swimming is a rewarding sport in many ways – physical, mental, even emotional. It might be challenging and difficult at first, but as you progress and learn to master your strokes, the outcome will surely be worth your time and effort.