Learning to swim: how do you stay afloat?

Learning to swim: how do you stay afloat?
It takes approx. 4 minutes to read this article

Since the dawn of time, swimming has been one of the most popular sports among exercise enthusiasts of all ages. How to master the basics of this beloved form of exercise?

Learning to swim correctly and dynamically consists of many stages. If you are not planning a professional career, you will probably not need to perfectly master all technical aspects. However, you can’t get away from the absolute basics, which is… staying afloat. Before starting to work on this – at first glance childishly simple – skill, it is worth to get acquainted with a few tips. Thanks to that we will be sure that learning to swim will go quickly and painlessly!

Floating on your back

Despite the fact that the kraul is commonly recognized as the easiest and the most popular swimming style, the first step when learning to swim is usually floating on the back. Why? The answer is simple – when swimming on your back, you don’t submerge your head in the water, and the movement of your arms and legs are more natural. When you correctly master lying on your back, you will feel much more comfortable in the water and be ready to continue learning.

The most common mistake made at the beginning of working on floating on the back is to throw ourselves violently on the surface. In this way, unfortunately, we will never learn not only backstroke swimming, but also we will not have the basis to proceed to learning the next – more complicated – swimming styles. As is the case in most disciplines, the key to success in swimming is the ability to keep a cool head and stay composed.

Before you even lay down on the water, you should first take in a substantial amount of air and then hold it in your lungs. This will increase our buoyancy and make it easier for us to float. The next step is to place our head on the surface of the water in such a way that our eyes are directed at the pool ceiling or the sky. Remember also that your ears should be below the surface of the water.

Once you are in the right starting position, you can smoothly move your arms behind your head in order to create a natural “crane”, which is supposed to shift the center of gravity. In this way, the legs themselves will slowly begin to rise towards the surface of the water.

Belly flotation

Mastering belly fl otation is the basis for starting the adventure with such styles as freestyle (kraul), classic (frog) and butterfly (dolphin). It’s worth to remember, that before we try to lie on the surface, we should be able to immerse our head under water for at least eight seconds. Holding your breath for a short time is really the only difficulty compared to floating on your back. How to master this skill in a few steps?

Once again, our greatest allies will turn out to be calmness and control over our own body. Uncoordinated throwing yourself on the surface does not make much sense – you will immediately go to the bottom and consequently you will have to stand on your feet. Therefore, let’s try to lie down on the water gradually. For a good start, let’s get as much air into our lungs as possible and get to work!

If you are just starting your adventure with swimming, it is not worth trying to get ahead of yourself. Therefore, first stand in the shallower part of the pool in such a way that your legs touch the bottom freely. It’s a good idea to get some air and then lean towards the surface of the water, gradually laying down on the water surface.
The next important stage is to assume the starting position, which is obligatory in every style, i.e. extending our legs backwards and hands forwards. Our gaze should be directed at the bottom of the pool. If we are able to hold the described position for several seconds, we can confidently start learning freestyle!

Main photo: Haley Phelps/unsplash.com

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