...Why Would You Get Into the Water?
7 - The man in the Indiana accident also needed to know something else. He needed to feel a sense of discomfort coming on and realize that it was time to stop himself from losing control. But if he was showing off, or under the influence of alcohol, or terrified, he may not have gotten the signals his body was undoubtedly giving him, if only he'd been able to pay attention. One signal was that he had some buoyancy: for 4 minutes, he was not at the bottom. Another was that air was nearby: he was close to the surface, going above and below it. But when you're "gone," in the zone of panic, that which is obvious to others is out of sight for you. If you don't know how to prevent panic, you cannot pay attention to the messages for safety that your body gives you when panic arises. Panic prevention is the other lesson swimming lessons must include.
8 - The water and one's body work together easily. Once you know water, it's a fun place to be. But fun isn't the only benefit. Knowing the water is also a matter of safety and a life skill. You can't get to know it or learn to swim without experiencing water, however. You have to feel it. By feeling it-everything about it-one can learn its different laws. It doesn't work like land and gravity.
9 - People who are afraid in water, who are asked in swimming lessons to do something scary, cannot feel the water. Their minds are halfway down the trajectory to panic. Their main concern is avoiding drowning. How can learning flutter kick or rhythmic breathing at that point help them? Both are irrelevant at that early stage. The afraid swim student needs to know how she can feel safe, how to be at home in water, and that she can be in control of herself in water, just as she is on land. He needs to know he won't inhale water, won't get water in his nose, that he has no reason to panic, and that he floats. Or, that if he's a true sinker, which few people are, it's perfectly okay: there's a simple way to come up and stay up.
10 - While freestyle and backstroke, flutter kick and rhythmic breathing are all part of swimming, and swimming is a great skill to have for fun, play, exercise, and going a distance under your own power, to teach it before teaching how water works and how to remain in control is to put the cart before the horse. In a world concerned with safety, this doesn't float.
11 - Why would an afraid non-swimmer want to get into the water? To put his face in? To take his feet off the bottom voluntarily? Because he wants to learn; because he feels safe, feels understood. Because she knows she can remain in control while she's learning and that she has supportive help if she needs it. And, she wants to know what the water is about. She knows there must be a way to learn.
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