Swimming is a great workout and a fun recreational activity, but for many people, the thought of getting in deep water is enough to make them break out in a cold sweat. If you're someone who suffers from deep water fear, you're not alone. It's estimated that up to 20% of the population has some degree of aquaphobia, which is the fear of water.

Deep water fear can manifest itself in different ways. For some people, it's simply a case of not being a strong swimmer and feeling uncomfortable in depths they can't touch bottom in. For others, it may be a more general fear of the unknown or being out of control. Whatever the cause, you can take steps to overcome your deep water fear and enjoy swimming.

Understand your fear

The first step to overcoming any fear is understanding where it comes from. If you can identify what it is about deep water that scares you, you'll be one step closer to facing your fears head-on. 

  • Is it the thought of not being able to touch the bottom? 
  • Is it the idea of being pulled away by a current? 
  • Or is it simply a case of not knowing what's in the darkness? 

Once you know what it is that scares you, you can start to work on conquering those fears.

Learn how to breathe

One of the essential things when swimming in deep water is to stay calm and breathe correctly. Here are a few tips on how to breathe properly when swimming:

  • Use your nose to take in air, and your mouth to let it out. 
  • Take long breaths and exhale completely.
  • Try to keep your breathing consistent and rhythmic.

When first starting, it's important to practice breathing in shallow water. This will help you get comfortable with the process and ensure you're doing it correctly. Once you're comfortable with shallow water, you can start practising in deeper waters. With time and practice, you'll be able to swim in any depth while keeping a calm mind and steady breath.

Learn how to float

Learn how to float

Floating gives you a sense of security and control in the water and can be a great way to relax and calm your nerves. There are two main types of floating:

Treading water: This involves using your arms and legs to keep yourself afloat. It's a great way to stay safe in deep water and can also help you get used to the sensation of being in the water.

Relaxed floating: This is where you let your body go limp and allow yourself to float on your back. It's a great way to relax in the water and can help you feel more comfortable in deep water.

Both of these techniques take time and practice to master, so it's essential to be patient. Start by practising in shallow water and then gradually move into deeper water. With time, you'll be able to float confidently in any depth.

Build your confidence in small steps

If the thought of getting into deep water sends your heart racing, it's essential to ease yourself into swimming gradually. Start swimming in shallow waters where your feet can still touch the bottom. 

Once comfortable, try swimming a little deeper until you reach waist-deep water. Then chest-deep, then shoulder-deep. Each time you venture deeper, pat yourself on the back for facing your fears head-on. Slowly but surely, your confidence will grow, and you'll be ready to take on deeper waters.

Practice relaxation techniques to calm yourself down

If you start to panic in deep water, there are some relaxation techniques you can use to calm yourself down. Start by taking slow, deep breaths and focus on exhaling fully. You can also try visualising a peaceful place or repeating positive affirmations to yourself. 

For example, tell yourself that you're safe, you're a strong swimmer, and you can do this. The more you practice these techniques, the easier it will be to use them in moments of anxiety.

Have someone else with you 

If you find it helpful, have someone else with you while swimming in deep water. This could be a friend, family member, or even a professional swim coach. Having someone there can help you feel more comfortable and provide an extra sense of safety. They can offer moral support and encouragement when you feel scared or anxious.

Get professional help

If you've tried facing your fears on your own but haven't been successful, there's no shame in seeking professional help. Many reputable therapists and counsellors specialise in treating aquaphobia and can help you work through your specific fears. 

Medication options are also available, such as beta-blockers, which can help ease anxiety and calm your nerves. There are also some great programs out there designed to help people conquer their deep water fears once and for all. These programs typically involve slowly acclimating yourself to deeper and deeper waters under the supervision of qualified professionals. So you can rest assured that you're always safe while working on overcoming your fears. 

Join a swimming class

If you're serious about overcoming your deep water fear, joining a swimming class is a great option. Swimming classes will not only teach you how to swim correctly but will also give you a chance to practice in a safe and controlled environment. Most swimming classes start in shallow water and gradually move into deeper depths if you're worried about deep water. 

If you're not a strong swimmer, one of the best things you can do is to take some swimming lessons. This will help build your confidence in the water and give you the skills you need to enjoy swimming in any depth safely. There are many different swimming lessons available, so be sure to find a program right for your skill level.

Once you've learned basic swimming skills, you can start practising in the pool's deep end. With the help of a qualified swimming instructor, you will be able to overcome your fear of deep water and learn how to swim in open water. You can practise breathing and swim underwater in a safe and controlled environment.

Enrol at Fulton Swim School

Fulton Swim School offers a wide range of swimming programmes for adults and children of all ages and abilities. We have something for everyone, whether you're a complete beginner or an experienced swimmer looking to improve your technique.

Our adult swimming lessons are perfect for those who want to learn how to swim or build up their confidence in the water. Our qualified and experienced instructors will work with you at your own pace, ensuring you feel comfortable and confident in the water.

Whether you're looking to overcome your fear of deep water or want to learn how to swim, Fulton Swim School can help you reach your goals. Contact us today to learn more about our adult swimming lessons and programmes!