Crush Your Fear of Water with These 5 Handy Tips


Like standing on the edge of a cliff, a fear of water makes sense. You can’t touch the ground, you don’t know what’s down there… Fear is driven by our survival instinct and easily overpower our emotions.

But if you panic near the beach, you know that fear can cripple you. And you may think, am I the only person who feels like this.

You are not alone.

Millions of men and women across the globe (scientists say its 1 in 50) feel just like you.

But you can overcome this fear.

Ask Adam Peaty. As a child, Adam screamed every time his mum made him take a bath. Today, Adam is an Olympic gold medallist swimmer, who represented his country and made his family proud.

Here’s five strategies to crush your fear this year.

1. Don’t Do It Alone

Talk about it. Seriously. One of the most common beliefs that stops us improving is our fear of judgement – that everyone has already got everything worked out.

It’s simply not true.

A calm and professional therapist can give you actionable advice to overcome your fear. Even talking to family and friends is a step in the right direction. Support is key when taking on a new challenge.

And don’t forget about our team here at the Centre. A quick chat with our qualified swim instructors may be the booster shot you need to help move forward with tackling your fear.

2. Seek A Controlled Space

The pool is a great place. Temperature-controlled, indoors, out of the elements, no currents in the water. What you see is what you get – with no hidden surprises.

At your public pool, there are always lifeguards on duty, and you are never alone. That said, it’s worth a chat with staff to find out the quiet times. They are (as a general rule): early morning, late evenings, and lunchtimes during the week. If part of your fear is embarrassment, choosing these quieter times can help ease you into feeling comfortable. It will also keep you focused on the task at hand.

3. Take Your Time

Just put on your running shoes and step out the door – that's the advice first-timers are often given when about to start a new routine. That’s it. You don’t have to run. Just do that first step.

Same with conquering fear.

Come for a visit to the centre. Check out the café. Learn the layout. If you are comfortable with your surroundings, you will be more comfortable in the water.

Next day, sit by the pool. Dip in a toe. Then a whole foot. Take note of how your body feels at each stage. If you’re anxious, breathe, and take your time.

4. Start Shallow

Don’t throw yourself into the deep end – literally.

Head to the shallow side and start with your feet. Gradually, lower your body in: try kneeling or bobbing up and down. Once your in, congratulations, that’s a big step!

If you’re feeling brave, try splashing a few drops of water on your face. Or put your lips underwater and blow bubbles. Keep steady until you’re ready to put your head under.

Same with taking your feet off the ground. One foot. Two foot. Use the wall to support you if you need it. It’s not a race – there's no losers – only winners for learning a new skill.

5. Have Fun

What makes the water so special is how fun it is. Bubbles, splashing, floating – hanging out with loved ones. So lean into that fun.

Pool noodles and floating boards are perfect for growing confidence and keeping afloat. You can practice lifting your feet, and your kicks, with the knowledge that you are staying safe. Oh, and don't forget inflatable toys – they're fantastic for kids, but great for adults too (where would water polo be without the ball!).

As South Australians, we are so lucky to have the water as part of our lives. And while it can be a source of fear and panic, it can also be a source of great joy.

Start small. Take a bath. Sit by the pool. Take it slow. Soon you’ll be swimming. And then, in the words of Dory from Finding Nemo, just keep swimming. Oh, and if you'd like to take lessons as an adult, we'd love to have you.