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  #1  
Old 12-27-2015
mrc2577
 
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Default Can't Swim in the Deep End. Advice?

I took a few lessons as a child and know how to float on my front and back, and also know some basic strokes (just backstroke and crawl stroke). However, I am only comfortable doing these things in shallow water. I am terrified of the deep end and haven't swam there for years. I also can't tread or swim with my head above the water, and I wouldn't know what to do if I jumped in the deep end of the pool (how would I swim up to surface?).

Any advice on how to overcome these obstacles? What would you recommend? And why do I know some swimming strokes fairly well but can't even keep my head above the water?
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  #2  
Old 12-27-2015
daveblt daveblt is offline
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If you can float on your front or back in shallow water then you can do the same in deep water . 3 feet or 10 feet ,it does not matter . It is just a fear that you have to over come . I think learning to tread water is not a bad idea .Start in the shallow end with floating and swimming and slowly at your pace and as your confidence grows ,work your way towards the deep end.

Dave
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  #3  
Old 12-27-2015
andyinnorway andyinnorway is offline
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you could also try venturing into the deep end with either a float or holding on to the lane rope, anything that makes you feel totally in control of your safety
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  #4  
Old 12-27-2015
IngeA IngeA is offline
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When you really get into panic in deep water, you should not go there with any float you can loose grip of. If you are "only" feeling unsafe in the deep, the float will be a good idea.
But you also write, you don't jump from the edge because you don't know how to get back to the surface.
I think, I would start there. Learn to dive in shoulder deep water. There you can push of the floor if you need to, but you also can to train swimming back to the surface without pushing of.
Train both, with and without push. And then the same in water a bit deeper. With a push you easily can reach the surface even if it is a few inches too deep to stand.
Perhaps it's a good idea to take a friend with you. It will make you feel safer.

Here in Germany in some pools there are even courses for people who are afraid of deep water, I dont' know if there exists something like that where you live.
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  #5  
Old 12-27-2015
WFEGb WFEGb is offline
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Hello mrc2577,

welcome in the TI-forum!

Like the first Posters, think you have to go and deal in a grey zone where where the peace of securenes begins to dissolve and then try very slowly to expand that zone...

Have a look in Mat's blog. there you'll find some more hints. But be careful, the video is a horror for me too...

Wish you enough patience to reach the fruits of relaxed swimming anywhere!

Best regards,
Werner
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  #6  
Old 12-27-2015
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CoachStuartMcDougal CoachStuartMcDougal is offline
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Hey Werner,

Good blog find from Coach Mat, but like you, the free-dive footage increases my anxiety just watching. Free-dive is *not* on my bucket list :-)

Hi Mc2577,

Deep water phobia is very common. Just to add to other excellent suggestions, expanding your comfort zone slowly, and that comes with confidence that you won't suddenly sink to the bottom of the pool - and you won't. You are least buoyant in a vertical position, hands sculling. In LG training, this is identified as "distressed swimming" (or a distressed swimmer) often mistaken for breast stroke, what happens next is the swimmer tires and cannot keep head above surface, and starts taking in water in lungs and begins to sink, this is called "active drowning". During these distressed moments, the swimmer remains silent, can't yell for help since they're just trying to get air in a panic state. This is not to scare you, but information that all LG's have to recognize distressed swimmers and get to them before going down. Whether distressed or active, the swimmer is vertical and least buoyant.

You are most buoyant off of your back where you can keep your lungs full of air and breathe at will. Learn to roll from your stomach (face down) to your back (face up) to relax and breathe. In TI this is called "sweet spot" breathing. I teach this to triathletes new to open water to roll on to their backs, easily remain buoyant, recover physically as well as emotionally if anxiety and panic have taken over.

For now - stay in shallow zone, learn to "sweet spot", e.g. take 3 or 4 strokes then roll to your back and breathe, repeat. Once you mastered this to a level and can comfortably swim across the pool without touching the floor/standing up or grabbing pool deck, then begin to expand to deeper zones. Let the LG know what you are doing and your fears too. Think of "sweet spot" as your pool floor and can be done in any body of water, deep or shallow, pool or open water.

Stuart
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  #7  
Old 12-27-2015
Danny Danny is offline
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LG stands for life guard?
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  #8  
Old 12-27-2015
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CoachStuartMcDougal CoachStuartMcDougal is offline
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Yes, LG = lifeguard
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  #9  
Old 12-30-2015
Rhoda Rhoda is offline
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Some years ago I met a woman who learned to swim as an adult and had to overcome her fear of deep water to do so. She was advised to take those deep water exercise classes where the participants wear float belts and follow an instructor's moves to music. It worked for her, after a few weeks of those classes she lost her fear and was able to continue with the swim instruction. So, that's something that might work for you.
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  #10  
Old 12-31-2015
sclim sclim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachStuartMcDougal View Post

You are most buoyant off of your back where you can keep your lungs full of air and breathe at will. Learn to roll from your stomach (face down) to your back (face up) to relax and breathe. In TI this is called "sweet spot" breathing. I teach this to triathletes new to open water to roll on to their backs, easily remain buoyant, recover physically as well as emotionally if anxiety and panic have taken over.

For now - stay in shallow zone, learn to "sweet spot", e.g. take 3 or 4 strokes then roll to your back and breathe, repeat. Once you mastered this to a level and can comfortably swim across the pool without touching the floor/standing up or grabbing pool deck, then begin to expand to deeper zones. Let the LG know what you are doing and your fears too. Think of "sweet spot" as your pool floor and can be done in any body of water, deep or shallow, pool or open water.

Stuart
Of all the useful hints offered, the above seems to be the most bomb-proof bottom line safety net which, if learned to the degree that it could be implemented at any moment, no matter how panicked, would offer a sure-fire protection agains panic drowning.

I would offer a slight caution, though -- there is a very small percentage of people of high body density who can't passively float, no matter how hard they try. I'm one of them. In the sweet spot, or back flotation position I need to to provide at least a gentle flutter kick before I can float freely and breathe in the pool. It's statistically unlikely that mrc2577 falls into this category, but still, it's possible.

The first time I wore a wetsuit in open water I just couldn't believe the degree of flotation I achieved -- this is what normal people must feel, I thought to myself. And rolling over to my back I realised I absolutely could not sink or drown as long as I stayed on my back! So yes, it does work, as long as you're buoyant enough.
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