I was absolutely terrified of water my whole life, thanks to my parents pointing out every drowning in the news from the time I was a small child, and also due to a couple of full-on panic episodes in pools as a teenager. At age 46, four years ago, I decided I was tired of being scared, and went looking for a program that could help me get over the fear. I found the Miracle Swimming Institute (www.conquerfear.com
). It's specifically for adults who are afraid in water. I was very skeptical at the start, but by golly it worked. Their program doesn't "teach you to swim", it teaches you how to feel safe in the water so that then you can learn to swim. This is the big piece that most adult learn-to-swim programs are missing.
Then I was ready to take some lessons at the Y, but those were worthless. The teenage instructors assumed that adults already knew some basics and just wanted refinement. At six months I was finally able to flail the length of a 25-yd pool. Then I found the TI website and videos, and a local pre-masters program. At two years out, I was able to swim a mile of freestyle, and do all four strokes!