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Can swim but can't float...

17 replies

Plantseverywhere1 · 24/05/2023 11:41

Halo all,
So a bit of a random one that I've been pondering whilst sat in the sun today.

So I can swim (just), have been able to since childhood. Only basic front crawl and never back stroke. I hate being in a deep pool that is deeper than I can stand in and generally avoid it.

My issue is that I don't seem to be able to float. If you threw me in the middle of a deep pool, just drown.

My partner's dad has a pool and the kids love playing in it but I never join in (well I stay in the tiny bit of shallow).
I don't have the confidence at all. I won't even attempt to swim anymore as I don't feel safe in the water.

Just wondering if there is anything I can do to improve? I've read that some people can't float. However I'm not hugely skinny nor overweight.

OP posts:
JJJSchmidt · 24/05/2023 11:44

1-1 lessons to improve your confidence? Floating is as much a skill as any other physical thing, so you just need to be taught

Carryonkeepinggoing · 24/05/2023 11:46

You have to lie flat on top of the water to float. If you panic and bring your legs to your chest then you sink.
Can you tread water? So move your legs underwater so you stay upright is approximately the same spot but without swimming a stroke as such. This is something you can practice even in your depth.
For your uncle’s pool, get some pool noodles or something. If you want to swim in the sea, get yourself a proper buoyancy aid, even if you intend to stay in your depth.

Carryonkeepinggoing · 24/05/2023 11:47

To lie flat on the water you might find you need to try to push your hips up and almost out of the water. It’s a bit like doing a bridge exercise on land but easier because the water is supporting you.

Seas164 · 24/05/2023 11:48

Keep your lungs inflated, sounds weird, makes a big difference. Relax, hard if you think you're going to drown I know, take a big breath in, and breathe but don't empty your lungs. If that makes sense. And if you want to dive to the bottom to get something, blow all the air out first. Inbuilt airbags.

35965a · 24/05/2023 11:48

Most people can float, I think. The difficulty is that to float properly you have to really relax your body and mind. So if you’re stressed about it or are in any way anxious or overthink it then it’s so hard to do! As soon as you tense that is it.

I think gaining more confidence in the water comes from just getting in and doing it. You can swim so that is a great start. Building up your swimming would really help. Maybe some lessons or just use your partners Dad’s pool more with another adult nearby.

GeraltsBathtub · 24/05/2023 11:52

My DP doesn’t float but it’s because he’s extremely skinny so he’s very dense (😁). If you’re not like that then you should be able to float, especially if you do a star shape on your back. Can you tread water? That could help you not drown if you ended up in deep water. My local pool does swimming lessons for adults, might be something worth looking into.

FlySwimmer · 24/05/2023 11:54

Floating is a bit like balancing on land: often requires a bit of work! As someone else said, consciously pushing your hips up might help as it’s often our legs that sink first.

Also, and this may seem scary initially, but try pushing the back of your head downwards towards the bottom when you’re lying on your back floating. You don’t want to submerge your face, but if your neck is cranked upwards in an effort to keep your head above water, then it will affect the position of your torso and legs. When I’m floating, the waterline is often at my ears, so the back of my head is properly under the water. Wear goggles if it helps as you won’t be as bothered by water over your face/in your eyes as you practice.

Hoppinggreen · 24/05/2023 11:58

I am an excellent floater (pretty good swimmer too) but DH and DD just can’t float despite being able to swim quite well. DS can float
No idea why this is, I don’t think I do anything different and when I try to teach them they just seem to be doing the same as me - but sinking

CMOTDibbler · 24/05/2023 12:05

A lot of people think you can just float with no effort, but it actually takes practice to do. For confidence, a thin shorty wetsuit (Decathlon or Aldi when they have them) gives you a lot of extra buoyancy but as others have said you need to push the back of your head down and your hips up - and if you don't have a strong core I think it is the hips that make people sink as you just fold up. Thinking about getting air right down in your lungs helps as well

Plantseverywhere1 · 24/05/2023 12:19

Thank you for all the suggestions so far, they're really helpful. So having read the replies I think what I probably should have said is that I can't tread water. I don't feel that I can keep myself up at all. If I swim, then I need to end up in an area I can physically stand, or I'll just drown! think a big part of it is complete lack of confidence.

OP posts:
Augend23 · 24/05/2023 12:25

But you don't need to treat water - I am a really strong swimmer and I absolutely detest treading water. You just lie on your back, starfish your legs and arms to keep you stable and wait.

gardendream · 24/05/2023 12:29

I think it might be more that you need to remove your blockages to floating rather than learning to float?

Perhaps practice in a quite/empty pool on your own where you can surrender to lying flat on your back and getting used to the weightless feeling.

It’s a pretty vulnerable position when you think about it - exposing your tummy and feeling out of control maybe?

Some practice in a space where you feel totally safe (not scared of being bumped into or splashed etc) might help?

gardendream · 24/05/2023 12:31

Btw if it’s something to do with the feeling of surrendering and being out of control that’s getting in the way, you could try also lying down in a swing if you have one of those big swings in a local park - let yourself lay back in the swing and experience letting go without the water to worry about.

PollyVerano · 24/05/2023 12:31

Treading water is just like swimming on the spot. You just need to practise to get stronger/ a bit more endurance.
If you don't like going out of your depth, don't do it! Do all your practice in a depth of water you are comfortable with. If you want to try treading water a little out of your depth, stay very close to the edge where you can easily grab the side when needed. Try and extend the time or distance you swim and build your way up.

dizzydizzydizzy · 24/05/2023 12:46

Hi OP, I'm a lifeguard. It sounds to me like you need some swimming lessons. In your shoes, I would go to your local leisure centre and see what is available. Where I work, we have quite a few lessons for adults of all abilities and as PPs have mentioned, 1:1s too.

Falifornia · 24/05/2023 12:49

In our family, we firmly believe in Floaters and Sinkers. All three of us can swim but I float effortlessly; DD and DH sink like stones if they stop moving. @PollyVerano's post about treading water is really helpful

Polis · 24/05/2023 12:50

I don’t float in fresh water and just about in salt water. My husband is a good floater. It makes him very confident in the sea, although he finds it harder to dive when snorkelling than I do.

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