How to Swim

By Contributor

It's easy to learn how to swim. Just watch animals, which race across the water without taking a single lesson. Follow these steps to become an expert swimmer in the time it takes to splash.

Get comfortable putting your head under water. All humans have an innate diving reflex that causes us to automatically stop breathing when our faces get wet.

Tread water. Move your legs in a bicycling motion, pushing the water down with your feet, while your hands pull water from in front of you to the sides in a scooping movement called sculling. You should be able to keep your head above water without touching the bottom of the pool for several minutes.

Try traveling. Once you master treading water, try moving from one side of the pool to the next or from the shallow to deep end. This is called dogpaddling.

Take lessons. After you learn to swim, you should learn how to do it more efficiently. Take a few lessons at a health club or community center. Learn to float, do the breaststroke, sidestroke, backstroke and crawl (freestyle).

Swim several times a week; if you don't you will have to teach yourself your breathing rhythm again before you can get any useful practice.

Consider learning additional techniques. Flip-turns are useful if you want to swim laps for exercise. You may want to learn to dive into the water. If you're very ambitious, you could learn the butterfly stroke.

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