In order to learn how to swim an individual must learn beginner skills and develop a sense of comfortability in the water. For those who do know how to swim it can be very overwhelming and even scary to be in the water. To start remain in the shallow end to ensure you can still stand with your head above the water. Work on getting comfortable moving around in the water and going underwater as well. Drills and exercises you can do to improve these skills are bobbing up down in the water, practicing holding your breath underwater, using your arms to move while underwater. Once you develop your skills and begin to feel comfortable in the water, you can begin to practice the basics of individual strokes. The freestyle is most likely the best to start with, and there are three specific parts of the stroke to pay attention to when learning:
One of the best ways to get into swimming would be to enroll in swimming lessons. It would be beneficial to have some comfortability in the water prior to beginning lessons, as it will be an easier transition on your first lesson. By taking swimming class you get to learn first hand under the provision of someone skilled in swimming. They can give you individualized drills and lessons to help you improve your skills, and also allows you to learn with other people struggling to swim as well. Which can offer you more visual representation and helps with not feeling so alone in the water.
Yes it is possible to teach yourself swimming, however precautions should definitely be taken. Make sure someone else is around, watching you, or aware that you are swimming. In case you begin to panic accidently make your way out to the deep end. Again you will want to begin in the shallow end until you feel comfortable enough to swim in deeper water. It's important to practice your technique especially with form when it comes to stroke and breathing. Proper form will ensure more effective swimming with longer and stronger strokes.
The time it takes to learn swimming is going to vary on the person. For adults who learn at the average pace and do not have a fear of water it will take around twenty hours of lessons to learn how to swim. This process will take a couple months and can take longer depending on the individual's comfort level in the water prior to beginning lessons or learning. It is important to develop a set routine for practicing and learning swimming which will help an individual develop fundamental muscle memory skills. By constantly repeating individual drills will get your body used to them, and over time things like stroke and breathing technique will come naturally to the individual.
Learning to swim can be a difficult task for a lot of people to learn. For individuals with a fear of water, there is also a mental barrier to overcome as well as the physical component of actually learning to swim. For individuals with already a level of comfortability in the water, learning to swim is not too difficult, but will take consistent practice and effort. In terms of competition for swimming, the higher level of competition you wish to pursue the harder it will be to compete at that level.
In order to begin swimming there are two essential pieces of equipment: a bathing suit, and a water (clean) to swim in. However, there are other additional pieces of equipment that can be beneficial to a swimmer. Goggles can be used to open your eyes underwater without exposure to chlorine or other things in the water. A kickboard can be helpful for those learning to swim, by allowing an individual work on kicking skills and develop a sense of buoyancy without fear of drowning. Flippers can be another piece of equipment which helps new swimmers to develop their strokes and swim farther with less energy exerted. For more experienced swimmers, swim caps can be worn to reduce friction in the water (hair creates more friction).
Depending on the method an individual uses to learn swimming costs will vary. For those you choose to not enroll in swimming lessons, costs relatively low as there is not a lot of necessary equipment and it is all readily available for typically low prices. However you will still need access to water which can be found naturally (beaches, rivers, & lakes) or may require a membership at a pool. For those you want to take lessons, the average cost is around $40 per hour.