Breathing Out Fear. How to Overcome Your Fear of Swimming

In this article, you'll learn how to use a simple breathing technique to desensitize old swimming fears so you can finally feel relaxed in the water. 

Helping people overcome lifetimes of deep-rooted swimming fears and anxiety is what gets us out of bed. We've helped thousands of people open their world to new water experiences they never thought possible - and now it's your turn! If you want to overcome your fear of swimming, you're in the right place. 

What you’re about to learn is the foundation of our SwimAble program. We’re giving it away for free because it shouldn’t be a secret. You deserve to overcome your fears, learn how to swim, and experience relaxation in the water. 

People from their 30’s up into their 90’s have moved on from life-long swimming fears by doing the very same things you’re about to learn here. 

Take a deep breath, because here’s the best part:  The first step to overcoming your fear of swimming starts on dry land! 

Biggest Mistake Adults Make When Trying to Overcome A Fear of Swimming. 

Before we jump into how to breathe out fear, I want to stop you from making a really BIG mistake that makes most adult swimming lessons fail. 

Rounded Biggest Mistake Made in Adult Swimming Lessons Today

Please do not attempt to overcome your fear of swimming by bringing it into the pool with you! 

Fear has no business in water. Trying to overcome the fear of swimming by getting in the water and pushing through almost always backfires and makes the fear stronger.  

Over 50% of our adult learners have tried swimming lessons in the past that failed - for this very reason! 

The SwimAble program has a phenomenally high success rate because we have a system for overcoming fear step-by-step. And it doesn't include jumping in the water with a "combat your fears" mentality... ever.  

Our program always starts on dry land, sitting next to the pool - not in the water! Finally overcoming your fear of swimming for good means learning to relax in mini steps, like these:

  1. Learn to relax next to the water before you dip your feet in 
  2. Learn to relax with your feet in before you dip your knees in 
  3. Learn to relax with knees in before you go any deeper... 

Sounds a lot better than forcing yourself into the water - battling adrenaline and a whole bunch of nasty self-talk full of doubts, doesn't it? 

In the SwimAble course, we guide you through every small step over 84 short videos. We break learning down into micro-steps designed to train your nervous system to fully relax every step of the way! 

Overcome Your Fear (rounded)-1

To overcome the fear you feel today, you have to start at the starting line. Relaxing next to the pool is your first step.

All you have to do is sit down next to the pool and use the powerful breathing relaxation technique you're about to learn next. 


Learn Box Breathing and Lower Stress Like A Navy SEAL.   

If you're unfamiliar with Box Breathing, you'll learn what it is and get a chance to practice with a guided video in this section. But first, let me tell you how powerful this relaxation technique is.

Navy Seals, Soldiers, and Police Officers have long used the Box Breathing technique in combat situations to lower stress and remain calm in high-pressure situations. Especially when their bodies go into fight or flight mode. 

Mark Divine, a former Navy Seal commander, has been using the technique since 1987. Here’s what we had to say about it: 

Mark Divine Quote (rounded)

Here are some of the benefits research shows you can expect: 

  • Reduced experience of physical stress
  • Lower heart rate
  • Slower respiration (breathing)
  • Lower cortisol
  • Calm mood
  • Reduction of anxiety
  • Improved future reaction to stress

It's obvious how a relaxation technique as powerful as Box Breathing can help you overcome your fear of swimming. Especially once you learn how to use it to breathe through one small-layer of fear at a time - like you'll learn to do in a moment.

Performing Box Breathing is simple. 

  1. Inhale deeply for 4 seconds
  2. Gently hold that breath for 4 seconds
  3. Exhale gently for 4 seconds
  4. Gently hold your exhaled breath for 4 seconds. 

Repeat it for 2 to 5 minutes until you can physically feel relaxation calming your body and mind. 

You'll learn how to use Box Breathing to overcome your fear of swimming one small-step at a time next...

But first, let’s do a few rounds of Box Breathing together. Watch the video below and experience a guided Box Breathing session with SwimAble founders, Jim and Jeff. 


How to Use Box Breathing to Overcome Your Fear of Swimming.

If you didn't join us for a few rounds of box breathing in the video above, go back and watch it! Don't skip out on experiencing the calming shift in your physiology. You have to feel it to truly grasp the power of the tool. 

Here's what a SwimAble member had to say about the calming effects of Box Breathing:

ADD sufferer

and another: 

Home Base Box Breathing Meme (1)-1

Once you've tried it yourself, you'll get it. It's a powerful technique. But doing Box Breathing alone won't be enough to overcome your fear of swimming. We have to combine it into the SwimAble Approach for learning how to swim.

And our approach borrows a process of fear elimination from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, called Systematic Desensitization. 

And it's what delivers flawless success for our SwimAble members who follow the plan. 

Here is the distilled version of how it all works:

Systematic Desensitization to Overcome a Fear of Swimming (rounded corners)

Here's what that looks like in practice:

  1. Learn the Box Breathing relaxation technique

  2. Follow the SwimAble Curriculum Do not skip steps

  3. Perform Box Breathing while sitting next to the pool. For all other SwimAble Skills (First 12 listed below) Perform Box Breathing before attempting the exercise.

  4. Only advance onto the next skill once you're experiencing relaxation and calm in your Mind, Body and Breath while performing the current skill. 

It's simple and completely self-guided based on your internal experience. 

Your thoughts and feelings are the only guide you need! Calm thoughts, low heart rate and normal respiration are your sign that you're ready to move on to the next skill.

The most beautiful aspect of how this process works is that it's completely self-guided and self-paced. Only you can know when you're feeling relaxed and ready to move on. 

And that means you don't need an expensive coach... you can do this yourself, like all of our SwimAble members do. 

Watch how SwimAble students perform the Self-Check-in Method to guarantee they're relaxed enough to move on to the next skill: 

First 12-Steps of the SwimAble Approach to Overcoming Your Fear of Swimming. 

The Self-Check-in skills you learned in the video above give you every tool you need to navigate through these first 12 steps to start overcoming your fear of swimming for good!

Remember to start at the starting line with Skill #1. Only move on to the next skill once you experience total relaxation and comfort. 

In this way, we’ll desensitize your old fear of swimming step by step.

Let's overcome your fear of swimming together! Here are the first 12-steps of the SwimAble Adult Course. 

First 12 SwimAble Skills Longer

Combine Box Breathing with these 12 simple steps and finally start overcoming your fear of swimming! 

If you've been living a dry life, these first 12 steps will leave you feeling confident getting wet! 


Need more help and direction than we already gave you? See below.

You're only days away from overcoming your fear of swimming forever!

That might feel far fetched right now... But every single one of these new swimmers felt how you're feeling right now too.

Check out these 5 Facebook Shares by SwimAble Members:

Its easier than you think

This morning I floated

Today was awesome

I can put my face in

Overcame Fear

We want you to feel how they feel!

Here's how you can finally overcome your fear of swimming for good! 


Join SwimAble Today and Unlock: 

  • 84 simple and self-guided steps that will take you from fear and avoidance to experiencing total relaxation and confidence in the water. Oh, and mastering basic front crawl and backstroke. 
  • Guided relaxation and breath-work exercises
  • Exclusive access to our members-only Facebook page to get support from other members and have your questions answered by Jim, Jeff, and our team of coaches.
  • Direct access to head coaches Jim and Jeff and our swimmer-support team.
  • Lifetime 20% discount in our online SwimAble Swim-Shop
  • Access your videos from anywhere from any computer, iPad, or iPhone device

Don’t let another dry minute go by without taking action. You found us for a reason. Join now 👉 SwimAble Adult 

Until next time. Safer Swimming and Happy Swim Discovery!


Jim Wood, Co-Founder of