ERASE YOUR FEAR OF THE WATER! Water Trauma in Childhood and the 100 Million U.S. Adults Who Can’t Swim.

If you can't swim, you're not alone! Over 100 Million adults in the United States alone can't swim to save themselves. That's over half the 18+ population! 

If you have fear, you're in the right place! And we're going to help you completely erase that fear and learn to feel relaxed and confident in the water. Before you say, "yeah, right… you don't understand my fear," please read this blog in its entirety. 

Since we started coaching, we've seen so many people with deep-set fear and trauma that we've come to understand a thing or two about where it comes from and how to erase it completely. As new members enroll in our SwimAble Adult programs, they're asked to share their swimming history and any traumatic experiences that led to their fear. 

These traumatic experiences almost always go back to childhood and stem from feeling a loss of control in the water. 

There's a large number of adults who self-report never learning to swim as kids. But over 20% share traumatic "survival stories" of being thrown in and dunked under against their will. And often by someone trying to help them "learn to swim." 

Many of these people hold on to such a high level of fear that they actually feel anxious just filling out our questionnaire! Maybe you're even feeling some butterflies just reading this post? 

  • In this blog, you're going to learn:
  • You're not alone
  • Simple self-guided methods that will help you completely reverse your fear 
  • How to feel relaxed and confident in the water, and 
  • How you can finally become Swim-Able. 


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Here are some real stories that have been shared with us over the years. You'd be shocked at how often we hear the same stories from so many different people. 

  • "I was thrown in the deep end of a pool at a young age."
  • "At the beach with family and friends. I was pushed down into the water and had my head held down underwater. I thought I was going to die."
  • "I was pushed in a pool by older cousins and nearly drowned. I panic a lot when my feet can't touch the bottom."
  • "I was thrown in a deep wave pool at a popular water park and went in screaming/panicking, and a lifeguard had to save me. I've never recovered from that."
  • I had a bad experience when someone pushed me backwards when we were both in a lake when I was younger."
  • "When I was a kid, I took swimming lessons every summer. At the end of the program, they would throw me into the deep end, and I would have to try to find my way out. The fear started from then." 

No story is unique, even if it feels that way. We've heard them all before. That's not to diminish your experience but to affirm that you're not alone.

And there's another similarity to point out too, when people share their experiences, their fear is very much alive. It has power. So much so that if you watch closely, you'll catch them tensing up as they physically relive their past experience. Maybe you can relate?


Keep reading because there's good news below…


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We aren't trying to minimize how you feel around the water. Quite the opposite, actually. 

If you're like other adults we've worked with, you're probably vividly aware of where your fear comes from. But understanding why you're still scared, 5, 10, 20, or even 50 years later is empowering!

It all comes down to the culmination of water experiences you've had since your traumatic event. If you're like most of the people we work with, you've actively practiced some form of avoidant behavior ever since your fear-inducing experience. 

The most common types of avoidant behavior are:

  • Sticking to the shallow end where you can touch.
  • Skipping pool parties.
  • Sitting on the edge.
  • Even avoiding the water altogether. 

What's important to understand is that this behavior has reinforced your fear. But after reading this post, you're not going to feed that fear anymore. You're going to starve it out by doing things differently. 

Overwriting, replacing, and entirely reversing your fear is as simple as experiencing new positive, fun, and guaranteed non-traumatic moments with the water. Just as a scar builds up new tissue to heal a past wound, new positive experiences that we slowly and strategically introduce build up and heal your fear entirely.


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I think I just heard you sigh with relief! If that wasn't you, go ahead and take a deep breath while I explain how our Swim Discovery™ for Adults program starts on dry land and not in the water. 

Rule #1: Don't let fear get wet!
Like a cat, fear has no business in the water. This first rule is always broken in adult swim lessons, and it's why 50% or more of those lessons fail (we'll talk more about that soon). 

It's still essential to head to the pool, but we're going to have you start by just sitting near the pool and finding relaxation there. In the SwimAble Adult Online Course, we’ll teach you powerful breath and relaxation techniques that will calm your nervous system by lowering your heart rate and respiration

And then, after you finally experience complete relaxation, we'll ask you to dip your feet in. Even something small and seemingly unimportant as dipping your feet in the water isn't something you'll do until you're fully relaxed sitting near the water first.

You'll never progress to a new step until you feel 100% relaxed where you already are. That means your knees never experience the sensation of water until your mind, body, and breath are completely relaxed with your feet dipped in first. 

And because your entire learn-to-swim journey is guided by your own relaxation (with the help of our power techniques), every new water experience is positive, fun, and guaranteed to be non-traumatic!




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I already spilled the beans in the last section. But, Swim Coaches notoriously break Rule #1 and allow their new students to bring fear into the water! 

But it's even worse than that. Swim Coaches also use forceful coaching tactics that push people too far, too fast. 

For adults learning to swim for the first time, there's a 100% chance you're going to experience some initial discomfort or fear with the water on day 1. (Of course, that only happens if you don't follow our steps and find relaxation first).

Jeff and I have never met anyone signing up to learn to swim who didn't. There are only two types of adult learners: 

  • Those who know they're scared of the water 
  • Those who don't. 

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And it's that fear, hidden or known, that inevitably causes adult swimming lessons to fail. And they usually do fail. Of the people who signed up for our SwimAble Adult course, around 50% tried swimming lessons in the past, and they didn't work. 

If you want to find success, fully reverse your fear, and finally learn to swim with confidence, you can't overlook the second rule. 

Rule #2: Fear and force don't mix!

Force is when coaches push and pressure people to attempt things with their body before their mind is fully relaxed and ready. And it's a standard coaching practice in adult swimming lessons.

There are several problems with that approach, here are several: 

  • Learning to swim safely requires training the body and mind. The body can be pushed to learn new basic swimming skills like kicking or floating. But if the fear isn't addressed, it can pop up unexpectedly later (and often does). 

  • Learning how to swim before you're fully relaxed in the water takes much longer! Learning to swim with a coach is an expensive investment, and you don't want it to drag on month after month. You deserve quick results. 

  • Unresolved fears can cause sudden panic. Panic in the water is extremely dangerous and is a known factor in drowning events. Panic stems from a perceived loss of control. Something as simple as leaking goggles can stir feelings of loss of control and trigger a panic situation for new swimmers who are pushed to swim through unresolved fears.

  • You want to learn how to relax and enjoy the water, not just swim in it. What good is learning basic swimming skills if you're not able to enjoy your time in the water using them?

Here's something else you need to know - 

The best swimmers refer to swimming as a "feel" sport. That means being in touch with how your body feels in the water is really important - especially if you want to learn how to swim well for the first time.

Fear and doubt are negative emotions that take you out of your body, where "feeling" lives and leave you up in your head, where you're no longer in touch with your body or the water. Which, as we've already discussed, is a dangerous place to be when you don't know how to swim.


The first step in learning how to swim is following a system proven to help you get out of your mind and back into your body. 


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Put aside every doubt that's screaming inside your mind - that's your old friend, "fear" throwing a tantrum. Believe it or not, you're only a month or two, maybe three, from finally erasing your old fears and learning to swim with confidence! 

But that all depends on the decisions you make today. 

  • Are you finally ready to follow a system proven to help you desensitize your old fears and completely reverse and erase them altogether? 
  • Are you willing to allow us to guide you through relaxation and breathwork designed to help calm your nervous system?
  • Do you promise not to rush steps and jump in the water before you're fully relaxed sitting on the water's edge?

We only want you to click over to our SwimAble Adult 84-Video Course Page if you answered YES to each of those 3 previous questions. 


Here's what's included with your membership: 

  • 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 breathwork 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.

Until next time. Safer Swimming and Happy Swim Discovery!


Jim Wood, Co-Founder of