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nikipedia's avatar

What should I bring to my first swimming lesson?

Asked by nikipedia (27481points) June 21st, 2010

I took swimming lessons when I was a little kid, and I was by far the worst in the class. It was so awful I’ve mostly avoided swimming ever since.

But I am realizing that I cannot run every day without destroying my body, so I have been talked into learning how to swim. I signed up for an adult beginner class at my gym.

What do I need to bring? Swimsuit, towel, paralyzing insecurities, and…? Will I expected to have goggles or one of those little cap things?

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28 Answers

janbb's avatar

I never use goggles when I swim but many people are more comfortable with them. You don’t need to have them for the first lesson; could wait and see how chlorinated the pool is. As far as a bathing cap, if it is an indoor pool, they may require you to wear one, although most pools don’t nowadays. It’s cheap enough to get one and have it available. Good luck -swimming is great!

jaytkay's avatar

Towel, swimsuit, keep it simple. Phone the venue and ask if a swimming cap or goggles are necessary or recommended.

That is tremendous you are taking this on, by the way. When you are a veteran swimmer you are going to wonder how the non-swimmers manage to get through the day!

dpworkin's avatar

I learned how to swim when I was 25. My then-wife taught me, in a pool in the basement of our apartment building. It is very liberating to know how. You’ll enjoy it. Some people want goggles so their eyes don’t sting; some pools require a cap for those with long hair.

SamIAm's avatar

I taught little kids how to swim a few summers ago (and i don’t know how to swim, long story) ... and i worked in the shallow end with the new swimmers. no worries!!! be easy with it…

bring a towel, bathing suit, cap if you are worried about your hair, and goggles if you’d like. also, very important to have sandals that are not going to slip on wet tile/concrete/etc… old navy flip flops are no good! and reefs are great but smell after wearing them near chlorine!!

Aethelwine's avatar

If your hair is longer, you will want to put your hair back so it doesn’t get in your face. A ponytail should be fine. I wouldn’t bother with a cap.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Wear your hottest !two-piece bathing suit and bring a bathing cap, flip-flops, a towel or two (if you have long hair) and swim goggles.

Actually a comfortable one-piece suit is most practical

WestRiverrat's avatar

If you don’t like water in your nose, you may want to invest in a nose clip. They are relatively cheap.

JLeslie's avatar

I swam a few hours ago, I love it. My grandma taught me during summers with her in the Catskills. I have to wear goggles, I cannot open my eyes at all under water. If you are going to shower afterwards you might want to bring flip flops you can wear in the shower, especially if it is an indoor pool. Is it indoor or outdoor? Towel for sure. I get paranoid about the tremendous amount of chlorine in indoor pools, so I always bring along clothes that I am not too worried about if they fade, and I rinse my suit and role it in my towel to go home. But I think maybe I am the only person in the world that worries about such things. LOL.

Some tips: keep your fingers together and hands slightly cupped, think of it like having boat oars in the water, if it had slats instead of being solid you would not move as quickly through the water. You have to breath out to be able to breath in, which means while your head is under the water you are blowing out, learning how to breath is liberating, it is just as important as your stroke. I am against the idea of a nose clip, just me. There is no way to get water up your nose if you are breathing out when you are under the water.

Don’t be nervous, many many adults learn late in life to swim. I think it is fantastic that you are taking lessons. It takes some practice, give it time.

augustlan's avatar

My grandmother learned how to swim in her forties! It’s fabulous exercise, and so much fun once you’re not afraid of it anymore. I’d also bring a water bottle and sunscreen (if it’s outdoors).

Pandora's avatar

When my daughter was in swim team the clorinate pool was destroying her long hair. Her hair was too thick for a cap. So a hair stylist suggest she put sunscreen protection in her hair before the swimming and only rinse using water afterwards and then put some more sunscreen. Make sure its the water proof type. It will keep the clorine from destroying your hair. It was a great tip and it worked. After a while it rubs out of your hair and even makes it soft.
I also didn’t learn to swim till I was 18. I only knew how to float on my back. I was on my senior trip a bit tipsy (we had a few drinks) and I was dared to jump in the pool even though I had no bathing suit on. I took off my shoes and coat and jump right in. All my pals where in the pool and I didn’t want to miss out. I jumped in the deep end and floated on my back while kicking only with my feet till I got to the 4 foot end. Then my friends who all thought I lost my mind decided to teach me to swim. Clothes and all. Since I was still tipsy I wasn’t a ball of nerves and realized it was my nerves that kept me from really ever trying.
So try to forget your nerves. They only get in the way. I’m not suggesting you get drunk. That was really stupid of me. But don’t set yourself up by thinking its not going to work out.
Heck a few years later I even learned to tread water. My husband was a swim instructor and at first I fought him thinking it was impossible. Then I saw my kids pick it up in one day. Then I thought if a 3 year old and a 5 year old can learn in one day than I have no excuse. I didn’t want them to see me as a quiter and by the end of the day I could tread water like they could.

rooeytoo's avatar

When I swim laps I have to have my iPod in its waterproof case, plus goggles, the chlorine really irritates my eyes if I don’t wear them, flippers and I like hand paddles as well. They make my arms work a little harder. I don’t like one piece bathing suits so I wear compression shorts and a bikini top. Under Armor makes great compression shorts, it feels as if you are skinny dipping. Another option is triathlon gear, some of those one piece suits are pretty comfortable.

rangerr's avatar

Thank you for putting this in social. I’d like to request pictures of you in your swimsuit. Also, I can’t swim either. We are still a perfect match.

ucme's avatar

Some courage, motivation & determination. Oh & some “good luck” & “go for it” shouts from me.

downtide's avatar

Some pools require you to wear a cap if you have long hair. Goggles would only be necessary if the water is irritating to your eyes. I never bother with either.

JLeslie's avatar

Let us know how the lesson went.

casheroo's avatar

If you wear contacts, then definitely goggles.
I can’t swim, I’ve got no room to talk.

nikipedia's avatar

Thanks for the encouragement and advice, everyone :)

I just got back from my first lesson… and the same thing happened that happened when I was a little kid! I was kicking away as hard as I could on my kickboard and barely moving while the rest of the class zoomed right past me. The exact! same! problem!

But I’m keeping at it. Hopefully I’ll be able to get in some practice and be a little better by my next lesson.

dpworkin's avatar

Loosen your ankles and let your feet flop.

nikipedia's avatar

But the lady said to keep my toes pointed!

dpworkin's avatar

I mean keep your toes pointed and don’t let your feet flop.

JLeslie's avatar

@nikipedia I am verrrryyyy slow on the kickboard, but move at an average pace when I swim. I don’t kick that much when I do the crawl/freestyle, don’t know why I never really got that going. Anyway, don’t fret is my point. I dont care about going very fast, I just care about the exercise and building some stregnth, especially in my arms to kind of balance running on the treadmill. When I swim I do several laps crawl, several laps breast stroke, and then a couple on the kickboard, since I don’t kick much when I do the crawl. I like to lay on my back, hold the board on my chest and kick, better then holding the board out in front of me on my stomach.

It’s possible you are not kicking as fast as the other people, which you can develop. It is not only about strength in your leg muscles, and form, such as pointing your toes, your muscle also has to train to move your leg quickly. If you ever took dance you probably know what I mean.

janbb's avatar

I find it much easier for me to get myself really moving if I use a frog kick rather than a flutter (almost typed Fluther) kick. It may be that you are just not a strong flutter kicker so if the teacher allows it you might want to try another type of kick. Don’t get discouraged.

JLeslie's avatar

I do a frog kick as well sometimes with a kickboard (same kick used for the breast stroke).

augustlan's avatar

You’ll get there, in time. Even if you never get fast, hopefully you’ll feel secure enough to enjoy yourself in and around the water. I’m so proud of you for taking this on and sticking with it! :)

nikipedia's avatar

@augustlan: I am so lucky to know you :). You are a hell of a good friend.

augustlan's avatar

Lurve you, girlie. :D

dpworkin's avatar

Just do what I said and make sure not to do what I said.

janbb's avatar

Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.

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