From Nervous Non Swimmer to Bloke on Holiday in 8 Lessons

Ewan Gives Any Water Obsessed 10 Year Old A Run For Their Money…


Some forty years ago, I went through all of the classic small boy ‘swimming as the opposite of drowning’ teaching experiences: body tensed, kicking with flotation devices, neck strained backwards and gasping for breath at every opportunity. Unsurprisingly, this approach never did teach me how to swim and set me up with a lifetime fear of being anywhere near the water. From then until I met Ian and Cheryl, I spent a lot of time avoiding beaches, lakes, boats, swimming pools etc.; constantly missing out on being with friends and their families as they joyfully splashed about.

From my initial contact with Swimming without Stress, through the website and subsequent email conversations with Ian, it was clear that these were people who understood me, my swimming experiences and what I wanted to achieve. With very few expectations, I rather nervously booked a 4 -day, 8-lesson residential course at Brongwyn Cottages on the very beautiful Welsh coast near Cardigan.

All I can say now is “Wow!”. I haven’t looked back since. Ian and Cheryl took me by the hand, led me into the water and made me feel relaxed and calm from the very beginning. They showed me how I could trust the water to support me, how to calmly release myself into it and to breathe and find my feet. Within a few sessions, I was comfortably floating and gliding on my front. A couple more and I was gleefully floating around on my back and even making passable attempts at a rudimentary ‘Old English backstroke’; think Andrew Ridgley in the video to Wham!’s Club Tropicana.

A few weeks later, a shiny new membership to a spa pool near home and some practice, I can now swim a calm relaxed breaststroke, I can jump, dive and generally lark about, giving any water-obsessed 10-year old a run for their money. For forty years I was terrified of water and now I can swim a full length along the bottom of the pool before bouncing back to the surface with an enormous grin on my face. I have so much more to learn but, thanks to the introduction I got from Swimming without Stress, I shall learn it all in calm and relaxed comfort.

Update 4 years on:

You may remember that, a few years ago, you helped me overcome my fear of water and set me on a path to making it part of my life. Since then I’ve been swimming several times a week just for the joy of it. I’ve jumped off sailing boats in Greece and Spain, managed the swim half a mile to shore and back again, snorkelled for hours and generally larked about like an 8-year old. I’m sending this message because, thanks to you, I have managed to make it to one of the pools I’ve always dreamed of swimming in. It’s at the Hotel Molitor in Paris (a celebrated lido pool from the 1920s, now restored) and I would highly recommend a trip here should you be visiting France. Here is a video so that, hopefully, you can see that I still remember what you taught me 🙂


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