You really have worked miracles. It took a bit of time to get back into the zone but then things clicked and I was able to practise the various "moves" but best of all just enjoy moving around in the water - the total opposite of how I've previously felt when visiting the local pool. It's still early days, obviously, but I feel confident enough to explore and experiment a bit. It's really helpful to watch one of your videos then visualise it when I'm in the water. Best of all, my back feels better than it has for ages and it came as a surprise to discover that my neck feels good too. I hadn't realised how stiff it had become. I'm very grateful for your patience and skill.
I thoroughly recommend Ian and Cheryl’s intensive residential course to anyone who lacks water confidence. After just 3.5 days I now feel incredibly comfortable with my head underwater and prefer to it swimming on the surface; it feels just like meditating!
Thanks for a very interesting week of non-swimming. It was most enjoyable. I couldn’t wait to get back in the pool again when I got back. I have to say I was extremely surprised that I was able to hang like a jelly fish with my head looking at my feet and then to regain my feet on the floor without too much effort. This was even without anything in front of me to potentially hang onto! So well done you two! I am now much more relaxed in the water and will keep on working on floating.
I still don’t really think of myself as a ‘proper swimmer’, but thanks to Cheryl, I’m now a very confident floater! Facedown, drifting, totally relaxed, then off swishing and swooping, twisting and gliding under the water. Not lengths though. I don’t see the fun in that. Dolphins don’t swim lengths.
I’ve swum in the sea a couple of times now, and appreciated my more relaxed, softer breast stroke, and tried out my gentle front crawl, rolling onto my back to relax after a few breaths. So I’m getting to enjoy the view :-)Thanks both of you, very much. It was a wonderful week.
Thank you both for such a fantastic week. I could not have anticipated learning so much and enjoying it at the same time - it has been incredible. I'm very grateful for your patience and expertise and will remember you both when I am looking at the fish!!
Thank you for your patience and helping me to understand and enjoy the water. The lessons boosted my confidence and I am looking forward to practising and enjoying more time in the water.
A huge thank you for all you and Cheryl gave me last week: I really appreciate all the time, energy, talent and experience.
Thank you Ian & Cheryl for an amazing course, really supportive & encouraging. I enjoyed it so much & got a lot out of the lessons. Am heading off to the pool tomorrow to look at the fishes. Can’t thank you enough.
I am missing my daily lessons already. I just want to say a great big thank you for all your incredible teachings, techniques, and patience with me.
These may seem small, but are completely revolutionary in my view. What I have learned from you both has changed my mental approach to swimming for the better. I will pop to my local pool tomorrow to begin implementing what I have learned, with regards to being happy in water. Thank you for all the encouragement and kindness.
I can’t believe that a week ago Jan and I we were both terrified of the water, couldn’t leave go of the edge and couldn’t imagine being able to float. The way you both teach gave us such confidence, your gentle encouragement and explanation of the reason behind the importance of letting go was wonderful. We’ve booked a holiday in Tenerife in February in a hotel with 2 lovely pools, this will be the first holiday when we don’t have to stay reading our books around the pool. Thank you so much again, you really have changed my life in a week.
I was petrified to start with but Ian and Cheryl's technique is unique and gives you the understanding of how the water is there to help. I never thought I'd be able to feel relaxed but when you do it’s a marvellous feeling. I can now go on holiday with my grandson and when I get in the pool with him I will have Ian and Cheryl in my head letting me enjoy the experience. They really do take the swimming out of swimming and make the water something to be embraced not feared.
I did two of your courses before, needless to say, there's nothing like them! I was wondering, if by chance, you'd take on a third time pupil.
Isobel & Anthony
These few days have been revolutionary! Never before have we had such a sense of giving ourselves to the water and seeing it as a friend and not a foe.. thank you for being so encouraging and affirming. It meant a lot to us.
Lessons with Ian and Cheryl at Croft Farm changed how I feel about floating, getting a breath, allowed me to experience that sensation which now feels like flying! I thank them both sincerely for the gift which keeps on giving 🙂 I have evolved into an outdoor swimmer. It makes me feel intensely alive and ready to cope with anything.
If you had received an email from me every time I've thought about you, your mailbox would have been overflowing!
It was such a special experience, even better than anything I could have imagined and I have been enjoying the memories ever since.
Cecily and Dhiru
Thank you to you both for our swimming lessons. Both Dhiru and I feel much more comfortable in the water and know that we will be able to visit a pool without trepidation. We know that we still have a lot to learn and this is only the beginning. We shall recommend you (already have) and would like to come again.
A big thank you to both of you for your inspiring teaching which has opened the doorway to stress free swimming. My challenge now is to find a pool
conducive to my needs. I already feel the need to just be free in the water. The experience will really help me in my caring role. A memorable few days!
The emotional benefit of floating on my back that last day feeling relaxed and open was great and I couldn’t have got as far as I did without the AT lessons. So thank you for that and for your and Cheryl’s consistent patience and concentration.
Just a quick note to thank you both for your wonderful course, patience and advice. I already miss the fresh air going into my lungs, the peace and quiet, the soft water, the insects, the morning birdsong, star littered sky at night and the long winding roads. None of these in Walthamstow of course.
Thanks for letting me understand my breathing need not be an issue or my arthritis. It was wonderful to feel so free of pain in water.
Keith and Anne
Many , many thanks for an very enjoyable week with you! We were not sure what to expect, but can truly say that expectations were exceeded . Your style of teaching and content is friendly, practical and, most importantly, confidence building. We've returned home enthused and have now joined a hotel based swimming centre.
I wanted to thank you both for taking this anxious non-swimmer and giving me the confidence not only to trust the water again but also to enjoy the experience of just being in it. I left at the end of my course feeling energised and on cloud nine that I can now finally get involved in family water activities and not be the only one sat on the side.
I have greatly enjoyed my sessions, you both have a very special gift and your endless patience, encouragement and advice will remain with me on my new watery adventures. I’ve always loved the idea of snorkelling and riding a jet ski, now they are an open possibility and it’s all thanks to your “magic” 😊
Thank you both for an amaZing experience. Still can’t quite get my head around what I’ve managed to achieve, with your help, after all these years! Thank you both again for your expert tuition and patience.
Just home from completing my lessons. I feel amazing with my new found confidence in the water. I began afraid of water and now see it as my supportive friend. I understand how to move with ease and comfort in the water, whilst doing my body no harm. And I can't wait to continue. I can't recommend Ian and Cheryl enough.
Thank you so much! What a change to get out of the pool feeling more like I've had a massage than done any sort of exercise. So many things to work on after only four days of tuition. Really looking forward to enjoying the water even more!
I was particularly impressed by how you both took time to understand the improvements I was seeking. I really liked the initial filming of my swimming style and highlighting what would help improve it and take the effort out of swimming. Then the combined lessons which although a different style were complementary. It was great having daily and incremental lessons in a relaxing and personalised environment. The coaching received is unique and very different to previous swimming lessons I have previously received. It is undoubtedly much more effective and I progressed quickly.
I came to you many years ago for help with my swimming and much of what you instilled remains. At the start of each swim I kick from the wall and focus on relaxing until I feel the water holding me and when I have almost come to a stop begin to propel myself forward, thinking of my body as a boat and my arms as oars (front crawl as knee problem hinders breast-stroke kick). Then, in the moment between strokes with one arm fully extended and the other lying against my side, gliding gently forward, all muscles relaxed, face out of the water I take a natural, easy breath. On a good day it is a kind of meditation.
What a wonderful time I had yesterday- back to basics and really enjoyed it, in that I had total confidence in you and felt I had achieved a lot in knowing how to go forwards - and then when driving home I thought that I had been to some fantastic therapeutic session and felt so relaxed I am now also putting that into other areas of my life.
I just wanted to say a really big thank you for this week. It has given me water skills I’ve never had and didn’t think I could have. Also ways to carry on learning and practising them on my own. You were both so intuitive as teachers, it was really great.
Pam and Buffy
Ian,Many many thanks to you & Cheryl for a brilliant week helping us to undo & not do!
I want to thank you for the course this week. I really enjoyed it and
feel that I have learned a whole lot and not just about swimming! It was
a very good experience and one that I had felt rather tentative about
doing and I am really glad I decided to take the plunge. I think your
rather different approaches complemented each other and enriched the whole experience.
Thank you so much for your warmth and hospitality this past week. You have truly built up my confidence and skill in the water and I am certain I will continue to improve because you have given me such a strong foundation to build upon. I am so grateful for what you two have done, please continue to share your gift of teaching and love (and respect) for the water with others.
Swimming was a complete mystery to me, despite trying several times over the years (I'm now 66). I have always been nervous in the water and an expert at sinking! Not any more ... I could only fit in 6 lessons with Cheryl and Ian but, at the end, I could actually float with my face totally submerged and, with Cheryl's and Ian's fantastic, calm and patient guidance, I learnt to trust the water to support me.
I downloaded your excellent ebook over 10 years ago. I had always wanted to swim but could never manage more than a dog paddle and floating on my back. Your book totally changed the way I viewed water; not as something to be conquered, but to be embraced and supported by. Using nothing more than your simple but information-packed book, I taught myself to swim. I ended up being able to do laps for 45 mins to an hour at the local pool; that was starting from a half lap before stopping to huff and puff. That pool has long since closed, and I still miss those hour long Zen moments. Swimming totally cleared my mind like nothing else ever has. After all, when you're focusing on nothing but your breathing, and the way the water feels slipping through your hands, there's no room for anything else.
Taneytown, Maryland, US
What a great post, full of understanding. My previous attempts at learning to swim have been with instructors at the side of the pool, yelling instructions above the acoustic echo and carrying a pole for strugglers to attempt to cling to. No attempt to deal with non-swimmers' anxiety and even phobias. So thank you.
Thanks for the excellent guidance on how to relax in the water. A long weekend with you guys has helped me enormously. I hope to return soon to develop my swimming without stress. Loved it.
I have wanted to have confidence and calmness in the water for so many years. It was a big deal for me to put my head in the water and float and I came away with such positive thoughts. I must tell you I had a lovely dream last night that I was swimming in the sea on Poppit Beach! I have never dreamt about swimming in the sea before so you must have truly inspired me!
I gave my Alexander directions before starting playing the piano this morning - and it really did make a difference. So quite apart from the swimming you have facilitated a difference to my piano playing and hopefully my teaching.
Naresh and Alpa
Thank you for a great week of learning to swim - Alpa and I picked up so many points and found the whole experience of learning to swim a joy. Within a week we could manage to swim further than we've ever done before. If you had a ratings page then I'd have put ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
What I've come away with is massively more than 'learning to swim': a complete release of the phobic grip that wet water has held over me for years. To the point I would have ready excuses if anyone wanted to do a spa weekend/villa with pool etc e.g, I've got an ear infection/lost my costume... I now think wow, if wet water isn't scary the rest of the world isn't either.
Each of us thought we were more or less competent swimmers, but the one-to- one lessons helped us become really confident in the water, not fighting it, but trusting it. The most remarkable part of the whole experience was that it was so relaxing, so while we were learning to swim better and more efficiently, we really were removing the stress. When we left we felt genuinely calmer and more relaxed.
Joanna and Brian
Thanks to you both for everything, really everything, you are wonderful and everything I hoped for, in what you have helped Brian and me with. A small/big dream come true.
I was back in the pool this week, and it was so reassuring to know I had the tools to apply what you taught from the get go. 5 minutes of doing nothing and gliding and I was confident I could do all that I'd achieved last week, just in a different pool.
I feel very lucky to have been able to work with such fabulous teachers one to one. I was a little concerned about the lessons given that I had not met either of you before or known of anyone who had attended the course. However, within moments, I felt at ease and really enjoyed the experience.. Now I love, love, love to float and swim underwater.
John and Annwen
Thank you for your amazing expertise, we both so enjoyed our swimming experiences with you both... You encouraged me back to enjoy the water to appreciate how good it will be for me throughout my recovery. I honestly didn't think I'd be able to do half of what we did. I will build on it with your positive words of wisdom in my ears and all in a relaxed state.
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, the lido at the Hotel Molitor in Paris.
It was an amazing couple of days working with you both - an experience I shall always remember with great delight.The sensation of gliding through the water was totally pleasurable. The hands on contact was so supportive. I felt as though I were an infant or child again in the best possible way. I’m very glad I was also able to do the Alexander Technique sessions with you, Ian. I can see I’ve gotten stuck in some bad habits which it's never too late to change.You are a gifted healer, in so many ways.
It’s almost the exact opposite of the normal experience of learning to swim....The whole experience was delightful.
This was the fifth time I’d tried to learn and frankly if I hadn’t cracked it this time, I was going to give up trying and accept that I was not meant to swim. Reflecting on my experience, I think your positivity built my confidence: you never said ‘that was rubbish’ instead you built on the things I could do rather than focussing on the things I couldn’t.
Make friends with the water’ is what you say....... I think I am falling in love with it ! What a difference ! Thank you so much for a lovely week, I feel euphoric and relaxed, the Alexander Technique of the swimming has rubbed off on the rest of my life.
Norma and Eric
The course opened up a whole new relationship with the water for us. How to totally relax our bodies and enjoy the support of the water, to breathe out gently whilst floating on our 'tummies' letting our limbs gently submerge and not stiffen, to glide, rotate backwards, forwards, side to side. We learned a relaxed but efficient breaststroke, feeling at one with the water and 'enjoying the glide'. It gave us confidence in deeper water, great on an island hopping cruise around the Dalmation Coast where we swam from the back of the boat in the beautiful Adriatic sea.
Just wanted to thank you both for another great few days improving my swimming. You're both fantastic at providing gentle and consistent encouragement and advice. Like my last visit here I just want to get home and back to my local pool with your words still ringing in my ears.
The more I swim, the more it becomes clear that the act of swimming doesn’t create relaxation but demands it. Then you can just move through that lovely no-where space. Thank you again for opening the gate to all this for me.
Devon, 1 year on
Thank you for a wonderful few days. Your teaching techniques are second to none and i would highly recommend your course for anyone who cannot swim or is looking to improve their swimming technique.My swimming has greatly improved and it is all down to your superb approach to teaching.
I turned up terrified of water on my face and by the end of the 8 sessions could happily put my head under the water. I can also float on my back and front and regain my feet. You have made a massive difference to my life and have contained a fear of 50 years duration. I am sure I am two inches taller with pride, thanks to you two.
My Swimming Without Stress course was amazing. Ian and Cheryl are extremely patient and knowledgeable teachers. I learned lots and had a thoroughly enjoyable week. The location and accommodation is also first class. I can heartily recommend to non swimmers, anyone with a fear of water and also to swimmers who want to improve and increase their enjoyment of swimming.
Julie and Laura
How wonderful it is to feel more confident in the water..to know we are capable of moving happily and more effortlessly around the pool... to enjoy the water without a frantic race from one side to the other... The best thing I have come away with is knowing the water will support me and that doing less is more effective. The way you taught us to glide so smoothly was inspirational. The lessons flew by.
I know I sound like a child but am sooo pleased your instruction has had such a positive effect as I had been trying for ages to get better. Not quite Adam Peaty yet but... I hear your wise words in my head when I am swimming.
A big thanks to both of you for making me believe that I have a future in the pool...Last week, I completed a teaching course in London in Medical Education. One of the things often said was that a good teacher is one "who makes the learner think and in so doing facilitates the learning process". I was very promptly reminded of both of you. You made me think and believe that I could enjoy the water!! Thank you so much for such a lovely experience!
I enjoyed my Swimming Without Stress week with you last week. It being my second time swimming with you both. I felt I had made great progress in a year. I also thought the nearby beaches were great for sea swimming. The following Sunday I completed my first pool swim triathlon which I was very pleased with. Thanks very much.
Southampton (now an ironman triathlete!)
I've been putting your tuition into practice at Lake Bohinj in Slovenia. Was delighted by how much easier and faster my crawl is now - but the real surprise is how much less effort I use in breaststroke - with no loss of speed. End result; I could swim 2km breaststroke in cold water without tiring significantly. So THANKS!
You gave me confidence. Explanations were pitched perfectly for me. You challenged me but that was fine. That is what I needed and I felt if you said I could do it, I would. Thanks.
Natalie and I had a wonderful time with you both last week - thank you so much for teaching us how to enjoy being in the water. After years of being phobic and many years of trying to swim (without much success), now we are going to be committed pool junkies! Natalie has her head firmly down in the water - something she hadn't done at all before and I am happy to glide, play dead and sing under water. It is so exciting and we can't wait to come back to swimming without stress for more! We've told all our friends and they are really envious of our new attitude to swimming.
Just a quick note of thanks to you both for your help , understanding and endless patience this week. I really can't express how anxious I was but I guess you could see it! The thought of putting my head under water etc freaked me out but with your help I could and did and I'm forever grateful. I came with no expectations but I'm proud that I coped with it and it will be the springboard to greater things
You are such brilliant teachers! I love the way you strip everything back to the basics and make it so easy to understand. And as well as (I hope!) improving my technique it is so relaxing - and my back has stopped hurting. I feel really refreshed!
I had a light bulb moment this morning and felt "I am doing the front crawl and really enjoying it, with no strain or pain anywhere" (which there used to be). I would recommend your lessons wholeheartedly, thank you so much.
Just to say a huge thank you for our wonderful swimming lessons this week. We both came away with so much enthusiasm and enjoyment for the water and I am delighted with my much improved front crawl.
" Thank you Ian & Cheryl for your wonderful guidance in my swimming last week, it has been a wonderful experience for me, and I'm looking forward to going back in the water for my regular swimming next week.One of the most important things I enjoyed was being allowed to breathe in my own way, and also the lovely sense of fun I gained just being in the water."
Ian, Thank you so much (to you both) for the last four days. I am not going to sugar coat it - it was one of the hardest challenges of my life....I think there is a powerful hypnotic quality to the way you express your instructions and your philosophy which will stay with me. It's the perfect counter point to Cheryl's method. You are a great double act.
I have been carrying my fear of the water for most of my 57 years and now thanks to you it is gone. You were both so patient and encouraging. I can't explain the sheer joy I felt at being able to float on my back. And being able to rotate from front to back and vice versa, makes me feel like a 'proper swimmer'.
I really enjoyed the coaching. I have been trying to learn the front crawl on and off for about ten years and I've had three lots of lessons. I was about to give up and you were my last effort so I doubt if you realised just how pleased I was with the progress I made with your tuition. I know enough now to believe that with practice I can achieve a reasonable stroke. I also considered the explanations of the effect of tension on the body, I think this is valuable in and out of the water and something I will work on
A huge thank you to you both. I have totally exceeded what I hoped to achieve during the stay and have finally overcome a 50 year phobia. No mean feat and thanks to your AT approach but very importantly, lovely teaching style.
I feel such a huge weight has been lifted off me after years of yearning to play in the water with others and not being able to. I've had a little bubble of joy in my middle all week just knowing that it is all now possible! Thank you again for your healing teaching.
Water phobic for most of my life (44 years) you have been the only 'teachers' to make me water friendly....It's rare for anyone to understand truly what fear of water entails. You both found alternative ways to get me over it.....
Purpose of this note is not only to renovate my gratitude but to say that more people like me should know that you actually exist and and can change our life!
It was a real pleasure meeting, and being coached by you, over the 4 days in Cardigan. I appreciated your very particular blend of appreciative care and adaptive challenge, which made learning both high quality and real fun.
I'm delighted to leave my mortal fear of water behind in Wales...You guys make a great team and have changed another life for the better.
A big thankyou for the brilliant swimming lessons. It was lovely to work with you both once more, and to feel confident that under your guidance my back was safe. Your attention to detail and forensic analysis of my swimming has helped me to take my skills to a new level.
It was so different from earlier experiences with someone shouting from the poolside, fully dressed and bone dry while I struggled in the water, usually getting nowhere.
Ian and Cheryl are a class act. Their residential course is brilliant and the service they offer their clients through their internet store just adds to the positive experience.
It was amazing watching Lucy progress from an over excited, almost panicky swimmer, into a graceful and elegant little water nymph. I actually felt really emotional watching her being taught by you and seeing the way she learnt to love the water so much.
I had my first training session last night- wow what a difference! No shoulder pain and seemed to just fly through the water.
Swimming has become part of my life in a way that I never imagined, a real pleasure. I really look forward to getting to the pool - a complete conversion.
I am now back to swimming three times a week and have had no neck or back pain since working with Ian. The lessons have transformed my swimming style and my attitude to swimming.
For the first time ever I was able to play with my granddaughters and not sit on the top step clinging to the side - they couldn't believe it! I can't tell you how grateful I am that you helped me overcome my fear of the water.
Being a typical lad, Adam was very self-conscious about having swimming lessons ... Coming to Cardigan was a final attempt to turn him into a swimmer - and what a triumph! I am eternally grateful for Ian's calmness and patience in his teaching.
Lynne and Julie
We were impressed by the website but nothing prepared us for the wonderful “swimming without stress” experience....It was brilliant to see Lynne overcome her anxiety about the water and to hear her talk of the positive benefits of the Alexander Technique.