1Getting Comfortable in the Water
Let go of your fear. A lot of people put off learning how to swim because they're afraid of drowning. While drownings do occur, most of them could have been prevented by simple safety measures. Follow these guidelines whenever you're swimming, and the odds of drowning will decrease dramatically:
Don't swim alone. Always go swimming with one other person who is a strong swimmer, if not several other people. An area with a lifeguard is usually a best place to swim.
Don't start out swimming in moving water. If you're learning to swim in an ocean or river, you'll need to be more aware of the motion of the water.
Stay within a depth you can handle. When you're first learning how to swim, don't venture into water that's too deep for you to stand in. That way, if something goes amiss, you can simply stand up and breathe.
Avoid swimming during inclement weather conditions. Swimming in a light rain shower should be fine, but if you see or hear a storm approaching, get out of the water immediately. This rule is to be followed regardless of how well you can swim.
Don't swim in water that's too cold. Moving your limbs to paddle can become suddenly difficult if you're in frigid water.
2Get used to floating.
When you're in the water, hold on to the side of the pool or a dock, and let your legs float out behind you - they should lift easily if you let them. But, for some people, they like to sink to the bottom, while your upper body floats. Don't worry; just retry the method again. Practice doing this on your stomach and on your back, until you're used to letting half of your body float.
Try floating on your back or your stomach as soon as you're ready. Stay in a shallow depth so that you can simply stand up if it's not working out. It might feel weird to have water around your ears while your nose and mouth are in the air, but you'll get used to it. For extra stability, put out your arms at a right angle so that your body is in a "T" shape.
Always remember that you have a fallback if you're in an unmanageable depth or you simply can't move your limbs - floating on your back. Don't flail around or start breathing quickly if you can't swim; simply lie back as flat as you can, and let the water carry you while you regain your composure.
4Practice exhaling underwater.
While you're still in a shallow depth, take a deep breath and put your face underwater. Slowly exhale out your nose until you're out of breath, then come back up. Bubbles should come out. You can also exhale out of your mouth, but usually in big bubbles until you finally let out a stream of bubbles.
If you're uncomfortable exhaling through your nose, you can hold it closed or wear a nose plug and exhale through your mouth.
Wearing goggles can help you feel more comfortable opening your eyes underwater, and might allow you to see more clearly. Find a pair with spongy circles around the eyes and dip them in the water, so that they'll stick to your skin. Tighten the strap around the back of your head so that the goggles fit snugly.