Photographer: Debbie Rowe

Photographer: Debbie Rowe

Third of our tested methods is the coaching system designed by Brazilian Eduardo Ferré, which prides itself on rapid progress

What swimming method are you trying this time?
Swimming Nature.

What’s that?
They say: “Swimming Nature for adults is an intensive but patient teaching programme tailored to your needs. We can teach anyone to swim from scratch or improve your swimming to a level where you are a strong and confident swimmer, swimming for fitness.”

What’s the story?
Eduardo Ferré, a Brazilian who came to the UK to get his English up to scratch, didn’t learn how to swim until he was 12 – his childhood swimming teacher used to throw him into the pool. But by the time he was 14 he was teaching swimming and competing. When he arrived in the UK he was shocked by the number of people only able to swim a chin-out-of-the-water breast stroke (that’s me) and unable to swim a flowing freestyle stroke. He used his own experience of overcoming his fears and also collaborated with research at the University of Edinburghto pioneer a teaching technique which combines psychology and biomechanics into swimming teaching.

What did that look like in reality?
Eduardo was in the pool with me, and first, as with all the lessons so far, I had to practise breathing with my face under the water. This time I was only expected to breathe out through my nose. “Breathe in through your mouth and out through your nose,” he said, “and that’ll push out any water left up there.” So simple and so helpful, it was a great way to get over my hatred of having water up my nose. Then we did face-down gliding, with him holding my hands to guide me and correcting my body position as we went along. He explained everything in detail, demonstrated it first, and then let me try it, highlighting what I got right and what I needed to do next, as we went along. We did some work on my kick, followed by my arm motion. By the end of the session I was putting all these elements together and was breathing, gliding, kicking and making the beginnings of freestyle arms.

How did it feel?
It felt very relaxed, and I also felt like I was making really quick progress too. I was being given building blocks of actions which were added together as the lesson went on, so that by the end, I was almost swimming freestyle, which gave me an amazing sense of achievement.

Did you panic at all?
No. I had no water up my nose because I was always breathing out of it, so I had no reason to freak out.

What did you learn?
That women are more buoyant than men, and that everyone’s stroke is different. My feet turn out (which I knew because of how I walk) so when I’m swimming I need to turn my toes in slightly so that I keep balance and can propel myself more effectively.

Who is it good for?
If you want to learn in a one-to-one or one-to-two setting this is perfect, and the instructors will always be in the pool with you to help you perfect your technique and position in the water. If you want to learn quickly but effectively, this is also spot on – by the end of the session I’d achieved so much I felt like I could be an effective swimmer within a couple of weeks.

Where can I have a go?
Swimming Nature has around 100 teachers in pools around the UK who are continually being trained and checked for good practice. Once you’re signed up you can log on to a record of your lessons on their website and keep track of your progress as you go.

Read the piece as it appeared in the Guardian here

This entry was published on September 24, 2013 at 11:57 am. It’s filed under Swimming and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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