Many learning swim students are extremely afraid of jumping into deep water, especially if they’ve had a terrifying experience with water before. Be patient when working on this skill with a hesitant swimmer, and remember to practice, practice, practice.
How to jump into deep water (when practicing in a pool that contains a gutter):
1.) Tread in water that is at least six feet deep. Instructors may want to sit on a swim noodle or other floatation device when practicing this skill with students.
2.) Tell the student to stand in the gutter of the pool. Legs should remain at about shoulder-width apart with the knees bent slightly. The toes should be curled over the edge of the gutter – this helps the student remain stable.
3.) Instruct the student to jump away from the wall and into the water after the count of three. The feet should be first to enter the water. The student should then swim the front crawl back to the side of the pool.
Note: Depending on the skill and comfort level of the student, you may want to catch the student for the first few tries. When I taught students who said they felt too afraid to jump into deep water, I usually held one or both of their hands in the beginning and tried to progress with them from there. Once the students seemed OK jumping in while holding my hand, I would try to convince them to jump in on their own with me remaining fairly close to the wall (perhaps two or three feet away). As students became more and more confident, I would move just a little farther away from the wall until they could easily jump into the pool and swim safely back to the gutter. This may take a lot of practice and patience, but your students will get there!
A note on jumping into ponds, lakes or rivers: I personally do not advise instructors to practice this skill in these bodies of water for safety reasons; water in ponds, lakes and rivers is typically murky, and it can be difficult to tell where the bottom is, whether or not the bottom is covered with sharp rocks or sticks or if something dangerous – a piece of a log, for example – is floating nearby.
COMING SOON: Diving