Linda conquered her phobia of water with the Aspire Channel Swim

I’ve had a fear of water all my life. When I was in secondary school they gave me lessons at 16, but because I was so scared of the water I never learnt. Much later, in January 2018, I travelled home to Scotland to visit family and decided to go to the local pool. I was so scared! I stood in the water, at 0.8m, for an hour. After this I realised that I didn't want to always be afraid of the water, so I signed up for swimming lessons at my local leisure centre.

In March, when I began my lessons, I was terrified of the main pool, even stepping in the water was a bit of a challenge. My whole body would go stiff and tense. With the help and support of the swim instructor I started to overcome my fear of the water. Even when I was hard work she was very patient with me, helping me to build confidence at my own pace. I went to the pool four days a week at 6:30am and practised my strokes, but my fear of water was still holding me back from learning. There was a point where I nearly gave up.

"My fear had me convinced  I would never be able to swim, but with help and support from friends, my swim instructor, and doing the Aspire Channel Swim, I got there in the end."

Linda M

Bit by bit my confidence grew, and I eventually ventured into the deep end, the part I was most afraid of. Come August 2018, I was able to swim, but I was still only able to do one length.

Then, in September, I decided to sign up for the Aspire Channel Swim 2018. I continued to go swimming every morning to build up lengths for the challenge. As the Aspire Channel Swim went on I started to be able to swim more full lengths. The challenged really helped my swimming and helped build my confidence. I really feel I wouldn’t have been able to swim full lengths if I hadn't signed up. It felt good to fundraise for such a good cause as well.

Linda M 3

I wanted to use my swimming as a way raise money for a fantastic charity, and at the same time, this helped me to become a better and more confident swimmer. The regular swimming I was doing for the Aspire Channel Swim meant that every aspect of my swimming got better, from my stroke to controlling my breathing. I even started to leave the car at home and walk more.

After the challenge I saw a huge improvement in my health and fitness, I kept swimming and seem to be getting quicker, I started walking more (and enjoying it), and even eating healthier food.

I learnt to swim at age 40, I thought with my phobia I’d left it too late. My fear had me convinced I was too old, and I would never be able to swim, but with help and support from friends, my swim instructor, and doing the Aspire Channel Swim, I got there in the end. It proved to me, you are never old to do anything you want to do.

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