Fear of Swimming

Parent Q&A

  • Swimming lessons for adult fear of water

    (4 replies)

    Looking for recent recommendations for swim instructors for adult beginners. The ones listed on this site are over 10 years old. Prefer Oakland area, but willing to go further for an affordable, patient, and kind instructor for those with a fear of water. Thanks!

    My daughter is a student of Pierpaolo Morra at Berkeley Tennis Club. He recently sent out an email about beginning adult lessons. He seems very proficient and presumably patient, given that he teaches children. 

    I have always had a fear of swimming/water. When I tried taking lessons at the El Cerrito Rec center, I think the instructors are so used to teaching grade schoolers that they really weren't able to help or teach me anything and I was still extremely uncomfortable putting my head underwater and could not swim any stroke. Finally I found Woody's Private Swim. I was swimming after 1 lesson! Over the course of a year I took lessons from 3 of the instructors, including Woody, and they were all amazing in their own ways. I highly recommend them to you. I took lessons pre-Covid in an indoor pool in Oakland, but now I see they are teaching outdoors in Alameda. I cannot recommend all of Woody's instructors highly enough, now I love swimming! https://www.woodysprivateswim.com/

    Pre-COVID, my husband took lessons at the YMCA in SF and really enjoyed them. I would check if that's an option. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Fear of swimming in the rain

Dec 2014

I am on a swim team for going to be my 4th year next march . We swim out side and I am ok with that but swimming in the rain is another story. I have lucked out of missing training when it rains but I know will be training when it rains sometime. I have a fear of swimming in the rain. I do not like the idea or go near swimming if it rain. I just want to overcome this fear and to be able to swim when it rains. What can I do to help me be able to face this fear head on? Fear of swimming in the rain


I swim in the rain all the time - I think it's kind of fun.

What I would recommend doing is starting on a day when it is only lightly raining. Or, if you can time it right, look for a time when it isn't raining when you start your swim but it starts to rain while you are in the pool (and make yourself stay in the pool!) If backstroke with rain coming down at you or kicking with a board makes you more nervous, stick to freestyle. Like anything else, it just takes some getting used to.

I always figure we're the lucky ones in the pool because we're already wet. The coach and lifeguards have to stay on the deck actually IN the rain! LIfelong swimmer


Can you articulate what your specific fears are? Are you afraid of lightening? I swim year around with a Masters group. I can assure you that they will close the pool in the event of a thunderstorm. Not sure if some positive reflections on the subject will help you but I happen to love swimming in the rain. It's fun to see the rain pattering on the pool surface. Plus, it's way better than other forms of exercise in the rain - it's not like you have to worry about running on slippery pavement or dealing with cars that can't see you. When else can you do backstroke and catch raindrops at the same time? Fellow Swimmer


Swimming in the rain is great - you're already wet! Usually the water is warmer than the air and the feeling of the rain when you bring an arm out with each stroke is invigorating. Maybe in a massive downpour it wouldn't be ideal but that doesn't happen all that often. All outdoor pools close if there is lightning. The phobic element will hopefully get better by doing it more, but there's always therapy specifically targeted to that issue. Good luck and have fun in the pool! Not a fairweather swimmer


I'm not sure what, exactly, you could fear from swimming in the rain, but I'll give it my best shot at guessing.

1. You're afraid you'll get wet? Yes, you will. from above and below. It's very refreshing.

2. You're afraid you'll drown? Not likely. You're on a swim team. You've got people around. And any quantity of additional water in the pool wouldn't even be noticeable.

3. You're afraid that rain= lightning? Extremely unlikely. We get, on average, one electrical storm per year, generally at night. Your coach will have heard if there is an electrical storm possible during your practice. Our weather here is generally so mild that no one else will show up to practice either if the weather is genuinely severe. I will add I have also swum in an electrical storm, in a part of the country that does get summer thundershowers. I couldn't understand why everybody left the pool. I get it now, but the fact is that you have to be in the area where the lighting will touch down. Not impossible, but very unlikely. I've also been on Mount Whitney (14K plus ft in the air, totally exposed, no place to run. THAT scared me. But I didn't get struck there either.)

4. You're afraid you'll slip because the pool side or steps are wet? Walk carefully. You could go in via ladder.

5. You'll be cold? Rain will pelt your back? I have this fear. But it's largely unfounded. It's only true in the heaviest of rainstorms. Once I felt like each raindrop was a pebble. It stung a little. And it was cold. I had to swim a little harder to keep enough pool water on my back and to keep warm. But it's not a big deal, and it's not for a long time. You can always get out of the pool if it's a genuine problem. And remember the temperature is unlikely to be any colder than the mid 50s. High 40s at the very lowest if you're swimming before dawn. Or just wear a long-sleeved rash guard/sun shirt.

6. Wet towel? I hate this. Get a bigger bag for your stuff. Or two bags. Heavy-duty. Like one of those plastic shipping bags from your latest online (non Amazon) order. Or put everything under an overhang. If you're swimming hard, you'll be plenty warm and it's not a big deal to walk out of the pool in the rain.

I hope that helps. I have swum through every unpleasant pool scenario I can imagine in the rain, and it's not bad. Once you experience it, you'll learn that you'll be fine. There are also a couple advantages to rain-swimming: it is completely, utterly delightful when the rain is anything less than a downpour. It's a sensual treat. . And it's not usually crowded.

Just try it. If you are genuinely fearful, have one of your teammates go out with you. Ask them to be patient with your quirky fear. Enjoy. Once you have the actual experience, you'll find there's nothing to fear..