Learning to swim, at any age, can be somewhat intimidating. Adding an element of fun, such as jumping into the water, can help to ease your fear while also allow you to practice essential swimming skills, such as exhaling under water. Whimsical in nature, jumping into a pool can make swim lessons more enjoyable.
Remove all non-permanent materials from your body that may possibly cause harm, such as contact lenses and jewelry. Wear a swimsuit that will remain securely on your body to prevent any accidental exposure when jumping into the pool. For example, bikini tops that are loosely tied or those that are strapless may easily come off when you hit the water.
Practice the jump from the side of the pool before trying it on the diving board, which is usually at an elevated height. Find a clear area of the pool to perform the jump. The deck should be free of all towels, kickboards, floats or any other swimming equipment. Choose a spot that is at least four feet deep and one that is free of other swimmers to avoid any collisions or accidents. Stay in a spot that is clear of sunbathers who likely will not want to be splashed. Avoid landing in an occupied lane and interrupting another swimmer's workout if you are jumping into a lap pool.
Choose the jump that you are going to perform. Examples of jumps are the cannonball, cheerleader and pencil. Tuck the knees into the chest and prepare for a significant splash when hitting the water during a cannonball. The cheerleader jump entails spreading your legs out wide to the sides as you jump into the air, and touching your toes. Alternatively, the pencil jump is about keeping your body stick-straight, like a pencil, as you jump into the pool, making as small of a splash as possible when you hit the water.
Execute the jump. Focus on your form to avoid any injuries. For example, stay tightly tucked during the cannonball. Protect your lower back by contracting your abdominals when performing the cheerleading jump. Stack your shoulders over your hips and your hips over the ankles during the pencil jump, which will help your body to remain in a straight line.
Inhale before hitting the water and slowly blow air out of your nose as you go under water. Proper breathing while jumping helps to prevent water from shooting up your nose when you land in the pool.
Tips & Warnings
- Wear goggles if your vision requires the use of contact lenses to swim safely. The American Optometric Association recommends removing contact lenses before swimming to prevent any microorganisms from getting trapped under your lenses. However, severely compromised vision can be a hazard when jumping into a pool; goggles protect the eyes when under water.
- Increase the challenge by taking your jump to the diving board once you feel comfortable jumping from the side of the pool.
- Do not take a running start; running on the pool deck can be dangerous.
- Jump and swim in a pool only when a lifeguard or another adult is present. Never swim alone.
- Photo Credit Maria Bobrova/iStock/Getty Images
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