FAQ
Miracle Swimming

Will this class work for me?

Yes, the class works for everyone. Just as 2+2 can only equal 4, when you use our system, you cannot get any other result but freedom in the water. This is why we can guarantee our work. It's a system based on universal learning principles. Yes, the class will work for you if you are there, you ask all your questions, and you try it. As one student put it, "It cannot and does not fail." (Mary Alice Yund, Chemist, Berkeley, CA)

I'd love to learn, but I'm afraid to fail again.

Many, many people feel the same way, for good reason. It's scary to commit your

vacation and funds away when you aren't sure it'll be worth it. If you're like many of our
students, you've tried to learn to swim before. It's been discouraging and you may have
given up more than once. The prospect of failing again is daunting. But you figure,
"There must be a way." You're right.

The system you've most likely tried in the past is built upon the premise that learning strokes is the same thing as learning to swim. For adults, learning strokes is NOT the same thing as learning to swim! Learning strokes succeeds only if people are already comfortable in the water. That's only about half the U.S. adult population. The traditional system is NOT equipped for people who need the steps that lead to comfort in water, shallow and deep. That's the Miracle Swimming way.

If you want a chance to learn, come to the system that was designed specifically for you. You'll only find it here and at the Miracle Swimming satellite schools we've trained.

If a class near you says it teaches adults who are afraid in water and they're not a licensed Miracle Swimming satellite school, then we did not train them. You can check by asking the right questions. Ask if all students become safe and confident in deep water. Ask if learning strokes is the same as learning to swim; if classes take place in shallow or deep water; if instructors have any formal training in teaching afraid adults; if they know about Miracle Swimming; if students go at their own pace in class; if panic prevention is taught; if their students ever panic in class. Swim schools are reading our website. It is possible that a swim instructor can succeed with an individual in time with their own system. What is different —we believe—is that we systematically succeed with every student in class and our students come to "own" deep water.

Why are your classes 3 hours long?

Because it takes that long to do the job the way we'd like to do it: superbly.
It gives us an hour on land to discuss what comes up for you in the pool, and to apply our system. Our technique is very simple and it makes sense to everyone, yet it takes practice. For example, you probably think that working hard at something is the way to learn it. This belief will be debunked and you'll come to understand what works best for overcoming fear.

Secondly, a two-hour pool session allows you to review what you did last time, settle into how you feel that day in the water, practice, learn more, and practice. In warm water, we're always comfortable for two hours. It's the ideal way to learn. People often wish the pool session were longer.

What is the course format?

Eight three-hour sessions, one hour on land and two hours in a warm-water pool. The number of classes/day varies by location. See "Our basic class is..." here.

If you take a vacation class (fly or drive and stay in a hotel where the class is taught) the class is 5 days long, usually Monday-Friday. We have vacation classes Monday-Friday for two reasons: at a hotel, there are fewer guests in the pool during the week. And, after class if you have the weekend off before you return to work, you have time to absorb what you learned. Your mind may be reeling with what you learned and how your beliefs have changed.

From time to time, a vacation class is a bit longer when it's taught in conjunction with an Instructor Training. At such classes, instructors from other states or countries attend to learn to teach our system: they participate in a Beginning class as trainees. This means more instructors for the Beginning class.

Will I learn to swim?

To us, Swimming means oneness with the water and being able to rest calmly in deep water, moving from here to there as you please, for as long as you wish. This is what we teach. This is what "being able to swim" means to people in our classes and to us. Yes, you will learn to swim step by step, at your own pace. You will learn to heal your fear rather than managing it.

Stroking is one aspect of swimming. In our class you'll learn how to be one with the water. When you're at one with it, confident and at ease in the water, you're no longer focused on survival: you're ready to learn strokes. We teach Freestyle in our Freestyle and Flip Turn class. We teach backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly in our 3 Strokes class.

Please convince yourself of this truth: you cannot learn freestyle while you're out of control. People who "learn" freestyle while they're still out of control in water do not swim: they stroke. Their strokes are stiff and exhausting. They can't learn to breathe, tread water or rest: nor can they swim in deep water. Swimming implies comfort and oneness with the water. This is what you'll learn from us. You'll learn to swim in our Beginning and Next Step classes. You'll learn freestyle in our Freestyle class. This is a distinction you'll most likely not find in any other swim school or traditional learn-to-swim agency.

Can I take the Next Step class without taking the Beginning class?

The Next Step class is not a starting place. Many people think that because they are comfortable in shallow water, they're ready to learn to be comfortable in the deep. But the reason you are comfortable in shallow water is because you're relying on the bottom or the side of the pool for your safety. True?

By coming to our classes, you're saying you want to rely on yourself for your safety, not on the bottom or the side. Relying on something besides yourself for your safety, you're not safe. You cannot put yourself into a situation where you feel unsafe and expect yourself to learn. You must feel safe to learn. You are coming to class to heal your fear, not to continue to manage it as you have in the past. So, you'll learn how the water and your body work together while you're in the shallow. This is something few people have thought about. But this is why we succeed where many other swim schools fail. This is one things Miracle Swimming has contributed to the Aquatics industry! We will not try to convince you, "The deep is the same as the shallow." You will convince yourself. Miracle Swimming-trained instructors.

If you know more than others in class, you will not be held back. But there are things you may think you know that you could learn more thoroughly.

I just need to learn the breathing. Do you teach it?

One of the many beliefs of people who want to learn to swim is that they already have the armstroke and kick, they can go from here to there, but the breathing isn't comfortable yet: they JUST need to learn to get air. If you feel this way, we ask you these questions: are you tense as you move through the water as above? Are you swimming "uphill," in other words, are your feet a foot or two lower than your head? Do you lift your head up and out of the water to try to get air? Do you push down on the water to get air? Do your arms and legs feel disconnected from each other?

If the answer is yes to any of the above, it is not breathing that's holding you back. Learning to breathe is not your next step. Learning to let the water do all the work you're doing is the next step: in other words, overcoming your fear that it won't. Swimming only takes as much energy as walking...unless you're doing far more work than you need to on account of being tense. Learn why you don't need to be tense. When you're no longer tense, it's simple to learn to breathe, and yes, we'll teach you.

What is the age range of class members?

20 to 90. Older students are welcome! And, we have had some highschool students by special arrangement. Most students are 30-65. All adults welcome!

What if I wear contacts?

You may wear them under goggles if you wish. Or, you can buy goggles that have your prescription ground into them. Choose a pair of goggles that fit your face and don't leak first. Then have them ground.

Should I eat before class?

The amount you can eat before class and remain comfortable is different for each person. We recommend eating lightly but enough that hunger won't distract you in class. Remember we are on land for an hour before we get into the pool.

What's the difference between your video and your book?

The video/DVD is a portrayal of our introductory half-day class and excerpts of our full Beginning class: it contains the problems faced by afraid swimming students and the solutions that work 100% of the time. It's the only video where you can find them. It's the picture that's worth 1000 words, 47 minutes long. The book is "48 hours long" in that it teaches every concept and skill covered in the 48 hours of the Beginning and Next Step classes, give or take one or two. It has all the information that will make you free in deep water as long as you read it through and practice what it gives. It speaks your language; it's friendly and simple.

What's the difference between a licensed instructor and a trained instructor?

The licensed instructor has been through our 6-day or 11-day training and months of teleconferences while he/she was practicing the teaching at his/her swim school. He or she has taught at least 3 Beginning classes.

The trained instructor has taken the same 6-day or 11-day training, but has not yet completed the months of teleconferences or 3 Beginning classes taught on his/her own. S/he is working toward completion of the licensing process.

I can't tread water, breathe, or float. Do you teach something different from what my previous lessons taught?

Yes, we teach what you need to know. What do you need to know? How to be in control in the water. How the water works with your body. How to maneuver at will. Skills like treading, breathing, and floating all come predictably when you are completely in control in water. Why? Because then, you won't be concerned about survival. You'll be ready to learn the next steps. You'll be in control of what you do with your arms, legs, and breath.

Do you know of any similar classes where I live?

Our instructors are in the San Francisco Bay Area, Sarasota Florida, Sacramento CA, Seattle WA, Microsoft PRO Sports Club (Bellevue WA), Dallas TX, Columbus OH, Allentown PA, New York City, Charleston SC, Kailua Oahu HI, Fort Worth TX, Weston FL and West Palm Beach FL. Also, England. We train new instructors each year.

Stay tuned to our Instructors page, continually updated with new instructors each year as they become trained.

What do your different classes teach?

Please see our Levels page under the Classes button.

I've been swimming like this. How do I fix it?
Often people ask us what's wrong with what they've been trying. Funny thing is, the answer is almost always the same: you've been thinking that what you're doing with your arms and legs is what's keeping you from becoming free. This is not how it works. If your swimming needs fixing, chances are very high that it's not your stroke...it's your ability to be yourself in the water. Once you've overcome your fear, your problem will be gone. You may then want/need to learn strokes like freestyle once your attention can be focused on mechanics rather than survival. So, if your freestyle needs fixing, become confident first. Then take a Freestyle class.

Why do some vacation classes cost more than others?

The biggest price differences are determined by the varying rates from one hotel to the next. Prices are also affected by the costs of airfares and meals of instructors flying to classes and the number of instructors and spotters covering a class.

How can I maximize my chances for success?

By letting yourself be yourself. By going slowly and not pushing yourself. By going at your own pace, staying true to yourself, and not comparing yourself to others. Ask all your questions. Play. Be a kid. Give yourself time. Suspend deadlines.

Can I take BART to class?

Yes, BART and/or a MUNI bus will get you to our San Francisco Bay Area class locations.

What do you mean by "Miracle"?

Achievements that would ordinarily take arduous effort and significant time are suddenly accomplished without effort in a short time. This is the experience of students at Miracle Swimming. Because we use a new paradigm of teaching and learning, a system that goes straight to the heart of the matter, you spend no time spinning your wheels or practicing something irrelevant: every moment of class leads you to a new understanding and ability.

Your web site sounds too good to be true. Is it for real?

Yes, it's for real. There are ways you can check it out further before taking classes. Feel free to call and ask your questions at 800-723-SWIM (7946). You can read our book and see the video. Our free Learn-to-Swim Radio Show episodes (13) are chock full of fabulous information that will begin to heal you. Our Learn About MSI Video is free on this web site here and at About/Learn About MSI Video. You can read our Student Comments page which lists all students' comments and we can provide endless references.

Why do your classes cost what they cost?

First, our classes are three to five times longer than traditional classes. They have to be, in order to deliver what you want and what we promise. Secondly, our instructors are specially trained, committed adults. Third, we incur pool rent wherever we teach and we often have travel expenses. Fourth, your course fee pays our employees' salaries, instructors' fees, and all our annual overhead. Whereas the YMCA covers some of their costs via United Way donations, other YMCA programs, and local fundraising efforts, and other traditional swim classes are subsidized by tax bases in municipal learn-to-swim programs, we do not and are not. It's all on you. Lastly, we researched this original, breakthrough teaching technology that isn't available anywhere else. Yet it's virtually the only way to learn to truly prevent panic and overcome your fear in water. We have 31 years' experience giving our flagship course: teaching adults who are afraid in water to swim and to prevent panic. There is no one with this experience and no greater value than our classes in the Learn-to-Swim universe. Find every answer you've sought. Read our book: be convinced. Also see our Student Comments. We show you all students' comments; we don't pick and choose.

Can I take the class for less?

Compared to other swim classes, it looks pricey. But then, students tell us they don't learn in them. Please compare hours of instruction, instructor training, and quality of results. When students take our class, they say, "This is worth as much, if not more than what I paid." "There's no price that can be assigned to the value I've received."

Am I ready to take your Freestyle Class?

You're ready to take our Freestyle class in a shallow pool if you're at ease in shallow water. You can float, unfloat on front and back, do seal rolls, stand on your hands (or feel comfortable trying), do somersaults (or feel comfortable trying), do whale jumps, and play freely. You must also understand what "being in your body" means and feels like.

You're ready to take our Freestyle class in deep water if you can do the above skills in deep water (not whale jumps) and rest in deep water, unfettered by depth.

What's the difference between Miracle Swimming and TI?

TI teaches freestyle and strokes. Our students who tried Total Immersion before they came to us tell us TI doesn't teach the overcoming of fear.

An instructor who is trained in both systems says: "While I think TI swimming instruction is excellent, their system still requires comfort and control and an extreme focus. It is not a good system for someone who cannot put their face in the water or pick an object off the bottom of the pool. TI teaches skills and mechanics. Miracle Swimming teaches swimming."

What new ideas has Miracle Swimming Institute contributed to the Aquatics Industry?

Miracle Swimming has made new distinctions which enhance the effectiveness of teaching swimming nation- and worldwide. Some of these are:

  • Swimming is more than the ability to do strokes in shallow water.
  • A student must be in control in order to learn to swim (i.e. not afraid).
  • A person who can swim freestyle in shallow water but who cannot rest calmly in deep water cannot swim.
  • Children and adults have different needs regarding learning to swim.
  • Overcoming fear of water makes learning to swim possible: learning strokes does not remove fear of water or make learning to swim possible.
  • A person must know how the water works in order to learn to swim (the phrase "how the water works, "is new to aquatics via Miracle Swimming)
  • There should be 3 times as many swimming lessons for adults as there are for kids, since there are 3 times as many adults in the U.S. as there are kids.
  • The way to get every child to learn to swim is to teach every adult first to swim: what parents do, kids do.
  • Teaching students who are afraid requires knowledge that's not needed to teach students who are not afraid.
  • Passing a swimming test should require resting peacefully in deep water far away from the sides for at least 5 minutes.
  • The requirement of knowing how to swim to graduate should be reinstated. It was likely removed because swim instructors could not succeed with the afraid students.
  • Traditional swimming lessons given to afraid students impede learning and compromise safety.
  • Swimming can be taught in shallow water, but the ability to swim can't be tested in shallow water.