Whether you have scuba dived for years or you have never once tried a dive but are interested in trying it out, there are a number of skills that can contribute to your safety and enjoyment when you dive. Scuba diving is an involved and technical sport and requires aptitudes in a number of areas that range from physical stamina, muscular strength, attention to detail, and a sense of adventure.
However, there is one skill in particular that can contribute meaningfully to one’s success and enjoyment of scuba diving: swimming techniques. This is a pretty straightforward statement considering both take place in water. However, it’s surprising how many scuba divers don’t spend time or effort improving their swimming skills.
Here is why improving your swimming technique can meaningfully enhance and improve your scuba diving experience.
Enhancing Diving Safety Through Swimming Skills
One of the most important ways swimming practices can affect your scuba diving experience is by increasing your ability to scuba dive safely. Scuba diving is highly technical and requires precision and careful, methodical execution. It is accomplished in the face of extreme natural forces including gravity, water pressure, darkness, ocean currents and weather patterns, and underwater predators.
Conditions can change quickly, equipment can malfunction, sharks or other dangers can appear in areas where they hadn’t been expected. Because these are real possibilities, every scuba diver could be faced with a need to employ emergency training, move quickly, or react in a moment’s notice on any single dive.
Because of this reality, scuba divers need to be ready to act. They must train for the abilities or skills that may be required of them beforehand to prepare for when one of those situations might occur during a real dive.
Swimming training can enhance a number of the aptitudes a scuba diver might need in such an emergency. Swimming strengthens important muscles, increases endurance and lung capacity, and makes a scuba diver more efficient in the water. These areas of development could literally mean the difference between life and death in a critical scenario while on a dive.
How Stronger Swimming Techniques Can Improve Your Scuba Diving Performance
Improving your swimming skills can also affect your scuba diving experience in other ways. Swimming improvements don’t just make you a safer and more capable diver in times of emergency or trouble – they can help you enhance your overall experience and make each dive a more enjoyable one. Think of it the same way that someone who spends time doing cardio training in the gym will more effortlessly enjoy activities like biking or hiking because of their improved physical fitness.
Swimming practice can help you swim faster, train your body to process oxygen more efficiently, and let you stay under the surface longer. It can build your strength and allow you to carry your equipment with greater ease. It can teach you new tactics for moving through the water and give you new ideas for performing diving maneuvers. Over time, swimming can improve your scuba diving experience in increasingly significant ways.
How to Locate Resources for Improving Your Swimming Capacity
If you are interested in improving your swimming for the purposes of enhancing your scuba diving experience, there are a number of routes you can use to seek out swimming instruction or resources.
First Things First
Think about getting evaluated by a qualified exercise or fitness professional. Before engaging in any new type of physical activity, especially one you plan to employ for the purposes of a technical sport like scuba diving, it’s a wise idea to get a checkup done by a qualified kinesthetic practitioner. Make sure the person you see has a degree in exercise science or similar. This can help you make sure your body is ready to undergo an increase in stress and physical exertion.
Contact Your Local Pool or Community Center
Any facility with a pool will likely offer some kind of swimming lessons or training opportunities. If they don’t, they would likely be able to point you in the direction of another organization that does. Even if you already know how to swim or are comfortable in water, swimming lessons can be a fantastic and thorough way to make sure you’ve learned the technique and science behind your skills and truly understand the mechanics of swimming.
Creating this foundation will actually allow you to progress further and faster in the future. Don’t underestimate the value of taking swimming lessons if you haven’t before.
Explore Options Through Your Scuba Community
Fellow scuba divers may have good suggestions for you that might not always be what you’d find on the beaten trail. They may be able to name professionals they’ve worked with in the past, point you towards scuba-specific resources or lessons, or let you know where they or other scuba divers have gone in the past for swimming help.
If you don’t have scuba diving friends or communities close at hand, try looking for a local scuba diving group, organization, club, or retail offering. They will often have resources they can suggest that are specifically geared for scuba divers looking to improve their swimming techniques.
Try Looking Through Outdoor or Sport Outlets
If all of these avenues fail or if you are looking for additional resources, local sport stores or outdoor gear centers may have suggestions or offers. Even if the store itself doesn’t have suggestions, they may have an individual on their staff that swims, dives, or knows other swimmers or divers that can help you locate swimming classes.
For every scuba diving enthusiast — those who are highly experienced, and those who have never tried it before but are interested in getting involved — engaging in swimming lessons or in intentionally improving their swimming techniques can be a hugely beneficial practice that can prepare them to more safely, more effectively, and more enjoyably engage in scuba diving.