Emotions and breathing are inexorably linked.
We need to breathe to survive and we are emotionally attached to being alive! When we are frightened our breathing speeds up (along with our heart rate) as adrenaline is released into our blood stream and activates our "Fight or Flight" response.
This subconscious, instinctual response helped us survive as a species for Millenia. It helped our ancestors run away from ferocious animals or fight with added strength.
Unfortunately it is not possible to learn anything in this state and this is the state many learners find themselves in when trying to learn to swim.
If you cannot swim you are right to be fearful of water. It is logical that your subconscious and conscious minds want you to keep away from it altogether.
But this causes a problem in that we can only learn to swim by getting in the water.
At FrogzLegz our approach is to not only acknowledge this fear, but to value it... It lets us know what we need to work on.
For some learners simply being in the vicinity of a swimming pool is the first step. For some getting in the water is where they should begin.
We believe (in fact we know) that learning to swim happens most effectively INSIDE your comfort zone. You need to explore the boundaries of your abilities in order to know what skills to learn next, but you don't need to jump off the edge of a cliff to find out where the edge is! That's not to say you won't feel the flutter of anxiety, far from it, but this should never be overwhelming. We are big advocates of learning to swim in water you can stand up in, and using buoyancy aids like "swim noodles" and Swimfins(TM) to keep learners in control. The learner knows best where their fear lies and this in turn guides the progress through the stages of learning to swim.
Breaststroke is a great way to learn to swim as you can keep your face out of the water whilst you learn. You can choose when you are ready to put your face in the water. You can learn to swim without the emotional turmoil that being out of breath or short of air create. Then, once you have the skills to stay afloat and move across the water, you can turn your attention to finessing your technique with head position etc.
Its good to breathe.