I’m a swimmer!!

That’s something that I never dreamed I could say just a few months ago. But now I can shout it with pride all thanks to Jess and the Shaw Method of teaching.

I’m 48 and although all my family can swim, for some reason or other I never learnt. Over the years I’d had a few people try and teach me but their methods basically consisted of “just do it like this” which was never going work. Also, as I got older I felt more self conscious trying to learn, splashing about in a frenzy of arms and legs whilst being passed by a small child swimming the perfect breaststroke! The trouble I found was I just couldn’t relax in the water. As soon as I tried to swim I just tensed up and breathing just wasn’t an option!

I had resigned myself to never being able to swim but then I found Jess, and I’m so happy I did. I approached my first lesson with trepidation, wondering what I’d let myself in for and preparing for more failure. After a quick chat she taught me to breath out with my face in the water. It sounds simple but it was something that I just couldn’t do before. This was like a revelation to me, all of a sudden I was more relaxed and able to move more freely. I came away from that first lesson feeling like I’d achieved more in those 45mins than I had in all the previous years of trying.

After that each lesson Jess would add something else to learn each week, breaking down every stroke into simple steps, learning one thing at a time with very clear instruction and guidance, correcting any mistakes either by showing how to best do it or by guiding me through the water. Having Jess in the water with me, knowing she was there was a great help in feeling relaxed and gaining confidence. Some lessons I would do better than others but at the end of each one I would leave feeling overjoyed that I’d taken another big step towards my goal.

Jess explains things in a very simple way, making each step as simple as possible, her patience is unending, never getting frustrated with my complete lack of co-ordination and happy to repeat each step as many times as I needed till she, and more importantly me, was happy with it. The first time you meet Jess the one thing that will strike you is her caring attitude, for those 45mins you are her number one priority. The first time I managed to swim a length she looked more excited and pleased than I was, and she made me feel so proud of what I’d achieved.

Also I’d like to mention the pool in which she teaches. I feel it’s perfect for learning. Small enough with a large shallow end so as not to make you feel overwhelmed but large enough to give you the room to swimming as you progress, most importantly though it’s quiet so you haven’t constantly got to dodge other people or feel in the way.

So after just a few months I’m now swimming lengths of the pool with confidence and planning on booking more lessons in the future to learn more strokes which I’m looking forward to as I enjoyed my lessons with Jess so much.

I can not recommend Jess enough, for anyone, young or old, who is nervous or scared of the water. I would like to say a big thank you to her for what she has enabled me to achieve. I never thought it would be possible. So if you’d like to learn to swim, take the plunge, contact Jess, you won’t regret it I promise.
— Nick - March 2019
I had a complete fear of water but with Jess as my swimming teacher I was standing on my head in the pool and loving it! I have lost my fear at the age of 58 and have learned to swim and enjoy being in the water - a first.

Jess has a very empowering and positive way of teaching, breaking down the steps of a stroke so that it all makes sense. I am so happy I am not standing on the sidelines anymore while my family have fun in the water.
— Jackie - Feb 2019
We had no idea that being in the water could be so enjoyable until we found Jess at SwimFreely. We both had no confidence in the water having had bad experiences at primary school ‘swimming lessons’ in the late 1950’s.

In our very first lesson with Jess we were gliding across the pool with our faces in the water. Something we had not dared or thought we could do. The following lessons were spent teaching us, step by step at our own pace, how to swim using the Shaw Method breast stroke. Each lesson we made progress and enjoyed ourselves. We now intend to keep practicing and hopefully improve before returning to Jess for extra guidance.

Jess is patient, encouraging, positive and fun to be with. Her attention to detail is superb, she explains, watches, praise and suggest ideas very clearly on how to improve and does not mind how many times she has to repeat them.

We cannot praise Jess enough. She has given us confidence in the water, a desire to keep going and improve and is always smiling.

Thank you Jess.
— Enid and Joe - November 2018
Learning to swim in your 50s is quite hard, particularly when you have to unlearn fifty-year-old habits. What is required, and what Jess offers, is clear instruction, a sympathetic approach and the kindness not to be frustrated (or laugh) when you get something wrong for the umpteenth time. She has a completely positive outlook, is very patient and knows her craft inside out. If it’s not working using a particular method she will come up with something different to help you understand. It felt like I made progress with every lesson.

Jess helped me undo the bad habits and relearn both front crawl and breaststroke and also, very usefully, learn some simple modifications for treading water that have helped my confidence in deeper water. I am very glad I found her.
— Stuart - September 2018
I am a 69 year old man who learned to swim at school back in the 1950s when swimming lessons consisted of pushing you into the water and then shouting at you from the side. Needless to say, although I did learn to swim, it was not at all pretty and left me with a lifetime fear of water. I had talked to my wife about this on a number of occasions and so when it got to my 69th birthday I was thrilled and apprehensive when my wife delivered me to Belstead Brook telling me that I had a swimming lesson.

That was the moment when my fear of water disappeared, after just 45 minutes with Jessica I was enjoying gliding underwater without any assistance, so much so that I stayed in the pool for a further half hour just doing what I had been afraid of doing for the last 60 years. The remainder of my lessons were spent teaching me how to swim using the Shaw Method breast stroke.

I would not say that I am now a good swimmer but I am getting better each time I go and more importantly I am now enjoying the experience.

Many thanks Jessica for teaching me to love water and enjoy swimming which is now one of my main ways of exercising.
— Mike - Nov 2017
If you are a non swimmer or want to improve your swimming, Jessica is quite simply the perfect teacher. She thoroughly knows and loves her subject and she has the skills, versatility, personality and patience to help you to develop and improve your technique, confidence and enjoyment in swimming. She has a wonderfully positive approach, always noticing and pointing out what you are doing right and then helping you to understand and practice exactly what you need to do to progress.
I write as a recently retired special needs teacher who would have described herself as a willing, but badly coordinated non swimmer. I had endured numerous attempts to learn to swim as a child and teenager and two previous attempts as an adult, but the standard methods had completely failed for me - all I could do, despite my best efforts, was flail about and sink.
Thanks entirely to Jessica I can now enjoy being in the pool and swim using a calm and effective stroke. I cannot thank, or praise Jessica enough
— Ani, July 2017
I signed up to have swimming lessons with a friend as we both wanted to learn the front crawl, which in my case I had not done since a child (50 years ago!!). I actually had no idea what we had signed up for other than lessons as had left it to my friend to sort.
Jess was a real find, both for the Shaw Method and for her wonderful calmness and patience. I would recommend the Shaw Method, it makes such a lot of sense and, when combined with Jess as an instructor, you’re onto a winner. Jess always finds a positive comment to spur you on and explains things so clearly not minding how many times she has to repeat it. A good instructor and with practice you will get there. She is always willing to offer useful tips when required.
— Anne, May 2017
I contacted Jess for swimming lessons because, although I felt confident in swimming breast stroke, I really wanted to master the front crawl, and I liked the sound of the Shaw method. I came for a course of lessons with a friend so that we could learn together. I have enjoyed the lessons so much! Jess is a calm, kind, patient and thorough teacher. She started with the basics of the Shaw method and the philosophy behind it. We practised the different parts of the stroke both in and out of the water, gradually putting the pieces together until we were ready to complete the whole sequence, including the breathing. Jess was always prepared to go back to the beginning if I lost confidence or needed a refresher, and my confidence is increasing all the time. I will definitely come back to Jess for top up lessons...but I know that I am nearly there and I am so grateful for her patient and supportive approach.
— Anthea, May 2017
Just wanted to send you a quick email to say how much Julia and I are enjoying our lessons, this week was brilliant, we never thought that we could swim like that. Looking forward to the weeks to come!
— Wendy and Julia, April 2017
I am 65 years old. I have been reluctant to learn to swim since an incident learning to swim at school almost 60 years ago. I did not want to put my face in water nor would I walk across water as I did not want to be surrounded by it. A fear of water ruled my life. I decided it was time to put this right as I am going on a holiday to Cyprus next year.

After the first lesson with Jessica I was able to put my head into the water and I could walk across the pool at waist height. By the end of the second lesson I was walking sideways and backwards - I felt really comfortable in the water. By lesson four I was gliding through the water unaided and floating on my back. Just a handful of lessons later I now feel really comfortable in the water and am getting deeper into the pool. At the latest lesson I was walking in the water at neck height and was thoroughly enjoying it!

Jessica has taken the fear of water away from me and her patient and pleasant manner is really reassuring. She is excellent at giving positive reinforcement and I am now looking forward to developing some strokes - something I thought was impossible just two months or so ago. I have no hesitation in recommending Jessica and her teaching methods. I have already achieved my aim of conquering my fear of water, with her help, and that is an enormous testimony to her teaching methods and ability. I was the most nervous pupil you could imagine before my first lesson!
— Ian - April 2017
I went to Jessica as I’d enjoyed the Shaw Method for front crawl but had struggled to learn breaststroke. Jessica broke down the approach so I gradually built my knowledge of the stroke. When I got stuck, she showed me different ways to understand the technique. She is fun to work with and I’m so pleased to now be able to swim Shaw Method breaststroke too. I feel like a dolphin in the water and enjoy the movement hugely. I have entered the Great East Swim 2017 and with Jessica’s help I’m confident I will enjoy swimming it with my newly learned technique. I’m always recommending Jessica to people who want to enjoy swimming and learn to flow with the water rather than fight it.
— Bridget - Dec 2016
I’ve really struggled with swimming but Jessica’s tuition has really helped and I’ve definitely progressed. Jessica is good at explaining what I can improve and what I need to change. I have learned to trust what she says. For me, the Shaw Method just feels right, natural and efficient. I don’t feel I am fighting the water.

**UPDATE Dec-16: Fantastic, I am now swimming (fairly short) lengths with front crawl and breathing. Still more to learn but I really had thought I would never achieve this. Thanks to Jessica’s teaching which has given me this breakthrough.
— John - Sept 2016
Jessica has been the ideal teacher. Having never been a confident or able swimmer, with a fear of putting my face in the water, I never found swimming relaxing or enjoyable. Jessica has been fun and supportive, and under her calm and professional teaching, I am now able to put my face in the water without panicking, am more confident, am beginning to master the correct strokes and learning that swimming is an enjoyable way to exercise and that being in the water need not be such a daunting prospect. It’s never too late! Thank you Jessica.
— Angie - Sept 2016
I’ve always loved swimming but I have always stuck to breaststroke. I have never been taught front crawl technique and it looked so scary to me. After completing a charity swim I found out about Jessica and it sounded like she was the right girl to teach and motivate me. I look forward to every lesson. Jessica is calm, fun and a great teacher. There are only two of us at each one hour session so we achieve a lot. I’m hoping at my next charity swim I will complete it doing front crawl.
— Jeannie - Sept 2016