Novice swimming

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage”

Anais Nin

Most colleges do not offer a true entry level swimming class; you are expected to already have some swimming skill. Novice swimming at De Anza, KNES1A (formerly P.E. 26A), is a class for people who are new to swimming, including: adapting to water, safety information, overcoming fear, survival techniques and basic swimming skill. The class will have some people who are afraid to enter the pool or who have never been in a pool. Others will know how to swim some, but just are not comfortable swimming in water deeper than they are tall.

When I do surveys of students I find many who had some kind of swim class previously, but who just didn’t learn to swim. Others are in a pool or swim class for the first time. I teach from the very beginning. I don’t assume anyone knows how to float, or even how to get into a pool. I do assume many students will be uncomfortable at first. The teaching assistants and I teach from in the pool, not up on the deck.

A few students are in their late teens or early twenties, but the majority are in their late twenties through mid-thirties. Each class has had people in their forties, fifties, sixties and occasionally older students.

According to the state of California:

” Swimming continues to be the second leading recreational pastime (behind walking) in all national surveys.

· 50% of the United States population is non-swimmers.”

According to a 2007 Gallup survey,

39% of adults in the U.S. said they are afraid to put their heads under the water.

62% said they fear deep, open water (which does not have to be the ocean, a big swimming pool can seem to be deep, open water).

If you think you can’t learn to swim you should read:

Letters from novice students


1) Enter deep water without fear, swim 25 yards, effectively change direction while swimming

2) Know basic water safety

3) Much more than enough confidence and skills to join a ‘beginning’ swim class

(Believe it or not, most of my class will be jumping feet first off the diving boards at the end of the class and most will even dive head first off the diving boards. This is optional, of course.)


Fall quarter I usually teach one novice class Saturday, 10 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.

Spring quarter I usually teach two novice swim classes 10 a.m. to 11:50 or noon to 1:50 Saturdays.

Summer quarter is usually one Saturday swim class class for only five weeks, 10 a.m. to 2:30.

If you read about it too late to add, please at least be enrolled at De Anza before the first class.

Current notes about the class when I teach it are at KNES1A

We will be in the water the first day of class, so bring your swimsuit, towel, swim cap etc.

Yes, it is warm enough to take a fall swim class. We have mostly sunny days and you can wear a swim cap on days you are not quite warm enough, just like triathlete swimmers do.

Novice swim is not offered winter quarter (January – March).

Click on this link Novice Swim FAQs for more info including class cost and a link to De Anza admissions, enrollment and registration, which you can do online. There are details about how to register for KNES 001A.


“Teachers open the door. You enter by yourself.”

Chinese Proverb

kayaks in pool: kayaks in pool