Get active: Swimming

The buzz factor you get when you can comfortably do a few lengths will make the all the effort worthwhile


Explain it to me: Oh you definitely know what this one is. You’ve seen animals and mammals and, er, fish, do it instinctively. Maybe you just need an improvement. Maybe your kids are better than you and you want to show this who’s boss this summer. Or maybe you’ve never pulled a stroke in your life. Either way, you’ve come to the right place.

Where do I start: Lessons. Nearly every swimming pool does lessons for all ages, adults especially. Look into it, and get over the embarrassment factor. The buzz factor you get when you can comfortably do a few lengths will make it all worth it. In January 2016, I couldn’t swim at all, and by April I’d managed to do the Swim a Mile challenge two days in a row. This is a terrific programme that takes place every year, with a goal that’s just challenging enough to make it all worth it. For details see or check out The Irish Times Get Swimming hub , for diaries and more from our 10-week training programme.

In terms of gear, all you need are shorts, goggles and a hat.

Costs: Swimming pool membership fees vary wildly. One of the best values in Dublin is the newly renovated pool in the Markievicz Centre, on Townsend Street. Annual gym and pool membership is €299 or you can pay €7 per swim. Lessons are free for members or €8 for drop-ins. In terms of seas, there’s a great big one over yonder that I’ll let you have for free.

Top tips: If you can actually swim but think there is room for improvement, then do an improver class at your local pool, or better yet get a one-to-one lesson with Peter Conway, who is based in the ALSAA Pool near Dublin Airport. Whatever your age or ability, a session or three with Conway will transform your movement in the water. Email, or call 086-2744233.

The beauty about swimming is that once you get the confidence up, the entire coastline becomes your oyster. It’s also one of the best ways to get exercise in a short space of time, and you can even do it with injuries, as it doesn’t punish the joints or overly strain the muscles (you just move through the water that bit slower).