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Toby Nwazor: The 10 Commandments of Your First Swimming Experience



I still remember the first time I entered the swimming pool for a swim. It was fun and since then, I have not held back.

Swimming is an exciting experience. If you swim, you will understand. If you have never swum before however, then this note is for you.

Below is what I call the 10 Commandments of having a fantastic and unforgettable first time swimming experience.

pic 1- the 10 commandmentsUse a swimming pool
I know this seems to be common sense advice, but you cannot believe the number of people who don’t do this. If you have never swam before; make sure your first time is in a pool.

Don’t go to the stream in your village. I agree that you are #TeamNatural, but biko let it not go past your hair, face and your meals.

Your first time is not the time for you to go and start forming James Bond. Don’t ever go to the bar beach for instance and mistakenly think of having a little swim. No try am.
If you do, it may not just be your first swimming experience. It may equally be your last.

pic 2- use a pool

Don’t go alone
Biko take somebody with you. Better still let it be someone that knows how to swim. It is not as if swimming is a dangerous sport, but it can be risky too.

I don’t intend to scare you, but you need to get the facts straight. According to WHO, about 372,000 people died from drowning in 2012. In fact, approximately nine people die from drowning everyday in the US.

I know you “cannot die but live. . .” Just make sure you don’t go alone for the first time.

Pic 3- don't go on a weekendDon’t go on a Saturday (unless you like a crowd)
Many swimming pools are usually crowded during the weekends. Yes, so many other people like you also wish to unwind and have fun. No be only you sabi catch fun.

If you are like me, you may not really like crowded swimming pools. There is usually no space for you to do all you want. Moreover, the bigger the crowd, the dirtier it becomes.

Let’s face it, people do all sorts of things in the swimming pool. From spitting to blowing their noses, to farting and in some weird cases, urinating and even having sex.

If such things put you off, take a day off and go on a Monday or any other weekday. You may be surprised that there may be no more than two or three people to share the pool with.

Buy a swimming wear.
I cannot emphasize this enough. Both males and females have something specific to wear. You can easily see these in shops around the hotel you want to swim in. If not, ask around, it is easy to see and buy.

Just buy something that hugs your body and still makes you comfortable. Don’t buy anything loose or weak. It can pull off inside water. And unless you are into skinny dipping, you may not find it funny.

That said, even if you like the idea of being naked, save it for when you go to your village stream, when you go to obodo oyibo, or when you have your own private pool. Here in Nigeria, people frown at PDN (Public Display of Nakedness).

pic 5-go with a change of clothesGo with a change of clothes and a towel
Emm don’t be surprised that I am writing all these in details like this. Many people don’t know this.

Please go with a towel and a change of clothes. There is always a bathroom beside most swimming pools where you should bathe and change.

After swimming, you can still take another bath if you wish (Relax, it is free. This is not Oshodi under bridge).

pic 7-use a life buoyUse a life buoy
If this is your first time, make sure you have life buoy or a tube before you jump into the pool. Unfortunately, many swimming pools in Nigeria don’t have it. If you can get one yourself, please do. If not…that’s why you didn’t come alone. Someone will save you if you start to drown.

pic 9- swim with a life guardMake sure a life guard is on stand by
Ask the hotel for a life guard too. Bikonu my people, ndu adiro abuo (Life has no duplicate). Assuming there are no life guards too (we are talking about Nigeria here, so don’t be surprised) Now you see why I emphasized that you make sure you go with someone that knows how to swim.

pic 10- stay at the shallow sideStay at the shallow side and near the edges
My brothers and my sisters, your first time in the swimming pool is not for you to form ‘badass’. I know you may have entered a Jacuzzi or a water-filled bath tub before, and you probably think you have ‘experience’.

I laugh in Spanish. They are two different things.

When you go to the swimming pool as a newbie, please stay at the shallow side. Don’t get carried away and go to 12 or 14 feet.

Wetin you dey find go there? That babe wey you wan impress can be impressed later. Not with your life biko (please).

pic 11 - professional swimming tutorIgnore the Swimminology ‘Professors’ wannabe
This point is mainly for ladies. There are a lot of ‘swimming professors’ in most swimming pools. They are usually guys who know how to swim. Once they notice that you are a newbie, they will come and offer their unsolicited service.

They will show you some crazy swimming skills to impress you, then smile at you with pity before coming over to ‘help’. Some of these guys have good motives, but most don’t.

If they

  • Tell you to climb their backs
  • Promise to carry you with their hands (strategically placed on your boobs and ass)
  • Are always touching your boobs, ass and groin area ‘mistakenly’

My dear, run away. Unless of course you sef dey enjoy the touching body.

pic 13- learn without fear

pic 14 - have funMake up your mind to learn something new without fear
The main reason that prevents most people from learning how to swim is fear. It happened to me too. Entering water for the first time felt strange. I was standing, but I also felt like I was floating. I was scared of totally immersing myself in the water and losing control.

Finally I did it and I came out again.

The formula I used was to tell myself that no matter what happens, all I need to do is to get to the floor of the pool and then stand up straight (so far as I remain in the shallow area).

Initially I struggled and fought the water, beating vehemently as I tried to get air. However immediately I learned my new formula, things became easier.

I was no longer afraid of swimming for small distances. I knew that no matter what happens; I won’t drown.

Bonus point: Have fun
Make new friends. Play water games. Splash water around at people. Just loosen up and have fun. Swimming is a fun experience, don’t lose out on it.

Your Turn:
Do you swim? When was your first time? What was your first time like? If you don’t when will you try it?

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Felix Mizioznikov (Feature Image) *Other images belong to the writer*

Toby Nwazor is a free lance writer and motivational speaker who believes that life is meant to be lived and not just existed in. He is equally an entrepreneur with a lot of hands-on experience in business start-ups, marketing, and customer service. He passionately writes every Monday and Wednesday on about helping entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs build successful start-ups


  1. Wondering

    September 29, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    Decent article but is it me or do the pictures look a little ‘off’?

  2. victor

    September 29, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    my first time was on my last birthday…it was a really wonderful experience I struggled which time I try swimming with both legs and hands….no tube but there was a life guard on stand putting me through really looking forward to my second experience

    • Toby Nwazor

      September 29, 2015 at 4:36 pm

      Great, it is always better to be safe

  3. jeizyp

    September 29, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    lol…. lmao.. funny and intresting article. am so scared of swimming, although av gone to pools for more than 10 times all i do is just splash water and dance arround d shallow region. Bcox every guy want to teach u how to swim…. all I need is a “ginger” to make an attempt. thanks to the writer am going to try the new style

  4. Yue

    September 29, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    The camera quality is all. Not sharp and bright enough, asides that it’s very okay. Although I’m sure it may seem odd to people who were expecting to see white models there before terming it nice and cool, the pictures convey the ideas of the message. The way he broke it down was another thing I noticed. Very down to earth and simple, I’m certain we can all relate to it.

  5. The real D

    September 29, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    Skinny dipping in public pools in “obodo Latino” shall have you arrested for indecent exposure one time. We believe everything conservative only pertains to our continent. No it does not in fact, you bringing out your “instrument of creation” to #1 in public will have you seeing the 4 walls of a cell in no time, it is called indecent exposure and nobody wants to see all of that.
    On the other hand, I have not been in a pool for years, since I realized how much peeing goes on in a pool, chlorine or not, I no dye do, yes I know most public pools have pumps that circulate and clean out crap from them as far as I know those pumps clean out solid particles not microbes from your urine or snort (yea I know insert chlorine) but I feel some microbes can defeat the power of chlorine, so until I am able to afford my own pool, as a general rule I stay away from pools. Nevertheless, I believe swimming is a key life skill that should be if possible acquired by all.

    • Toby Nwazor

      September 29, 2015 at 4:37 pm

      As in eh, the things that enter our pools eh…

    • Ngozi

      September 30, 2015 at 1:35 am

      Actually. That’s my fear o. I am not more afraid of what people do in the pool than the water. The water is my friend but micro organisms are not and the world has changed so I need to be careful. I have a pool in my neighborhood and has not gone there once. Trusting God for my own personal pool. Life has no duplicate. I love people because that is what I owe them according to the Word. I also love my health a gift and blessing.

  6. The real D

    September 29, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    I mean “obodo oyinbo” not Latino that one na auto correct

  7. Joy

    September 29, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    “The formula I used was to tell myself that no matter what happens, all I need to do is to get to the floor of the pool and then stand up straight (so far as I remain in the shallow area”

    Thats what i always tell people when i meet them, struggling inside the pool. You re at the shallow side, try to float if u go down, as long as ur feet can touch the floor of the pool u ll get up. they never believe me.. i looooove swimming. just that i never really find the time to use one but people dont believe i swim so well cos i m a plus sized babe…

    i shall go swimming ds weekend sef, hopefully the rain should not fall o. i remember my first few times in the pool tho. i drank water so much… never again sha!!!

    • Toby Nwazor

      September 29, 2015 at 4:38 pm

      That’s fantastic Joy, I was thinking of having a repeat performance again this sunday

  8. Person

    September 29, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    The first rule is: THOU SHALL EMPLOY A PROFESSIONAL SWIM TEACHER! People, swimming is about technique! There are techniques you don’t want to find out on your own. I took classes thrice a week for 5months the year I turned 29. I had a panic attack the first week in the pool but my teacher wouldn’t let me give up. It’s one of the best things I have done for myself.

    • em

      September 29, 2015 at 4:48 pm

      Hi @ Person. where did you learn biko? Here in Nigeria?
      i am currently learning, and i am not really enjoying it.

      Nice article, i tell people when they ask why do i need to learn that it is a life skill o.( odi very important)

  9. Concerned_Boyfriend

    September 29, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    How did you miss the holy grail of swimming rules ?.. Do not dive head-on into a shallow pool!!

    • Toby Nwazor

      September 29, 2015 at 4:39 pm

      @concerned boyfriend, thanks for that reminder. Odikwa very neccessary to heed that instruction o

  10. Funmology

    September 29, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    The rule of not going to the pool on a saturday is so true, i’m still learning though.. I get better each time and swimming is so cool.

  11. Ada Nnewi

    September 29, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    This article has me in stitches!!!

  12. Ememobong

    September 29, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    I swim, learnt in 2003 and again in 2009. Haven’t looked back since. Unfortunately I am only good at one stroke. Want to learn at least one other stroke. Swimming is pure pleasure and a great work out too if you are willing to give it a try by swimming laps in the pool.

  13. Tosin

    September 29, 2015 at 8:48 pm

    toooo funny.

  14. Bar Baric

    September 29, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    Well, the pictures my not be “bella naija” enough, but for the purpose of life-saving instruction, I think they’ll do. I’m about to start swimming myself, and I find most of the photos quite helpful.

  15. Miss Mo

    September 30, 2015 at 3:24 am

    LMAOOO @ Commandment #1.

    I’ve taken a few swimming lessons. Comfortable on my back but the front keeps proving to be a challenge for me. 🙁

  16. pipi

    September 30, 2015 at 8:05 am

    My dad tried teaching me to swim as a child, and damn he is a shouting king and I also hated water getting into my ears…………………………….. 25 years later I cant still swim

    • Toby Nwazor

      September 30, 2015 at 7:45 pm

      Hahahaha. Once the water gets in you will start hearing one whoozing sound like that. The one that irks me the most is when water enters my nose (and then my head or something), I can’t explain the feeling.

  17. Ifunanya

    September 30, 2015 at 8:44 am

    This guy eh!! lol.

    I can’t swim to save my life. Infact I DON’T go near a body of water. Flood sef on the road scares the hell outta me.

    See me looking forward to Inagbe resort until I “mistakenly” heard I needed to take a boat ride. Jesu!!! Mba o.

    My experience travelling abi na sailing from Cameroun to Calabar by ship was enough horror and trauma. The ship went through the wrong channel and we got stuck! I mean in the middle of nowhere…. it kept going deeper with water getting into the ship. And ontop the fear, the captain was telling us about possible attack from pirates.

    My brother, biko find me another hobby maka I just can’t with this “water” aka swimming sonting.

    Odikwa risky.

    • Toby Nwazor

      September 30, 2015 at 7:42 pm

      that must have been frightening. Thank God you survived it.

  18. Didi

    September 30, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    This article is hilarious. i lost it @Wetin you dey find here as you no sabi swim.

  19. Angiee

    September 30, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    Very hilarious, couldn’t help it @ I know you “cannot die but live. . .”

  20. beauty

    September 30, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    Some men are stupidly useless! I can count up to 5 different guys that have asked me to go for swimming with them. Upon I told them that I have never ever taken a swim, they still went like ” no now, just wear your bikini and play with the water, or move your legs in the water while sitting” and I’m like wtf…

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