Treading water, what you should know about this swimming skill

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Treading water/ introduction

Treading water is a swimming safety skill that is very important when swimming. The reason being that is all very well swimming happily along until you need to stop swimming and stay in one position. It is all about simply staying in one position, like hovering. Your probably thinking why do I need to do to treading water. What if you were in the deep end and someone swam in front of you what will you do if you can only swim forward. If you fell into some water and needed to be rescued in the sea you would need to tread water and stay in one place. Is important to stay in one place till help arrives. So as you can see it is an important skill to learn and is quite easy even if you are beginner to swimming as long as you make yourself safe and don’t put yourself into a situation where you can get yourself into difficulty. Remember to expel no more effort than required so not to get tired and sink.

Treading water/ body position

This is a simple position, you are vertical position in the water. Water should be be up to your neck. Try not to go any lower. Trunk straight whilst your legs will be kicking and constantly changing position along with your arms. (see photo demonstration below)


Your arm action should offer you support along with your legs. Your hands should perform the sculling as detailed below.

Your arms move in circular motion level with your chest and bent, this described is simply a sculling action (see photo demonstration below).

With palms facing down push down towards the bottom of the pool towards your hips. (See photo demonstration below),

Then bring back your arms by altering the angle of your hands so that your thumb is coming up first. This enables you to cut through the water without causing any drag. (see photo demonstration below).

This is now repeated over and over again. The initial push down towards the bottom of the pool pushes you in the opposite direction in this case up. This keeps you on the surface of the water.

Treading water/ legs

This a simple leg kicking action, you can choose from four different leg kicks:

The breast stroke type leg action (click onto this link to see my page about the breast stroke leg action if you are unfamiliar with it) Cycling type action, this is what it implies. You simply pretend you are riding a bike. Legs up and down one at a time. Flutter kick, this is simply a front craw/backstroke leg action kicking your legs up and down as if you are swimming the mentioned strokes. (treading water/ click onto this link if you are unfamiliar with the flutter kick to view page about front crawl legs). Egg beater kick, this is simply kicking breast stroke legs but one at a time.

Treading water/ practices

There are a number of practices you can try in the pool:

-Stand in the shallow end of the pool and practice your arm action

-Try the leg action whilst holding the side of the pool

- Next try the leg action whilst resting on two floats in depth

-The leg action whist holding the side with one hand and the sculling circular action with the other

-Try now doing the leg action holding only one float in one hand and sculling with the other

-Now try the whole skill in shoulder depth water when in out of depth

These are all the skills you need to successfully tread water. If you have any questions about this page or anything else about swimming. You can go on to my questions and answers page ans submit a question. I will be more than happy to answer you, Thanks for reading Dale :) Treading water /Click here to return to home page