What's at risk by not overcoming the fear of water....


This is a living document. It is my hope that you will read this list, give the issue of “fear of water” some serious consideration and then add your own thoughts and ideas to it. Although clearly this topic must be taken very seriously, throughout my years as an Aquatic Therapist and Director of the S.O.A.P. (Strategies Overcoming Aquatic Phobias) Program, there have been many, many humorous moments, which I felt were an important part of this discussion.

Please feel free to suggest additions to this list based upon your own experiences or that of someone you know. I will keep a “Master List” and use it when I make my presentation at the upcoming National Swimming Pool Foundation’s World Aquatic Health Conference.  

Thank You!!

Jeff Krieger, MS





What you risk by never overcoming your fear of water:

1)      Increasing the emotional and physical depth, scope and consequences of your fear of water

2)      Increasing the chance that you will suffer a near drowning

3)      Increasing the chance that you will drown

4)      Decreasing the chance that you will be able to prevent someone else from suffering a near drowning

5)      Decreasing the chance that you will be able to prevent a drowning

6)      Decreasing the chance that you will learn how to feel comfortable, competent and safe in water

7)      Decreasing the chance that you will learn how to swim properly

8)      Decreasing the chance that you will be able to use swimming and aquatic exercises as  fitness activities

9)      Feeling a tremendous sense of accomplishment, pride and increased self-esteem

10)  Developing important cognitive, emotional and physical skill sets that can act as vehicles to improve your life in general

11)  Sharing “quality time” with friends and family in a wide variety of aquatic activities and experiences

12)  Presenting yourself to others as a role model who was honest about their fear and took steps to successfully overcome that roadblock (or aquaticblock in this case)

13)  Increase your willingness and confidence to problem solve and overcome other forms of fear or severe adversity

14)  Missing out on a variety of experiences that allow for stress reduction and provide much needed rest, relaxation and fun

15)   Employment, educational and recreational opportunities that require passing swim and other aquatic tests  

16)  Never being able to increase your “Aquatic IQ” in a meaningful way

17)  Never being able to be in a position to effectively promote, teach and practice  water safety awareness and skills

18)  Avoid feeling like the square peg in a round hole or a fish out of water

19)  Feeling like a duck, dolphin, shark or any other beautiful and graceful aquatic creature

20)  Enjoy playing Marco Polo, tag or any other aquatic games

21)   Eating as much as you want on a cruise

22)  Meeting your significant other while riding the perfect wave

23)  Watching the movie “Titanic” in 3D

24)  Avoid feeling slightly or significantly ridiculous after purchasing a house with a pool, on a beach or any kind of boat

25)  Having to continue to come up with new and believable excuses as to why you can’t go swimming today

26)  Not having a real good reason to spend hard earned money on new bathing suits that you think will look great on you

27)   Passing your fear of water onto your children

28)  Appreciating the tremendous responsibility and skill sets that life guards and other first responders embrace and demonstrate when performing  water rescues

29)  Missing out on the excitement you feel the first and last time down a water slide

30)  Finding out first hand if mermaids really do exist

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