Beginner swim lessons are usually the domain of toddlers and elementary school kids, but if you're one of those adults who didn't master swimming as a kid, you'll do yourself a favor by signing up for some lessons now. Don't worry -- you're not the only one who's made it this far without learning this basic skill, and you'll likely pick it up a lot faster than the average kindergartener. When it comes to swimming supplies, at bare minimum you'll need a swimsuit and towel, though a few other accessories might help you feel more comfortable and confident while in the water.
Most swimming lessons take place in a pool, which means chlorine will likely be involved. If you're working on getting your face in the water and or breathing underwater, all that chlorine can tend to burn your eyes when you open them under water. To combat this, your first swimming lesson accessory should be a set of goggles. More expensive ones are better at creating a seal on your face, though you might have to experiment with a few different brands to find goggles that fit well on your face and don't pull too tight or allow water to seep in.
If you've gotten this far in life without knowing how to swim, it could be that you tried as a child but just didn't like all that splashing -- which can lead to getting water up your nose. If you're fussy about getting water where it doesn't belong, pick up a nose clip that fits around the outside of your nostrils. While it doesn't keep all water from getting into your nose, it will help.
When you spend a lot of time on styling and caring for your hair, you don't want it getting mucked up by chlorine. Since swimming lessons often take place every day or every week for an extended period of time, another necessity might be a swim cap, into which you can hide away your precious tresses. The cap should fit tight around your head, but not so tight that it leaves deep red marks around your forehead -- not pretty.
If you're not already a solid swimmer, your instructor is not likely to take you into the deep end and just leave you there without assistance. If you do venture into the deep end, your instructor will likely provide you with some type of kickboard, swimming noodle or other flotation device. Don't come with a flotation device unless you're instructed to do so; you're there to learn to swim without one, after all. If you want to practice kicking on your own outside of lessons, get yourself a kickboard or noodle that you can rest under your arms. However, don't get into the deep end of the pool on your own until you're confident you'll be able to swim to the side safely.
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.