Research Article

Assessing University Students’ Abilities and Challenges While Learning to Swim



Swimming as a modern exercise has several health benefits for both healthy and unhealthy people, including improved psychological health, improved life satisfaction and self-perception of health, physical health, reducing stress, anxiety, tension, and sadness when compared to other exercises. Despite the benefits, fear and anxiety prevent many university students from enjoying the many relaxing benefits of swimming. As a result, the purpose of the study was to assess university students’ abilities and challenges while learning to swim. The study took the form of a quantitative approach while utilizing a longitudinal cohort survey design. The sampling technique that was utilized is a census approach (complete enumeration) to select all 40 students that were enrolled in four occurrences of Learn to Swim during semester 2, 2022, at the University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech. Ja.). The results of the study revealed that 72% of the participants had some level of fear in water or deep water, resulting from students' lack of knowledge and practical experience in swimming. Additionally, when comparing the pre-and post-practical assessments, there was a 36% overall improvement in terms of participants' ability to swim, with only 23% of the participants still fearing water or deep water. This led to 82% of the participants obtaining a passing grade for the course. Furthermore, the reduced level of fear and anxiety of participants was attributed to exposure to deep water, the lecturer's method of teaching, more knowledge of swimming, and improved practical skills. The results have great implications for the swimming abilities of university students in Jamaica. It shows that enough exposure to swimming can reduce fear and anxiety and improve swimming abilities.

Article information


Journal of Sports and Physical Education Studies

Volume (Issue)

3 (1)





How to Cite

Rowe, V. D. (2023). Assessing University Students’ Abilities and Challenges While Learning to Swim. Journal of Sports and Physical Education Studies, 3(1), 08–18.



Learning to swim, water phobia, university students, fear of downing