Knowing how to tread water is a vital skill in staying safe in the water and one of the first things students taking swimming lessons need to master. Effective treading of water means you’re able to keep afloat in an upright position, which could save your life if you’re ever stuck in water out of your depth. Remember, water safety is extremely important.
There are a number of ways to tread water; it’s simply a matter of finding the method that works best for you. Treading water is surprisingly easy and, if done correctly, can be maintained for long periods of time.
How to Tread Water Correctly
The first thing to remember when treading water is to stay calm. Your body needs to be relaxed enough to be able to move fluidly, and you need to be breathing gently in order to conserve energy.
To tread water simply use one of the arm movements suggested below in combination with one of the leg movements mentioned.
Version one: From a vertical position, have your arms stretched outwards at a 45-degree angle to your body. Use stiff hands but loose arms to sweep the water, pushing it forwards and then backwards, forwards and then backwards etc.
Version two: Alternatively, you can scull by circling your arms in big movements, bringing them in front of your body until they are practically touching each other, almost like the breaststroke arm movement.
Version one: Use a ‘flutter-kick’ technique by quickly moving your straight legs in small, scissor-like motions, like a vertical version of the freestyle kick.
Version two: Use an “eggbeater kick”. This involves a similar leg movement to breaststroke, but the swimmer is in a sitting position with the legs bent at the knee at approx. 90 degrees. The legs alternate moving in a circular motion in opposite directions, with your feet flexed, creating upwards lift.
Practice makes perfect
Treading water can come naturally once you get the hang of it. It’s important to remember that your body needs to be as relaxed as possible and both your arms and legs need to be moving all the time.