The Miracle Swimming Movement

What is the Miracle Swimming Movement?  

It’s a 37-year old unrelenting crusade to fulfill the wildest dreams of fearful adult learn-to-swim students, backed by the indomitable spirit of a few 100%-committed thought leaders and expert instructors who hold that:

  • learning to swim must be fun, safe, gentle, reliable, and easy
  • learning to swim means learning to be peaceful and competent in water over one’s head
  • strokes are not necessary to learn to swim. Strokes are necessary to swim efficiently.
  • an adult must become a swimmer—comfortable just BEING in deep water—before s/he can become an efficient swimmer
brigette smile, thumbs up deeplo

To us, “I can swim” means that you are peaceful and competent in water over your head. It does not mean that you can move your arms and legs in a freestyle motion for a few feet—only in shallow water—or in deep water just far enough to get to the side. When you can swim, you can rest in deep water peacefully as long as you wish, get air at will, and move in a sustainable fashion as needed.

You will know Miracle Swimming lessons by the teaching of the “5 Circles.” The 5 Circles is the learning system developed in 1983 by founder Melon Dash that guarantees learning. It is the very definition of mindfulness. The 5 Circles can be used to overcome any fear and to learn virtually anything in a gentle, comfortable way. Overcoming fear does not have to be frightening. You literally cannot fail.

Today, any lessons that teach the imperative of being in the “1st Circle” in swimming lessons, i.e. complete presence of mind, are Miracle Swimming lessons. State-of-the-art. Its teachers are on our Instructors page (still to come) and are Licensed Instructors of Miracle Swimming.

The full system is carefully taught in our book, Conquer Your Fear of Water. We hope that one day soon, all swimming instructors will teach Miracle Swimming. Our 37 years have taught us that if all instructors taught Miracle Swimming, there would be no failure in learning to swim on the first try: for adults or children.

Founder Melon Dash opened her swim school at a time when there was one other independent player in the adult swimming lessons industry (1983). That school closed its doors in 2006. Today, the Aquatics industry in the United States is beginning to acknowledge that many adults can’t swim. Miracle Swimming is the cutting edge of the industry, voicing and teaching the very thing adult non-swimmers mean when they say, “I wish I could swim.”

One of Miracle Swimming’s most significant contributions is that it always works. For nearly 4 decades, this has enabled new water safety, safer families, more swimmers, new possibilities, and more children who can swim. If it spreads, it could literally result in the end of preventable drowning.


Water safety starts with adults.

Adults should learn first, in our opinion. Children mimic and learn by the example of their parents. Everyone needs to know how to swim.

Our History

Miracle Swimming has operated under several monikers—most recently as a nonprofit organization, Miracle Swimming for Adults, which closed and became Miracle Swimming School for Adults. Our goal is that all adults are happy and competent in deep water. Adults who are fearful in water are the people we want to work with!

In the early 80s, two thinkers on the west coast of the U.S. in the unborn industry of adult swimming lessons realized that adults in lessons were struggling with little success. Both were competitive swimmers asking themselves how they could help. The non-swimmers all said the same thing: their lessons didn’t address their fear. And when it was addressed, it was addressed like this: “Don’t be afraid.” Or, “Do it anyway.” Eventually, this caused people to quit. People didn’t want to manage their fear: they want to heal it.

The two thinkers began swim schools for adults. They didn’t know about each other. One used “the physical laws of a body in a weightless environment.” The other used the laws of learning, and the students’ beliefs. Both knew that something had to come before teaching “arms and legs.” The two received decades of national media coverage for their work. They met for a “summit” in 1996 in Mexico to hammer out a way to combine efforts. Neither could be convinced that the other’s approach was as good as theirs! They called themselves the “engineer and the minister.” Neither was either.

In 2006, the “engineer” closed his business. Though he was very successful, he gave up trying to convince the traditional lessons agencies that they were teaching what he felt was backward: efficiency before comfort or safety.

In 2020, Miracle Swimming is still going. Adults have come from 50 states and 17 countries to take the “granddaddy” of adult swimming lessons, Miracle Swimming. State-of-the-art. There are a dozen licensed instructors around the U.S. We have amassed a body of knowledge which is changing the way swimming is taught to adults and kids. An adult is not safe in water until they’re confident in deep water. For adults, this does not come from learning strokes, which simply provide efficiency. Safety must come first. All else can then follow.

Traditional lessons that started in Canada and the U.S. in the early 1900s were “exported” all over the world. They are a good fit for adults who are already calm in water over their head. Those adults can swim and are ready to learn to be efficient. 

To become a Licensed Miracle Swimming Instructor, read our book, see our DVD, understand this website, and submit an application, available soon.

We welcome your feedback and suggestions. Use our Contact Us page to tell us your thoughts.