The most common response I hear to these statistics is, "That's ridiculous! How does anyone not know how to swim?" That kind of thinking drives me COMPLETELY NUTS, because there are a ton of completely valid reasons that people become adults that do not know how to swim. And not one of them is ridiculous.
Here. See for yourself.
One of the key reasons that adults choose not to learn is that they are embarrassed and feel a bit shameful about how they have never learned to swim. And honestly, there is no reason they would want to learn to swim when all that swimming has ever had for them is fear. Why would someone want to learn to do something that sounds terrifying and scary? Well, sure, there are some people for whom doing scary things is a fun challenge (people who like say platitudes like "do something that scares you every day," to which I respond, "oh ok, yeah right, man, I'll get right on that; meanwhile you go ahead and order your different drink from Starbucks as your item for the day"). However, for most of us go-to-work-take-care-of-the-kids-pay-your-bills normal people, spending precious free time purposely scaring themselves doesn't sound like a whole heckuva lot of fun.
Another reason that people don't know how to swim as adults is that, for many people who grew up from childhood not swimming, there is a legacy of non-swimming in their families or culture. Sometimes this legacy is due to an incident that may have happened to them or an older family member that led to fear of water in general in the family. Sometimes it is cultural, meaning that their entire culture or family did not swim, and so swimming is a strange thing to be pursuing. Sometimes it is practical, meaning that they do not like to get their nice hair style wet, which is completely normal and understandable. If I spent sixty bucks on something lovely that I was proud of and that made me look awesome, I would not want to feel like I was wasting my money either.
Another key reason that people choose not to pursue learning to swim as an adult is that to do so means that they are exposed in a swimsuit in front of others. Not everyone loves how they look in a swimsuit. People at pools are often lounging around with nothing to do but look at other people walk by. It can feel a little like a fish bowl in there. It takes a whole re-frame of mind to want to swim bad enough that you can not care what people think about how you look. And not everyone is ready to go there.
What I am saying is that it takes a LOT of chutzpah and guts to decide as an adult that you are ready to learn to swim. It sometimes comes at the cost of a lot of comment from one's family, friends, and neighbors. It comes as a commitment to try something new.
The miracle of Miracle Swimming is that it is NOT scary, we do not push, we do not shame, and we do not care what you look like in a swimsuit. You only do what you want to do, as the easiest path to your learning is, as it turns out, you having fun.
And when you or someone you know is ready, we're here.