The purpose of this study was to investigate the subjective experiences of individuals who are afraid in water. Semistructured interviews examined participants’ history of fear in water, past experiences with traditionally taught swimming lessons and what they believed should be taught and how. Results showed that all three participants had a history of traumatic water experiences. Two of the three participants had negative experiences in traditionally taught swimming lessons. The third participant never took part in formalized instruction. All three had insightful suggestions as to what they felt they needed to learn in swimming lessons and how their instructors could approach the learning process. After gathering participant’s suggestions, a swimmers at-risk teaching strategy was proposed based on systematic desensitization.