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The body of knowledge that grew from successfully teaching over five thousand afraid adults has the potential—and the responsibility— to change the bedrock of adult swimming lessons as we know it. If we want to be successful with every afraid adult student, every time, joyfully the first time, then these must be our common goals:

  • traditional swim lessons content must be simplified
  • the delivery must be student-centered
  • the definition of “I can swim” must shift to mean confidence and control in water over one’s head instead of strokes

A significant enhancement in the success of swim instructional agencies is certain with the mastery of Dash’s 5 Circles system of teaching which is spelled out here. Better yet is the inevitable reduction of accidents and drownings nation- and worldwide. Melon’s system illuminates a path to guarantee learning —virtually all learning. On the flip side of learning (which is gaining control) is its opposite: panic (losing control). With the same system, she delivers a proven path to prevent and eliminate panic.

Swim schools and instructors, teaching agencies and leaders in any field can and should take advantage of the opportunity to transform their communities into zones of water safety which are unattainable any other way we’ve seen since 1983.

The mission of Miracle Swimming is to teach afraid adults to swim, which happens the very moment they overcome their fear of water over their heads. The 5 Circles enables this to happen in record time. Not that teachers are in a hurry.

The target of The 5 Circles system is not only afraid adults, but the application of its universal solution to address all fears. No one needs to lose control of him/herself with panic. 

Industries Besides Aquatics

Learning to swim is where The 5 Circles were proven. But the 5 Circles convey universal laws of presence and learning that are useful in all of life. They’ll make a significant contribution to Education and Training, Rehabilitation, Sports, Psychology, Public Safety, and Performance. Leaders, employers and trainers want to know how to optimize performance, safety and confidence.

Steps you may not have considered stand between where your trainees are now and where you want them to be. The 5 Circles names them and carries trainees over the threshold to mastery.

Path to New Ideas

Find out here how Melon reached her conclusions during her ~13,000 hours of teaching afraid adults. Melon asserts that others would reach the same conclusions, if they taught afraid adults exclusively for so long. 

Wish to Be Convinced?  Check the proven results of Dash’s “adult-learn-to-swim.” The bedrock of swimming lessons will change when the public understands the truths that were illuminated by those five thousand adults: 

  • learning to swim is a different process from learning strokes
  • a person can’t swim until s/he can rely on her/himself for her safety in water over her head
  • once someone can swim, he is able to learn to swim efficiently—with strokes
  • the #1 Priority of swimming lessons must be comfort, not efficiency, speed, or distance


Our credo is evidenced-based demonstration. Our modus operandi is sustainability. Our mission is teaching presence of mind to replace panic. Our goals are the end of drowning and the end of panic so that learning and performance can be optimized. 

Bio: Melon Dash has been teaching adults who are afraid in water since 1983. She trained and licensed sixty-five instructors around the world to teach Miracle Swimming. She’s been a competitive swimmer for fifty some years. She wrote a comprehensive how-to book used by instructors and non-swimmer adults, and produced a DVD. Her newest book is Conquer Your Fear of the Triathlon Swim, due May, 2020. 

Her degrees are in: 

  • Exercise Science & Nutrition from University of Massachusetts/Amherst (B.S.)
  • Education from the University of Michigan (M.S., 1980)

Her experience is in:

  • Teaching over 5000 afraid adults (afraid in water, and lately afraid of flying and claustrophobics)
  • Personal transformation trainings
  • Writing to teach the overcoming of fear

She coached at Keene State College, and was assistant coach at Harvard, Michigan, and UC Berkeley. She opened Transpersonal Swimming Institute, now Miracle Swimming School for Adults, in Berkeley, CA in 1983; produced The Miracle Swimmer DVD in 2000; published Conquer Your Fear of Water in 2006; started the Conquer Fear Instructor Training in 2004; started the Sarasota Drowning Prevention Coalition in 2018 and launched Swim Sarasota in 2018 to teach all adult non-swimmers in Sarasota to swim, a 50-year project.  

She’s spoken at numerous national and international aquatics conferences and clinics. 5 Circles Mindfulness provides comprehensive consultation to help identify gaps and  opportunities in your swim instruction curricula and other curricula where fear is a deterrent to learning of any topic; pool and facility design for optimal teaching of adult swimming, swim instructor training (through Miracle Swimming for Adults, Inc.), speaking engagements targeting the ease of overcoming a lifelong fear, the importance of teaching adults to swim, the end of drowning, the mandate to change the focus of swim instruction to comfort, and the use of mindfulness to overcome fear.  

Dash held an Eastern Collegiate Championship in 100 Butterfly, New England collegiate records in 100 Butterfly and 400 Freestyle Relay and world rankings as a master swimmer in three events. She began teaching swimming at fourteen and coaching at seventeen.

Her current goals are to finish writing three books and give a TED talk.

Her work has been featured in the New York Times several times, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, Tampa Bay Times, Sarasota Herald Tribune, Sarasota News Leader, Pelican Press, Athletic Business magazine, Aquatics International magazine, Recreation magazine, Elle, Real Simple,  The Today Show, TGI4 , The Suncoast View, and local news stations .

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The Miracle Swimming Movement is the fast track to the end of preventable drowning. Imagine.