What is swimming?

Swimming is to propel your body through water using your arms and legs. There are many different types of strokes such as breaststroke, backstroke, and butterfly stroke. For a competition, swimming can be a race, diving or even a synchronised group routine.​​

swimming idioms and expressions list

Many idioms and expressions originated from swimming and here is a list of them with picture examples.

swimming idioms and phrases

dive in

meaning – start doing something enthusiastically
example – Dinner is on the table, dive in before it’s all gone.

swimming idiom - dive in meaning

get along swimmingly

meaning – be friendly / get on very well with another person

example – Don’t worry about the kids, they’re getting along swimmingly.

swimming idioms - get along swimmingly

in deep water

meaning – in difficulty/trouble
example – I’ve been summoned to the school. Lilly is in deep water.

swimming sayings - in deep water

jump in feet first

meaning – do something quickly without hesitating or panicking
example – Starting a new school is scary, jump in feet first and you’ll be fine.

swimming phrases - jump in feet first

jump in with both feet

meaning – start doing something enthusiastically
example – Louis is a great addition to the team, he jumped in with both feet.

swimming phrases - jump in with both feet

keep one’s head above water

meaning – survive in difficult times, especially concerning money
example – The first part of the year was difficult, now we’re keeping our heads above water.

swimming phrases - keep one’s head above water


meaning – rapidly begin to fail/decrease
example – Our profits have nosedived in the last quarter. We’re in trouble.

swimming phrases - nosedive

out of one’s depth

meaning – not have enough knowledge
example – Wendy has started a job at a top law firm. I think she’s out of her depth.

swimming phrases - out of one’s depth

sink or swim

meaning – fail or succeed
example – I finally kicked my son out as his behaviour was terrible. It’s sink or swim now.

swimming idioms - sink or swim

swim against the tide

meaning – not follow what everyone else is doing
example – We can’t swim against the tide; we need to give the consumers what they want.

swimming idioms - swim against the tide

test the water

meaning – try and find out people’s reaction before deciding to do something
example – A fund-raising day might be an option. I’ll test the water before arranging anything.

swimming idioms - test the water

throw in at the deep end

meaning – make someone do something difficult without preparing them for it
example – I’ve never baked, and I’ve got to make a wedding cake. I’m being thrown in at the deep end.

swimming idioms - throw in at the deep end

You can download a table of swimming idioms and expressions below.

If you’ve enjoyed this page, don’t forget to check out some more sports idioms by clicking on the links below.