Fear Of Sharks In Swimming Pools? This Is No Joke


Fear Of Sharks In Swimming Pools…Let’s Talk Hypnotherapy  

I don’t know when my fear of sharks in swimming pools started, but most likely started when I lost my hearing twenty years ago.

My phobia is weird, it’s not the usual fear of spiders, I love spiders! And I love air travel! It’s not a fear of flying, heights, social phobia, claustrophobia, or any of the usual things that most people are afraid of.  

My phobia is sharks. Understandable I hear you saying. They are big, scary, and can eat you for breakfast. Fear response is justified!

I agree with that, they are, but where the phobia goes from ‘normal’ to ‘ irrational’, which by the way most phobias are irrational, is that I have an irrational fear of sharks in swimming pools. I can’t even go swimming in a pool! And I’m normally very rational and scientific!

Testing My Fear Of Sharks…

I’ve borrowed this clip from Animal Planet to highlight how dramatic a fear of sharks can be:


I Can’t Be The Only One Afraid Of Sharks…


There’s a word that is dedicated to it.  The word is “galeophobia” which is derived from the Greek words “galeos” (shark with markings resembling those on a weasel) and “phobos” (fear).  The word Galeophobia almost makes my fear sound like something trendy!

Anyway, I digress…. I can initially, laugh and get in a pool by myself. I’ll be happy swimming some lengths in the cool waters, then suddenly the fear of a great white shark will hit me, and I’ll be overpowered with a panic attack.  

I try and laugh it off and tell myself not to be so stupid, but in the end, I always quickly get out of the water, sit on the edge and look out for huge shark that I know is there!

5 Year Old Scuba Dives With Sharks…

Is there a different way we can look at this? Here is a short documentary on a family who flew to Mexico to swim with sharks. Their kids, barely even 5 years old, jumping in for the experience.


Safety In Numbers

If I have someone with me, then there is no fear. I know the shark will get that person first and I can then get to safety while the shark is devouring them.

I always ask my friends to come swimming with me, if they knew the reason why, they would probably refuse! It’s not easy having a fear of sharks in swimming pools…

Likewise in the sea, I will not swim alone, as I can’t hear the sharks coming. I know – no one can, but when I’m swimming, I’m totally deaf and really can’t hear a thing, let alone the theme song from Jaws to tell me that a shark is approaching!  

Once again, safety in numbers, and I know my friends will put their life on the line for me and entertain the shark while I get to safety quickly. My friends are good like that!

I’m okay with baths, spa pools, and smaller bodies of water, even rivers to some extent I don’t worry, but come to the sea or a swimming pool I freeze in fear and my fight or flight response kicks in on overdrive!

When I tell people, they tell me to try and rationalise it and ask me questions like…. ‘How would a shark get into the swimming pool in the first place?’  

I don’t know – the filter system? The plumbing? Pipes? A bird dropped it in as a baby and it grew overnight? People have pet sharks guarding their swimming pools? I always have an answer.  I know it’s irrational, I know it’s silly, but every summer I’m faced with the same fear.

Time To Overcome My Fear Of Sharks In Swimming Pools

So this year, I decided to do something about it and book an appointment with Chris, my local hypnosis guru, to see if she could help me overcome this irrational fear of sharks in swimming pools. I had read all sorts of reviews praising her work, so I had to check it out for myself! 

I talked to her at length about it and I laughingly told her what the problem was. She was good – even though it may have sounded totally ridiculous, and was probably laughing inside, she remained professional and told me that she would be able to help.

I watched the dot on the ceiling while she took me into a deep relaxation. Before I knew it, she was asking me to wake up – I hope I didn’t snore! I felt wonderfully refreshed.

So a week later I’m at the local pool with no problems.

All good so far, but the real test of overcoming my fear of sharks in swimming pools will come in summer when I get to swim in a pool when there is no one else there.  Watch this space…

Hypnosis For Calming An Overactive Mind

Writing this article has been stressful…I’m linking here to a hypnosis session by Michael Sealy for calming an overactive mind. Enjoy 🙂


Hey Chris from Ntrance here,

I get clients frequently asking me “but does hypnotherapy work for fears and anxieties?”. Now I love helping clients overcome their phobias and irrational fears, so I wrote this little post.

There’s so many things in life that we don’t need to be afraid of, and if you feel you want to overcome your fears that are holding you back, (and there’s no shame in admitting it!), I’m right here for you in Marlborough NZ. 

Chris Steadman

Fear and Anxiety Hypnotherapy Clinic

Ntrance Hypnotherapy Blenheim

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11 thoughts on “Fear Of Sharks In Swimming Pools? This Is No Joke

  1. This is so weird. I thought that I was the only one struggling with this irrational fear. I hate have my face wet. I can not go all the way under water.

  2. omg me too! i’ve been trying to find a word for this exact feeling, but i got nothing.

    i’ll swim normally, and just laugh it off as long as I could. but nope! i quickly go out of the pool coz of that feeling, where a great white shark chasing me, and i quickly look back, stop in the middle, as to “wake myself up” from that fear. :/ but most of all, i love swimming and being in the water, and this feeling sucks.

    i need someone to swim with me, knowing someone else near me somehow overcome the fears. idk a way to explain it to people without them laughing at me:( but this feeling is real, and i’m really terrified:(

  3. I have this too! I always imagined they’d be hiding behind the filters at the side of the pool and someone could push a button to lift the filter gates and let them in (evil supervillain style!).

    I’d get the feeling that I was being chased by great whites as I swam but I couldn’t stop to look behind me because I was too scared of seeing a fin 😛

    Also to a lesser extent killer whales too 😛

  4. I have the same issue, I cannot swim in a pool without someone to sacrifice to the shark. I used to think one day I would do a shark cage experience to get over my fears, and then the videos started popping up of the sharks getting into the cage, and I was immediately done with that idea.
    My issue is that my fear of sharks goes further than the pool, when I was a kid it was the bathtub drain, I’ve gotten over that but now it’s totally irrational… I was going into my kitchen in the dark and I was imagining a shark being in there about to attack me, I also get that sinking fear when seeing pictures of sharks, and feel like I’m being sneek attacked when my finger scrolls over a shark picture online. I think
    someone is going to put a huge shark picture in my bathroom and scare the crap out of me. It’s gotten a little wild. I have had a lot of inner dialogue talking myself down from these obviously impossible situations. Crazy thing is, I’ve never had an experience with an actual shark, obviously because you wouldn’t find me in the ocean or any river that the sharks swim up to get me in.
    And the shark movies… That’s what I consider the most suspenseful type of movie. I’m even afraid of those deep water shots, you just know a shark is lerking in the shadows to jump scare me.

  5. Thank god, I was thinking I am alone with this stupid fear, happy that I have some company.. I always have this fear, when swimming alone in a big pool, atleast I need someone inside the water, or atleast someone sitting beside the pool, if I am totally alone, then it craps me out, whenever I start to swim, I always feel like something is chasing me like a shark or a Anaconda ..I was never able concentrate on my swim or my breathing, I always would stop in between.. or just walk around the pool the whole time…wasting most of my swimming subscription money like that..thing is I love swim..this shit is preventing me to swim alone…

  6. Ahhh, thank you so much for writing this! I thought I was the only one! I am OK in pools now and it never stopped me swim training as a teen but I always worried in one particular 50m pool that a shark was going to come out from under the grates when I was swimming on my back! I’ve always been able to laugh at myself but it’s always been stuck in my mind and I thought I was the only one. I’m visiting this page now still trying to address my phobia as it’s limiting my open water swimming now that I’m in NZ…… oh the irony that I’m a marine biologist!

    1. Yes, this is indeed a real fear, and not that helpful for a marine biologist! Fears and phobias are pretty easy to help through hypnotherapy, because at some point the mind seems to take a snapshot of a fear, but this snapshot can be overwritten. All the best and, if you need help, don’t hesitate to ask me : [email protected], or 021 671 195.

  7. I am 38, I grew up with a pool in my back yard, so I have literally been swimming my whole life. I am an excellent swimmer and even got my Jr life saving badge at my local Y when I was 9. I LOVE being under water and seeing how many times I can go from end to end holding my breath. But CANNOT go in by myself to this day. My wife and I just got a pool installed in our back yard and I was in with my kids; we were having a good time and BAM theres the kracken behind me as I’m swimming AWAY from the steps. I panicked, got to an edge and pulled myself out. My kids asked why I got out all of a sudden and I had to tell them that I just felt like getting out for a minute. I couldn’t bring myself to jump back in and told them I’d watch them for a little bit.

    I once had big dreams of being an Olympic swimmer when I was little and the fear of knowing that I would eventually have to practice in a pool by myself has kept me from it. This fear has been haunting me my entire life and I just want it to go away. But I’m glad to know that others also believe that it could come from the drain or something. Night time swimming is also terrifying to me. The lights in the pool remind me of a submarine and I immediately think that a giant squid is lurking somewhere nearby. It’s not just sharks for me. I should also point out that I was recently diagnosed with ADHD and I’m wondering if that has something to do with it. Either way I hope everyone here finds peace with this one day and can eventually get in there and do what they love without fear!

    1. You may find there is a hypnotist near you who can help you. Hypnotherapy is wonderful for irrational fears and phobias. All the best, Chris

  8. Wow! This is exactly me. I have no fears, but this! And the bit about being fine if other people in the pool is the same

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