Bit by bit, the instructor turned Douglas into a swimmer. Initially, he put a belt around Douglas and the attached rope went through a pulley that ran on an overhead cable. He held on to the rope and went back and forth across the pool until Douglas began to relax in the water. Next, the instructor taught Douglas to put his face underwater and exhale and to raise his nose and inhale. They practised this until Douglas stopped panicking about putting his head underwater. Then Douglas learnt to kick in the water. At first, he was terror-stricken but continuous practice with his instructor made Douglas lose his fear of water and emerge as a confident swimmer.
To make sure that he conquered the old terror, his fear of water, he decided to go to Lake Wentworth in New Hampshire. There he dived off a dock at Triggs Island and swam two miles across the lake. Even though he swam with minimum anxiety, a little doubt remained within him. Next, he dived into Warm Lake and swam across to the other shore and back. Having swum in the lake without any fear or panic attack, Douglas realised that he had finally conquered his fear.