Wednesday, August 7, 2013

One of our little swimmers

Today, one of our young swimmers was able to swim almost 100 feet in the front crawl ! Now, this young lady has taken three sessions this summer and should be progressing well. She has worked very hard to get to where she is at (three strokes learned and can float forever!) .

Sadly, I had an opportunity to be at our local waterpark recently and was watching from outside the fence. What I saw was young swimmers, maybe between the ages of 8 and 12 years, struggling with a doggie paddle style of movement after landing in the water from the water slides.

Sadly, some families believe that if a child can go down a slide and then get to the side (in any fashion) that their child can swim and are safe in the water. No so. If anything, they are taking a big risk of the child believing that they are a good swimmer and will eventually take bigger risks, such as jumping "at the cliffs" (a local watering hole that they jump from a height into barely a shallow pond---and yes there has been a drowning there in the past).

Sadly also, that there were certified lifeguards on site that felt that these children could swim well enough as well. I have to wonder about the swimming level of these guards!!

Gone seems to be the time that the pool management, lifeguards and parents knew that learning to swim (at least the five basic styles of swimming) is a mandatory life skill. Maybe it is time for all of the state bathing codes to include the swimming qualifications of those that work in and around aquatic facilities. It just might be the way to bring back the importance of really learning to swim. Until then, maybe aquatic facilities and their managers should set their own standards much higher and be sure that everyone is a swimmer. A real swimmer.

Just my 2 cents!