Y swimming lessons teach essential skills

Published 11:43 pm Thursday, February 24, 2011


In 2007, the Centers for Disease Control reported 3,443 fatal, unintentional drownings in the United States, averaging 10 deaths per day. Among those fatalities, one in five were children under the age of 14.

It is for this reason, and for the hopes of better educating children to swim and enjoy the water, the Selma-Dallas County YMCA is scheduling swimming lessons beginning March 1 at the Walker-Johnson Family facility.

“I take a lot of pride from seeing someone learn to swim. It’s a real accomplishment,” YMCA aquatics director Pat Clare said. “Everyone should have the ability to swim and the opportunity to enjoy the water.”

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Clare, who is a teacher at Selma High School, is very familiar with the water having competed at the high school level growing up in Portland, Ind., and competing at the collegiate level.

She partnered with the YMCA in 2010 to be the new aquatics instructor after getting back into the pool after a few years away from it.

“I wanted to get back in shape and joined the Y and began swimming,” Clare said. “I started talking to some of the lifeguards, who were former students, and went for my lifeguard certification before being asked if I was interested in the aquatics director position.”

Teaching the classes will be two of the Y’s lifeguards, Rachel Gomes and Kalli Jones.

The March session will begin on March 1 with classes for 3-5 year-olds set for each Monday and Wednesday and another class each Tuesday and Thursday. Each class begins at 5 p.m. Classes for those ages 6 and up will also be held each Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday, but will begin at 5:30 p.m.

The April lessons will begin April 4 with the same schedule.

Those interested are asked to come to the Walker-Johnson facility to register. The cost is $45 for YMCA members and $60 for non-members. Each session is limited to eight students.

With two sessions in each age group in each session, up to 64 children will be given the opportunity to learn how to swim.

For more information on this program, or any other of the YMCA’s athletic and fitness programs, call (334) 874-9622.