Summer’s first YMCA swimming courses begin with the basics

Published 11:00 pm Monday, June 4, 2012

Matthew Carter holds his breath while floating. Carter is part of the YMCA swim classes taking place throughout the summer. The course teaches both how to swim and how to stay safe in the water. -- Ashley Johnson

Pools are filling up with water and pool covers are being lifted. Backyards everywhere have pool owners fishing out leaves and insects from the water to ready for the summer season. But even though some may confess to have a Brad Paisley “love affair with water,” a fun time by the pool can turn into a dangerous situation in a matter of seconds.

Monday the YMCA geared up for its first swim lesson of the season, teaching swimmers ages three to twelve the basics— like how to blow bubbles underwater. The focus of the lessons, especially for the younger age group, is to get children used to the water and get rid of any fear they may have about going under. Later in the course the students will develop skills, like kicking, to help them become independent swimmers.

Aquatics director Teal Cabe at the Selma-Dallas County YMCA said swimming is an important life skill that should be known by all.

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“You never know when you are going to be faced with the challenge of swimming,” Cabe said. “And for those who do not know how to swim, the water can be deadly and can turn into a very bad situation. He said people often associate drowning with pools, but there can be other dangers with water especially in the Black Belt.

“We have rivers and creeks around and people forget about that,” Cabe said.

“As a kid we would find ponds and creeks and all sorts of things and kids just come across those types of things all the time.”

Swim students at the YMCA will learn how to float on their backs, a skill that is known to save lives. Teresa Smiley said she signed up her son Rashard for the course because he is not only a very active child but she wants him to be safe.

“He may even be able to save a life one day,” Smiley said.

Drownings in Alabama happen every summer and Cabe said that is a shame when prevention is so easy.

“You hear about someone drowning just about every year in your area that you are familiar with and that is so sad because that can be prevented,” Cabe said. “Someone doesn’t have to be an expert swimmer to be able to save themselves, they just need to know the basics.”