Stay safe, and sign up for swim lessons

Stay safe, and sign up for swim lessons

Riley Koehler, Staff

Every year in the U.S., approximately 3,700 people die from unintentional drowning. Nearly 900 of them are children and adolescents ages 0 to 19. Though this number can be intimidating, there is one big thing that can be done for both you and the children in your community: swim lessons. Targeting different areas and different skill levels for the swim lessons push children to become more comfortable in the water along with knowing what to do if something does happen.

In Grand Rapids, there are many options for learning how to swim, including Goldfish Swim School where many students at FHC work. These instructors and lifeguards are helping the community and developing bonds with both kids and adults. One of those student-instructors is senior Ethan Vanderweide.

Ethan not only loves what he does and loves knowing that what he does makes an impact, but also that these swim lessons are teaching people how to be safe around the water.

“I teach kids how to swim the basic strokes like freestyle and backstroke and then some more advanced techniques like breaststroke and butterfly. I also teach water safety which includes skills like treading water, and for the little kids, how to get out if they fall in,” Ethan said. “My favorite part about working with Goldfish is interacting with the kids and having fun with them. Having fun is the best way to learn as it keeps both the kids and myself engaged in the lessons and makes the kids comfortable which naturally makes it easier for them to learn.”

These varying types of skills are built upon, especially at Goldfish Swim School. Starting young, it is highly important teaching kids skills such as getting their faces in the water lead to eventually swimming with their heads still and eyes down. More skills include pulling arms, which is arms moving in little circles in front of your chest into eventually freestyle arms, which are bigger arms at your side. Small improvements in each class creates confidence in the water and a bond between a teacher and his or her student.

On the Goldfish Swim School website, these lessons are expressed as “‘At Goldfish Swim School, we use our holistic philosophy, The Science of SwimPlay®, to build life skills both in and out of the water using play-based learning in a fun and safe environment. We are proud to provide state-of-the-art aquatic facilities that are designed to enhance learning with our indoor swim classes and programs for children.”

Being in the water is going to come with age. Swim parties at house pools, days at the lake, or even the bathtub present these opportunities to use water safety. Kids are going to inevitably be in the water, so why not do it safely?

Alex Smith works at Goldfish Swim School as both a swim instructor and a lifeguard, and she goes into greater detail about how important swim lessons are.

“Swim lessons are important because they teach safety to children, so they know how to handle being in the water safely. Teaching kids what to do if they fall into the water, and it’s really important to teach this because it’s a common thing that kids fall into bodies of water whether that be a pool or even a pond,”,Alex said.

Mr. Fisher is not only a teacher at FHC but also a dad who has kids that attended swim school in the past. Though it was a while back, the lessons still have made a difference today.

“I thought it was important for my daughter to take swim lessons because I knew that we were going to get a cottage near a lake. In Michigan, there are a lot of lakes, and I did not want her to drown and to keep her safe.”

Water safety is important for both parents and kids. Keep the community safe and sign up for swim lessons!