MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It’s summer in the Mid-South and the heat has many seeking out the nearest body of cool water. But hitting a pool or lake means knowing how to swim.
Some statistics say it’s better to teach a child to learn to swim before third grade.
The YMCA believes that swimming is a necessity, not a privilege. So they offer financial scholarships for any child who wants to take swimming lessons if the family falls under a certain income level.
“He’s doing great. He has grown so much,” said Elia Foster, whose son is taking swim lessons. “For me it’s just important that - as we spend more time in the water as he gets older - that he is comfortable in the water and he knows how to be safe in the water.”
“Swimming is an important life skill for all ages. And, statistically speaking, also can reduce drownings for children who participate in formal swim lessons,” said Julia Johnson, YMCA Operations Director of Swim School. “Memphis does trend lower on the ability to swim on our population compared to nationwide.”
“Statistics have uncovered that there is a direct link between swimming ability and economic levels. And we do see that for all ethnicities,” said Johnson.
And how long does it take to learn to swim? That depends, said Johnson.
“We do see a wide range in how long it takes each individual to learn how to swim. A lot of that has to do with how comfortable are they when they start, what their body composition is, and that can be how easily do they float, how strong are their muscles pulling them through the water. This also has to do with their age.”
“Parents knowing how to swim and being comfortable around the water does play a big role in the livelihood that their children will also be comfortable and learn how to swim. So, we encourage parents to just keep their children exposed,” she continued.
“I would definitely recommend getting your child in swim lessons,” said Foster. “You never know when you’re going to be around water.”
Learn more about the YMCA Swim School at https://www.ymcamemphis.org/main/swim-lessons/.