Practice Makes Perfect Safety Sense!

Polar vortexes, rain showers and ice storms, oh my! This crazy weather may make it hard to believe that now is the time to think about your family’s summer plans. It’s likely that some of your plans will put you and your family near, in or around the water. So, what can you do now to help them be prepared and safe for those summer adventures? Well, we have a swim lesson plan for you!

“It really takes quite a bit of time for young swimmers to get used to the water which means that it is going to take more than just a couple of weeks prior to a big trip or event for kids to get comfortable in the water,” said Leah Weprich, aquatics program supervisor at Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation.

A Personal Connection

Part of getting your swimmer comfortable in the water is finding the right place for them to begin their water journey. That might seem a little daunting given all of the options today. But we know that a personal connection between swimmer and instructor can make all the difference for your swimmer’s success. At Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation, you’ll notice right away that we find a special joy in creating a learning atmosphere that’s personal and makes your young swimmer look forward to seeing their favorite teacher when they come for a lesson.  

So let’s get started! Weprich said it’s important to start swim lessons as early as possible, even in winter. This allows enough time for young swimmers to learn basic skills like standing safely in water, blowing bubbles, and knowing how and when to hold their breath. An early start allows enough time for these basic water safety foundations to become like muscle memory. The only way to accomplish that is to create opportunities through swim lessons with exposure to the water and exposure to skills that will boost your swimmer’s confidence.

“Being in and or around water may be a foreign concept to most kids. So, that is why the repetition is so important. If the young swimmer comes for just a few lessons and then doesn’t practice those skills for six months or so, it is like starting back at square one,” Weprich said.

For parents, the progression of their young swimmer’s water skill set may seem slow. But, looking for little victories is key. Your swimmer may start out covering their face so that water doesn’t get on them and after a few lessons you may notice that they are throwing a ball back and forth with no concept that the water is splashing all around them. One of the main goals of the aquatics instructional staff is to prepare the young swimmers so that if they ever found themselves in unfamiliar water, their body knows instinctively, from the learning repetition, how to move effectively to safety.

There is a class for anyone and everyone!

If you aren’t sure where your young swimmer should begin their water journey — a quick rundown of our ranges of classes can help:

  • Two Intro Levels of Parent/Child: For six months to three years of age; Preschoolers ages 3-5
  • Level 1: No prior swim lesson experience
  • Level 2: Comfortable putting their face in the water
  • Level 3: Can go under water
  • Level 4: Can swim on their own
  • There are five “learn to swim” levels for ages 6-14 ranging from those not comfortable putting their face in the water to those young swimmers looking to increase their stroke endurance.
  • A Youth Fitness Program is offered for swimmers who know all of their strokes and are working on strengthening swim endurance.

Another popular opportunity for swimmers is the swim team. This recreation-based team competes in swim meets with a focus on friendly competition, participation and sharing the love of swimming. The team practices twice a week, year-round. The swim team has inspired previous swim team participants, who each started out as an inexperienced swimmer themselves, to return and help instruct and coach others.

“So many families over the years have trusted us to teach their kids how to swim. That is about the best recommendation you can have in support of a good program,” Weprich said. “This is truly a family-oriented program and being at the Monon Community Center can be a plus too. Just last week I saw a mom and son move from a swimming lesson on to a hands-on activity class. Now that is the true meaning of a community center focused on offering a family everything under one roof.”

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