Swimming lessons offer youngsters valuable skills

Photo by Becky Polaski – Youngsters are shown going down the waterslide at the St. Marys Community Pool during the first session of swimming lessons offered earlier this summer.
Becky Polaski
Staff Writer

sons at the St. Marys Community Pool during the summer months can almost be considered a rite of passage for many area youth.
This summer, the pool is once again holding three sessions of lessons. The first two-week session has already been completed, but the other two sessions still have open spots remaining. The second two-week session of the summer will be held from July 9-20 and the third will be from July 23-Aug. 3.
Lena Hanes, assistant manager at the St. Marys Community Pool, said that learning basic swimming skills can be important for both safety and survival. She also suggested that sometimes youngsters learn better from lifeguards, as opposed to from their parents or other family members.
“If they have someone else teaching them, they’re more prone to listen,” Hanes said. “I think it’s important for them to feel safe and confident in the water.”
There is a fee for participating in each session, but Hanes indicated that there are no limitations on what age range can take part in the programs.
“We start anywhere from babies the whole way up to junior lifeguarding,” Hanes said.
For participants who are very young, sessions are offered where each youngster works one-on-one with a lifeguard in the baby pool. Parents are permitted to be in the pool for those sessions, but parents of older children are required to stay in the snack bar area during lessons.
“That way, it enforces independence,” Hanes said.