Timothy Rymer

Tue, 02/28/2017 - 06:00

As winter turns to spring, it’s easy to let your mind turn to the coming summer and time sitting out by the pool, at the lake, or the beach. Those are wonderful ways to spend the summer. But anyone who is planning to spend time around water needs to consider water safety.

The YMCA invented organized swim lessons in 1909 in Detroit and New Jersey. Ever since then, we’ve been improving, adjusting, and refining how swim lessons are taught. This year, the YMCA of Greenville is refining its swim lessons, and we think you’re going to love the difference it makes.

The New Curriculum

The new YMCA Swim Lessons curriculum was created after extensive research into the needs and priorities of parents. The skill-based approach is designed to meet the needs of the people we serve in a variety of ways:

  • Students of varying and diverse abilities feel welcome from the start, no matter their prior exposure to swimming or water.
  • Sessions are designed to foster a sense of achievement from the start. Students will be able to recognize their own progress.
  • Lessons incorporate group activities to encourage relationship building.
  • The program is grounded in a skill continuum that allows students to flow easily from one skill to the next, with clearly defined stages of progress along the way.

Why take swim lessons

Research has shown that participation in formal swimming instruction can prevent drowning. [[link to research]] The Y is the nation’s leading provider of community-based swim lessons. In 2016, the YMCA of Greenville had 3,965 swim lesson participants. This year, we want to serve even more. Water safety is an important skill that all children should have, and the Y is one of the few organizations in the country positioned to teach water safety and swimming skills to a broad portion of our community.

The Y is America’s swim instructor. As such, we consider it a priority, and a responsibility, to prevent drowning and improve health outcomes by cultivating physical, cognitive, and social-emotional well-being through swimming. Swimming fosters connection among and with people of all dimensions of diversity and increases their sense of access, inclusion, and engagement. The pool can be a place where communities come together and bridges are built. You help make that happen!

What the new curriculum looks like

The YMCA of Greenville is introducing a new way to learn and swim. The three YMCA of Greenville pools are all updating the way we offer our swimming lessons to better serve our members and participants.

The new style runs one day per week for seven weeks. Participants can still register for more than one session day per week, but the new system allows more flexibility in which days you wish to attend.

The benefits include consistency in cost, less stress and worry regarding registering on time, and increasing the availability of session times by 66%.

Here’s a look at what to expect from the new swim lesson curriculum at the Y:

  • Jump, push, turn, grab. In this skill sequence, a child jumps into the water, pushes off the bottom, turns around to face the wall, grabs the wall, and safely exits the pool. The sequence simulates the experience children have if they are submerged in water unexpectedly. After learning the sequence, children have the skills to get back to the side of the pool or to safety.
  • Swim, float, swim. In this skill sequence, children swim a short distance on their front, turn to their back to float, then turn to their front to continue swimming, if they are able. Children may choose to stay in a back float. Rolling onto their back periodically allows them to rest and breathe. The sequence helps children stay afloat until someone arrives to help them or they are able to get to safety using the combined skills.

If you have any questions about the new curriculum, swim lessons, or water safety, don’t hesitate to call the Y at (864) 412-0288 and ask to speak to an aquatics director.  Or you can reach out to me any time as well. 

Tim Rymer is the Aquatics Director at the Eastside Family YMCA and chair of the YMCA of Greenville Aquatics Cabinet.