CINCINNATI -- The YMCA, a longtime destination for childhood swimming lessons, is diving into new waters this year with a series of classes designed to teach pre-schoolers not just how to swim, but how to do so as safely as possible.
Participants like 4-year-old Suri, who said she swims at her house and her grandma’s, learn how to wear a life jacket, how to conserve energy so they avoid exhausting themselves in the water and how to make sure adults are around to help them.
“You can drown, and that’s not very safe for you,” said Bri, a 5-year-old participant.
It’s important to teach these lessons, according to YMCA Cincinnati senior program director Julie Halusek, because children aren’t just swimming in professionally supervised areas like the Y.
"They’re not always at a pool with a lifeguard," she said. "They’re at the lake or a neighbor’s house. You can teach a kid to swim, but you still need to teach them the safety aspect of it."
The classes run in sessions of 4-8 weeks, and a new one is scheduled to start in June. There are also shorter swimming lessons available for children even younger than Suri and Bri.
"If we can help one kid learn something different and prevent them from drowning, then we’ve done our jobs," Halusek said.