Local News

June 24, 2014

Swimming lessons underway at the YMCA

OSKALOOSA — Swimming lessons at the Mahaska County YMCA are in full swing this summer with a variety of sessions serving multiple age ranges.

Swimming lessons began on June 2 and will end on Aug. 7. There are five two-week sessions that run from Monday through Thursday.

YMCA Executive Director Dawn Collins said it all begins with the infants. Families will bring their children there for lessons and the infants are exposed to the water with specialized instruction from trained staff.

Each swimming pool staff member has to go through training.

“To become a lifeguard, you have to pass a variety of skill competencies in the water as well as take some written exams. You also have to be CPR- and First Aid-certified and take a Bloodborne Pathogens Class, in addition to performing simulated water rescues,” Collins said.

Collins said the YMCA has swim sessions that occur in the morning and in the evening, which gives those who cannot make it to the morning session an opportunity to come later.

She added that each individual that comes to swim are placed in a certain group according to their age and skill.

“The different skill levels are pikes, eal, ray, and starfish. Pikes are the beginners. They will learn how to blow bubbles. They will learn how to float on their front and their back and they will learn to paddle,” Collins said.

In addition, there is the starfish group, which encompasses those in kindergarten and first grade.

“In the starfish level, they are learning their strokes and arrhythmic breathing techniques and beginning to practice going completely under water,” Collins said.

She added new skills are acquired at each level.

“Every child is different. But if they are involved in lessons year round, I could see that child possibly making it to the starfish level,” Collins said.

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