World's largest swim lesson

June 21, 2019

ARCHDALE — About 15 kids got an important life lesson Thursday at the Carl & Linda Grubb Family YMCA — they learned how to swim.

Billed as the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson, YMCAs and other groups in 27 countries across the globe offered a swimming lesson Thursday to an estimated 42,000 people.

The Grubb YMCA is the only area Y to take part in the event, according to Jim Hussey, branch executive director at the Grubb Y.

Carrie Watkins, the wellness and aquatics director for the Grubb YMCA, said swimming lessons for kids are the most important part of her job.

“Kids are going to be around water, whether it’s at school or on a vacation,” Watkins said. “There are so many kids that come to the Y that don’t know how to swim.”

Internationally, the World Health Organization estimates drowning is one of the top five causes of death for children aged 1 to 14.

Watkins said Thursday’s swimming lesson was a start, but typically kids need more than one lesson.

“It depends on the child,” Watkins said. “It might take a few lessons, but if they stick with it, they will learn.”

For their part, the children were all smiles as they practiced kicking their feet while holding on to a swimming instructor.

Some took to the water faster than others, taking it upon themselves to try and dog paddle away from the wall of the pool.

“Today is about making sure they know how to kick, how to flip over on their backs and how to pull themselves out of the pool,” Watkins said. “If they can do all of that, we wouldn’t have some of the drownings that we do.”

For parents, there are things they can do to reduce the risk of their child drowning.

• Understand that drowning is silent and can happen in seconds.

• Enroll your children in swimming lessons at an early age.

• Never leave children alone while they are in or around water.

• Make sure young children or inexperienced swimmers are wearing life jackets.

Anyone interested in swimming lessons at the Grubb YMCA should call 336-861-7788 or go online to | @LeeOSanderlin | 336-888-3601