Water. On a sweltering summer day, cool water beckoning from a neighborhood pool or one of our many lakes can be all that stands between you and a mid-summer meltdown.
However, to many, the water is both alluring and scary. Statistics show that only 56 percent of Americans can perform the five core swimming skills, also known as “water competency,” including jumping or stepping into water over one’s head, returning to the surface to tread water or float for one minute, circling around and identifying an exit, swimming 25 yards to that point and then exiting the water. And, statistics are even higher for minorities.
Fact One: Water is the most common substance on the earth’s surface -in either liquid or solid form, it covers more than two-thirds of the planet. At some point in their lives, most people will be in the water whether swimming or just wading, and either on purpose or accidently.
Fact Two: Most Americans can’t swim – that includes both children and adults.
And, for us Clevelanders – Fact Three: We live on the shoreline of one of the Great Lakes with a surface area of 9,910 sq. miles of water. In fact, you could reach New York State, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ontario via Lake Erie. We also have many ponds and lakes, and of course, swimming pools.
To help Clevelanders enjoy a safe and refreshing summer, the city of Cleveland Division of Recreation along with Cleveland Metroparks recently announced the 2014 Water Safety Initiative.
Starting June 16, free swimming lessons are offered to Cleveland-area residents at area recreation centers. Classes are offered in both indoor and outdoor pools.
“Knowing how to swim is a valuable life skill that many urban area youths, teenagers, and adults never had a chance to learn,” said Cleveland Director of Public Works Michael Cox. “This program and collaboration between the city and Cleveland Metroparks will ensure that all of our residents are able to enjoy the indoor and outdoor swimming amenities throughout the City of Cleveland and most importantly, be safe.”
Click here for a list of indoor and outdoor pool locations
offering free swimming lessons.
All participants must be at least 4 feet tall and 8 years old.
Registration has already started, so sign up now at the nearest recreation center
offering lessons. Space is limited.
Having an enjoyable, safe swimming season doesn’t just happen, it requires preparation and skill. Make this your summer to safely play in the water and splash in the waves - take advantage of the free swimming lessons and learn to swim. You’ll gain an invaluable life-long skill.