Learning to swim can save lives - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Learning to swim can save lives

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April 27, 2006

Albany -- The warmer weather has more people spending time outside or in the water. Whether it's poolside or on a boat, water safety is always something to keep in mind.

Learning to swim at a young age can prevent accidents and save lives.

It's not a stroke of genius, learning to swim could save your life one day.

"At some point in time you're always near the water, whether at a hotel pool or the beach or a friend's backyard pool. You don't think you're going to be exposed to it, you probably are sometime," said Beth Satterfield.

That's why parents bring their waterbabies to swimming lessons at the YMCA. It's never too early for a person to get comfortable in the water, even children less than a year old.

 "It's just important at this age because they're easier to teach," said Joan Pollard.

These three to five-year-olds are learning the basics: kicking, paddling, treading, and swimming back to the edge of the pool.

Three-year-old Michael Moffatt Junior may not have perfect form yet, but he still makes his grandfather proud watching from above.

"I look at it from a standpoint of safety, I think they all need to be in the water at an early age. This will take away the fear," said Willis Moffatt.

For those who fear water, it's never too early, or too late to learn.

Five-year-old Elizabeth Dickerson says she gets a kick out of it.

"I like to swim underwater and I like to balance on my back," said Elizabeth Dickerson.

Whether swimming to the poolside or swimming ashore at the beach, it's a skill that may come in handy one day.

Some public pool safety tips: never swim alone, follow the pool rules, make sure a lifeguard is on duty, and know your own limitations in the water.

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