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How to Swim Safe This Summer

Swim Lessons

The YMCA started group swimming lessons in 1909, with the goal to “teach every man and boy in North America,” to swim. Today, the YMCA of San Francisco is continuing the spirit of that mission to teach everyone in our community how to swim with our Safety Around Water program.

Safety Around Water programming looks different everywhere you go. Our Chinatown YMCA branch serves many kids during a week of free swim lessons each year during Spring Break. The Presidio Community YMCA teaches high school students from Downtown High School water safety and swimming skills through the Waves for Change program, and we invite everyone in our community to participate in our Safe Swimmer Summer Challenge.

While water safety includes many things, like vigilant adult supervision, and the correct use of Coast Guard approved life jackets, formal swimming lessons are proven to reduce the risk of drowning by up to 88%. That’s why swim basics are the foundation of our swim lesson curriculum here at the Y.

There are two benchmark skills to the Safety Around Water Swim Basics program: “Jump, Push, Turn Grab,” and “Swim, Float, Swim.” These are the first skills we teach in our swim lessons- and you will see that more and more clearly as the Y transitions into new, updated curriculum through September of 2017.

There are many ways you can reinforce swimming’s most critical skills with the kids in your life:

1: Register for the Safe Swimmer Summer Challenge

This is a FREE program, open to community members, facility members, and staff. Upon enrollment, participants will receive a booklet, and be invited to 11 open swim nights at the Presidio Community YMCA. During these Friday evening events, (5:00 pm - 8:00 pm) an aquatics staff will be present to help participants practice the skills covered in their Challenge Guide, and lead games and activities.

2: Practice Home Activities

Did you know you can practice floating at home - even without a pool? For more home activities, contact your home branch aquatics director, or Amanda Ables.

3: Quiz your Kids

Even children who are confident swimmers need to be reminded that they have the skills to stay safe. As you head to the pool this sumer, ask your kids questions like “How could you stay safe if you were in water that was deeper than you are used to?” If your child participates in our Safe Summer Swimming program, they would know the answer is, “Float on my back!” or “Float, and Swim to the wall!”

As you pack your bags for the beach, ask your kids what is the most important thing they can bring to the ocean with them, and encourage answers like “A lifejacket,” and “an adult to supervise.”

In addition to learning lifesaving water safety skills, children can increase their physical activity by swimming. In our Y aquatics departments, we encourage safety, self-improvement, and setting swimming goals. Swimming should be safe and fun and in 2017, knowing how to swim is an invaluable skill. Whether you participate in swim lessons at your home branch, or you are practicing water safety at home, we are glad to partner with you in teaching and practicing water safety.