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TAKING THE PLUNGE

Knowing how to swim can be fun, lifesaving

April 22, 2012
By JOHANNA BOYLE - Journal Ishpeming Bureau (jboyle@miningjournal.net) , The Mining Journal

MARQUETTE - For most kids, splashing around in the water is a lot of fun. But for those living in the Upper Peninsula, surrounded not just by Lake Superior, but also smaller lakes and rivers, knowing how to swim and feeling comfortable in the water can be a life saver.

"Water safety is such an important part of skills you should know," said Christina Hordos, aquatics director for the Marquette Area Public Schools. "You know a skill to be able to save your life."

The Marquette Area Public Schools community education program runs regular swim lessons for kids age 6 months all the way through adults every month, allowing young people to grow up being comfortable in the water.

Article Photos

MAPS aquatics director Christina Hordos demonstrates how to breath during an exercise for swim lessons. (Journal photo by Johanna Boyle)

The classes, named after various aquatic animals, allow the students to progress through the various swimming ability levels identified by the American Red Cross, all while having fun. After learning the different skills identified for each level, students move on to more challenging skills.

"We make it fun and we make sure they feel comfortable with what they're doing," Hordos said.

Besides learning how to flutter kick, float and tread water, the kids also learn important safety lessons that they can use on the water, like what to do if they or someone else falls out of a boat.

Fact Box

SWIM?CLASSES

Swim classes at Marquette Area Public Schools are held for two-week sessions on weeknights. A schedule is available at www.mapsnet.org, with the schedule for May set to be posted in the coming weeks.

The MAPS program also offers lifeguard training sessions, which are scheduled when there are enough interested students. For more information on any of the classes, call 906-225-4210.

When kids register for lessons, Hordos said instructors will help evaluate where they are with their swimming ability and help place them in the right class.

"After the first day, if it's not the right class, we'll move them into the right class for them," she said.

The structure of the classes allows the kids to keep progressing as they learn, coming back for sessions each month, if they want. That's what brothers Aleutian, 11, and Rubin, 8, Hatfield have been doing since they were much younger.

"We've been doing it since we were 4, I guess," Aleutian said.

"It's fun," Rubin added.

Working with instructors, the kids work on learning different types of strokes and the best ways to float.

"We live by Lake Superior and we live on a farm where there's a pond," Aleutian said. "We're surrounded by water."

Both boys agreed learning to float is a good step for beginning swimmers.

Classes are held for two-week sessions on weeknights. A schedule is available at www.mapsnet.org, with the schedule for May set to be posted in the coming weeks.

The MAPS program also offers lifeguard training sessions, which are scheduled when there are enough interested students. For more information on any of the classes, call 906-225-4210.

Johanna Boyle can be reached at 906-486-4401. Her email address is jboyle@miningjournal.net.

 
 

 

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