Rockwall swimmers host free learn-to-swim clinic

Teens from Rockwall Aquatics Center reach out to kids to teach water safety
(Rockwall) June 19, 2013 – Every day  in our country, approximately 10 people drown in our lakes, beaches, and swimming pools. More than one in five fatal drowning victims are children younger than 14. However, by participating in swim lessons, the risk of drowning can be reduced by 88 percent among young children.

Unfortunately, statistics have also shown that only 13 percent of children from households with with no adult swimmers learn to swim themselves. These “high risk” households were the target of a recent outreach from several teenagers at the Rockwall Aquatics Center.

On June 11-14, 17 high school swimmers from Rockwall Aquatics Center for Excellence and local high school swim teams hosted a free learn-to-swim program at the RISD Aquatics Center. These young men and women decided to give up a week of their summer holiday to teach almost 50 local children the basic skills of swimming. Most of the children in attendance are from local “high-risk” households with no adult swimmers.

Raena Eldgride has fun teaching children water safety.

This is the third year RACE has conducted this program. The bilingual program focuses on basic water safety rules such as, “Always swim with a buddy” and “Reach or throw, don’t go,” and the importance of staying safe while having fun in the water.  The children also learned skills such as floating, treading water and basic swim strokes.

“I am very proud of our high school swimmers that have taken the initiative to organize and implement a free swim lesson program as a service to the community.  Drowning deaths are preventable through aquatic safety education and swim lessons.  Last week our high school students used their swimming, lifeguarding, and general safety knowledge to help these youngsters become safer in and around the water.  Remember:  swimming is the only sport that can save your life!.”  said Neil Walker, Aquatics Director for the Rockwall ISD who hosted this community program.

Rebecca Voth shares her passion for swimming and knowledge of water safety with a class participant.

The program was founded in 2011 as a way to give back to their community. Leading the program this year were Rockwall High School students Rebecca Voth and Raena Eldridge.

“I have been lucky enough to have been taught to swim at a very early age and to live in a community that values swimming so much that it built this amazing aquatics center. I feel it is only right to give back to those in our community who may not know how to swim or have parents who can teach them this vital skill,” said Eldridge.

Additional teen instructors included Amanda Armstrong, Brooke Arnold, Morgan Barnes, Maddie Boehm, Noah Day, Mitchell Eldridge, Mandy Fannin, Wyatt Fannin, Erika Hochstein, Caroline Hochstein,Jeremiah Kim, Emily Manly, Justin Tokuz, Araeli Villarreal, and Eliseo Villarreal.

Story and photos submitted by Eric Eldridge.

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