Swimming Saves Lives

The Swimming Saves Lives Foundation is the charitable arm of U.S. Masters Swimming focused on raising awareness about the problem of adult drowning.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention more than one-third of adults in the United States can’t swim the length of the pool. Statistics also show that about 10 people drown everyday, with a majority of them being adults.  Children of adults that don’t know how to swim are also at great risk of not learning to swim and therefore drowning.  Not learning to swim is a real problem.

Since 2012, the  SSL Foundation has been providing grants for adult learn-to swim programs throughout the country. April is Adult Learn-To-Swim month and Charles River Masters was hosting free adult swim lessons at Harvard’s Blodgett Pool every Wednesday night for a couple hours.  Charles River Masters swimmer, Sue was in charge of organizing the sessions and she did a great job. There were 50+ swimmers registered every session with roughly 25 instructors.

In the name of giving back and doing something different for an important cause I decided to volunteer to teach lessons.   I must admit the first week I was a bit nervous about teaching. It has been many, many, years since I had taught anyone to swim let alone an adult.  Coaching and teaching are very different in my book. I had two really determined and eager to learn students Sneha and her husband Ankor. We worked on a lot of stuff but focused mainly on breathing, floating and treading water.  Over the course of two sessions they made excellent progress and were able to swim the length of the pool.  It was so satisfying to see the smiles on their  faces and how proud they were of their accomplishments. I am quite sure that they will continue to work on their swimming. They wanted to know if I taught lessons anywhere else which kind of cracked me up.

Swimming is something that comes so natural to me and something I quite frankly take for granted.  This experience put in perspective to me how many people don’t swim or don’t feel comfortable enough swimming that their lives could be in danger.  It was much harder to teach adults to swim than I thought. I am looking forward to helping out again with Swimming Saves Lives when the opportunity arises again.

Just keep swimming, Sneha and Ankor…


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