#121~ALTS Week

April is Adult Learn to swim month for U.S. Masters Swimming. Statistics continue to show that adults not being able to swim is a real issue.

  • More than a third of adults in the United States cannot swim the length of the pool
  • 52% are considered unsafe around water by the American Red Cross
  • 10 people drown in the United States every day, most of them adults

Last year I participated by teaching lessons to adults one night a week at Harvard’s Blodgett Pool. I found great satisfaction doing it and I think helped make a small difference for a couple of students.

This year I decided to ramp it up a bit. First I wanted to get certified as a Adult Learn To Swim instructor and then teach lessons with my new skills. I did both but not necessarily in that order. My first lesson was on Wednesday night and my instructor class was on Sunday.

I went into Wednesday’s teaching session a bit nervous but not as nervous as I was last year. In my first lesson I had three people in my group including my friend Sneha from last year. It was good to see her and see she had maintained some of her skills from last year. From a skills point of view the class was diverse however we made some strides.

(Sneha and her husband)

The second lesson was with Sandy, a fit young woman who wasn’t comfortable in the water but wanted to learn to swim to be safe around her two young kids. We had a couple meaningful breakthroughs in particular floating on her back that she was very proud of.

(Sandy and me)

Unfortunately, that was it for actual adult teaching as I will be away for the balance of the classes-bummer.

Four days later I went to pool #121 at the Egan Center in Milton, MA to become a certified Adult Learn To Swim Instructor. The Egan Center is home to the Shamrock Swim Club and its 25 yard pool. It’s a really nice facility with lots of big windows and a nice sized dry land area for the swim team.

My class was full with about 25 students of all ages. It was interesting to listen to people tell there stories as to why they were there. There were triathlete coaches, grandmothers wanting to teach their son-in-laws to swim, to a Chinese immigrant who wants to teach other immigrants how to swim. The common denominator of the class was wanting to “give back”

The curriculum was written and taught by our instructor, Bill, from USMS. He was an excellent teacher, very engaging in his teaching style and certainly passionate about the subject. He brought the class to life. There were two parts to the course the classroom session and the practical session in the pool.

(Students taking the final test)

An interesting strong point that Bill made was that learning to swim transcends beyond just the water. For many, especially adults it’s inspires confidence and opens up new avenues and experiences because of this important lifesaving skill. From my little experience in teaching and the stories I’ve heard that rings true.

Lucky to tie in a new pool #122 with a new ALTS certification. Looking forward to putting it to good use.

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