Just Keep Swimming

just-keep-swimmingimg_0198By Jasmine Quates

Whenever Dory faces adversity, she tells her friends in “Finding Nemo” to “Just Keep Swimming.”  Sadly, what does one do if they simply do not know how to swim?

In a 2014 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they found that  “An average of 10 people in the U.S. die from drowning each day.”

The study also showed that those who claim to know how to swim may not be as good as a swimmer as they think they are.

The American Red Cross also explained that “Only 56 percent of Americans can perform the five core swimming skills.”

These core swimming skills include the ability to: “step or jump into the water over your head; return to the surface and float or tread water for one minute; turn around in a full circle and find an exit; swim 25 yards to the exit; and exit from the water. If in a pool, you must be able to exit without using the ladder.”

Furthermore, the Red Cross survey found that only 33 percent of African Americans reported that they can perform all five basic swimming skills compared to 51 percent of whites.

Michigan is surrounded by the great lakes and the U.S is surrounded by four oceans. Water safety is very important especially for children.

Many people think if they don’t go around water then they have nothing to worry about if they don’t know how to swim. However, many people still choose to go on boat rides and spend the day at the beach. What if that boat crashes or tips over?

“Boating accident statistics show that drowning is the single biggest cause of death in recreational boating accidents, accounting for more than 70% of boating deaths” (usps.org).

  Many people don’t choose to wear lifejackets because they feel they don’t need to and it’s uncomfortable, but wearing a life jacket in a boat is just as important as wearing a seatbelt in a car. If you don’t know how to swim and you’re not wearing a life jacket when that boat crashes or you fall out, the result could be fatal.  Even if you are wearing a life jacket when you fall into the water,  you’re still not always safe.  If life jackets aren’t secured or properly put on, there is no point in even wearing one.

   “The victim has a life jacket on but not secured; the victim falls into the water; the victim’s body goes under the water while the jacket remains on the surface, and the jacket immediately slips off or separates from the victim” (usps.org.)  

When going to the beach, most adults are much safer than children because they have common sense. Children on the other hand don’t know right from wrong yet and the minute you turn your head and your child runs into the water then the fault is on you.

“Drowning is the leading cause of injury death among children aged 1–4 years” (cdc.gov)

Once you become a swimmer, the positive results are many with physical therapy being a huge bonus.

Swimming is a helpful exercise for people with arthritis and joint replacements because it is light on the joints.

“With swimming, your joints are supported by the water, easing arthritis pain. For people with the most severe arthritis in their hip or knee, swimming can be done with a pull-buoy to give you a good cardiovascular workout without placing any burden on your hip or knees” (verywell.com).  

I have been a swim teacher for two years and last year I had a little girl who joined swim lessons to help with physical therapy. She was paralyzed on her left side and all of her toes were amputated. The doctor told her she would be unable to move her left side permanently. After one year of swim lessons, she is now able to use both arms for freestyle and she can slowly move her left leg while flutter kicking.

For some, learning to swim is hindered by a fear of the water.

Senior Brionna Strozier did not know how to swim when she first started Aquatics class at Thurston this school year.

“When I first started the class, I tried to hide in the locker room, but Ms. Donokowski found me and coaxed me into the pool.  We started slowly with some bubble blowing.  For three weeks, I just tried to learn how to float but it was difficult because of my trust issues.  Backstroke was the easiest way for me to actually start swimming.  By thirteen weeks, I felt confident in the deep end.  I had to pass a test on core swimming skills before that could even happen.  Now, I love the water and have a motivation to learn advanced aquatics and possibly lifeguarding.”

It is never too late to learn how to swim.

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