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Swim Lessons: More than Child’s play!

Swim Lesson

Swim Lessons: More than Child’s play!

by Jenelle Lockard

Every year over 3000 deaths occur due to drowning. Most people associate those deaths to children and their lack of swimming knowledge. But when you say it was an Adult, it’s thought to be a terrible accident, not lack of swimming knowledge. The truth is all drownings are terrible accidents and mostly due to lack of knowledge, both adult and children.  So how do we solve this lack of knowledge? With swim lessons of course. We have swim schools, group and age based lessons, and even a number swimming aids to help children learn to swim. But what about the adults? Here is where the problem lies.

Problem number 1: Adults associate swim lessons with children. Just as we do with dance, gymnastics, baton, or even basketball lessons, adults think that these lessons are for kids, not adults, and therefore don’t inquire or sign up for lessons. This thought process might be fine for dance or basketball but not for swimming. Unlike other activities or sports, knowing how to swim can save your life and learning how to swim can be done at any age.

Problem number 2: Most swim schools, universities or colleges, gyms/clubs, or YMCA’s have pools and swim lessons. Though they have private lessons that are available to all ages, including adult, lessons are marketed to the youth. Adult private lessons are either not mentioned or mentioned as an add-on to the youth lessons.

Problem number 3: Fear and embarrassment. So many adults not only have years of fear built up but they are also embarrassed they don’t know how to swim and don’t want other adults to see them take lessons.

So how do we solve these problems as a person, community, or business/institute and get the knowledge of swimming out there to adults?  The first step is awareness and education. Spread the word that swim lessons are just not for kids. If as adults we can take golf, tennis, or horseback riding lessons then we can take swim lessons. Lessons, for anything, is about learning something you don’t know and is not segregated by age.  Also, spread awareness that they are not alone. More adults, especial older adults, don’t know how to swim then do. Instead of being embarrassed empower them to be a role model for other adults. 

The next step lies with the business and institutes that have the means to offer swim lessons. Market, promote, and all around get the word out about the swim lessons you offer to adults. Instead of putting adult lessons as a blurb in with your youth lessons let then have their own section alongside water aerobics, fitness classes, or other adult events you have going. Organize group adult lessons so that adults can have lessons without feeling singled out and can take lessons with friends. Set up door prizes or events were you can give out free 30 min lessons. If they have a free lesson then they are more likely to take a lesson and then follow through with more lessons.  There are a number of other activities and events that one can do to get more adults to learn how to swim. The most important thing is the end result, more adults knowing how to swim and knowing water safety. When it comes to swim lessons an old dog can learn new tricks.


josh the otter

pool safely

jabari of the water

About Jenelle Lockard

Jenelle Lockard is an adjunct faculty swimming instructor for Penn State- Altoona and a do sales for Greenwood Pools. She is a Lifeguard/Cpr/First Aid Instructor, Pesticides Applicator in PA, and a Certified Pool Operator. She enjoys teaching swimming lessons, water aerobics, and work with local companies and pools in water safety and compliance issues.

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