Swimming instructors from the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA and Brandon Sports and Aquatic Center are providing free swim lessons this summer throughout the county at neighborhood pools and apartment complexes in an effort to prevent any child from drowning.

The Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA and Brandon Sports and Aquatic Center, thanks to funding from the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County, have started a free mobile water safety program. This is the fourth year that certified instructors will visit pools located in apartment complexes and local neighborhoods and provide free lessons in basic water safety/ swimming skills.

The program will serve up to 24 children per site. Children will receive free 45 minute classes for one week.
“The goal is to eliminate barriers that can prevent parents from getting their kids into water safety or swim classes,” said Amanda Walker, Tampa Y Aquatics Experience Executive. Walker added, “We want to remove challenges such as transportation issues, a hectic work schedule and other deterrents.”

One of the local facilities participating is Summerfield, located in Riverview. This is the second summer that Summerfield has participated. Abi James, Community Association Manager said, “I think this free program is a wonderful opportunity for our residents. We live in Florida, almost completely surrounded by water, so my first thought is ‘Why no Time?’ We have a very diverse community with families with small children. If I can assist in any way to offer a service that can be beneficial in life saving situations, I am all for it.”
Drowning is the leading cause of preventable deaths among Tampa Bay Area children. Statistics demonstrate that with proper instruction, the likelihood of a child drowning drops as much as 88 percent.

The program focuses on skills that will assist a child in the water. For younger participants, the focus is to teach them to roll over, back float and call for help. The focus for older participants is to swim, float and get to safety. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to enroll their child in local swim lessons to continue to strengthen their skills.

Paula Scott, Director of Public Relations for the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County said, “The Children’s Board Mobile Swim Program is teaching children to swim right in their own neighborhood pools where statistically they are most at risk of drowning.” Scott added, “By deploying instructors and lifeguards throughout the county, we are ensuring that children are able to receive these lifesaving skills.”

For more information on the Mobile Swim Lessons program, please contact Chris Alaynick at chris.alaynick@tamoaymca.org or call 224-9622 ext. 1292.

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