Learning a life lesson

Published 9:35 am Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Lifeguard Allie Brooks instructs a student during swim lessons at the Tom Byrne Park pool on Tuesday morning.|Photo by Chandler Myers

With a heat wave hitting the city of Atmore and surrounding areas, children have been visiting the city’s pools at Tom Byrne and Houston Avery parks to take a swim, have some fun and cool off.

While swimming can be fun and relaxing, it can also be dangerous, if a potential swimmer does not know how to swim.

Luckily the staffs and lifeguards at the city’s pools use their mornings and evenings offering swimming lessons to make sure children and even adults have the necessary skills to survive in the water.

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Austin Rogers, an employee at the Tom Byrne Park pool said swim lessons have been going gone smoothly during the first session.

“Things have been going really well,” she said. “We have had a good turnout with the kids, and we have been building even more interest.”

At the pool, the focus is to get the children comfortable enough to get in the water and then teach them from there.

Rogers said making them feel safe and comfortable is the first priority of swim lessons.

“Basically, we try to get our kids in the water and get them going under first,” she said. “Once they do that, we begin teaching them how to glide and work into freestyle swimming. Our main focus is to make the kids feel safe in the water and want them to feel like they can swim. Once that happens, we just work on their skills.”

The lifeguards that teach the swim lessons at the pool have all taken the proper steps to being allowed to watch out for and teach the children.

Allie Brooks, a resident of Atmore, is in her second year of teaching swimming lessons.

She said she has been helping her students focus on the gliding and freestyle.

“I first let them know that I’m not going to let anything happen to them,” Brooks said. “Then, I have been working on the freestyle and glide. The freestyle is just moving your arms and swimming like you are doggie paddling. It’s bigger than that though because you have to put your face in the water.”

Teaching swimming lessons is rewarding not only for the swimmer, but those instructing as well.

Brooks said when a child understands what to do and learns something, it makes her happy.

“ It just makes your hear glow,” she said. “You just know that you helped a child learn to swim, and that’s a big stage of their life. It’s a good feeling when that happens.”