May is National Water Safety Month, and we’re busier than ever! In addition to helping our students learn and implement safe swimming practices here at the pool, we’re sharing swim safety stories and tips all month long via ur Facebook page, and giving away prizes each week!
But swim safety isn’t always fun and games, it’s also a serious matter, as many of our coaches have learned first-hand. Some of them have witnessed friends or family members come close to drowning, and some have even saved others’ lives! We asked several of our coaches to describe experiences they had in the water that changed their perspectives of swimming. Here are their swim safety stories.
A couple months after I took my first lessons with Coach Shannon, my family was on vacation near the ocean. My kiddos had been taking swim lessons with Flow for about 18 months. My daughter and I were out in the ocean playing and all of a sudden she became distressed. She started clawing and grabbing me. My first thought was that my husband would come save us, then I realized, oh my gosh, I’m the mommy, I have to save us. I remembered the cues that Shannon would tell the kids and that she taught me. I told my daughter to roll to her sweet spot (on her back). It was like the lights turned on, she rolled over on her back and so did I. We floated around and gradually kicked back to shore. I knew in that moment that learning how to swim was the most important gift that I could have ever given my children and myself. –Coach Kathie
The first time I saved someone as a lifeguard and had to do CPR, it really brought home for me the importance of always being aware of self and surroundings, as a patron, a swimmer, a human. –Former/Honorary Coach A.J.
When I was about 10 years old, I was snorkeling and went over the edge of a reef. By that time, I was extremely comfortable in the water. I remember the second I went over that reef and saw the seemingly never-ending dark blue deepness, I felt like I was going to drop right off the surface and get sucked down into the deep. I backpedaled so quickly, I’m sure it was comical! It has absolutely made me a better teacher as I can relate to the fear the kids have when they feel like they are going to “sink” to the bottom and can help them get through it. –Coach Shannon
I remember when I was about 8 and my brother was 12, we were swimming in a river. It wasn’t a fast river and it wasn’t deep either (we could easily touch, but it was deep enough we could go under). Because of several swimming incidents, my brother wasn’t the best swimmer. Well, he was swimming and got caught in the current and started to panic because he was being pulled along and under by the water. My mom and dad were telling him to stand because if he did he could have just walked back to the shore, but he kept panicking and my dad had to go in after him. After that, there were two other incidents where he panicked in the water. It allowed me to see how one should act with the water and that panic in any situation is never a good idea. –Coach Chandler
When I was little, my mom told me about her near-drowning experience. Her story made me realize that everyone isn’t as comfortable in the water as I am. I didn’t understand for the longest time why people were afraid of the water, but it helped me become a better teacher by not wanting kids to ever feel afraid. –Coach Hailee
One time I was swimming in the waves at my favorite beach back home when I soon realized I had been caught in a rip current. I tried to fight the tide, but only became exhausted from using up my energy. At the time, I didn’t know the science behind a rip current and eventually had to be rescued by a lifeguard. (Luckily I knew how to tread water or else the situation could have been worse!) Ever since that day, I learned to have tremendous respect for the ocean and the power that it has on this planet. –Coach Kevin
I was a lifeguard at the West YMCA and on several occasions, I would have to jump in to save someone from drowning. Those moments always made me realize how important it is to know how to swim. –Coach Lucas
Isn’t it eye-opening to learn that our very own coaches have seen and experienced close calls while swimming? These water safety stories prove that any swimmer—no matter how experienced—can get caught in a dangerous situation. But we’re grateful that they’re here to share their experiences!
These stories are seven extra reasons why it’s so important to know our Top 7 Swim Safety Tips. Do you know what they are? For the rest of this month, we’ll give you chances to test your knowledge via our Facebook page. We will also share more stories from our coaches, so stay tuned. And don’t forget to tag us in your photos using the #KnowTheFLOW hashtag!