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Learn ways to be safe in water

With spring in the area and summer season just around the corner, kids will be out of school, spending their days swimming at the local pool or in someone’s backyard or vacationing at a lake.

Are your children prepared with the skills of swimming and safety around the water?

For parents, kids’ safety is a primary concern. In 2008, the Centers for Disease Control cited that nine people a day, or about 3,300 people a year, drown. Among those victims were 442 children under the age of 4. When kids and parents don’t know how to be safe around water — whether it’s a lake, a backyard pool or a bathtub — kids can be at high risk. At the YMCA, children even in our first level of lessons learn how to keep safe around the water.

Registration is being taken for Spring I lessons at the YMCA. We offer lessons from 3:30 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays and from 3:30 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. Registration is available for our pre-school programs and youth programs — a skill-building swim program geared toward kids ages 3 and up. All programs emphasize recognizing and avoiding the hazards of aquatic environments and teaching parents and children invaluable rescue and emergency skills, as well as teaching children to swim.

We also offer our parent/child classes for children from 6 months to 3 years with a parent. This class is more of a water adjustment class, and as children’s motor skills develop, they begin learning basic swim skills.

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"We nurture the healthy and successful development of children throughout the year through aquatics and other programs," said Cindy Bowe, aquatic program director. "YMCA aquatic programs, like the YMCA swim lessons program, are designed to instill confidence in participants and make learning new skills fun and challenging in a positive way."

Our swim lesson program contains character count models, stroke development in all four competitive stroke as well as relaxed swimming strokes, boating safety, personal safety, wet ball (water polo) skills as well as synchronized swim skills and leadership skills. Our school-age classes are 45 minutes in length, giving children the maximum time to work on skills and learn, while our pre-school classes are 30 minutes. We have a strict instructor/student ratio, so our class size is limited. Our Instructors are American Red Cross Water Safety Instructors, YMCA Swim Lesson Instructors and former swim team participants and many have been assistant swim team coaches — so we offer well-experienced instructors to give the highest quality lessons available.

Registration for lessons has begun and will continue through the start of Spring I session, which begin on Monday. Remember our youth membership of $1 for those in second grade. Stop by the YMCA front desk area to find out times and dates of the various programs. Don’t hold off having your child learn the lifelong skill of swimming till summer — get a good start now with our Spring I lessons.

Woody Mixer Tournament

On March 14, 32 men and women participated in the annual Woody Mixer. The Woody Mixer is a tennis tournament where the men and women play as a pair and the man has to use a wooden racket during play. Several of the participates dressed back to the time period of the wooden racket — remember the short white shorts and shirts and the headband and long hair? Everyone had a great time. The winners of the tournament were: first, Jake Greenman/Jessica Webber, second Josh Bendickson/Ashley Bendickson, third Rob Sibaugh/Anna Hebrink. Consolation winners were Dave Handeland/Amy Kelly.

Reminders

Spring I Session starts on Monday, for tennis lessons, gymnastics, "Y" Kids on the Move, preschool fitness, adult ballroom dancing and swimming lessons. Stop by the YMCA of Austin or visit our Web site and get signed up for the spring sessions.

Kristi Stasi is fitness director at the YMCA of Austin.

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