A swimming lesson that’s also a life lesson
The pool at the Life Time fitness in Plymouth is a gathering spot for swimmers of all levels, even those like 3-year-old Grayson of Maple Grove, who is two months into swimming lessons.

"So far so good," said Grayson's mother, Miranda Wilcox. "He's warming up to the water, but he's more confident than he was, definitely, before he started."

For Wilcox, it goes deeper than simply wanting to teach him how to swim. She says a family tragedy is one of the biggest factors as to why she signed him up for lessons.

"Last year, we had a 3-year-old in our family that drowned in a party pool," Wilcox said. "So yeah, that is a major concern of mine to get him swimming so there won't be another accident like that."

That incident happened in Utah, but Hennepin County is no stranger to drownings. In 2016, Hennepin County had seven drownings. 

"It can happen at any time, really quickly," said Kirstin Stanley, the aquatics manager at Life Time Fitness.

She recommends children take lessons as soon as possible.

"Water is a very dangerous place to be around, for anyone," Stanley said. "Whether you're a young child, an adult swimmer, non-swimmer, and being in lessons really promote the idea of being safe in the water and being active and engaged with it."

Lessons at Life Time begin at the age of four months, and as the summer approaches, they'll have lessons available all day, every day for all age groups.

"Ideal, best situation would be no drownings," Stanley said. "That would be wonderful. And as long as people think about it and take those basic safety precautions, I think we can help prevent a lot of them."

For people like Wilcox who experienced a drowning in the family, the advice is simple.

"My one thing would be, get them in the water as soon as possible," she said. "Get them comfortable in the water."

One important safety tip to remember is that if someone cannot swim 25 meters continuously without help, to make sure that an adult who can swim is within 10 feet of them at all times.

Delane Cleveland

May 16, 2017


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