BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT)- The pool at the YMCA of Greater Birmingham has been filled all week. It’s been an aquatic classroom, as the YMCA has been offering free swimming lessons. “It’s about saving lives,” said Jenny Dick, a member of the Learn to Swim Leadership Team. “It’s about teaching kids that don’t have an opportunity to have lessons, or that can afford lessons, to come come down here and learn the basics.”
Pools are a popular summer destination, but the need to know how to swim extends far beyond the grounds of the YMCA Youth Center. Holidays, like the upcoming 4th of July, see millions of people flock to lakes and rivers. That’s where the danger can be at its highest. “You can see the bottom of the pool. You can’t see the bottom of a lake or river,” said Dick.
According to the USA Swimming Foundation, between Memorial Day and Labor Day of 2013, 202 children under 14 years old drowned in pools or spas.
The Learn to Swim Leadership Team knows the problem won’t stop overnight, but they hope they can eventually stop it with one lesson at a time.