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‘Learn to swim’ – a warning to parents

By LETRE SWEETING

SWIM instructors have echoed police warnings to parents to make certain that their children are supervised while swimming.

Dionisio Carey, a former competitive swimmer and swim instructor at Evolve functional fitness, said that recent drownings and water incidents have caused a spike in people wanting to learn to swim. “We’ve had a big spike in our adult learn-to-swim programmes, to the point where our adult learn-to-swim classes now are pretty much filling up daily,” Mr Carey said yesterday.

“Since the beginning of this year and toward the summer months we’ve also had an increase in our kid’s learn-to-swim programme as well.”

 He advised that neither children nor adults should ever swim alone, “because anything can happen.”

 “We want someone to be able to help you or call for help,” he said. “Even with the kids, if they’re swimming, we don’t encourage them to play breath holding games, because this increases the risk of them passing out underwater and the situation can turn very dire quickly.”

 John Todd, who teaches swimming everyday as an instructor and founder of John Todd Swimming School, said parents should know where their children are at all times.

 He said: “I feel bad for the parents. Parents should know where their children are at all times.

 “We got a lot of calls, because of it, like a spike of about five or six calls. But I think we need more programmes at the schools, teaching our young people to swim.”

 Nancy Knowles, is a programme director for Let’s Swim Bahamas, which has been providing free swimming lessons to government schools with certified swim instructors for a number of years.

 She said that drowning prevention is key in teaching young people to swim because some accidents can be prevented, while others cannot.

 “Even a strong swimmer,” Mrs Knowles said, “if they don’t react right or they get into a situation where they’re overpowered they are going to drown. So, you can’t prevent everything, but then rules that we have on them should be able to help people not make a mistake and that could save their lives.”

 The instructors’ concerns follow several incidents in recent weeks.

 On Tuesday a teenage boy drowned while swimming with friends in the Seabreeze Canal.

 Last Tuesday, 11-year-old Gerodo Atwill Taylor, Jr, was found dead and suspected to have drowned in a pond near the golf academy opposite the national sports stadium.

 On the same day the body of a juvenile male was pulled from waters near Paradise Cove, Deadman’s Reef, Grand Bahama. He had gone swimming at Celebrity Beach near Paradise Cove with four boys but did not return to shore when the others did.

 A woman also drowned last Tuesday after she tried to assist a child who was in distress in the waters in the Staniard Creek area.