Lake City Students Learn Lifesaving Water Skills

When you live near so many bodies of water like we do here in Northern Michigan, it’s important to number one, know how to swim and number two, have a good grasp on water safety.

That’s why Lake City elementary students are learning how to swim this month.

4th grade swimmer Amelia Neal shares, “Because if you are out on the lake, you didn’t know how to swim, nobody was there, you would be in a crisis.”

Cadillac’s YMCA offers this program for free on Tuesdays and Thursdays, every March.

And this year it was funded with a grant from District Health Department 10.

YMCA Swim Instructor, Shannon Winkle tells us, “We have amazing lakes everywhere and the more knowledge kids have about these lakes and the things that can happen and safety around the water and accidents that can happen and how to respond, it just helps them be better people around water.”

The mini swimmers are learning how to rest their bodies, breath when swimming, and as 4th grader Blake Brown says, much more, “Usually I just jump into stuff, but they taught me how to like get in instead of just jumping in because some of the stuff is shallow and some of the stuff is deep. So if you’re in the deep you’re gonna probably think its shallow and you’re gonna kind of go down and maybe drown.”

They’re biggest lesson is teaching kid’s to call for help when seeing someone in need rather than jumping in the water after them.

Or in other words, reach, throw, don’t go, “Always reach the victim, throw something to the victim, never go after the victim,” shares Winkle.

“We’ve lost so many kids because they’ve jumped in to help a friend and parents as well, so teach them that safety around water. It could save a life, it could save the life of a child or an adult.”

These tips and tools are essential for living around the Great Lakes.

New swimming pros Amelia and Blake leave those who are still a little fearful of open water with some final expert advice, “You should do this because it’s really awesome, you can learn basic skills about swimming and it’s like the best thing,” says Amelia.

The YMCA does offer swim lessons year round for all age groups.

If you’re interested in improving yours or your child’s water safety skills click here.