Swimming is widely known as a great skill to have for safety and health. But according to a study out of Griffith University in Queensland, Australia, there may be more. Researchers have found that there appears to be significant childhood developmental benefits in learning to swim in areas such as cognitive skills, language and following instructions. In many cases, children could be as much as six to 15 months ahead of a non-swimming child.
In Circleville, the Pickaway County Family YMCA is helping families take advantage of this benefit. Lessons for kids begin at three years old and go through adulthood. The YMCA hopes to foster self confidence and other skills in through these swimming programs. With the help of trained instructors, the lessons focus on the strengths of individuals to facilitate their growth. Over the course of the traditional nine-week session, parents can expect to see their kids become more confident in the water as well as in life.
Besides public lessons, the YMCA also conducts sessions for a few local schools. Circleville Elementary, Crossroads Christian Academy and Westfall Elementary take part in weekly swimming sessions that span four to five weeks. The YMCA also provides a week of free lessons to the community. This year that began May 14, and ends May 18, and includes water safety in their summer camps. All of these programs aim to take advantage of the skill building involved in swimming education.
For the youth that are a bit older, the YMCA has a swim team that acts as a feeder to the high school programs. According to aquatics director Carrie Augenstein, this program is “one of [their] greatest impacts in the community.” Carrie went on to say, “Several of our swim team participants go on to take the lifeguard classes we offer and learn life-saving skills. They truly become leaders when taking on this responsibility. It is a great joy being able to see participants grow each year. Also, achieve more goals and eventually take on more responsibility. We are lucky to see the progression from swim lessons, to swim team, to lifeguard, to college graduate.”
In a previous Circleville Guide story, Teays Valley High School’s Swim Coach Michelle Hamilton said that over half of Teays Valley’s swimmers have participated in a YMCA swim team program at some point. She went on to explain that from her experience that learning to swim at a younger age is much easier than waiting until later in life. Michelle also credited the YMCA’s programming by saying, “The YMCA provides a great foundation for swimming that will benefit any athlete in high school.”
If you are looking for activities this summer for your child or yourself consider swimming lessons. The YMCA offers parent/child, preschool, youth, and adult/teen classes. The schedule for the classes can be found at www.ymcacolumbus.org/pickaway.
For read the details on the Griffith University study or to find out more, you can follow this link.