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Swim safety tips and more taught at SPLASH

Swim safety tips and more taught at SPLASH

Monday was the hottest day of 2017 to date with temperatures in the 90s, which made for perfect swimming weather.

It was also the first day of the YMCA's SPLASH Program, which familiarizes kids with swimming. The goal of the program is not just to teach kids to be safe in the water but also to enjoy it as well.

"Doing knee dives and also, like, jumping of the wall is really fun," said participant Catelin Hawkins.

Catelin, a second grader, is in her third year doing the SPLASH program and says she has learned a lot.

"I can explain how to do flip turns. You swim and when you're at the wall you flip and, like, turn."

In addition to her fun different aquatic tricks, she has also been taught lifesaving water safety tips.

"If you need help in the water, you should yell for help. And once I also saw some kind of pretend person drowning. It was for practice. And you should also swim with a buddy."

Catelin's mom, Sarah Hawkins, says the swim classes give Catelin a chance to become comfortable swimming while in a controlled environment.

"We' re going to take a vacation soon down to the ocean and just want to make sure that she's safe and confident in the water," Sarah commented.

SPLASH organizers hold this nationwide annual event to help reduce the number of drowning deaths each year.

"3500 people a year drown so it's very important that we teach kids how to be safe," warned Steve Shives, District Vice President for the YMCA of Greater Toledo. "They're not going to be expert swimmers at the end of this week, but we want them to not panic if they get in a bad situation. We want them to be able to respond and ask for help."

They also have a few additional tips for parents to help their children have a safe swim season.

"Respect the life guards," added District Aquatic Director Wendy Baldwin. "If there are whistles being blown, make sure it's not at them. Follow the pool rules. Stay close to your kids. Watch your kids."

While registration is free, many of the programs have already filled up. Call your local YMCA to see if slots are still available.

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