Lessons make a big splash
June 29, 2005 - Six-year-old Hannah Williamson likes to swim, and she loves diving into pools. During a swimming lesson Tuesday, she did a front flip in the water.
But Hannah's swimming lessons have taught her more than how to dive.
"I can swim faster and I can swim longer," Hannah said.
Like Hannah, many children learn to swim to be safe around the pool. Children need to know what to do if they ever get in trouble in the water, said Diane Smith, who teaches children at the Yuba City Racquet and Health Club.
"I just want them to get from here to there, to breathe and to get out (of the pool) properly," Smith said after a full day of lessons. "I just want them to have fun."
But for Hannah, safety is not the first thing on her mind during her lessons. Swimming from one side of the pool to the other is fun, and she's excited she does not have to wear her life jacket anymore.
"I don't like wearing it," she said. "When I sit down, it goes on my ears."
Carn Heer, 4, had a hard time going into the pool's deep end.
"I need to touch the ground," he told Smith as she took him away from the pool steps. But slowly Carn got a little braver and he walked to the other side by himself. Though it was a small victory, he won't be doing it too often, he said.
"I sink," he said. "I only like the 31/2 feet side."
Four-year-old Heidi Cheim has been taking swimming lessons for two years, but she began to cry before getting in the water and her mom carried her to the pool.
"She's not afraid of the water, she just feels uncomfortable with the depth of the pool," explained Smith.
Smith held Heidi while she kicked her feet in the water. Doing things like that makes children feel secure, Smith said, but Heidi still felt unsure and got out of the pool twice.
"Am I done?" Heidi asked Smith after about 10 minutes.
Lessons at the racquet club are held Monday through Thursday and cost $90 for eight lessons. They've helped 6-year-old Manjot Mann with her butterfly stroke, but she still needs help with her breathing.
After watching her older brother cross the pool, and dodging the splashes from his kicking feet, it was Manjot's turn. She put her face in the water and made it halfway across the pool before coming up for air, but she ran into the other side before taking another breath.
"Manjot, open your eyes, silly," Smith told her.
Appeal-Democrat intern Olga Muñoz can be reached at 741-2400. You can e-mail her at omunoz@ appeal-democrat.com.