Time to “Waterproof” our Kids through Old Bridge YMCA Swim Programs Programs offer a mix of fun, physical activity and safety to create a lifelong love of swimming

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By Freehold YMCA

As the season turns from winter to spring, the Freehold YMCA encourages children and parents to explore the many benefits of swimming, while also keeping safety in mind. In Y swim programs, participants can enjoy water sports, enhance or learn new techniques, meet new friends and develop confidence, while also learning safety skills that can save lives.

“It’s never too early to get children involved in swimming. Our program starts children in classes with a parent at 6 months of age. Children and parents learn about safety around water, but also learn skills that last a lifetime,” said Kristen Blum, Aquatics Director at Freehold YMCA. “Children who start swim lessons as infants and toddlers in the parent/child classes get comfortable in the water much more quickly and are ready to start swim lessons without going through a long adjustment. Our program starts with safety first, then transitions into building stamina, then advanced stroke techniques that can continue into competitive swimming and even a career in aquatics.”

As part of National Water Safety Month in May, the YMCA encourages parents to take an active role in fostering a relationship between their children and swimming—beginning with water safety. Following are safety tips to practice when in and around the water:

  • Only swim when and where there is a lifeguard on duty; never swim alone.
  • Adults should constantly and actively watch their children.
  • Inexperienced or non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  • Parents or guardians of young children should be within an arm’s reach.
  • Children and adults should not engage in breath holding activities.

In addition to learning lifesaving water safety skills, swimming is a great way to increase physical ac- tivity. Swimming also motivates children to strive for self-improvement, teaches goal orientation and cultivates a positive mental attitude and high self-esteem. It also teaches life lessons of sport and sports- manship, so that children can learn how to work well with teammates and coaches and how to deal with winning and losing.

As a leading nonprofit committed to youth development, the Y has been a leader in providing swim lessons and water safety for 110 years. The Freehold Y continues to help youth and adults experience the joy and benefits of swimming, so they can be healthy, confident and secure in the water. The Freehold Y offers a wide variety of aquatic programs, including adaptive swim lessons for children with special needs, year-round competitive swim team, various water fitness classes, as well as youth and adult group and private swim lessons. To ensure that everyone has an opportunity to participate, financial assistance is available to those who qualify.