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'It's a survival skill': YMCA encourages water safety ahead of summer swim season

Posted at 10:12 PM, Jun 15, 2024

MERIDIAN, Idaho — The summer swim season is nearly here in Idaho. After recent drowning incidents across the state, the YMCA is encouraging people to be proactive about water safety ahead of the summer season.

(Below is the transcript from the broadcast story)

“Idaho ranks pretty high when it comes to drowning rates of children, we’re in the top 10,” says Sarah Read, the Aquatics Director at the Treasure Valley YMCA.

She tells me that Idaho is full of bodies of water like lakes, rivers and canals that can be a hazard for untrained swimmers.

“Unfortunately there’s just too many areas that something could happen. It’s happened this summer already. So learning how to swim is a skill that’s not only a life skill, but it’s a survival skill,” Read said.

“One of them went from screaming in the water to now swimming the whole pool, so that right there is a positive impact,” says Rachel Robertson, who has two kids in swimming programs at the YMCA.

She says that getting them comfortable in the water helps give her some peace of mind.

“We go to lakes a lot and we go camping a lot, so just to make sure that they are safe all the time. I have one child with seizures, so he can never be left alone around the water. So obviously that’s a safety concern in itself," ,” Robertson said. "But, having the other child being able to swim on their own makes it to where I can be where I need to be with the one that needs it."

But it's not just kids learning how to swim.

“We had a lady who’s 87 who called us and said, ‘I never learned how to swim, I wanna learn how to swim' and we got her in," Read said. "Starting from six months going all the way up to 99 years, you’re never too old to take swim lessons."

“All four of my kids have done swimming lessons here and they love it,” says Katie Quinn. “You just never know what’s gonna happen and so I still like to keep an eye on them but it’s nice knowing that I don’t have to be in with them at all times, that they can make it.”