On a mission to ensure “not one more child drowns,” Lake Mary’s J. Douglas Williams YMCA is dedicated to offering high-quality drowning-prevention programs and water-safety classes for children as young as six months.
“Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in children under age four, but it is also one of the most preventable when proven water-safety techniques are introduced at a young age,” explains Traci Patterson, aquatics director at the Y. “Our classes are designed to give children the best chance of handling an emergency situation while also teaching them how to appreciate and enjoy the water in a safe way.”
Offering private and group swimming lessons eight months a year in its outdoor, heated pool, the J. Douglas Williams YMCA provides local families access to affordable programs that are based on nationally-recognized curricula, including Safe Start, which was developed as a collaborative effort of Infant Swimming Resource, Dr. Phillips Charities, and the YMCA of Central Florida.
Focused on drowning prevention, Safe Start lessons are designed for one-on-one interaction between a child and the instructor and feature self-rescue techniques including rolling and back floating. The YMCA also offers parent/child lessons that take place in a group setting with the primary goal of encouraging the child to become comfortable in the water.
“From infant lessons that focus on survival swimming to water acclimation, stroke development, and endurance, we ensure children of all ages – and adults – learn the proper techniques of swimming in progressive stages,” Traci says. “Additionally, as part of our commitment to the community to provide access to our water-safety programs, the YMCA offers scholarships for families without the financial means to pay for swim lessons.”
The J. Douglas Williams YMCA aquatics program also includes water fitness classes, lap swimming, seasonal splash ball (introductory water polo skills), and water polo groups with competitive opportunities for children age 12 to 18.
“Our year-round recreational and competition-level swim teams are also open to local residents,” Traci adds. “The YMCA of Central Florida competitive team, the YCF Storm, is available at most pools in our region, including the Lake Mary location.The team is divided into various practice groups based on age, ability, and commitment in order to offer the best options for every swimmer. We offer swim team placement trials the fourth Monday of every month at 5:00 p.m. to determine if swimmers are recreational or competition-team ready.”
To schedule swimming lessons or to learn more about the aquatics programs offered at the J. Douglas Williams YMCA, call 407-321-8944.