Addison uses her water safety knowledge to save her own life.

To many, swim lessons are something fun you do for your child or yourself to enjoy the summer.

To the YMCA, they are so much more. YMCA Swim School provides life-saving skills that can help in any body of water. This is why water safety is at the core of our swim lesson curriculum.

Parent’s Fear

“…I heard someone screaming for help and three of the four girls were running towards me. Addison was floating on her back and yelling for help. I immediately screamed to my daughter, Olivia, since she was closer, “Grab your sister! Grab her!” She said, “It’s too deep!”

For Victoria, these were the skills that saved her daughter’s life. Victoria wanted to share her story so that other parents can truly understand the importance of swim lessons, how they can save their child’s lives, and how quickly fun can turn into panic and fear- maybe even death.

Victoria’s Story

“My family and I were in Florida at the beach. I was in the water with my two daughters and their two friends. They were in front of me, maybe 6-8 feet away having a great time, holding hands, and jumping up and down with the waves. Prior to going in the water, I asked my friend who was at the beach the day before with his two girls, if the beach had a drop-off and he said they were out all day and the water did not drop off.

Before I knew it, I heard someone screaming for help and three of the four girls were coming towards me. Addison was floating on her back and yelling for help. I immediately screamed to my daughter, Olivia, since she was closer, “Grab your sister, grab her!” She said, “It’s  too deep!”  I panicked! I ran as fast as I could but it was so difficult to run in the water and before I knew it, I went underwater because there was indeed a drop-off. I tried to swim to her and was screaming for help at the same time.

Someone, from what seemed to be out of nowhere, came with a kickboard and handed it to Addison. I grabbed her hand, told her to kick, and did not let go. We returned to sand safely and at that moment I was grateful to God, Ms. Ellie, and the YMCA for teaching my daughter exactly what to do in this situation (which no parent wants to witness).

My advice to parents is to ensure your children learn water safety. It may seem like a sacrifice to pay, drive to, and watch lessons each week but it’s absolutely worth it. I am not happy that this happened but I can say that we all learned many lessons that day.

Ms. Ellie asked what are our goals for swimming lessons. I told her if the girls ever ended up in deep water, I wanted them to be able to save themselves. Once seated in our beach chairs and our heart rates were back to normal, I told Addison I couldn’t wait to tell Ms. Ellie because she did exactly what she taught her and that saved her life.”

More Than Just YMCA Swim School

Teaching children how to be safe around water is not a luxury; it is a necessity. The YMCA’s Swim School and Safety Around Water programs can help make sure people of all ages can learn essential water safety skills, which can open up a world of possibilities to satisfy their curiosity, safely.

Swim Lessons are offered all year round at a YMCA location near you. Find the class that is right for you at indymca.org.

Sisters Addison and Olivia enjoying the beach!

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