Thursday, May 5, 2011

Learn to Swim at Area Pools!

I worked as a preschool teacher a number of years ago in Lebanon and each summer we would take some of our students to the Lebanon Memorial Pool for their swim lessons. It was so much fun to get the kids ready for this activity and to hang out and watch my students play in the water with their swim teachers. Not a bad way to spend a summer work day!

There are a number of pools in the Upper Valley that offer swim lessons to local children. The CCBA in Lebanon is one of them. CCBA program director Marie Dumont said she believes the summer swim lessons have been going on since the Witherell Recreation Center opened. The program is through the American Red Cross learn to swim program, and the groups are broken up based on levels and abilities, not ages, and taught by Red Cross certified Water Safety instructors. In this class the students learn to swim and dive.

Week day group lessons aren't the only option at CCBA! There are group lessons on weekends as well, and private or semi private lessons.

“We have an instructor for anyone,” Marie said, “babies, kids, kids who are scared, adults, adults who are scared, triathlon athletes.  I've had adults who are in tears or almost in tears on the first day of class.”

Marie said these adults simply never learned to swim as children, or may have had a near drowning experience in the past. I was lucky enough to be enrolled at the Lyme Pond Program, where I was taught to swim as a child. I don't even remember not knowing how. I think if I were my age now and had never learned I would be petrified of water. I do hope, however, that I would be as brave and willing to challenge myself as many of Marie's adult students.

“Within the session they are swimming. Some jumping in the deep end or jumping off the diving board,” Marie said, “One lady, in her 70's, learned to swim and then wanted to dive in the deep end... she did, the look of accomplishment!”

For more information on swim lessons at CCBA, and to sign up, go to

In Hanover the Storrs Pond pool will also be hosting American Red Cross swim and water safety lessons with certified swim instructors.  Children will learn safety skills, and swim strokes such as the front crawl, back crawl, side stroke, butterfly (I loved that one! Always made me laugh when I was a swim student!), breast stroke, elementary backstroke, treading water, and calling 911 and what to do in an emergency. They will learn beginning diving skills and many important safety tips for being in the water.

The programs are for all ages, six-month to two year olds can attend with a parent, and there will be two groups of preschoolers (three and four-year- olds and four and five-year-olds). Leveled instruction begins at five-years-old. Just like at the CCBA, children can advance through levels as they gain skills.

Storrs pond has been offering swim lessons since the late 30's or early 40's Missie Rodriguez is in her eighteenth year as the swim program director! That's a pretty strong history. Missie told me something that I think is pretty cool about the Storrs Pond Pool. It is heated! That is my only complaint about my home pool. It would be so much easier to enjoy if it weren't so cold!!! Brrrr.

To learn more about the Storrs Pond Pool program or sign up please go to

In Hartford the Upper Valley Aquatic Center is offering lessons that will get your kids good and wet as well. UVAC teaches swim lessons in stations, and like the other programs mentioned in this blog, groups children together based on ability, not age. Kids can start the program when they are five, and the oldest swimmers are 12.

“We provide the cutting edge lesson program that uses a step by step progression from station to station,” said Learn to Swim program director Molly Nygaard Duke. “The unique concept allows each participant the opportunity to advance as ability allows so, once a child reaches the achievement goals at each station, they are free to move to the next station within the session.”

The first station focuses on breath control, the next station is on body balance, followed by kicking fundamentals. In station four they add arms.

Our water is always warm for a great learning environment - no shivering children!  We also have a roof that is opened in the summer time when weather permits,” Molly said.

For more information on swim lessons at UVAC go to

The Lebanon Memorial Pool starts lessons with children at six months old to two years, and the classes focus on teaching the parents how to work with their children in the water in their American Red Cross program. Older children have water safety skills intermingled in with the swim skill lessons they are learning.

“We also Host Camp Kaleidoscope for swimming lessons and fun in the water... these are not officially American Red Cross lessons but we do teach and coach age appropriate swimming skills for this group,”said Patricia Murray of the Lebanon Recreation Department.

Patricia has some history at the pool. The swim lessons began in 1949, and her mother is the only living former staff member/ life guard that was working during the first season. In fact, after repairs were completed and the pool was reopened in 2002, Patricia's mother helped her cut the ribbon at the opening.

The pool was built as a memorial to WWII Veterans. Patricia said they are very proud of representing the men and women who have served our country in the past, and still do today.

There is another distinction that sets the Lebanon Memorial Pool apart from some of the others featured in this posts that I find especially funny.

We are notorious for the "cold water"... Old pool as well as new pool... so I don't know if we are 'proud' of that but definitely notorious,” Patricia said.

For information on registering for lessons at the Lebanon Memorial Pool go to

This post was written by our bi-weekly guest contributor, Anna Super.  Anna is a freelance writer, taking on projects as varied as magazine stories to entertain readers, and copy writing projects that help businesses and organizations connect their products and services to their customers. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in journalism from Keene State College, and was a staff reporter at the former newspapers The Connecticut Valley Spectator and the Argus Champion. Anna can be reached at

1 comment:

Melissa said...

I just went on the Lebanon City website and the Lebanon Memorial swim lessons start at age 3, not 6 months.