World’s largest swim lesson helps keep kids afloat

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NEW HANOVER COUNTY (WWAY) — As we dive into summer, are area children ready for fun in the sun? With the help of the Nir Family YMCA, they will be.

The YMCA partnered with Waves of Wilmington swim team to offer kids across New Hanover County free swim lessons. It’s all apart of 12th annual international event, the World’s Largest Swim Lesson.

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For 11-year-old Tamya Marks, nerves and excitement were high.

“I feel like I’m going to drown,” she said anxiously.
“I don’t even know how to swim,” said one nine-year-old named Major. “I’m so excited to get in the pool because its been so hot.”

But Thursday was more than just a spray-cation.

In a city surrounded by water, YMCA branch manager, Shannon Berg says a surprising amount of kids lack basic swimming skills and resources.

“We’re surrounded by coastal region of water everywhere in Wilmington,” Berg explained. “The most important thing is making sure people have access to pools, and making sure kids feel comfortable and confident getting in the water.”

“If you want to go to the beach all the time, you’ve got to learn how to swim,” 12-year-old Brianna Cuffe stated. “And if there’s rip currents, you’ve got to know how to get out of it.”

Drowning is still one of the leading causes of unintended injury related deaths for children under 14. Berg hopes these lessons will help kids swim instead of sink.

According to Berg, “When you build confidence and give kids opportunity to experience the water, and help them float on their back, and help them understand if you fall in the water, here’s the skills to get to an area safely. That’s going to impact our region.”

Volunteers worked together to help Cape Fear kids just keep swimming.

Though most lessons have wrapped up for the day, one is still happening from 4-7:30 pm at the Nir Family YMCA Pool.