Recreation department offering swimming lessons

Published 12:08 pm Sunday, May 27, 2007

As everyone gears up for the official start of summer, the Natchez Recreation Department is doing its part to promote an official summer activity — swimming.

Beginning June 11, Natchez swim team coach Tammy Whittington, along with members of the Natchez swim team will be teaching swimming classes for children ages 6-13 at the Natchez Senior Citizen Center swimming pool. Classes will run from June 11-14, and June 18-21. Registration will be Thursday, June 7 from 5-6 p.m., and costs $20 per week per child.

This is the third year Whittington has taught the class and the 18th year she has served as the Natchez swim team coach. She said being able to swim is something everybody should know how to do.

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“Swimming is a form of exercise you can do all your life, and I personally think it is the best aerobic and anaerobic exercise you can do,” she said. “Plus it is low impact.”

Whittington said she likes the program because it is a good opportunity to teach children how to swim and to teach them water safety. Her only complaint is that Natchez does not have a public pool.

“I just wish the city had a public pool where children could practice the skills we try to teach them.”

Whittington said the center’s pool is a nice facility, but it is better for adults. The tiled pool is slick and the acoustics make teaching difficult. That is the reason the class is not offered to children under six, she said.

“I like to start children swimming at age four and a half or five because they have not learned fear yet. They are eager to learn and eager to please at that age, so I like that,” Whittington said.

And while Whittington does not give private lessons, she recommends that parents interested in teaching their children to swim should seek instruction from a certified water safety instructor and not a lifeguard.

On the other hand, Whittington said the city’s lack of a public swimming pool should not stop anyone from learning how to swim because opportunities exist like the lessons offered by the Natchez Recreation Department and through the Natchez swim team.

“Find somebody certified and go for it,” Whittington said. “Everybody needs to know how to swim.”