JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional death in the United States. A swimming program in Jackson is now working to reduce those risks.
Ella Baylis admits that she regrets not knowing how to swim.
“I was one who had a bad incident when I was small. I need to learn how to swim,” she said.
Baylis says when she heard a low-cost summer swimming program was taking place at the city pool in Jackson, she signed up her grandchild and two nieces.
“I have a 6-year-old and 8-year-old and 10-year-old, and they love the water," said Baylis. "But I didn’t trust them in the water, so I thought they need to learn how to swim.”
This is the second year state representative Ronnie Crudup Jr. and New Horizon Ministries has offered the classes to both children and adults.
“Part of this is I having access to swimming pools. In our communities, we just don’t have a lot of access on our side, and there is a fear of stigma from parents they can’t swim, so they don’t want their children to sometimes swim," said Representative Crudup. “We want to change that stigma, but also make sure the kids can see that it is fun and safe.”
The lifeguards couldn’t agree more. They say when you learn proper swimming techniques, you build endurance, get the heart rate up and the water safety skills could also help save your life.
“If they were to get thrown in any reservoir or ocean, they will be able to survive whether it’s treading, rolling over on their backs, rolling over on their fronts, doing front crawls. They would be able to do that,” said lifeguard Iasia Collins.
Representative Crudup said, “Swimming is a fun activity, but it’s also a skill to learn how to do. There are scholarships available in college for swimming. There are also other opportunities that are available for children that know how to swim."
For more information you can call 601-398-6403.