EL CENTRO, Calif. - During the hot summer months many people take to the pool to keep cool, but if you don’t take the proper safety precautions, swimming can be very dangerous.
News 11 spoke to officials in El Centro to see how the USA Swimming Foundation is helping with costs to educate the community on swim safety.
“We have our beginner levels, our intermediate and then we have our skill advancement. And with our beginners we teach them all about water safety, how to be completely safe, and comfortable, and confident in the water. Because when there is no confidence in the water, that's when the fear sets in and the drowning happens,” said Rebecca Corfman, Pool Manager.
“The USA Swimming Foundation was kind of like a connection with the LA 84, they told us about it and we went ahead and applied, and I know they put in about 200 applications and 114 applicants were chosen. We were one of the ones that were chosen for the grant,” said Patricia Urena, Recreation Supervisor for City of El Centro.
With this grant the city is able to help families lower the cost of swim lessons or expense the cost all together, the ultimate goals being able to educate and prevent drownings.
“The city of El Centro has made this a priority not only to teach children how to swim, but also provide them an education when it comes to public safety and when it comes to the surrounding canals,” said Alex Cardenas, Mayor of the city of El Centro.
Canal safety is highly stressed in Imperial County and swim coaches are briefed and trained to educate their swimmers.
“I always tell the kids and we always educate them on, pools are cooler than canals and you never want to go in a canal, so we teach them all the water safety and fun little cool sayings about that,” added Corfman.
El Centro received $2,500 from the USA Swimming Foundation this summer. The cost of swim lessons can be expensive at $45 per class, per person. But with other grants and scholarships the city is able to help.
“The funding that we received has actually helped us provide one week sessions for $10, and parents are really happy about that because some parents have about four kids, so for $40 you can get four kids out here to learn how to swim,” explained Urena.
“Being able to teach children to swim, especially in an environment that we have here in our county is an absolute priority because people get an education in terms of what are the rights and wrongs when it comes to swimming,” added Cardenas.
Unfortunately this week is the last week of swim lessons in El Centro, but the city will continue to provide grants and scholarships next year.
For more information on swim safety swim lessons you can visit http://www.cityofelcentro.org/parkandrec/.