Learn to Swim Program Debuts in September

Guilford County Schools (GCS) and the Greensboro Aquatic Center (GAC) are partnering to develop a curriculum-based Learn to Swim healthy lifestyle program that will debut this fall.

Second-grade students at two schools in close proximity to the GAC, Peck Elementary and Murphey Traditional Academy, will be offered the opportunity to participate in the inaugural year of the program beginning on Sept. 19.

"Learning to swim is an essential life skill we want to make sure our students acquire while they are still young," said Superintendent Maurice "Mo" Green. "We appreciate this opportunity as some of our students might not learn to swim without it. The program will also build character traits, such as courage and perseverance, and equip our students with knowledge that will protect them throughout their lives."

Students in the Learn to Swim program will receive instruction, both in the GAC's "wet" classrooms and in the 25-yard warm up pool, and will be taught techniques to foster a systematic progression of swimming skills that will maximize their development over a series of ten 40-minute classes. The skills gained in the Learn to Swim program are not only potentially life-saving, but will also help students develop a physically active lifestyle, improve overall health and fitness and expose them to additional swimming opportunities and other aquatic related activities.

"When the concept of the Greensboro Aquatic Center was first being discussed, the development of a Learn to Swim curriculum in association with the Guilford County Schools was one of the cornerstone programs we sought to establish," said Greensboro Coliseum managing director Matt Brown. "This program is a prime example of how the Greensboro Aquatic Center will benefit everyone in our community."

Overseeing the Learn to Swim program will be GAC manager Susan Braman. During her tenure at the Swimming Hall of Fame Pool Complex in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Braman developed a highly acclaimed 'Learn to Swim' program that provided lessons to ages 5 and above in a variety of Red Cross programs for more than 2,000 city youth on an annual basis.

"I have seen firsthand the myriad benefits that a Learn to Swim program can have on a community and we're excited to bring such a wonderful opportunity to students at Guilford County Schools," said Braman. "We hope to grow the number of participating schools each year until we are instructing every second-grader in this county how to learn to swim."

The Learn to Swim program is being privately financed by a Learn to Swim fund established by The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro through the leadership efforts of local supporters of the project. The Learn to Swim fund at The Community Foundation enables the Greensboro Aquatic Center to contract with certified learn to swim instructors, provide transportation for students between schools and the Greensboro Aquatic Center and provide participating students with the use of a swimsuit and goggles (if needed).

"This groundbreaking program will have an enormous positive impact on the entire Greensboro community," said Walker Sanders, president of The Community Foundation of Greensboro. "In doing so, the program will not only educate our children but help save lives, too."