By JASON GREENBERG
The first pool dedicated specifically to teaching adults to swim is slated to open in Sarasota, Florida April 16, 2016. Forty-six percent of American adults cannot swim because they are fearful in deep water.
An afraid-in-water adult is one who cannot rest peacefully for five minutes in water over his/her head and at least ten feet from any wall or support.
“There is such a vast need for good adult swimming classes nation- and world-wide that a dedicated location is overdue,” according to M. Ellen Dash, CEO of Miracle Swimming for Adults, Inc., (MSA) in Sarasota, Florida, a swim school for adults since 1983 which will open and operate the pool. “There is no other place where adults can reliably overcome their fear of water and learn to swim in two to three weeks.”
The overwhelming need for good adult swimming lessons—those that meet the student’s needs—stems from two sources: a history of conventional lessons that make strokes the goal instead of confidence, and frightening experiences in water which have not been overcome. Eighty percent of American drownings are by adults (CDC 2015). If adults learn to swim, chances are higher that whole families can be safe in water.
To teach all 109 million afraid-in-water adults in the U.S.–a statistic from a 1998 Gallup Poll–would take forty-four years if each city with a population over 100,000 had five locations teaching MSA’s specialized classes eleven months per year. Three licensed instructors would be needed at each pool.
Planners say the pool will be open for annual memberships. Membership fees will be applied to pool maintenance. Members may sign up for local programming, which will include Beginning classes for adults, freestyle and pre-masters-swimming classes, lessons for expecting parents, classes for parents to learn to teach their children to swim, “Sink and Swim” lessons for sinkers, backyard pool safety classes and lessons for children and teens to prevent them from becoming adults who are afraid in water.
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