City pool offers fun exercise option with swim lessons

Published 10:50 am Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Beginning Wednesday through Friday, registration for the American Red Cross Learn to Swim program will be held at the Vicksburg City Pool from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon.

Sessions are held in two-week periods and are divided into six levels of experience from a level one novice to a more advanced, level six swimmer. Participants can register for one two-week session at a time, with an opportunity to sign up for additional classes upon completion of the first session.

As an exercise, swimming works every muscle in the body yielding a total-body workout with the ebb and flow of water acting as resistance increasing its difficulty to build up strength and endurance.

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“You can be a runner in the best of shape and then you get in the pool and do a couple of laps and you feel like you’re so out of shape,” said Learn to Swim program coordinator Sylvia Gurtowski. “You’re just using different muscles, you’re working different things at different times but it works all muscles and you’re working it at the same time. It’s an all around great exercise.”

Through the advancement of higher levels, swimmers can expect to learn all the strokes such as back and breast, water safety and safe swimming.

For those who’ve suffered unfortunate experiences with the water, the level one class tackles that fear. Students learn to blow bubbles and feel comfortable with the water. Once they feel comfortable and are able to put their head underwater, Gurtowski said then they are able to start the swimming process.

An intermediate level three class is focused on stroke development and learn to tread water for one minute, four different types of kicks and swim the front crawl and elementary backstroke for 15 yards.

Once completing level three and improving on strokes in level four, the advanced level five class focuses on stroke refinement and the demonstration of more safety techniques.

“Level five they learn the flip-turns, racing strokes, how to be more efficient in the water, conserve energy, fitness swimming; that’s the more advanced level,” Gurtowski said. “You can’t come in and say ‘I think I’d like to take level five,’ it doesn’t work like that. You have to start from the beginning and learn the beginning skills and each year, or session, add to that progressively.”

But it all begins with getting the swimmer to feel comfortable in and under the water, which Gurtowski said is the toughest part.

“Once they are comfortable going underwater and they hold their breath and they can blow bubbles in the water, you’d be surprised how their muscles loosen up when they are comfortable with it,” Gurtowski said. “Once they’re comfortable, you can do anything. It’s just a matter of coordination”

Registration is $12 and only requires name, date of birth, telephone number and any health concerns instructors need to be aware. Sessions begin June 6, 18 and 27. Cash or checks are the only accepted methods of payment and checks should be made out to the City of Vicksburg or the City Pool.

Those interested in the preschool class should register early as classes fill up fast. Class times are 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and a 5:45 p.m. class for the adult and preschool session.