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Swimming awareness for tots to adults

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- As the young child approaches the side of the pool, his heart begins to race. He is excited about getting ready to jump into the waiting arms of the lifeguard already in the water. Cautiously he approaches. With toes curled around the concrete edge and the smile on his face turning to concern, he wonders whether or not he should jump in. With a last minute hesitation, he jumps in with arms flaying and legs kicking. The lifeguard catches him and their swimming lesson begins. 

The 28th Bomb Wing Bellamy Fitness Center indoor swimming pool offers instructions in swimming skills, water safety and basic water rescue. As the summer months approach, now is the time to start considering attending one of these lessons, said Mrs. Cary Kelly, 28th Services Squadron aquatics supervisor. 

"We teach the American Red Cross Learn-to-Swim courses," said Mrs. Kelly. "The parent n' tots class is for ages 6 months to 5-years-old. Levels one thru six is for ages five and up. Cost is $28 and there are eight to ten lessons per sessions. There are no skills required for level one; levels two through six require exit skills from the previous level." 

Mr. Dennis Busche, 28th Services Squadron employee, registered his 5-year-old grandson, Brady Riker, into the level one course due to an incident downtown that almost cost him his life. "After Brady had this incident downtown, I talked with Mrs. Kelly and she agreed it was a good idea to get him back into the water as quickly as possible." 

"Mrs. Kelly and her staff are very patient with the kids and work with each kid on an individual basis," said Mr. Busche. "Brady is certainly not as apprehensive as he was the first day of lessons; he is definitely more comfortable in the water. 

"I highly recommend parents enroll their kids in lessons, if not here then at least somewhere else that offers these lessons. The earlier they enroll their kids, the better, you never know when something is going to happen." 

Mrs. Kelly said during the summer session the pool will be offering lessons in swimming skills instruction, water safety and basic water rescue. The sessions are scheduled for June, July and August. Exact dates and time are to be determined. 

"We usually have two lifeguards on duty during swimming lessons," said Mrs. Kelly. "Most of our instructors are lifeguard certified." 

"I would recommend all parents learn CPR," said Mr. Busche. "You never know when you may be called upon to save someone's life." 

The pool staff is always looking for new lifeguards. 

"Lifeguard training courses are usually held in the fall and spring, cost is $150," said Mrs. Kelly. "We also offer CPR and first aid courses at various times throughout the year and the cost of these courses vary based on the specifics of the class."
Basic Water Rescue courses are offered at the request of the member and the cost is $50, said Mrs. Kelly. 

The indoor pool at the Bellamy fitness center is open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. weekends and holidays. The cost for daily admission to the pool is $3 for adults and $2 for children, children 5 and younger are free. The pool offers monthly and season passes as well. For additional information, call 385-2267. 

It has been almost 40-minutes since the child jumped into the pool for his lesson. As the lifeguard supports him floating on his back around the water, his excitement has returned. The lesson is coming to a close and with great hesitation; this time its in not wanting to leave the pool, the child gets out, waves goodbye to the lifeguard and says, "I can't wait for our next lesson."