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'Learn to Swim’ program with Guilford County Schools to expand in 2016-17

In partnership with Guilford County Schools, the Greensboro Aquatic Center’s ‘Learn to Swim’ healthy lifestyle program will more than double with 19 participating Guilford County Schools.

The dramatic expansion is due to a new partnership between the Greensboro Aquatic Center (GAC), GCS, YMCA of High Point, High Point’s Wesleyan Christian Academy and YMCA of Greensboro to provide satellite locations for learn to swim instruction from GAC staff members.

“Swimming is such an important skill for our children to learn, and I’m thrilled that our students are benefitting from this program throughout the district,” said GCS Superintendent Sharon L. Contreras. “I appreciate the partnership with the Greensboro Aquatic Center and hope it will continue to grow.”

The expanded locations will enable the ‘Learn to Swim’ program to reach an additional 622 second graders from nine schools in High Point and Greensboro. This will bring the total number of Guilford County school children participating in the 2016-17 ‘Learn to Swim’ program to 1,330 second grade students.

“In my 40-some years working with children in High Point, this ‘Learn to Swim’ program is the best thing to happen,” said Guilford County school board member Ed Price. “This is a game changer for the schools and for our children. It shows great cooperative efforts between Greensboro and High Point and I am so thankful to the Greensboro Aquatic Center for bringing this great program into High Point.”

Lessons began earlier this week with students from Peck Elementary School and more than 700 second grade students from 10 schools will take part in the program at the GAC over the 2016-2017 academic year. Other scheduled participating schools include Murphey Traditional Academy, Lindley Elementary, Foust Elementary, Hunter Elementary, Brooks Global Studies School, Irving Park Elementary, Gillespie Park Elementary, Frazier Elementary and Wiley Elementary.

Expanding the program beyond the GAC will allow more than 500 students from seven High Point schools to receive lessons at the Hartley Drive Family YMCA in High Point and Wesleyan Christian Academy. Participating schools include Fairview Elementary, Kirkman Park Elementary, Montlieu Academy, Oak View Elementary, Parkview Village Elementary, Shadybrook Elementary and Johnson Street Global Studies.

“Teaching children to swim has been in the DNA of the YMCA for almost 100 years. We consider this a privilege to be a part of such a wonderful partnership in teaching over 1,000 children a lifelong skill that will save many lives.” David Ozmore, President/CEO, YMCA of High Point, whose organization has run a similar ‘Learn to Swim’ program at the Hartley Drive Family YMCA for second grade students at Oak Hill Elementary since 2013.

Expanding the program in Greensboro outside of the GAC, 119 students from Hampton Elementary and Simkins Elementary will take lessons at the Hayes-Taylor YMCA.

“Every child should be given the opportunity to learn to swim and we are thrilled to be a partner in this community effort,” said Greg Jones, President/CEO, YMCA of Greensboro.

Students in the ‘Learn to Swim’ program are taught techniques to foster a systematic progression of swimming skills that 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.

The ‘Learn to Swim’ program is privately financed by the following sponsors: The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro, YMCA, Deuterman Law Group, Summit Rotary Club, Wesleyan Christian Academy, STAR Aquatics, Swim Gear of NC, Speedo, USA Swimming, Greensboro Sports Council and SUBWAY.

Local sponsorships enable 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).

Last year, 678 students from nine Guilford County elementary schools completed the ‘Learn to Swim’ program at the GAC. To date, 2,772 local schoolchildren have graduated from the program since its inception in 2011.