According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the highest cause of death in children ages one to four is drowning. One of the most devastating things about this fact is that it is 100% preventable. Learning how to swim at an early age will help ensure that your children stay safe when around the water. It is inevitable that your child will find themself in a position where they are participating in aquatic activities. When this time comes, whether it’s on a beach during a family vacation, in a swimming pool, or even just taking a bath, the ability to swim will potentially save their life.
It is inherently easier to learn how to swim at a young age, because the brain hasn’t had the time to build up any fear surrounding water. The older you get, the more time the fear of water has to fester. It is recommended that kids start learning how to swim between the ages of one to four years old. SwimRVA’s Swim School focuses on teaching people of all ages how to swim using a seven-station system. One of the recent graduates, Kellan Yosay, passed all seven stations at just four years old!
Nora Yosay, Kellan’s mother, started swimming competitively when she was six years old. “I enjoyed it and wanted to keep getting better,” Nora stated. “My mother was a swimmer too and seeing her get excited got me excited.” Due to Nora’s experience as a young swimmer herself, once she saw the potential that her son had, she immediately introduced him to swimming lessons. “I noticed pretty quickly that Kellan was coachable and had potential. We got excited together and wanted to see what he could do.”
Going through the SwimRVA Swim School allows for Kellan to explore his athletic options that he could potentially participate in as he continues to grow. Other than Swim School, SwimRVA also offers different participate in as he continues to grow. Other than Swim School, SwimRVA also offers different aquatic sports options such as swim team, water polo, and artistic swimming. Now that Kellan has passed all seven of the stations, he now has these options available to him. “Kellan is naturally competitive and has great self-determination. I hope both those two things will take him as far as he wants in swimming, school and life.” Here at SwimRVA, we focus not only on teaching the basics of swimming, but also on character development and relationship building.
The relationship built between student and instructor is incredibly important to the learning experience, especially when it comes to swimming. There needs to be a level of trust that the swimmer has to put in the instructor when working in the water. Kellan worked primarily with Coach Devin Shea during his lessons. “[A positive relationship between instructor and student] is vital,” stated Coach Devin. “Kids are going to be really nervous. You’re a new person who has them in an uncomfortable situation of being in the water.” Throughout his time at SwimRVA, Kellan began to look up to Devin as a source of motivation and trust. “The biggest thing is: be a friendly face, be there to support them, learn their names, learn what they want to get out of the program, because now they trust you.” During Kellan’s lessons, Devin has seen immense improvement in Kellan’s already skilled swimming. When he enrolled into SwimRVA Swim School, Kellan was already an excellent freestyler, but since then he has developed great technique as he worked hard to perfect the four strokes. “To see his swimming change from just a doggy paddle to full strokes has been really exciting.”
Kellan’s swimming journey has been beneficial in many ways. “We started swimming so that Kellan would be safe around the water. Once we saw that he had potential, we started lessons,” Nora stated. Living in Richmond allows for many aquatic opportunities due to the James River cutting right through the city. Along with these opportunities, it also is a source of danger for children who don’t know how to swim. When asked why it was important for Nora to start Kellan swimming at such a young age, she noted that she believes that every child should possess those skills. Being comfortable around water, especially when living in an area that is surrounded by water, will not only open up opportunities, but will ensure the safety of the community.