Third-graders at Kalmiopsis Elementary School splashed and squealed in excitement as they bobbed their heads, practiced streamlines, swam on their backs and learned to swim freestyle at the Brookings Municipal Pool this past week.
Instructor Kaylee Kocher helps Trinity Gutierrez learn the right way to kick her feet. The Pilot/Charlie Kocher
The Kalmiopsis students were participating in a week of swim lessons sponsored by the Rotary Club of Brookings-Harbor.
“It’s magic,” Rotary club member Charlie Kocher said.
He said it’s amazing to see how kids progress from clinging to the wall Monday morning to being comfortable in the water during the play day on Friday.
A small group of volunteers and paid instructors taught both beginning and more advanced swimmers breathing and stroke technique.
The students also were given ample time to jump off of the diving board and into the deep end of the pool.
Before this week’s lessons, the students were taught about water safety in the classroom.
Third-graders Tarin Hargrove, Breanna Steveson, Ashanti Franks and Cayla Kennedy enjoyed the week in the pool.
“I love the swim lessons,” Hargrove said. “It’s fun doing lessons before summer swim lessons start and stuff, and it’s fun hanging out with friends.”
Her favorite part of lessons is swimming back and forth across the pool and jumping off of the diving board, she said.
The lessons are “fun. I didn’t know how to swim and I’m learning how,” Steveson said.
She likes jumping into the deep end.
“I think they’re really fun,” Franks said. “I like swimming in the deep end.”
Her favorite part is jumping off the sides of the pool.
“I think it’s really fun,” Kennedy said. “I just like swimming and learning how to swim because I haven’t known how to swim for a long time.”
Kennedy likes jumping into the pool.
The lessons were started three years ago. The first two years of lessons were paid for by the Wild Rivers Ducky Derby, Kocher said.
Kocher’s daughter, Kaylee Kocher, thought of the idea while working at the pool.
She mentioned it would be cool to have the derby pay to have every third-grader have a week in the water.
Red Cross water safety materials were bought, and the idea came to fruition.
“It’s just too cool,” Charlie Kocher said.