Swim Lessons Just Got even Better


The Y is the standard when it comes to group swimming lessons since we began them in 1906 and we continue to lead in this area. In 2016, Erin Shaw, who is currently the Executive Director of the Pat Jones YMCA, became Y-USA Swim Lesson Faculty. Because of her involvement in the development of new curriculum, our Bolivar facility was able to pilot a completely new way of teaching swimming lessons last year. Now in 2017 those lessons have been rolled out nationwide

What is different?

The fish names we used to use for different swimming levels—like pike, eel and ray, have been eliminated. Research and interviews revealed that students had trouble translating them into clear understanding of ability. They have been replaced with a fresh way of looking at skills. When children can verbalize and demonstrate a skill they know they have mastered, they and their families are more confident that they are progressing. Swim starters begin with water acclimation and water movement. From there skills are added, like how to submerge and how to perform a water exit. Swim skills are then followed by introduction of strokes, development of strokes and stroke mechanics.

At the Y, we believe swimming is a life skill that everyone should have. Careful recruitment, education and training of aquatics staff is an investment that makes the communities we serve better.

The Ozarks Regional YMCA encourages children and parents in our community to explore the many benefits of swimming, while also keeping safety top of mind. In Y swim programs, participants can enjoy water sports, enhance or learn new techniques, meet new friends and develop confidence, while also learning safety skills that can save lives.

“Swimming is not only a fun, healthy activity, but an important life skill for all children,” said Erin Shaw, Executive Director, Pat Jones YMCA. “Learning basic water safety skills is a great introduction to the world of swimming that often continues with swim lessons and competitive swim programs, and can even lead to a career.”

In addition to learning lifesaving water safety skills, children can increase their physical activity by swimming. Swimming also motivates children to strive for self-improvement, teaches goal orientation and cultivates a positive mental attitude and high self-esteem. It also teaches life lessons of sport and sportsmanship, so that children can learn how to work well with teammates and coaches and how to deal with winning and losing.

As a leading nonprofit committed to youth development, the Y has been a leader in providing swim lessons and water safety for more than 129 years. The Ozarks Regional YMCA continues to help youth and adults experience the joy and benefits of swimming, so they can be healthy, confident and secure in the water. There are a variety of programs to choose from, including swim lessons, family swim, and competitive swimming teams. To ensure that everyone has an opportunity to participate, financial assistance is available to those in need to help cover the costs.

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