Swim School Focuses on Saving Lives in MoCo (Video)
UPDATED: Drowning is the number one cause of accidental death for children under 5-years-old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In order to combat this statistic, British Swim School has taken to the waves, teaching children through their Montgomery County locations not just how to swim, just how to survive.
MyMCMedia’s Valerie Bonk has more on how the school is bringing life-saving skills to local children.
With the drowning of a 14-year-old girl at the Oakfield Apartments off of Georgian Woods Place in Glenmont last month and recent rescues at other pools in Montgomery County this summer swim season, parents say they’re looking for the chance to give their children skills in knowing what to do when they’re in the water purposely or accidentally.
“It makes me more comfortable knowing that if anything were to happen they could swim in the water and it makes them more comfortable as to not be scared of the sounds of the waves or just the water itself,” said Jasmine Siemon a Germantown resident who children attend swim lessons with British Swim School.
“It gives me peace of mind,” said Tori Nicodemus, a Potomac resident whose son attends British Swim School. “My parents live on the water, they have a dock and you know of course the kids wear life vests but it’s always nice to know that if for one second I take my eyes off of them and they happen to be near water that they can get themselves to the edge and get out on their own,” she said.
British Swim School, an international water survival program was brought to Montgomery County in 2009 and has grown significantly over the past five years from one pool and close to 500 students, to eleven pools and more than 1,200 students.
And with pool time hard to come by in Montgomery County, especially in the summer, British Swim School has partnered with local hotels like Courtyard Marriott in Rockville to bring its swim lessons to the community.
“Hotels have large periods of time when they’re not open to the public and we find that partnering with them, it does bring an income for their hotel but it also gives us access to the pools during non business hours,” said Rona Fitzgerald, Business Development Manager for British Swim School. “It seems to work out very well for us rather than owning and maintaining our own pool.”
And for the staff, it’s all about keeping the next generation safe.
“It’s heartbreaking to see or hear of a story of a child or any person in a drowning event,” said Bonnie Alcid, owner of British Swim School of Montgomery County. “There are measures that anyone can take to help themselves or help somebody else learn how to be safe in the water, take swim lessons. It doesn’t have to be with British Swim School, anybody should learn how to swim. It’s a life skill, it’s a lifesaving skill,” she said.
Correction: A previous version of this article stated the wrong name of the pool where a 14-year-old-girl drowned last month. It has been corrected.