The Silverthorne Pulse The Silverthorne Pulse

Community News from the Heart of Summit County

Second Grade Swim Teaches Water Safety and Life Skills

Published February 20, 2020
Kids in a swimming lesson

Learning to swim is an important part of childhood and an essential life skill. For the last six years, the Silverthorne Recreation Center has been offering a free program to all second graders on this side of Summit County to make sure that they succeed in life around the water. Second-grade students at Silverthorne, Dillon Valley, Summit Cove, and Frisco Elementary schools can participate in this important program, providing students with a way to enhance their existing swim skills in a fun and safe environment.

Each year during the second semester of the school year, second-grade swim begins at the Silverthorne Recreation Center. Dedicated swim instructors serve over 80 children in two three-week sessions in January and February. Each child gets to participate in one session, with one swim lesson a week for three weeks. The program, which is completely free to all second graders at the affiliated elementary schools, is paid for by the Town of Silverthorne’s general fund.

Emphasis on Water Safety

Over the course of three lessons, students learn about important water safety topics like general safety in an aquatic environment, how to help save a friend and safety around our local waterways in Summit County. For example, self-save techniques for frozen water surfaces such as ponds and lakes is taught and is an important lesson, especially living in our mountain community.  

Pool Program Specialist, Suzanna Barth, highlights the importance of learning water safety and basic swim skills. “In three lessons we can give kids concepts around water safety and self-saving techniques that can help save their life or a friend.”

“It’s a really good thing, kids get great experience to better themselves or learn new skills and water safety is emphasized in every lesson,” says Aquatics Coordinator Paul Kulik.

Over 500 Kids Served

The second-grade swim program began in 2014 as a continuation of the Summit School District’s previous Winter Rec program and has since provided over 500 second-graders with free swim lessons. Staff at the Silverthorne Recreation Center thought it was important that children in Summit County have a way to access free swim lessons to learn water safety, so the program was created to continue to offer swim lessons to students.

Suzanna states that over 80% of the children in the second-grade swim program come in at a beginner level, so giving them the opportunity to take three free lessons really helps them gain comfort around the water as they adjust to a new environment and learn fundamental water skills. “It’s amazing to see the moments when it clicks for the kids. Every lesson they are having a water breakthrough and discovering how awesome being around the water is.”

Continuing to Learn

Suzanna says that the second-grade swim program is a wonderful way to introduce parents and children to swimming, water safety and life around water. The free program gives families a great place to understand the importance of water safety and swim lessons, with an opportunity to continue learning and swimming with the many opportunities the Silverthorne Recreation Center offers, from beginner lessons all the way to a competitive swim team.