Swim safety programs fill up as the warm weather approaches

WORCESTER, Mass. — The safety lesson at the British Swim School in Worcester begins before the kids even enter the water.

“What about safety? Should we go in the water without anybody else knowing we are going into the water,” asked a swim instructor. The kids all yelled out: “No! "

“I think it’s very important for them to learn a survival skill like learning how to swim,” said Lindsay Donohoe, a parent from Millbury.

With warm weather coming Donohoe wants her kids to know what to do if they accidentally fall into the water.

“We have a pool so I want them to know to be able to do – God forbid if they are ever alone at a lake or the ocean,” said Donohoe.

These kids not only learned but understood what they were learning.

“We learned to not go in the water without a parent,” said Schuyler Finnerty who is excited to begin the new survival class.

And so is her younger sister Charlotte. She tells Boston 25 she’s learning a lot! “How to save myself and rescue someone,” she said.

Danny Bolivar is one of the owners and she says their #1 mission is safety.

“We teach water survival first, then we teach you how to swim,” said Bolivar who is a co-owner of the British Swim School.

She says that every six weeks they offer survival weeks which are open to anyone to practice what to do in an emergency.

“So the kids have to float, swim in their clothing, call for help,” said Bolivar.

The kids love it and it gives parents that extra sense of security.

“One of the first things they learn is to hold on to the wall. It’s called monkey walking. The kids don’t realize they’re learning how to save themselves to get to the edge,” said Jennifer Finnerty who says her daughters have been part of the swim program since it started.

According to Mass.gov in 2021, there were 58 unintentional drowning deaths in Massachusetts and 11 of those were children ages 1-17.

And since 2021 the state offers free swim lessons for kids across the state every spring through the end of June.

The British Swim School is one of them.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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