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Swimming lessons offered to Georgetown children

April 14, 2009

Coastal Carolina University and the Georgetown County School District are teaming up to offer free swimming lessons this summer to children whose inability to swim might put them in danger in this coastal area.

This collaborative effort in aquatic education was precipitated by the recent drowning of three Sandy Island residents, according to Gibson Darden, interim dean of the University's Spadoni College of Education and director of the School of Health, Kinesiology and Sport Studies. Darden says that the lessons will be held at the University during the summer due to the availability of the University facility and the scarcity of indoor pools in Georgetown County.

The 40 children are in fourth- through ninth-grades and are being identified by the school district, which will provide transportation to the University's Conway campus. The lessons will be taught by Coastal Carolina University students who are trained water safety instructors, and the indoor regulation-size pool at the University's Williams-Brice Recreation Center will be used for the Saturday morning lessons.

"It's a win-win situation," Darden says of the pilot program. "This broad-based curriculum of aquatic education teaches young people necessary skills at varying levels of readiness, it gives our Coastal students hands-on experience, and it provides a much needed community service." Darden is seeking community businesses that might be willing to sponsor the children for swimwear and/or lunch during the program.

"I'm very thankful for Coastal Carolina University coming forward to assist in offering swimming lessons to our students who otherwise would not have had access," said Randy Dozier, superintendent of schools, Georgetown County School District.

Coastal Carolina University is also working with the new Georgetown County YMCA aquatic facility to help train its staff and instructors to deliver swimming instruction to younger age children.