LaGRANGE, Ga. (WRBL) – As the number of swimmers rises because of the summer, a Troup County swim instructor centers her lessons around safety. The Troup County Parks and Recreation Facility Manager, JJ Kuerzi, has been teaching swimming lessons in the community for about 13 years. Her classes focus on the importance of safety in the water.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every day about ten people die from unintentional drowning. On average, two of those are children ages 14 or younger.
“I can teach them to be safe and knowledgeable around the pool so each lesson we start with a safety lesson and today’s lesson was how to recognize an emergency and what to do in an emergency so we start each lesson with the safety aspect and then we work on ways to be safe in or around the pool as well as our swimming skills,” said Kuerzi.
Kuerzi said she has always had a high number of students enrolled in the swimming lessons. However, this year the number of students on the waitlist grew rapidly because the swimming lessons were cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She has had up to 50 kids on a waitlist hoping to enroll in swimming lessons.
The Troup County Parks and Recreation swimming lessons are held two months out of the year in June and July. Due to the high volume of kids wanting to enroll Kuerzi had to add an additional afternoon class.
During the swimming lessons the kids are taught skills like recognizing equipment that they can grab if they are in danger like a pole or cooler. They are also taught to be aware of their surroundings.
“We emphasize never swimming alone. We emphasize looking before you get into a pool, being aware of your surroundings and making sure you have the proper safety equipment around. We try and give them things to use as safety devices when they’re not in or around a pool that has all the equipment they need,” said Kuerzi.
Troup County local, Amber Alford, enrolled her son Camden in the swimming lessons for a second time. She wanted to make sure he grasped the safety concepts thoroughly.
“I think it’s very important for him to be in swimming lessons because it is a life skill that he needs to obtain. He needs to be comfortable with the water. We like to get in water to have fun but it’s also important to mentally be calm in the water and just enjoy swimming,” said Alford.
Alford intends to continue enrolling her son in the lessons so he can continue to get comfortable in the water.