COLUMBIA CITY, IN -- Pierceton Elementary 3rd grade students from Mrs. McCammon's and Mrs. Wright's classrooms visited the Whitley County YMCA Thursday for their first of 6 weeks of swim sessions. McCammon was a former swimmer in high school who competed for the Warsaw Tigers and was eager to see her students take to the water. She was a swimmer who competed in the 500 meters, 500 free-style, and 200 free-style. 500 meters in a pool is the equivalent of 20 laps or to bring that into perspective, that's like running around an entire outdoor track 1.25 times.
"Swimming has opened lots of doors for me. I knew I wanted to teach, because I taught swim lessons. I had done swim team for so many years. So swim team led to me being an instructor, and that led to me being a teacher."
- Jenni McCammon, PES 3rd Grade Teacher
There are a variety of swimmers this year at PES. Some of them are involved in the advanced classwork, however, that doesn't mean there won't be room for improvement. For other students, this is their first real chance to discover what it means to swim without a life jacket and they are eager to learn the technique.
The YMCA has a curriculum that they adhere to which includes 6 stages in total for students who are between the ages of 5 and 12 years. The stages include: Water Acclimation, Water Movement, Water Stamina, Stroke Induction, Stroke Development, and Stroke Mechanics. According to their website,
"Students within each age group are taught the same skills, but start at the stage that corresponds to their development."
The skills the students will learn are the same that the YMCA recommends for swimmers all to have around water. The students will "learn personal water safety and achieve basic swimming competency." During the first 3 stages, students are essentially learning the fundamentals of swimming. The latter portion of their training will focus on building their stroke technique and improving their stamina while in the water.
"The success that they see when they are not able to swim, and by the end of the session or the end of the time when they are actually able to swim on their own, how their eyes light up and they say they did it, is a great feeling. And passing that on to kids is really cool! It opens a lot of doors. Because maybe that will be their job, maybe that will be their love, that will be their sport. But at least it's introducing them to a sport they've never done," said McCammon.