SWE 3rd Grade Swimming

Hosted at the local YMCA

COLUMBIA CITY, IN -- The South Whitley Elementary School's 3rd grade classes took to the water like little fish Tuesday morning. Marla Burkhart and Lorraine Kyler's students learned the importance of water safety and rules around the pool in today's swim class.

Jaleeya Winebrenner shows her freestyle form to the instructors during the first day of swim classes.

Jaleeya Winebrenner shows her freestyle form to the instructors during the first day of swim classes.


The YMCA hosts Whitley County students in their swim courses annually as a result of a grant provided to ensure all students learn to swim. According to their website: "The YMCA has a long history of teaching swim lessons. Our swim curriculum is based on extensive research, and we look forward to seeing swimmers advance quickly through the stages. Our curriculum helps each participant experience a sense of accomplishment after each lesson and build relationships with other swimmers in their class."

South Whitley and Pierceton Elementary School will attend the course for 6 weeks according to the YMCA instructors, barring any cancelations due to weather. Although, the instructors admitted that some students were so eager to continue the courses that even on a snow day, they have been known to continue swim class.

The first round of swim tests were a success. It's not about passing or failing, but knowing our strengths and weaknesses. Students encouraged one another on as they took their tests and everyone observed the no laughing at others rule.

Safety First

The students learned the basics of the pool. The basics include tasks like: learning to get dressed in their swim suits, showering before and after entering the swim area, using a locker as well as remembering where your locker is located. These tasks are simple for adults to take for granted, but to a 3rd grader, they provide a challenging new level of responsibility.

Once in the pool, the students' swimming skills were assessed to better understand their strengths and weaknesses. Based on their skill levels, the students were split into groups and assigned to instructors. Alongside of their peers, they can progress through the curriculum.

While one group of more advanced students focused on lap swimming and endurance, a second group learned how to enter the pool safely while jumping. The final group worked on exhaling out of their noses while going under water.

PES will attend classes Thursdays while SWE will attend on Tuesdays. Each year, the final class experience is reserved as a free swim where students enjoy showing off what they have learned throughout the course.

Complete course descriptions can be found here.

Learning to kick hard and kick fast while maintaining slow and steady arm strokes is all a part of the training. Students practiced blowing air out under water and taking a breath when they surfaced.