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Keeping Madison Swimmers Safe – at the Pool & Beaches

Thousands of children and families are expected to descend upon the Goodman Pool and Madison beaches this summer, and keeping them safe is a shared mission of some local community organizations.  According to Brad Weisinger, manager of the Goodman Pool, the Goodman Pool serves more than 4500 swimmers each season, with many more swimming at Madison’s ten beaches.  Each summer they anticipate an estimated 100 rescues, many of those deep water rescues at both the beach and pool.  This number however reflects a significant decrease, thanks to efforts of organizations such as the Madison Parks Foundation, Madison Parks Goodman Pool, The Irwin A. and Robert D. Goodman Foundation and the Shelley Glover Foundation, whose organizations have worked to provide funding for children’s swim lessons.  The Shelley Glover Foundation and Goodman Foundation went even further to launch a community partnership with the Goodman Pool to create the Goodman Pool Waves in 2011, the first summer public swim team in Madison.

Weisinger notes, “When the pool opened in 2006, we had approximately 300 rescues per season.”  That’s why Weisinger and his staff encourage swim lessons, and organizations such as the Goodman Foundation, Shelley Glover Foundation, and Madison Parks Foundation are committed to making them accessible and affordable for more Madison children.  Says Weisinger, “As more children take swim lessons they learn stroke development as well as water safety.  Those who join the Goodman Waves swim team have the added benefit of team practices that also build strength, endurance and technique.”  Adds Carmella Glover, Shelley Glover Foundation president, “Besides promoting safety and swimming skills, we are so pleased to partner with Goodman Pool so more children can reap the health benefits of swimming and simply experience the joy of summer swimming.”

In 2012, Madison Parks also started offering swim lessons at several beaches.  This year already more than 150 kids are signed up for lessons at Esther Beach as well as Olbrich and Warner beaches.   Weisinger says, “For kids who swim at the beaches, it is important to have lessons that help swimmers gain understanding about respecting their barriers and surroundings.  There is no pool ledge for them to grab onto.”  The lifeguards employed by Madison Parks have both waterfront (beach) and waterpark (pool) training.  Swim lesson scholarships are available for both pool and beach lessons.  Both the Goodman Pool and beaches use the nationally recognized American Red Cross “Learn to Swim” program. Each summer hundreds children receive scholarships for swim lessons as well as pool passes.  The Goodman Waves swim team has approximately 120 swimmers, 30+ of whom receive scholarships as well.

No doubt June will be a busy month for lifeguards at the pools and beaches.  Weisinger says, “We have the greatest number of rescues at the beginning of summer, when we have kids, teens, as well as adults who are new swimming or who have simply forgotten to respect their barriers or overestimate their swimming ability.”

For more information on swim lessons and scholarship availability, visit http://www.cityofmadison.com/parks/pool/swimLessons.cfm.

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