Sarah Carlton has always had a passion for health, fitness and swimming. She graduated from college with a degree in exercise science and health promotion, and now she’s in charge of the aquatics program for Community Education in Stillwater, Minnesota. Sarah has been the Aquatics Coordinator there for four years and she continues to be a supporter of the Red Cross swimming programs they use for instruction.
“A Red Cross program consists of our community education instructors teaching and guiding swim students using an approved curriculum,” says Sarah. By using the Red Cross program, she knows that her students and their families will get the best swimming education possible. “Through the Red Cross program, there are 6 levels of swimming lessons. It also offers preschool and parent with child classes. Students can start as young as six months and most end lessons around the age of eleven or twelve.”
Luckily, while working with students, Sarah hasn’t run into any scary incidents. Sarah says, “The benefit of doing swim lessons is teaching the kids how to swim and prevent drowning. It also teaches them safety skills, not just in the pool, but while at the beach or boating.”
When Sarah became the Aquatics Coordinator for Stillwater Community Education, she obtained her Red Cross Lifeguard and Water Safety Instructor certifications. Having these certifications helped her understand the job responsibilities better, gave her a great networking forum and improved rapport and credibility among her staff team. When needed, she can take a lifeguard shift or fill in as a swim instructor, which enables the program to run within ratio and with minimal disruption to customer service.
Her best advice for people who don’t know how to swim: learn to swim using a Red Cross program. “It’s used around the country and teaches the right skills to be safe in or near water. If you’re an adult, take private lessons. It’s never too late to learn.” The biggest reward at the end of the day for Sarah is seeing the student faces light up when they pass a level or when they know they’ve become better swimmers.
Sarah’s Top Five Swimming Pool Safety Tips:
1. Always swim with a buddy
2. Learn to float and use survival strokes
3. No horseplay on the deck or in the pool
4. No crazy stunts off the diving board
5. Learn how to stay afloat in the deep end of the water
If you plan on being in or near water this summer, find a community education program near you for swimming lessons. For more water safety tips, click here. To download the Red Cross mobile Swim App click here.
Story by Kaylee Beevers/American Red Cross Intern