With lessons, lifeguards limited due to COVID-19, YMCA offers swim season safety tips

WAUKESHA -- Summer looks different this year in Wisconsin. Several pools won’t be opening due to COVID-19, and that means fewer swimming lesson opportunities for kids.

"We’re Wisconsinites, we are going to find places to swim," said Aaron Miller, executive director of the Tri-County YMCA. "Unfortunately with so many pools closed we’re just not getting as much instruction as we usually would in a Wisconsin summer."

Local YMCA employees said there is also a lifeguard shortage – which is why it’s important kids learn how to swim now more than ever.

YMCA swimming pool

"If you are going to local beaches, some outdoor pools, you’re not going to see as many lifeguards typically as you would in a normal summer," said Miller. "Just so parents are aware of that, those extra eyes are important."

The YMCA of Greater Waukesha County is one of the few pools open -- and offering swim lessons. Miller said kids should learn how to swim as soon as possible, especially how to back float.

"That can sustain life and help them relax long enough for somebody to get to them," Miller said.

Miller also wants to remind parents to never leave a child unattended. If you see someone struggling in the water -- a kid or an adult -- Miller suggested throwing something to them first, before going in the water yourself. If you’re out on water that’s not a pool – make sure to have a life jacket.

Aaron Miller

"If you guys are out on the boat or especially in creeks, rivers places that have current things like that, do not be afraid to wear life jackets," said Miller.

The Greater Waukesha County YMCA is also offering household swim lessons for the first time due to the pandemic. Visit their website for more information.