Green River Star -

By Stephanie Thompson
People Editor 

Rural students learn to swim

 

Star photo by Stephanie Thompson

Shanelle Kelsch and Wyatt Muir of McKinnon Elementary School, are working on their kicks during swim lessons Tuesday afternoon.

The sound of splashing and laughter could be heard as soon as one entered the Green River High School Aquatic Center.

Students from McKinnon, Granger and Thoman Ranch elementary schools were busy learning the basics of swimming Tuesday afternoon.

Nancy Raso Eklund, physical education teacher for Sweetwater County School District No. 2's rural schools, said it was common for all of the schools in the district to teach fourth and fifth-grade students swim lessons during the 1970s and 1980s.

The district eventually stopped doing the program, but with the opening of the aquatic center, the district has resumed these classes.

"It's a fabulous lifelong skill," Raso Eklund said. "This is something that is vital. We live near a river and a lake."

Mike Moody, pool manager and aquatics director, said the classes focus on water safety and swimming lessons.

Students from the rural school and those in Green River in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth grades have been taking these swimming lessons.

Moody said the students usually have about 30 minutes of swim time, but the class kicks off with some type of educational program before they get into the water. The classes are based on American Red Cross curriculum.

During Tuesday's class, the students learned what signs and symptoms to watch for when someone is having a stroke.

Head lifeguard Spencer Berry said children can watch for a drooping face, lack of muscle control in the arms or in the lips. He had the students work through a couple of exercises to demonstrate what to look for.

After Berry's short presentation, Raso Eklund told the students a stroke usually occurs when there is a blood clot in the brain, whereas a heart attack is when a blood clot enters the heart or one of the heart's major arteries.

The class learned three important heath tips on how to avoid a stroke or heart attack -- eat healthy stuff, move around enough and live tobacco free.

 

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