By Meghan deLagran
Learning to swim is not only a right of passage in Muskoka, it is a lifesaving skill. My mother always told me growing up, “you can stop swimming lessons when you know how to rescue someone else, safely.” I became a lifeguard in my teens, and since, I have rescued two people in off-duty scenarios.
I am thankful for my mother’s insistence, and l insist the same of my children. But, four summers have passed since my daughter was born, and she has yet to become a proficient swimmer, despite the fact that I used to be a swim instructor myself.
This summer, we dedicated our time to swimming lessons. I would be kidding myself if I thought I would get to the beach, rain or shine, every day of the week, for 30 minutes of real, shoulders under, swimming, if I didn’t sign us up for lessons. And it has made a big difference for my children.
But the true protagonists in this story are the swim instructors. Day in and day out they climb in the water, no matter the weather, to teach the children of our communities. They shake and shiver in the wind and rain, not because it’s too cold for a 30 min lesson, but because they’ve been in and out of the lake all day, with nary a minute to get warm.
Thank you to all of our local swimming instructors, the true heroes of the summer! Our children are safer because of you. May the sun shine and the lakes be warm.
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