Each year, during spring break, our local YMCAs offer a special program. It is a week of daily swimming lessons open to anyone in the community, for free. For the past few years, I have taken advantage of this opportunity and signed my kids up. Generally, this is the only time they have had in a pool, with the exception of the occasional visit to a hotel or someone's house with a pool. Everything they know about swimming they have learned through these Splash Weeks, as they are called. Not only have they learned how to swim, they have also been taught water safety and have built up their confidence when in the water. It is important to note that they are still not strong swimmers, but they know the basics and can hold their own in a pool. I have always been grateful for this great opportunity that the YMCA offers, but more so after an incident that happened this past Monday evening.
As you may remember, I am currently in an isolation unit at a hospital, so I was not at this event, but what I will share is a compilation of what I have been told by several of the people who were there:
I have an uncle who is up from Georgia, visiting the family here in NY. Another uncle decided to host a BBQ/Pool Party at his home on Monday so that the visiting uncle could see a bunch of family at once. My husband packed up the kids and their swim gear and went to the party. At some point, my oldest 2 girls were the only people in the pool and my 5 year old nephew was walking near the shallow end, but it was believed he was done swimming for the day. Another uncle arrived and the adults, including those who had been near the pool, went to the driveway to greet him. During that time, my nephew apparently decided he was not done swimming and he re-entered the water. At some point, my daughter saw something blue in the bottom of the pool and thought it was just the pool liner. It took her a few seconds to realize it was in fact, my nephew. He had passed the part of the pool that separated the shallow end from the deep end and it was a sudden drop so he could not get back to the shallow end on his own. We do not know how long he was underwater, but my brave girls swam down and hooked their arms through his and pulled him to the shallow end where he was able to get his head above water. At this point, some of the adults had returned and they immediately got my nephew out of the water. He was conscious, but very visibly shaken and coughing up the water he had taken in.
I am extremely proud of my girls' quick thinking and brave actions. I firmly believe that they reacted the way they did only because the YMCA had helped instill that confidence in the water that they needed in order to swim down to reach my nephew. It is because of this, that I am extremely grateful for the YMCA.
***Please note- I was not at this function and therefore do not know all the details as to why the kids were unsupervised in the pool. Knowing my family the way I do, it was not intentional and they have all expressed feelings of guilt. They all are aware of how bad this day could have ended and you can be assured a lesson was learned by all. You are all entitled to your opinions, but please withhold judging the adults as you, like myself, were not there.***