Kids learning their lessons at Del Oro pool

Loomis-sponsored program helps youth overcome fear of water
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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Learning how to swim can be a frightening experience. Just ask a kid. “It’s scary floating on your tummy,” said Addie Mathias, 5, of Loomis. Addie knows first hand. She’s in the beginner class during swim lessons at the Del Oro High School pool. Addie was reluctant to jump from the edge of the pool to her swim instructor’s open arms. “I’m afraid he won’t catch me,” she said. A reward of a new Barbie doll offered by her mom, Delanne Mathias, did the trick. Addie’s brother Sydney, 8, is also in the beginner class. Delanne said her children had chronic ear problems, which delayed them getting lessons. Sydney said he’s working on learning how to turn his head to the side and take breaths like they do in freestyle. He said he keeps getting a mouthful of water. Big sister Lauren, 11, was busy in a more advanced class learning how to dive into the pool off of the elevated blocks. “At first it was scary,” she said. Lauren was learning how to do a proper freestyle, breaststroke, butterfly and backstroke. “Most people are afraid because they don’t know the strokes,” she said of the fear many have of swimming. Liz Scherer, 18, of Loomis, is one of the swim instructors teaching the beginner class. “I love it. The kids are really cute. One told me she loved me,” said the recent Del Oro graduate. Lizzie Corbett, 17, of Loomis, also a recent Del Oro graduate, teaches both beginning and advanced classes. “Lots of the kids don’t know how to swim at all. You have to be really patient. You can’t expect them to improve things fast,” Corbett said. Scherer explained that the children learn in small steps. “A lot of them aren’t comfortable in the water yet. They don’t like putting their face in the water. We work on that,” Scherer said. According to his grandmother Judy Flansburg, Travis Attebery, 7, of Penryn, was apprehensive about taking swim lessons. She said she “practically had to drag him” there, but after three lessons, he now looks forward to them and asks when he can swim again. “This is one of the best communities. This (lessons) is a terrific thing. The instructors are marvelous. They relate very well to the children,” she added. Paula Morgan, of Loomis, enrolled her 5-year-old son, Brian, in beginning lessons. “He was very afraid of the water. His four older siblings all learned how to swim here. I was really happy to see they were offering lessons again. It was closed for a few years,” Morgan said. The Loomis town council agreed to sponsor the swim program after Denean Swenson, a parent from the community, asked the town for help to re-establish swim lessons. Instructors Scherer and Corbett both said it has been gratifying to be able to teach someone to swim. “Kids get a huge smile on their face when they learn how to swim on their own. Their parents get really excited and say, ‘Look. You did it!’” Scherer added. According to head lifeguard Ali Clark, 20, of Rocklin, approximately 180 students have attended the first three sessions of swim lessons. The last session runs from July. 27 to Aug. 6. The pool is also open for free swimming in the afternoons following swim lessons, from 1:30 to 3 p.m., on Monday through Thursday, and on Fridays is open from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Aug. 7. Clark said that on average about 50 parents and kids attend the free open swim, but on hot days attendance swells to nearly 80. SWIM LESSONS AND FREE SWIM AT DEL ORO POOL Lessons Final session: July 27-Aug. 6 Cost: $55 Loomis residents, $60 non-residents Times: 11:30 a.m., 12 p.m., 12:30 p.m., 1 p.m. Levels: Beginning to advanced Free open swim Monday-Thursday 1:30-3 p.m. Fridays through Aug. 7, 11:30 a.m.- 3 p.m. Information: 652-1840