Wednesday May 27 2009
Mom gets swim-lesson program going at Del Oro
By: Martha Garcia, Loomis News Editor
Community pool will be open for free community swim
Denean Swenson didn’t fight city hall to get what she wanted. Instead, she worked with the Town of Loomis and the Placer Union High School District to get the Del Oro High School open for public swimming and for swim lessons. When Swenson first moved to Loomis, she enrolled her then 6-years old in the swimming lesson program at the Del Oro pool. “He learned to swim and had such a great experience going to the open swim in the afternoon,” said the single mother. Dustin, now 10, also joined the Dolphin swim. “He went from not knowing how to swim to being an awesome swimmer now,” Swenson said. Dustin, she said, is the No. 1 swimmer on the Loomis Dolphins for his age group. Swenson feels swimming has made a definite improvement in Dustin’s life. In addition to teaching him to swim, she said he “got over the fear of water and it gave him confidence to take it one step further.” It also gave him a sense of accomplishment, she said. She hopes that some day it will help Dustin earn a scholarship and “that could change his entire life.” Last summer, eager to enroll her then 3-year-old daughter, Sara, in swim lessons, Swenson discovered the pool was not open for lessons. Inquiries led her to the Placer Union High School District, where she learned there was no one interested in running the program and it was too late to get a program started for the year. Undaunted, at the end of 2008 Swenson said she met at the pool with a group of district and school representatives. Armed with information on what it would take to open the pool this summer, Swenson approached swim instructor and Dolphins coach Ben Emard to partner in the project. “He was a huge influence in teaching my son to swim,” Swenson said. “I know he is a dependable person for that position.” Emard, 20, said he’s been swimming for 13 years. As a lifeguard, swim instructor, swim coach and water polo player, he has a great deal of respect for water safety. “Water safety is one of the most important things a child can have because drowning is a serious risk that goes with being young,” Emard said. “I think parents should do whatever they can to prevent a situation like that, and I think swim lessons is a good way to do that.” Swenson and Emard worked with the Town of Loomis and were able to gain funding for the swim program. The town will also provide insurance. “We expect … it will cost the town between $5,000 and $8,000, out of the general fund reserves,” said Roger Carroll, town finance director. Emard said he will be aided in running the program by high-school and college-age students who will be lifeguards and teach lessons. “They’re CPR certified and first-aid certified water safety instructors,” Emard said. According to Emard, applications for lifeguards and instructors are still being accepted, and those interested should contact Loomis Town Hall. Debbie O’Neil has a 4-year-old son and she’s anxious that he learns to swim and will enroll him in lessons at the Del Oro pool. “I’m looking to get him started so we can be safe at home. We have a pool and … I want him to know what to do should he happen to fall in whether he’s supervised or unsupervised,” O’Neil said. Swimming lessons will be open to youngsters from age 3 to 14. Sessions run June 15 to 25, June 29 to July 9, July 13 to 23, and July 29 to Aug. 6. The fee is $55 for Town of Loomis residents, or $60 for non-residents. For a complete schedule and registration information, visit the Town of Loomis Web site at www.loomis.ca.gov. Community open swim will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays from June 19 to Aug. 7. It is free to everyone.