TELLURIDE – Swimming isn’t just a fun summer activity, it’s what local swim instructor Debbie Freedman deems a “life skill.”
“With as many rivers and ponds that we have around here, knowing how to swim is really a safety measure,” says Freedman, who has been both a recreational and a competitive swimmer throughout her life. Now, learning to swim in Telluride has never been easier, thanks to Freedman and the Telluride Parks and Recreation Department’s summer swim program.
The Town of Telluride has for years offered swim lessons for youngsters, but as Freedman explains, the program has been steadily building both in numbers and in structure. This summer, Parks and Rec will see roughly 150 kids pass through the Town Park pool’s swim program, which is currently one-third of the way through its six-week series.
“We continue to have more and more kids returning year after year,” Freedman says. “Kids that we were teaching at 2 years old are still coming back five years later, then going on to join the swim team.”
Such loyalty to the Telluride swim program is a testament to the high level of instruction it offers, and its commitment to fun, Freedman says.
Learning to swim is all about building confidence in the water, so that’s where instruction begins – with kids as young as six months old, who get into the pool with a parent and instructor in the program’s beginning Parent-Child classes (for kids 6 months to 2 years old).
The next step is to begin learning the basics of swimming – kicking their legs, blowing bubbles, and getting their face wet. Those skills are taught in the next level program, deemed “Aquatots,” for kids aged 2-4 years. Beyond the age of 4, Telluride Parks and Rec offers Red Cross-sanctioned swim program classes, often taught by Red Cross Water Safety-certified instructors, for levels 1 through 5.
“I have a true belief that swimming is a life skill, and it should be a fundamental part of a kid’s development – especially considering how much water we have here,” Freedman says. “We’re lucky that the Town offers such a great swimming program so that our kids can become proficient in the water.”
The Town of Telluride’s swim program runs Monday through Friday for two weeks; the next session started Monday, July 25. Classes provided in that session include AquaTots as well as Level 1-5. Cost for the classes range from $50-75 per session. For more information contact the Telluride Parks and Rec Department at 728-2173, or visit www.telluride-co.gov.