I believe that everyone should know how to swim. I don’t mean everyone should have the swimming skills of an Olympic swimmer, but enough skill to get them across a pool or to an edge of a lake. Knowing how to swim is a safety issue, it can potentially save someone’s life.
When I was three, I went to my older cousin’s pool party. She was turning seven, so her and all her friends knew how to swim. They would jump into the deep end, get out of the pool and do it all over again. They made it look so fun, so I followed them. I anxiously ran over to the side of the pool and jumped high into the air, making a big splash into the cool pool water. My aunt saw all of this, and looked over to my mom and said “Wow, I didn’t know Heather knew how to swim?” I could just imagine how my mom’s face dropped; of course she leaped into the pool and got me out safety. I was fine, but after that she started to teach me how to swim and enrolled me in a swimming class.
When I turned fourteen, I became a lifeguard. As a lifeguard, I learned how to prevent accidents and respond to life-threatening emergencies in aquatic environments. I have been a lifeguard at a water park for the past four years and I have spent way too much time watching people struggling in the water. You would think that as a lifeguard I have only saved little children from drowning; however I have seen many adults have difficulty swimming. Once I saved a man who was in his late forties; it was an exhilarating experience, however helping someone who was his age made me upset. Adults need to know how to swim so that they can pass on the skill to their children. Many children learn how to swim from their parents. Children can’t always rely on water safety devices; they need to learn how to swim without a life jacket.
Swimming and water survival skills are not difficult to learn. Personal survival skills include knowing how to float and tread water, so that you won’t drown while waiting for help. Knowing how to swim is as important as having knowledge of where you are swimming. People definitely need to be strong swimmers if they plan on going into the ocean verses only swimming in a pool. In the ocean, someone could get caught in a riptide and drift far from the shore if they are not careful of their surroundings.
Knowing how to swim and knowing your surroundings are both things I believe people should know. Swimming is an activity that involves common sense and requires safety rules. Learning how to swim also has many health benefits. Swimming is a healthy lifetime activity that builds endurance, muscle and cardio vascular fitness. I strongly believe that everyone should know how to swim.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.