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Free swim lessons at Oceanside YMCA

San Diego County is offering free swim lessons to 100 people at the Joe and Mary Mottino Family YMCA in Oceanside, Supervisor Jim Desmond announced Thursday.

The program will provide four free swim lessons to each participant, according to Desmond’s office, Desmond’s communication director Miles Himmel said. It’s geared toward those with limited or no swim experience. The lessons are open to adults and children ages “0 to 99,” the YMCA said.

The program is funded with about $15,000 in federal pandemic relief money. Depending on demand, it may be expanded to enroll more participants, Himmel said.

According to the USA Swimming Foundation, nearly 64 percent of Black children, 45 percent of Latino children and 40 percent of White children have little or no swimming ability, which puts them at increased risk for drowning. Nearly 4 in 5 children in households with incomes less than $50,000 have little-to-no swimming ability, the foundation said.

“In California, drowning is a leading cause of injury-related deaths among children under the age of five,” Desmond stated in a press release. “Drowning deaths are preventable, but it starts with learning the basics.

Himmel said the program is both a safety precaution and an effort to fill gaps in athletics and activities that many students experienced during COVID-19 closures. With schools closed and sports events canceled since 2020, kids missed chances for exercise and recreation, and the swim program is intended to help remedy that, he said.

To apply for free swim lessons, go the YMCA website at: https://www.ymcasd.org/programs/swim/swim-lessons/desmond-grant-5852665-221101

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