City-run pools in Winston-Salem requiring some swimmers to wear life jackets

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Swimming pools operated by the City of Winston-Salem require swimmers under the age of 18 to pass a swim test.

If they don’t pass then they have to wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.

“They are actually making sure that these children can swim before they’re just throwing them out to almost the number one killer of children,” said Nicole Minshew, a parent at the city pool.

During the swim test kids have to swim 25 yards without touching the bottom and tread water for one minute.

The city breaks down swimmers’ abilities into three tiers signified by different color wrist bands.

A red band is worn by anyone shorter than 4 feet who did not pass the swim test. They must wear a life jacket and cannot go past the first lane rope.

A yellow band is for anyone taller than 4 feet who did not pass the swim test. Those swimmers must still wear a life jacket and they can go anywhere except the deep end.

If the swimmer passes the test they will receive a green band which allows them access to the entire pool.

The city says it helps lifeguards keep track of strong and poor swimmers.

Some parents say it helps them to do the same.

“I would rather know that my child is safe, no problem, instead of having to worry about is he going to slip off the edge or have I not paid attention, ‘Where did my kid go,'” Minshew said.

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