GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Pool days, beach trips, lake trips. Summer days are full of water-filled fun.
For some kids, this summer is the first time they’re getting swimming lessons or getting back into the water after the pandemic put a damper on things in 2020.
But local programs are getting overwhelmed with signups.
Anitra Fulton owns Swim Fanatics. She told FOX8 they’ve been getting 200 messages a day from parents trying to get their kids into lessons.
“Our kids have had a couple of close calls being in the water and getting their head underwater and not knowing what to do,” Larry Carter said.
Those concerns are why he signed his two kids up for swimming lessons.
“[My daughter] has been two years now, out of the water, because of the pandemic,” Mia Naylor said. “It’s almost like she hasn’t taken classes at all.”
Naylor feels her kids have lost everything they learned in the water.
The pandemic ended close contact in 2020, canceling classes, including swim classes, that are critical in drowning prevention.
“It would have been trickier last year with the restrictions in place,” Carter said. “We really didn’t get out much.”
Both the Carters and the Naylors are two of the hundreds of families in the Triad signing their kids up for swim lessons.
“We have 800 kids enrolled from June-July,” Fulton said.
That’s a 75% increase in enrollment at Swim Fanatics.
Naylor’s 6-year-old son, Peyton, is taking lessons at the Greensboro Aquatic Center, while his sister goes through Swim Fanatics. He already knows what to do if he’s in trouble in the water.
“When I float on the water and you think you’re going to drown, just put your tummy up,” he said.
Teachers at Swim Fanatics are temporarily using the indoor pool at the Marriott by PTI as they keep adding on classes.
“We’re hearing a lot of panic in parents’ voices. They’re calling us, emailing us, texting us, Facebooking us, saying ‘we need help. Our kids can’t swim’,” Fulton said.
These parents told FOX8 that not learning to swim right now could make for a dangerous summer.
“It’s your job as a parent to make sure your children are safe, and this is one of the best ways to do it,” Naylor said. “Get them in the water.”
There are a lot of different programs in the Triad to get kids swimming and re-acquainted with the water.
Fulton said, in addition to her program, parents should call their neighborhood pools, local swim facilities and check in with their friends on where they take their kids.
She said money should not be a barrier for swim safety, and that there are scholarships available.