SwimMadras new name

by: TOM CULBERTSON - The Madras Aquatic Center has a new program for teaching swimming skills.The swimming lessons program at the Madras Aquatic Center has undergone a makeover, with a program moniker: SwimMadras.

While the program for preschool kids is similar to past summers, the

program for those aged 5 and up is an ambitious 10-step process designed to take a kids from being nervous in the pool to being swimmers proficient in various strokes, in one continuous program.

"Too often we've had kids take a week or two of swimming lessons, and while they have learned some things and make a little progress, they don't come away fully knowing how to swim," said Bobby DeRoest, aquatic supervisor at the MAC.

SwimMadras looks to change that.

In the program for those 5 and over, each of the 10 stations is designed as a one-week course. The first course, titled "Bubbles," starts with the basics of water adaptation; station two focuses on helping kids get comfortable holding their breath under water and bobbing for air; three introduces kicking skills; station four teaches a basic crawl stroke. Each of the stations has as advancement test.

The freestyle stroke, teaching kids to glide on top of the water without needing to stop to take a breath, is the focus of station five. Other strokes are the focus of the next stations: the backstroke in six and the breaststroke and butterfly in seven. Turns — pool turns from various strokes — is the focus of station seven. Station eight is titled "Lifetime Strokes," and it targets finetuning the strokes kids have learned in the previous stations. Station 10 refines that effort.

SwimMadras graduates passing Station 10 will be able to swim 300 yards freestyle, 200 yards backstroke and do the 100-yard individual medley (various strokes).

"One of the main reasons the MAC is here, why voters brought it here, was to teach water safety, so kids would learn how to swim," said DeRoest. "This program is a better way of doing that."

The MAC will be utilizing more instructors than in the past through the SwimMadras program, creating smaller teacher-student ratios, for more intensive instruction.

DeRoest is also forming a summer swim team for kids in third through sixth grades, meeting Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, from 2:30 to 4:30. This will be an "introduction to competitive swimming," noted DeRoest.

For the preschool kids, there are parent-child lessons (child ages 6 months to 3); then three stations: Guppies, Minnows and Dolphins. Kids advance to the 10-stage school-age program when they can independently kick 20 feet on their front and back and demonstrate correct arm movement for crawlstroke and backstroke.

SwimMadras classes begin June 16. The cost per session is $12 for MAC members, $18 for in-district nonmembers and $24 for out-of-district attendees. Some scholarships are available. Classes run throughout Monday through Saturday, offering various times daily for each station. Classes are 35 minutes (30 minutes for the preschool classes).

Private adult swim lessons are also available.

To register, or to get further information, contact the MAC at 541-475-4253.

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