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Making waves: Classes help sharpen swimming skills for summer

Participants perform a retrieval swim after entering the water with a flotation device during a lifeguard certification course last year. 2016 certification courses begin in Feb. 12. (Photo by Jeremy Henderson)

Participants perform a retrieval swim after entering the water with a flotation device during a lifeguard certification course last year. 2016 certification courses begin in Feb. 12. (Photo by Jeremy Henderson)

Published: January 21, 2016

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (Jan. 21, 2016) -- Although it’s cold outside, Fort Rucker offers warm waters for anyone seeking to enjoy a quick dip or improve their swimming skills.

Rob Koren, Fort Rucker Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation aquatics director, oversees the operation of four aquatics venues for patron enjoyment and skill enhancement.

According to Koren, the Indoor swimming pool is operated in the fall and winter months, September through May, and is located at the Fort Rucker Physical Fitness Center in Bldg. 4605 on Andrews Avenue. Hours of operation for the indoor pool are Mondays through Fridays from 5:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The indoor pool will close in June when the outdoor pools enter summer operations for the season.

“The pool offers eight-lanes at 25-meters and also has various types of swimming exercise equipment available for use, such as, pull buoys, water weights, fins, pace clocks, etc.,” he said.

DFMWR Sports, Fitness and Aquatics also offers adult swimming lessons for anyone age 18 and older, according to Koren.

“SFA provides beginner and intermediate classes for those with a wide range of swimming skills and abilities,” he said. “Classes are offered every month during the fall and winter seasons. The next session of adult swimming lessons will be offered in February on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s starting on Feb. 2. The beginners will start promptly at 5:15 p.m. and conclude at 6 p.m., and the intermediate class will begin promptly at 6:15 p.m. and conclude at 7 p.m. when the facility closes.

Each session is composed of eight classes. Cost is $40 per student, per session.

Fort Rucker SFA also offers American Red Cross lifeguard training classes for those age 15 and older, according to Koren.

“These classes are offered periodically through the year and are geared towards preparing candidates for exciting and challenging careers in the Aquatics industry as a professional lifeguard,” he said. Interested candidates should register at the Fort Rucker PFC front desk.

Cost is $125 for all military and Department of Defense cardholders $150 for the general public.

All candidates will complete a pre-requisite skills assessment on the first day of each training session, to include the following:

  • Swim 550 meters continuously demonstrating breath control and rhythmic breathing. You may swim using the front crawl, breaststroke or a combination of both. Swimming on the back or side is not allowed. This is the only portion of the class where swim goggles are allowed.
  • Complete a timed event within 1 minute, 40 seconds.
  • Starting in the water, swim 20 yards with your face out of the water. Goggles are prohibited.
  • Surface dive, feet-first or head-first, to a depth of 7-10 feet to retrieve a 10-pound dive brick.
  • Return to the surface and swim 20 yards on your back and swim back to the starting point with both hands holding the brick, keeping your face at or near the surface so you are able to get a breath. You should not swim the distance under water. Candidates must exit the water without using a ladder or steps.
  • Tread water for 2 minutes using only the legs. You should place your hands under your armpits or behind your back.
  • Swim 5 yards, submerged, and retrieve three diving rings placed 5-yards apart in 4-7 feet of water, resurface, and continue to swim another 5-yards to complete the skill.

“While participating in the American Red Cross lifeguard training program, participants will learn not only vital rescue skills such as CPR and First Aid, but will also learn how to properly identify swimmers in distress, rescue a drowning guest, how to provide stabilization for head neck and spinal injuries while in the water and on land, learn the importance of water chemistry and water quality, and learn how to deal with upset patrons and provide excellence in customer service while on duty,” Koren said. “Upon successful completion of the American Red Cross lifeguard training program, participants will receive a certificate reflecting certification in swimming pool lifeguarding, waterfront lifeguarding, waterpark lifeguarding, first aid, CPR for the Professional Rescuer/AED, and Preventing Disease Transmission: Bloodborne Pathogens.”

The next lifeguard training classes are Feb. 12-15, Feb. 26-28 and March 5-6 at various times depending on the specific day.

“These training programs provide passing candidates with possible employment opportunities with the Fort Rucker DFMWR Aquatics Department as a professional lifeguard during the summer and winter months, depending on available positions at that time,” Koren said. “All perspective candidates are encouraged to continuously check USAJobs.gov for employment opportunities as recreation aids (lifeguards) with Fort Rucker DFMWR.”

For more information on adult swimming lessons, lifeguard training courses and summer 2016 employment, call at 255-9162.

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