“I CAN SWIM!” Project

Every day, about 10 people (children and adults) die from unintentional drowning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Cincinnati Recreation Commission’s “I CAN SWIM!” project is working to lower this number by offering swim lessons with American Red Cross instructors for all ages to develop and refine their swimming skills. Southwest Ohio Parent spoke to April Chappelle, aquatic director and service area coordinator for the organization, about this important project that’s saving lives. 

The “I Can Swim!” Project is an example of a positive coming out of tragedy. Tell us about that.   

“I CAN SWIM!” is dedicated to the memory of Cameron Jeff (age 10) and his brother Bryce (age 8), who tragically drowned in a neighbor’s backyard pool because they were unable to swim. Spearheaded by their parents, the “I CAN SWIM!” project aims to give meaning to Cameron and Bryce’s heartbreaking deaths.  

You have four questions to help determine if swim lessons are needed. What are they? 

The four questions are meant to make parents think about their swimming ability and their child’s actual swimming ability, and not assume because they can stand on the bottom of the pool that they are safe to be in the water by themselves. Many people think that being able to swim is a lot easier than it actually is. These questions help assess the very basic skills needed for safety in and around the water. 

The four questions to determine if swim lesson are needed are: 

Can you or your child: 

  1. Swim with your face in the water? 
  2. Swim in the deep end of the pool? 
  3. Swim one lap in the pool? 
  4. Float on your back? 

What classes do you offer?  

Each site offers different programs, but throughout the city of Cincinnati, we offer lessons starting for children six months old all the way up to seniors who have never swum before. Check your local pool for the exact lessons that will be offered at each location. 

Where are your classes held?  

Each of our 23 outdoor pools offers a variety of swim lessons based on the location’s amenities and the demands of the surrounding community. 

Is there a cost for the classes?   

The summer swim lesson classes are free for children ages 4 to 17 years old. A Cincinnati Recreation Commission pool membership is required for registered lessons, but drop-in lessons are free and do not require a membership.  

For a complete list of lessons and a registration link, visit: cincinnati-oh.gov/recreation/programs/aquatics-home/play-in-the-water/swim-lessons-i-can-swim-program 

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