Norfolk’s Southside Aquatic Center “Southside Splash” Program


“you ready?”
“they are wonderful!” “kick kick kick!” “They” are the folks at the Southside
Aquatic Center, giving free swim lessons, and 3 year old Heaven, is well, in Heaven. “My daughter didn’t even know how to swim. And she only been here for two weeks now,
and she knows the basics of everything”. The year round Southside Splash beginner swim
classes kicked off in the summer of 2015. Instructors serve the Berkley community and
anyone who comes through the doors, no matter their age. “one time last week I had this old lady,
probably 50’s, 60’s come in and I was like ‘are you here for the lesson? She’s like yeah, I’m like ok, and I’ve
got her next to like a 2 year old, you know”. The classes introduce new swimmers to water,
help them to get comfortable there and teach them the basics of swimming. And that could one day prove lifesaving knowledge. “I think it’s kid’s like, first experience
with the water you know, they come in with their parents, we’re not close to the beach,
we’re probably the farthest from the beach that you can get, so this is kind of their
first experience with the water, so if we can just make them feel comfortable, enough
to where the parents can maybe like look away from them for 5 seconds without worrying about
them drowning, that’s important”. “It’s very important because say if I
wasn’t, you know, around, somebody else brought her here, that’s a good class to
teach them, because she already knows the basics of what to do”. “ooh, good job Heaven!”
that stick-to-it-iveness is paying off for everyone. “there’s one kid in here, his name is
Jordan. He’s been coming since the beginning of
summer and he could not swim at all. His kicking was like running and you’re
like “omg, I don’t want to get kicked in the face”. But I saw his grandmother the other day and
was like ‘he’s gotten a lot better’. So to see their improvement, that’s what
really matters”. “good job Jordan!” Instructors and kids get a lot out of the
classes. “it warms your heart a little bit, b/c you’re
like ‘wow, I knew you when you couldn’t do anything you know, and you were kicking
me in the face, and now, to see that you’re able to go across, even 10 feet by yourself. It warms my heart to know that I have somewhat
of an impact on that”. For dates and times of the Southside Splash
program and all that the Southside Aquatics Center has to offer, just go to Norfolk.gov
and search Southside Aquatic Center.

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