Staying Active, Staying Safe with USA Swimming

This post has nothing to do with food, but instead focuses on swimming. It’s one of our favorite summer activities, and we’re supporters of USA Swimming’s Swim Today program, encouraging parents to enroll their children in lessons to keep them safe and keep your family active. Plus, it’s great fun.

When I was young there was a pool outside my apartment building in East St. Paul. It was closed more than it was open, but at every possible chance, my mom would drag me in the pool with my sister. When we moved out of the apartment, we visited the beach daily during the summer. My mom would read on a large blanket, and us kids would play in the sand and water.

One day when I was about five I decided to take our beach ball for a ride. Now, I could swim and doggy paddle, and my mom had taught me how to front crawl, but I’d never really tested them out in the middle of a pool before, where I couldn’t put my feet down easily or my mom wasn’t there to help. After a few hours of swimming and playing, I was a bit tired, too, and the beach ball carried me out beyond the buoys to where I could no longer touch, and then, the beach ball was gone.

For what seemed like ages I sat kicking, keeping my head above water, and then I got tired, and my head started to bob, and I remember kicking harder and harder and not being able to get my head up, swallowing the water as I tried to hit the surface, until a nice man who was out swimming laps back and forth across the front of the swimming beach grabbed me and asked if I was okay. Just strong enough to not look like I was drowning, the lifeguards hadn’t even noticed me yet, and who knows if they would have, as drowning is a rather silent affair.

I was soon enrolled in lessons, which I aced easily, and then continued on and on and on, soon earning lifeguard certification and swim instructor certification by the time I was 14 and 15.

As a mom, I’m committed to teaching my kids how to swim. It makes me sad when someone goes from childhood to adulthood (especially in the Land of 10,000 Lakes) without hitting the water and learning to stay afloat. To me it seems like a basic human survival skill that we should put as a priority for our kids’ safety. You never know when they may need those skills later in life. Besides, swimming with the family is fun.

Why Should You Swim?

  1. Safety
    Drowning is the 2nd leading cause of accidental death in kids aged 1-14. To me, this means that teaching them how to swim will greatly reduce that risk to my own children, and in fact, swimming lessons have been shown to reduce the risk of drowning by 80%. Think about the safety and survival techniques they add in there: bobbing, survival float, how to tread water, and even rescue breathing when your child is older.
  2. Fitness
    I used to run, but after I started to see cartilage build-up in my knee, I soon gave it up. Swimming is a whole body, low-impact exercise option that is great for cardiovascular health.
  3. Social
    Swimming teaches work ethic and goal setting as you strive towards learning new strokes or getting better times if you swim competitively. Then it also teaches teamwork and social skills when you swim together as a family, at the pool, or as part of a team.

If you’re looking to get your kids swimming, check out USA Swimming’s Swim Today site, where they’ll help connect you to areas for swimming lessons, competitive information and teams, as well as fitness swimming resources.

Fun Facts

This is Kiera’s first year of high school swimming for Roseville Area High School. She’s pumped, and we’re excited to see her doing something she loves. More fun: The boys’ team head coach, Michael Richards, is headed to U.S. Olympic Team Trials, which start June 25th. They’ll be airing live on NBC, and you can follow along by tweeting using #SwimToday and following @USA_Swimming on Twitter. Want to host a party? Splash Bash resources can be found on USA Swimming.

This post is part of a partnership with USA Swimming and The Motherhood. All thoughts and opinions came from my own brain. My kids love to swim, and I love to swim with them. I hope you’ll join us in the water!


  1. I’m so excited because our high school just added a swim team – which thrills me to pieces. My kids are good swimmers and I’d love to continue developing them in that sport.
    ADorable pictures!

    • Fun! I would be excited, too. I was so glad that Kiera showed an interest in the swim team. What she’s done already has done wonders for her confidence.

  2. What a wonderful reminder! Thank you for sharing your story.

  3. I grew up with a family pool and took swim lessons, and my oldest took them too, but for some reason, Allison never had “official” swimming lessons, but Steve and I did teach her how to swim!

    We had swimming in high school PE too! I wish my girls had it in their school!

    your kiddos are so cute Shaina!

    • We did, too! I think it’s so odd that schools don’t do that anymore, but then I’m sure there’s a reason in there somewhere.

  4. I love to swim and look forward to the summer when we get to spend time at the beach. It’s such a great form of exercise and so peaceful to be out there in the water.

  5. Love this post darlin’. All of the above is the precise reason I have had the boys on a swim team since they were 4. Living by the beach, dad being a surf coach…being able to swim was #1 in our book 😀

  6. My kids just started last month and I’m thrilled to see them get comfortable in the water. We live near the coast, there are lots of swimming pools here – I want them to be able to enjoy it all. I had a few scary experiences in the pool when I was younger so I pretty much haven’t been in the water (except for the hot tub) in maybe 20 years. Now that I have kids I really want to conquer this phobia (which time has built up way bigger than it ever truly was) foremost for safety but also for fun.

  7. Jeanine says:

    OK, so here’s the thing: swimming lessons (at least on my side of the Twin Cites) are VERY expensive. I have enrolled my son in less expensive ones at the community center, but I think it will take him a bit longer to learn to swim with these. I don’t know what to do about this. He is 3, should I really expect him to be able to swim already?

    • Our lessons generally average $50-60 for eight, but that’s community center and the UMN Learn to Swim program. As far as age, I tend to spend a lot of time in the water with my kids before they turn four so they can do many of the basics before we get to that point. I do have the benefit of having taught lessons before, so I am able to utilize that in getting them comfortable in the water early. Hope that helps some, Jeanine!

  8. Mateo is proving to be fearless in the water – which has me both proud and terrified! (He’s already jumped in the deep end 2x – eep!) This summer we’ll definitely be focusing on teaching him to swim without those water wings.


  1. […] to the Boundary Waters, baseball games, picking berries, hosting barbecues, eating outside, and lots and lots of swimming, and I’m starting to wonder if I have officially lost my mind in thinking I’m going to […]

  2. […] partnership with USA Swimming and The Motherhood. All thoughts and opinions came from my own brain. My kids love to swim, and I love to swim with them. I hope you’ll join us in the water! Be Sociable, Share! […]

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