Increase in adult drowning incidents raise concern

Local

Safe swimming habits are something that we hear about, but experts say they need to be something that we start using. 

“Often times, adults are embarrassed that they don’t know how to swim,” said Tonya Blattner, director of WSU’s Shock Swim. “They don’t want to admit it.”

Blattner oversees a program at WSU that teaches youth and adults how to swim. One of her recent students was 74-years-old.

“It’s never to late to learn,” said Blattner.

She adds that swimming is much different than other sports.

“People have the perception that they can power through most anything,” explained Blattner. “If you fight water it, it fights back. In most sports, they tell you to fight through it. You really can’t do that when you’re trying to save yourself with swimming.” 

Another big one Blattner says people need to know is swimming and alcohol don’t mix. 

“You should not be drinking and then going for a swim, it’s just not a smart thing to do.” 

Blattner says that swim lessons can give you the confidence you need in the water and even be the difference between life and death. This is something that Tara Murphy of Infant Swimming Resource echoes. 

“It doesn’t matter who you are, rich, poor, black, white; it doesn’t matter drowning can happen to anyone,” says Murphy. 

For this reason Murphy says she conducts swim lessons for babies. 

“Start them while their young to prevent an accident from happening,” she said. 

Murphy had a number of toddlers sitting alongside the pool when KSN came to her home and one by one, each of them fearlessly dove into the water. 

“It’s about showing them what it feels like to move in the water,” said Murphy. “One of my students was riding his bike by the lake and fell in; he was able to flip on his back and get to safety. 

Both Murphy and Blattner both emphasize the buddy system; never swimming alone. This means the other person can be there to help if there’s an emergency. These are simple steps that could save a life in an unexpected situation. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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