Youngsters take a clothed swim to celebrate class end |

Youngsters take a clothed swim to celebrate class end

Children often are told not to get their clothes wet, but a group jumped in the pool Friday on the final day of a two-week lesson from South Lake Tahoe Parks and Recreation Department.

“When you’re in your swimsuit it’s better, but when you’re in your clothes it’s ‘funner,'” Melanie McHugh, 9, said.

“It’s good experience (in case) they fall out of a boat,” Safety Day swim instructor Sara Urch said.

The idea is for kids to feel comfortable swimming in clothes and life jackets, should they be forced to do so, she said.

“It’s hard to swim with your life jacket,” said 5-year-old Sara Benedict. Fellow swimmer Sam Harris, 7, agreed.

However, life jackets allowed beginners to jump off the diving board, many for the first time. Colton McHugh, 3, had his initial experience with the diving board, while his parents looked on.

“We’re thrilled they have these swim lessons. The teachers are great,” Colton’s father said. Steve McHugh and his wife, Debbie, believe knowing to swim is important for Lake Tahoe’s youngsters.

Karleen Lyons decided to bring her daughter to swim lessons after a friend’s child had a few close calls. “Being at the beach with two kids (each), we want the older ones to know how to swim,” Lyons said.

In order to prevent injury, swim instructors gave a 15-minute presentation on water safety, which included tips for lakes and rivers, as well as pools. “It’s the only time some of these kids will get general safety presentations,” Urch said.

The swimmers learned about everything from dealing with a capsized boat to hypothermia.

“(You shouldn’t) push someone into the water when they’re about to jump in. … Make sure there’s a lifeguard,” 7-year-old Lyric Harwick explained afterward.

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