Beating the heat with free summer water safety, swimming lessons in Waterbury

New Haven

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — The brutal heat Monday had Waterbury residents headed to their closest city pool. The heat happened to arrive on the first day of the city’s “Learn to Swim” program, which provides free swimming lessons to hundreds of city kids with the goal of avoiding a tragedy in the water.

It’s what had city pool lifeguard Laerk Ndreko teaching some basic swimming fundamentals to a 13-year-old named Edwin at the Washington Park city pool, which just opened last weekend.

“I teach them how to have confidence in the water,” he said. “Don’t be scared of trying to learn how to swim.”

RELATED: Waterbury preps city pools, lifeguards meet to address safety ahead of summer opening

As the lesson continued, Waterbury’s Supervisor of Recreation described to News 8 some of the other things Laerk was teaching Edwin.

“How to submerge his head underwater while swimming and come up for air. A lot of kids don’t know that,” said Victor Cuevas. “They don’t know how to breathe in and blow out underwater, come back up, grab some air, and go back down, and that allows them to move further and tread water further when it comes to public safety and them surviving in the water in a real emergency situation so they don’t panic.”

Laerk told News 8, for him, being a lifeguard is a way to give back to his community — a community that taught him how to swim at Kennedy High School when he was 10-years-old.

“I love helping out the community so I like helping these kids to swim,” he said.

The same “Learn to Swim” program that helped Laerk got kicking with its first day of this summer’s session.

The City Rec Department is hosting morning and afternoon sessions at Kennedy High School, the Police Activities League (PAL) hosting lessons in the middle of the day. More Rec Department free lessons in the afternoon. All of this, in addition to the free lesson at the Greater Waterbury YMCA downtown next to the Waterbury Green.

This summer, the city hopes “Learn to Swim” reaches hundreds of urban kids, giving them the skills they need to stay safe in the water.

“Many of these kids don’t have people to teach them,” Laerk said. “So, I like helping them out.”

Find lesson locations and times: Waterburyparksrec.com

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

New Haven

New Haven teens learn coding, video-making skills during summer tech camp

News /

Person critically injured in Milford jet ski crash

News /

Shops at Yale offering free ice cream in August

News /

'It needs to stop:' Stolen car flips mid-air down Waterbury street

News /

New Haven mayoral candidate Dubois-Walton suspends campaign; Democratic committee endorses incumbent Elicker

News /

Police report body found near Naugatuck River Tuesday

News /
More New Haven

Trending Stories

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss