Maryland YMCA Swimming Program

by June Farquhar

YMCA centers in Maryland offer a variety of opportunities for children, adults and families to swim. There are several YMCA locations throughout the state, and Maryland residents can often find one nearby. The days and times of the programs offered are different at the 11 Family Y Centers in Maryland. Maryland Y Centers are generally open 5:50 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Monday through Friday, and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday.

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Parent/Child Swimming Lessons

Parent/child swimming lessons are offered at Maryland YMCA centers for very young children and their mothers or fathers. A parent must be present for these lessons. An instructor guides the parents in two programs: Skips and Perch. The skips program is for children six months to three years old. It teaches basic skills like kicking, floating and blowing bubbles. The perch program for children 2-3 years old expands on kicking and floating but adds breath control, paddling and jumping in to the water.

Preschool Swimming Lessons

The preschool swimming program does not require a parent to be in the pool with the child. The program is for children 3-5 years old and is divided into four skill levels. The beginning level teaches floating, kicking and breath control. The next level allows the children to improve skills independently while using flotation devices. At the third level, the children learn to go without floating devices while improving the same skills along with rotary breathing techniques. At the fourth level, the children are able to swim the length of the pool without a flotation device.

Youth, Teen and Adult Lessons

Youth and teen lessons at the YMCA centers in Maryland are divided into skill levels also. The youth lessons are for children 6-12 years old. The lessons are divided into six skill levels, beginning with children who have little or no experience in water. At the third skill level, diving is introduced. Endurance is taught at the fifth level and the child learns the butterfly stroke and open turns. These skills are further refined at the sixth level and the swimmers learn competitive turns and the side stroke. Teens and adults have beginner and advanced classes, and individual lessons are available.

Swim Teams

Maryland YMCA centers have swim teams that compete in local, regional and national meets. Team practices are usually held in the evenings and team members are taught how to refine and further develop their strokes. Good sportsmanship and teamwork is emphasized. Not all YMCA centers have swimming teams. There are 17 teams in Maryland. Practice pools usually have six lanes and 25 yards long.

Additional Programs

The YMCA centers in Maryland also offer many of the health programs offered throughout the nation. Aqua Arthritis offers walking, stretching and other motion exercises for those with a doctor's referral. Aquacize helps participants strengthen and tone their muscles. Aqua Fit is aerobic exercises and Aqua Jog is cardiovascular. There is also a master swim program taught by a professional coach.

About the Author

June Farquhar has been writing for newspapers and special publications in California since 1998. She's the recipient of a press club award for organizing and designing a 42-page "Red Ribbon Week" tabloid, which received recognition from the California State Assembly and the U.S. House of Representatives. Farquhar studied newspaper journalism at Bakersfield College.

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