Swim Time in PE Promotes Water Safety

Swimming is a metaphor for life. When you land in the deep end, you can either sink to the bottom, barely stay afloat, or you can successfully swim to the other side.

At the beginning and end of every school year at Colorado Academy, for more than a quarter century, Lower School students have been brushing up on their swimming abilities.

PE teacher and Coach Bob Ulrich says, “Being confident and safe in the water are valuable life skills.” For the first two weeks of every school year (weather permitting) students in Kindergarten through Grade Six spend their Physical Education time in CA’s outdoor swimming pool.

The PE staff’s goal is to make sure that everyone who enters the deep end (4′-7”) is water-safe and can comfortably (as determined by the PE teachers) swim the width of the pool. For those who are already water-safe, students participate in voluntary races utilizing the freestyle, back, breast and butterfly strokes, swimming in heats from one end of the pool to another. “This is a fun and somewhat competitive piece to our swimming.”

Continues Ulrich, “The pool has proven to be a great ice breaker and transition activity from summer vacation into the school year…The students really look forward to and enjoy the tradition of our PE swimming curriculum.” Ulrich admits that swimming is not for everyone. He says occasionally, an inexperienced swimmer comes along. “Many years ago we had a young student who was scared in the water; one of the PE teachers jumped in, swam around with the child and as time went on, that kid turned out to be a confident swimmer.”

“At CA, our goal is to teach children to be independent, adventurous, and take risks, but to know where the shore is and how to return to a place of safety,” says Ulrich.