Local children and one Special Olympian got comfortable in the water as the Albion College swimming and diving team took its turn leading a free clinic sponsored by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee on March 30.
Tyler Kimbrell, an honorable mention All-American in the 200-yard medley relay and the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association champion in the 100 and 200 breaststroke events in 2019, explained why it's important to him to teach children about swimming.
"I try to get the smaller children to blow bubbles and put their face in the water as much as possible because that is the first major step to learning to enjoy the water," Kimbrell said. "At the very least, every child should learn to swim so that they can save themselves if they fall into the water. Drowning is one of the leading causes of death in young children, which is extremely scary when you think about how we are surrounded by water.
"Swimming is an amazing form of physical activity with many health benefits for young children. They get all of the cardio advantages without putting extra stress on their bodies," he added.
SAAC President Katie Ferrero said the child's comfort and ability in the water is the aspect that makes her teammates think quickly during the clinic. Some children practice strokes and diving while others are just able to put their face in the water.
"No matter what, there's something for every skill type," Ferrero said. "Hopefully, our clinic stands out by taking away some of the possible fears."
Anna Moore, a senior from nearby Battle Creek who achieved all-MIAA distinction and advanced to the NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championships, added, "I usually take the kids who are the most nervous and scared to help them realize that the water isn't as scary as they believe it to be. I love taking these kids and watching them realize the water is a pretty cool place and watching some fall in love with playing around with the water."
There are two SAAC clinics scheduled for the month of April, with the football up for April 6 and basketball finishing the schedule on April 13.
Joe and Julie Serra have given a $5 million leadership gift to launch a fundraising initiative to make two dreams a reality at Albion College. The first is a newly expanded fitness and student activity facility at the site of the current Dow Recreation and Wellness Center. The second is a new or renovated competition facility for the volleyball, men's basketball and women's basketball that currently call Kresge Gymnasium home.
The College is continuing to raise funds in support of both projects. To learn more, call 517/629-0446 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.