The five-time Olympic gold medalist explains why it’s never too early and never too late to learn how to swim, and she’s speaking from experience.
What steps did your family take when you were younger to ensure pool safety?
My parents took several steps to ensure as much as my safety as possible around the water. There is no such thing as being totally water safe at any age, but my parents wanted to make sure I was as safe as I could be. My mom signed us both up for swim lessons when I was 6 months old at the YMCA. Even though she was fearful of the water herself, she was brave enough to protect us both. If the parents don’t know how to swim, there is only a 19% chance that any child in that household will know how to swim. It is a generational fear, and it takes courage and bravery to stop the cycle. Whenever I was in the water my parents were alert and focused only on me.
In your opinion, what are the top reasons children should learn how to swim?
Swimming is the only sport that can save your life and that you can do for life. Swimming is a life-saving skill that is crucial for any stage and age of life. It is never too early to learn, and it is never too late. Your child will be around water for the rest of your life, and you are providing them with a skill they will use forever.
How did learning to swim positively impact your life?
Swimming obviously impacted my life in profound ways. My mother never thought when putting me in lessons at 6 months that she was giving me my career. The people I’ve met and the places I’ve been able to travel to have all gifted me more than I could ever imagine. Not to mention the life lessons this sport has taught me. I am who I am today because of this sport.