Sunset Elementary School physical education teacher Susan Nicholson instructs first-grader Eden Conner in basic swimming exercises Tuesday afternoon at the Moffat County High School pool. Students at Craig elementary schools will be attending gym classes at the pool for the next several weeks to learn how to strengthen their skills in the water.

Photo by Andy Bockelman

Sunset Elementary School physical education teacher Susan Nicholson instructs first-grader Eden Conner in basic swimming exercises Tuesday afternoon at the Moffat County High School pool. Students at Craig elementary schools will be attending gym classes at the pool for the next several weeks to learn how to strengthen their skills in the water.

Craig elementary students get strong in the water at Moffat County High School

— The students from Sunset Elementary School were at Moffat County High School on Tuesday working on their swimming skills.

As part of a weeklong physical education program for Sunset, children from first through fifth grade are taking advantage of the high school’s swimming facilities to become stronger, safer swimmers.

“There’s the pool at the high school and it’s not getting used much during the day,” said Susan Nicholson, a physical education teacher at Sunset. “It gets used, but not all day.”

So almost 25 years ago, Ridgeview Elementary School began taking advantage of the valuable resource. Now, each of the four elementary schools in the Moffat County School District uses the pool each year. Ridgeview has finished its 2013 instruction while Sunset’s will conclude Thursday, and Sandrock and East’s classes are still to come.

The classes consist of basic through advanced swimming instruction, depending on how experienced the elementary students are in the water. The best part about the program now that children get lessons from first through fifth grade is that by the end, students become very capable swimmers, Nicholson said.

“We have seen such great growth with students through their swim strokes,” she said. “It’s a good program.”

Parents and community members who are certified Water Safety Instructors volunteer to help with the classes, which are valuable for their real-life application outside of school and even outside of a standard pool.

“Our goal is that this carries over to Elkhead (Reservoir) or that this carries over to being around the river,” Nicholson said. “With these instructions come the safety element of being in the water.”

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