Craig elementary schools splash into swim classes | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig elementary schools splash into swim classes

A first-time swimmer may test the waters very cautiously, but by the end of a short period of classes, they'll be diving headlong into the pool.

Craig elementary students have strengthened their aquatic proficiency over the course of October and November at the Moffat County High SchoolMoffat County High School pool through swimming classes. pool through swimming classes.

Moffat County High School pool through swimming classes.

EastEast, , SandrockSandrock and and RidgeviewRidgeview elementary schools have visited the MCHS pool in recent weeks with elementary schools have visited the MCHS pool in recent weeks with SunsetSunset kids ready to do their classes in December. kids ready to do their classes in December.

East, Sandrock and Ridgeview elementary schools have visited the MCHS pool in recent weeks with Sunset kids ready to do their classes in December.

Ridgeview physical education teacher Shannon Samuelson said she had dozens of volunteers helping with about 200 kids in grades one through five from her PE classes, each hitting the waters for eight days, concluding with a skills and fun day this week.

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"The volunteers are extremely important and without them, we can’t have the program," Samuelson said, adding that educators Ann Wagner and Susan Nicholson, among others have been a crucial part of getting the swim program support in past years.

Steve Tegtman has been volunteering for 14 years, starting when his children, Colter and Laurel, were in elementary school.

"This is the best program I've ever seen," he said. "We may be saving a lot of lives in the long run."

2016 MCHS graduate Bailey Kurz was also vigilant poolside as a certified lifeguard.

"A lot of them think they're good swimmers and try to swim way out, but a lot of them stick to the shallow end," she said, adding she hasn't had to take any emergency measures. "A lot of them can swim all the way across without stopping."

Some students stay in the shallows when they're able to splash around, while others head straight for the deep end, confident in their skills.

Ridgeview first-grader Kennedy Kostur was one of several students Thursday who could not be kept away from the diving board for cannonballs and swan dives, which she said was the best part of the pool.

"I like to doggy-paddle, too," she smiled, noting that she learned a lot during the class but also already was a pretty good swimmer.

JoAnn Baxter, a member of the Moffat County School District Board of Education, said at Thursday's board meeting she had observed classes bolstering young swimmers' confidence.

"Almost all put their heads in the water and really gave it a try," she said.

Baxter added that swim classes are one of the most important reasons to keep the MCHS pool open in the wintertime.

Some students come in absolutely terrified of the water, Tegtman said. However, by the time they've learned the basics, getting them to want to leave the pool is the tricky part.

"After two weeks of this, they're golden to swim," he said. "To teach your child to swim, it's using both sides of the brain."

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.