Aquatics Center provides swimming lessons for students

Written by Nicholas Olivera/Staff Writer

A survey conducted by the American Red Cross found that one in five Americans don’t know how to swim.

Of those who do know how to swim, only 56 percent know basic water safety skills, such as exiting the pool without the use of a ladder or treading water for at least a minute.

The Biscayne Bay Campus’ Aquatics Center has made it its mission to provide swimming lessons to students of all skill levels.

“We teach swimming as a life skill more than we teach it as an exercise outlet,” said Barry Tucker, aquatics supervisor for BBC’s wellness center. “A majority of the students we get request lessons because they need swimming as a life skill.”

Tucker said that many of the students who come for lessons do so in order to pass swimming tests that are required for firefighter school and the police academy. However, other students simply want to get over their fear of the water.

The instructors for the lessons are also students at the University, which is done to “create a sense of involvement.”

Tucker relates it to a mentor relationship between student and teacher.

“Students feel comfortable because they are learning from another student,” he said. “We’re able to get people together in order to accomplish a common goal.”

Sometimes, they get students who are scared of the water.

“What I do is try to make them feel comfortable so, once trust has been established, I can teach them how to swim,” said Nicole Maré, a freshman studying social work and one of facility’s swim instructors.

Instructors will modify their teaching style depending on the abilities of their student.

“There’s one student I have who’s terrified of the water so our lessons focus on just getting comfortable in the water,” Maré said. “And I have another student who knows how to swim but doesn’t know how to do it well so we just concentrate on perfecting their technique.”

Tucker said there is a desire for the University’s pool to serve a greater purpose. He stressed the need for students to understand the significance of the Aquatics Center.

“Our pool is such a good resource, especially since there aren’t many olympic-sized pools in North Miami,” said Tucker. “For the students to have the opportunity to participate in a swimming club and further in aquatics has been a big part of the wellness initiative here.”

Lessons are available Monday through Thursday and Saturday at $150 per session.
To register for lessons, participants must go to

Photo Courtesy of Nicholas Olivera

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