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home : features : features February 6, 2016

7/20/2011 12:07:00 PM
Swimming - a lifelong skill
Tyler Thomas with student Luke Korell, 8
Tyler Thomas with student Luke Korell, 8
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Swim instructors, including Pool Manager Tyler Thomas, at the Chino Valley Aquatic Center, teach basic skills to students through drills and games. Some students like their instructors so much they want to stay in the same class and not move up to the next level, parents say.

Diane DeHamer
Feature Writer

"Seventy-five percent of our planet is water - can you swim? - Author Unknown

Tyler Thomas of Chino Valley has taught many children how to swim over the past six years at the Chino Valley Aquatic Center, where he is a swim instructor and a life guard.

"Of all my duties, I prefer teaching. I really love teaching the kids to swim. I like that I'm influencing their lives and having a hand in molding them. It's really a nice feeling," Tyler said.

Tyler is a 2009 graduate of Chino Valley High School and attends Yavapai College and will work in Wildlife Management when he graduates. And during the summer, he enjoys working at the pool.

To become a certified lifeguard, Tyler first had to pass several tests.

"The first part of the test to be a lifeguard is that we are required to swim 300 meters, learn first aid, CPR, and AED (using a defibrillator)," Tyler said. "We also have to know the different entries into the pool when saving a victim. There is the stride entry, compact entry and slide entry (used for a victim who may have a head, neck or back injury)."

Tyler is very serious about pool safety with children.

"I have a hard time watching the local news because of all the little kids that drown," Tyler said. "Some of the things we teach the kids at the pool is: Always swim with a buddy. Always swim in a supervised area. And one of the safety sayings we have at the pool is, 'Reach or Throw, Don't Go,' which means if your friend is having a tough time swimming, first call for a lifeguard, then grab a noodle, etc..., and reach out to him, but don't jump in the water because a panicked swimmer will pull you down with him," Tyler explained.

Around any pool or anything holding water, nothing replaces simply watching children, Tyler said.

"Parents just need to really watch their kids around any kind of water."

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