Swimming classes a wise investment at any age - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Swimming classes a wise investment at any age

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Jim Reiser is a good swimmer.

His students will soon be good ones too.

"Children drown without a sound," Reiser said. "They drown quietly. They drown quickly."

With Memorial Day weekend here, the founder of the Swim Lessons Company is preaching safety.

He said many people think they're good swimmers when really that's not the case.

"Especially us men," Reiser said. "We overestimate about three times as much as women."

A recent Red Cross study backs that up.

It found that 80 percent of Americans said they could swim, but only 56 percent of the self-described swimmers can perform all five of the basic skills that could save their life in the water.

Overall, the survey found that 54 percent of Americans either can't swim or don't have all of the basic swimming skills.

"A lot of parents just don't know what good swimming is," Reiser said. "In fact, 40 percent of all adults are scared of the water. 60 percent are afraid of deep water."

Reiser said classes are a wise investment for swimmers of any age.

And with swimmers plunging in to pools, lakes, and oceans, parents and guardians have a big responsibilities too.

"Things that parents need to make sure that they are doing is, number one, watching the water,"Reiser said. "There's no substitute for constant and close supervision."

Reiser said drownings are inevitable but he says each and every one is preventable.

"Being a good swimmer is so important," he said.

Reiser encourages parents to make a "water watcher" card to designate someone on shore as the responsible person watching people in the water.

Reiser's foundation even offers free swimming lessons to low-income families.

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