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Randolph

Grant supports water safety classes in Randolph

For the second year, the Randolph Community Pool has received a grant from the USA Swimming Foundation to offer 40 children free water safety and basic swim lessons designed to prevent drowning.

“It’s not traditional swimming lessons; it’s how not to die in the pool,” said Liz LaRosee, director of community programs in Randolph. She said the classes would begin in the fall; information about signing up is available at www.randolphicc.com/pool.

The classes will teach water safety on land and in the pool, including how to jump in and get to the edge, how to float, and how to do a basic doggy paddle. Each child will receive goggles and a life jacket, and be taught the importance of wearing the life jacket around water, LaRosee said.

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Classes are open to children ages 5 to 18 from families that meet low-income guidelines, she said.

LaRosee said Randolph will apply for grants to teach adults next year. “A lot of parents said they wished they could take the class themselves,” she said.

The USA Swimming Foundation has awarded $5.8 million in learn-to-swim grants since 2004 — with the goal of giving every child the opportunity to learn to swim, regardless of family finances. This year the foundation distributed $763,184 for children’s programs and $135,000 for adult programs.

On its webpage, the foundation said 10 people drown each day in the United States, and swimming lessons reduce the likelihood of childhood drowning by 88 percent. The foundation noted that almost 80 percent of children from households with incomes less than $50,000 have little to no swimming ability.

Johanna Seltz can be reached at seltzjohanna@gmail.com.