Mandatory swimming lessons a lifeline in Boston

The announcement to parents provoked raised eyebrows and head shakes: At the Boys & Girls Club in Roxbury, Andrea Swain declared, all children would take swim lessons.

“You could feel the fear in the room,” said Swain, executive director of the organization’s Yawkey Club on Warren Street. “It’s amazing that in 2012, you would have to convince parents to give their children free lessons.”

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