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Recent drownings put renewed focus on adult swimming lessons

Posted at 9:32 AM, Jun 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-24 12:32:28-04

PHOENIX — Numerous adults have drowned so far this year at Lake Pleasant. The drownings have put a renewed focus on the importance of adults learning how to swim.

ABC15 met Deborah McCrory as she was getting a swim lesson from her instructor Shelbi Schmit at her local Valley of the Sun YMCA. McCrory says an experience when she was a teen made her afraid of the water for over 50 years.

But McCrory says it was her five-year-old grandson Connor who inspired her to give it a second chance.

“I just sank, and the lifeguards had to come rescue me and I had to sit on the side of the pool and watch all of the other girls swim and have a good time," McCrory said. “It was a fear. I just shook, and I was afraid I was going to die, and I wanted nothing to do with the water."

It's a skill not just for fun, but one that could even save her life.

“We were at the pool and (I was) in the three-foot area walking back and forth and he said, Grandma this will not work. You need to learn to swim," she said.

According to the World Health Organization, drowning is the third-leading cause of accidental death.

“Last year just in Arizona, over half of the drownings that we had were adults and most of them happened at water fronts and lakes," Schmidt said.

Schmidt says that alone is why it's never too late to learn.

"We teach lessons from six months to 106 I like to say," Schmidt said.

At 71 years young, McCrory says she's just getting started.

"This has brought me out where I want to try more interesting things," she said. "I'm ready for it. Whatever comes along, I'm ready for it."

Schmit says adult swim classes are offered for free through the Valley of the Sun YMCA. For more information, contact your local YMCA.