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High school students learn swimming basics at Loyola

Loyola press release - September 30, 2011

The Loyola University New Orleans Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and Wellness has partnered with the New Orleans Charter Science and Math High School to provide swimming lessons at the high school.

Each Tuesday and Thursday afternoon through Nov. 17, Loyola will host up to 20 students for swim instructions, led by Loyola University Sports Complex swim instructor, CeCe Dugas. Funding for the lessons is provided by a partnership between New Orleans Outreach and the Science and Math High School.

According to Lisa Martin, director of the Center for Intercultural Understanding at Loyola and a board member with the high school, these lessons will not only instill a sense of safety, but will also build confidence for the young men and women.

“The Science and Math High School wanted to make sure the students learned to swim because of what occurred during Hurricane Katrina,” said Martin. “So many people lost their lives because they didn't know how to swim. It's important to give the students both a sense of safety and empowerment.”

Since moving here from Cleveland, Ohio, where swimming was a graduation requirement, Barbara MacPhee, founder and principal of the high school, has been concerned with the number of New Orleanians who do not know how to swim.

“It is an essential life skill and ought to be part of the graduation requirements in a city surrounded by water. If I ever win the Power Ball, I will put a swimming pool in every high school to make this possible,” McPhee said. “In the meantime, this is my small contribution to this problem. It warms my heart to see students afraid of the water overcoming that. It's another important step in adulthood, overcoming something difficult.”

This class is designed to enable students to progress from non-swimming or basic swimming skills to advanced skills. Students will learn proper body positioning, breathing, kicking and arm stroking techniques. They also will learn and observe all water safety and pool rules and personal safety skills for beginner swimmers.

“We are very excited that Loyola University is able to accommodate the needs and goals of the students of the New Orleans Charter Science and Math High School,” said Dr. Michael F. Giorlando, Loyola’s Athletics and Wellness director.

Students will receive, upon completion of their class, the appropriate American Red Cross Learn to Swim Certificate and Swim by the C Learn to Swim Certificate.