By Scott Kennedy and Brittany Grove
RICHMOND, Va- Aisha Moten is a Virginia Commonwealth University student by day and instructor by night–and her class meets in a swimming pool. She’s one of the certified instructors in VCU’s Learn to Swim program.
VCU offers classes at its MCV campus pools to help adults learn this vital task throughout a seven week session. Moten realizes the importance of knowing how to swim in a life-threatening water circumstance. Coupled with her passion for people, she said she’s led to share her swimming knowledge with her adult students.
“I know a lot of people might not really know how to swim, or they might think they know how to swim,” says Moten. “But I think everybody should definitely learn how to swim.”
The United States Department of Health and Human Services reports that in 2005 more than 3,500 unintentional drowning took place in the U.S. That means that an average of nearly ten unintentional drowning happens every day.
VCU pays for students, like sophomore Anthony Hunt, to become certified swim instructors. And the experience is paying off. Hunt said he’s had the opportunity to teach many different age groups, allowing him to recognize the struggles shared with all new swimmers. Hunt has been swimming regularly since high school, and using his experience and knowledge to help many others learn how to stay afloat.
“I’ve taught between the ages of six months and ninety-seven years old. I’ve had it all,” says Hunt.
While VCU is teaching an invaluable skill to members of the Richmond community, the Adult Learn to Swim instructors also feel rewarded with the opportunity to share with others something that could someday save a life.
“It’s very rewarding to be able to teach a child or an adult or a teenager how to swim because you’re teaching them a skill that is very important in case they get into trouble one day if they’re in a river, or on a lake, or in the ocean,” says Hunt.
The Adult Learn to Swim program is open to anyone in the Richmond community.
Students: $28 for 1 class or $56 for 2 classes, per week
Faculty/staff: $42 for 1 class or $84 for 2 classes, per week
Community: $56 for 1 class or $112 for 2 classes, per week
The sessions meet weekly for seven weeks and the next one begins March 16.