One Eleuthera Foundation’s “Learn-to-Swim,” pilot program is off to a splashing success at the CTI Rock Sound campus. This free community program is open to children and adults, aged four to sixty years old and aims to teach beginners basic swim and water safety skills.

Swim classes are held on campus for one hour, five days per week, including Saturdays and are taught by experienced swimming instructors.

“We recognize that many residents of Eleuthera and their children, in particular those in the South, lack this fundamental skill and access to pool facilities where they can learn to swim safely and have an extracurricular activity that they can enjoy. For this reason, launching a swimming program has become a critical piece of our overall campus and community outreach plan,” commented Keyron Smith, Chief Project Officer, OEF. “Sadly, as we’ve seen in recent years, dangerous sea surges due to Hurricane activity can also have tragic consequences. We want to equip our community with the necessary skills to be safe, but to also confidently enjoy our surrounding Bahamian waters.”

This first intake of the program was limited to 40 participants. In less than one hour of opening the online registration over 70 applications were submitted demonstrating the public interest and necessity. New applicants are currently being added to a waiting list for future classes which will be announced as funding is secured to expand the program.

Coaches have already seen great progress among students in the two weeks that the program has been up and running. The fledgling swimmers are becoming more confident in their swim skills such as treading water, floating, breathing, and swimming in deeper water. Some of the younger swimmers are even able to glide across the pool on their kickboards without assistance.

Due to a recent island-wide spike in COVID-19 cases, and changes to the National Emergency Orders, the OEF swim program has been temporarily suspended for at least two weeks. Organizers are hopeful that classes will be able to resume soon and plan to notify participants via email and social media once restrictions are lifted.

“While we are very happy to see the impact this program is having on the community especially the young kids, the safety of our students, instructors, volunteers, and guests remains a top priority,” explained Smith. “We look forward to resuming the swim sessions and look forward to seeing the excitement of the students upon their return to the campus, as they continue to thrive with their newfound swimming skills.”

Members of the public interested in sponsoring a class or donating to One Eleuthera’s “Learn-to-Swim” Program can email: info@oneeleutherafoundation.org