As swim season approaches, the Van Wert YMCA encourages children and parents in the Van Wert community to explore the many benefits of swimming, while also keeping safety top of mind. In the Y’s swim programs, participants can enjoy water sports, enhance or learn new techniques, meet new friends and develop confidence, while also learning safety skills that can save lives.

“Swimming is a fun and enjoyable activity for children and adults alike, and it’s an easy way to stay physically active and improve strength, flexibility and stamina,” said Martha Martin, aquatics director/American Red Cross lifeguard and instructor for the Van Wert YMCA. “The Y is committed to providing as many opportunities as possible for everyone to swim and learn water safety practices.”

As part of National Water Safety Month in May, the Y encourages parents to take an active role in their child’s safety. Following are safety tips to practice when in and around the water:

Only swim when and where there is a lifeguard on duty; never swim alone.

Adults should constantly and actively watch their children. Inexperienced or non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket. Parents or guardians of young children should be within an arm’s reach. Children and adults should not engage in breath holding activities.

In addition to learning lifesaving water safety skills, children can increase their physical activity by swimming. Swimming also motivates children to strive for self-improvement, teaches goal orientation, and cultivates a positive mental attitude and high self-esteem. It also teaches life lessons of sport and sportsmanship, so that children can learn how to work well with teammates and coaches and how to deal with winning and losing.

As a leading nonprofit committed to youth development, the Y has been a leader in providing swim lessons and water safety for 100 years. The Y continues to help youth and adults experience the joy and benefits of swimming, so they can be healthy, confident and secure in the water. There are a variety of programs to choose, including swimming lessons, family swim, competitive swimming and diving teams, private swim lessons, lessons for children with Special Needs, school activities and sports teams who use the pool for cross training workouts.

To ensure that everyone has an opportunity to participate, the Y is offering a free water safety and swimming assessment to the public. This program is open to all children ages 3 and older and will be held on two different days, Tuesday, May 27 and Thursday, May 29 from 4 – 6 p.m. Participants will be asked to swim for YMCA swim instructors, who have over 75 combined years of experience in providing quality swimming training. The instructors will evaluate each child on their swimming skills and a recommendation will be made on how to proceed with the child’s swimming development. Pre-Registration is required for this program. Registrations can be made by visiting the YMCA online at, call (419) 238-0443 or at the YMCA front desk. To learn more about the Y’s swim programs, please contact Martha Martin at (419) 238-0443 or

The YMCA of Van Wert County is partially funded by the United Way and the Van Wert County Foundation.