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YMCA rolls out new Y swimming policy to protect young swimmers

With nearly one in five drowning deaths in the United States occurring among children 14 and younger, the YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne has taken the lead in youth swimming safety with its new Test.Mark.Protect Initiative. The initiative, which went into effect in all association branches on Monday, Jan. 21, ensures all children are protected while swimming in Y pools.
 
Through this initiative, all YMCA branches in Allen, Wells and Whitley counties will now require children under 14 years old to take and pass a lifeguard-monitored swim test. Upon passing the test, swimmers will be given a green wristband to wear while in the pool. Swimmers who do not pass the test, or do not wish to take it, will be required to wear a lifejacket for protection or have an adult present within reach.
 
“More than 3,000 children alone participated in Y swim lessons in our association in 2012,” said Jen Dyben, aquatics director for Parkview Family YMCA. “Over 90 percent of drowning incidents occur in water four feet deep or shallower — and most incidents are preventable with the right precautions, like our Test.Mark.Protect Initiative.”
 
“We have a responsibility to the community to be proactive in making a positive change by protecting every child that enters our pools,” said Marty Pastura, CEO and president of the YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne. “We encourage kids and adults to have fun in and around the water, but always make safety our first priority.”
 
The YMCA also offers a variety of programs that help swimmers learn water safety skills, develop confidence in and around the water and enjoy the benefits of water exercise. Swim lessons are available to swimmers of all ages, from babies to adults, proving it's never too late or too early to learn or improve your skills.
 
For more information on the Test.Mark.Protect Initiative and aquatics programs available at the YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne, visit any membership branch or fwymca.org.