BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - With the temperatures heating up, more kids are getting ready to go swimming this summer. That's partly why Biloxi Public Schools wants to make sure the kids are comfortable in the water. This year, more than 500 first graders from the district's five elementary schools have been introduced to water safety, swim techniques, and boating safety thanks to classes at the Biloxi Natatorium.
For a two-week stint, they've been jumping, splashing and kicking their way thru swim lessons along with other first graders in the district. For these kids, it's a rite of passage and a chance to become comfortable in the water.
"I think that being surrounded by water, it's super important to continue what they've started here and get kids comfortable around the water, teach them some life-saving skills and get them prepared for the next level of swimming," said Meghan Taylor, Biloxi schools swim coach. "This program's been around for years. There's some incredible people who started this."
Taylor also said the kids "soak up" the lessons with ease.
"They're like sponges, literally," she added. "They soak it up so quick. They learn it quickly. They're in and out in two weeks, and I would say 95 percent of the kids are leaving with water safety skills.
The class not only teaches the kids how to swim but also sets the table for some future swim team members. Biloxi swim teams have won eight state swimming titles.
Meghan Taylor is part of that swim team legacy and says she's glad to be giving back by working with these kids, who also pick up some other water safety tips along the way.
"We work on how to wear a life jacket, how to enter a boat safely, and what to do if your boat capsizes," she added. "And they learn how to get yourself out of the water safely."