Learn to Swim. Learn to Thrive

The lure of a cool swimming pool calls to us on the long hot days of summer. Splashing with friends, swimming laps, or jumping off the diving board at Globe Hollow are memories many have of fun days spent at the public swimming pool. So too are swimming lessons where children learn to blow bubbles, float on their backs, and refine arm strokes. Swimming lessons have always been an important part of water safety and keeping kids, both young and old, safe around water. Drowning is the second-leading cause of accidental death for children under the age of 14 in the United States. Research has shown that formal swimming lessons reduce the risk of childhood drowning by 88%. The Manchester Recreation Division believes swim lessons are life-saving resources, critical to public health and well-being.

The Recreation Division has embarked on a campaign to engage the community in promoting the importance of learning to swim. Our objectives are three-fold: first and most importantly, we aim to bring diverse swim lessons and water-based programming to a wide audience of town residents. Second, we hope to increase excitement about swimming and aquatic opportunities for those who can swim and are looking for a challenge. Finally, we wish to educate our residents about the importance of learning to swim as a life-saving measure as well as lifelong leisure and wellness activity.

“My goal is to identify and break down barriers to access to swimming lessons so that our residents feel safe in and around the water. We will teach them how to swim but I also want them to feel confident in any aquatic situation. For example, if they are in the backyard or they are at a friend’s house and they see that somebody’s in trouble, they have the tools prepared so they can hopefully help their friend or family member,” said Josh Charette, Recreation Supervisor.

The motto for our campaign, LEARN.SWIM.THRIVE was introduced to the Manchester community via the Your Voice Matters website. More than 100 Manchester residents completed our swim lesson survey providing valuable feedback and direction allowing us to make critical improvements to our aquatic programming. Based on the feedback, some changes you may see this summer include open swim and free swim times on Friday evenings, with additional events like poolside bingo and a lifeguard night where children can get an insight into the duties and skills of lifeguarding.

“I want my staff, I want us, to build relationships with folks from the community so that they know that these are safe places not only for the adults to be but the kids and to enjoy a Friday night with the family, with our lifeguards,” Charette said.

Other changes and additions include adult swim class during the week and more convenient swim lesson offerings for youth. Some of our traditional programs that were halted by the COVID-19 pandemic will be making their return, including Swim for Fitness/Swim for Life, Aqua Circuit, and Total Aqua, along with Senior Aqua Exercise. New swim clinics are being planned, including two open water swimming clinics taught by Manchester resident Marcy MacDonald, who has completed multiple crossings of the English Channel along with other incredible swimming feats.

Keep on the lookout this summer for our new logo, our mascot making appearances at our pools, fun pop-up events, and of course, our learn to swim program.

Registration for summer swim lessons begins on Wednesday, May 4 at 9:00 a.m.


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