On Tuesday, March 24, an excited group of second grade students from Long Elementary arrived at the Aquatics Center for their very first lesson in the fundamentals of swimming and water safety.
This lesson is part of the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District’s Safely Educating Aquatic Learners (SEAL) Program, which will give over 1,000 second grade students across the district the opportunity to learn vital aquatics skills.
During the session instructors oriented students in small groups showed them how to float and hold their breath under water.
“We didn’t have these opportunities. For our children to learn to become familiar with the water and not be nervous is a great experience,” said Torres. “I’m 38 years old and I’m so afraid to go swimming. This is going to break the ice for them and take their fears away. My daughter looks a little nervous out there, but she loves the water. She’s having fun.”
Facilitated through the opening of the HCISD’s Aquatic Center, a cutting-edge athletic and wellness facility, the building will host the program for all 17 of the district’s elementary campuses.
“HCISD’s state-of-the-art Aquatic Center wellness facility allows us to enrich student learning with an introduction to the fundamentals of swimming for 2nd grade students while enhancing the current swimming programs at grades 6-12,” said Superintendent Dr. Art Cavazos. “Much time and preparation has gone into the development of the SEAL Swim program, and as such, it is a worthwhile venture to promote the three A’s, Academics, Fine Arts and Athletics. We are excited to see the positive impact this initial year will have on our students as they develop a potentially life-saving skill.”
The program will take place during students’ physical education periods and will offer each second grade class a designated period during the year to participate. Classes will be taught by one certified aquatic professional for every eight students and will be monitored by American Red Cross First Aid Certified Lifeguards at all times to ensure the highest level of safety.
“With the opening of the aquatic center we hope that our programs will enhance the lives of our students, staff and community through heath and wellness opportunities,” said Sandra Flinn Aquatics Center Coordinator. “We feel that our SEAL program will have a large impact on the safety and wellbeing of our children.”
In addition to the water safety program, the facility, which will celebrate its grand opening on April 22, will be home to the district’s secondary campus swim programs and serve as a competition facility. Located on the east side of Harlingen’s J. Lewis Boggus Stadium, S. 13th and E. Jackson, it includes a 10-lane 25-yard competition pool, a separate fitness pool and a diving well. Spectators are also welcome as the facility has over 400 seats.
To learn more about the SEAL program, visit www.hcisd.org/aquatics.