May 20, 2014 5:21 PM by Leah Kraus

New study says many swimmers don't have essential water-safety skills

A new study from the American Red Cross says many swimmers do not have the skills they should before jumping into the water.

They list these five skills as essential to your safety:
floating or treading water for one minute without a flotation device, stepping or jumping into water over your head and returning to the surface,
treading water or floating in a full circle and then finding a way out of the water, exiting a pool without using a ladder, and swimming 25 yards without stopping.

Swim instructor and lifeguard Hailey Dikeman says that even though she is prepared to save lives, it is still scary to see someone struggling in the water.

"It's terrifying and I know that in my swim lessons and classes we go over water safety every day and the main focus is to be self-sufficient in the water."

The study also says that 56% of adults who say they can swim have never taken a professional lesson. Even more alarming to instructors, 37% say they taught themselves.

"The amount of adults that have self taught themselves is high, but when you're out in this field and watching people swim it's evident that a lot of them have not had
formal instruction," says Karen Valdez, aquatic manager at the Cheyenne Mountain Aquatic Center.

She says it's especially scary to hear about self taught adults teaching their own children to swim.



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