Safety important when swimming

Farm Forum

For many people, there’s no better feeling than jumping into a cold body of water on a blisteringly hot day.

However, people — especially children — need to remember that nothing is more important than safety, said Travis Lemer, supervisor of the Aberdeen Aquatic Center.

“Water is fun, but also inherently dangerous,” Lemer said.

With that in mind, Lemer offered tips for safe swimming:

Take swimming lessons

The Parks and Recreation Department offers an American Red Cross Learn-to-Swim class for swimmers of all ages, Lemer said. There are three sessions of classes throughout the summer.

“There is no reason a person shouldn’t know how to swim,” Lemer said.

More information: or by calling the Parks and Recreation Department at 605-626-7015.

Stay at an appropriate depth

This is mostly common sense, but it’s important to follow, Lemer said.

“If you aren’t comfortable in deep water, don’t go in deep water,” he said.

Follow the rules

Whether you’re swimming at the Aberdeen Aquatic Center, the pool in the YMCA or another establishment, there will be rules and guidelines, Lemer said.

For example, the Aquatic Center does not allow people to slide headfirst on waterslides or climb on pipes or handrails.

He knows people don’t always agree with or enjoy all the rules, but they’re in place for the safety and enjoyment of yourself and others, he said.

“We want you to have fun, but we want you leave with a smile on your face,” Lemer said.

Don’t be dependent on lifeguards

Although lifeguards are stationed at many water facilities, including the Aberdeen Aquatic Center, people need to understand that a lifeguard is not an excuse to put yourself in a potentially dangerous situations, Lemer said.

“We have a good park and a well-trained staff, but lifeguards are not your first line of defense. We’re your last,” Lemer said.

Parents with younger children need to be especially mindful of this advice and make sure to always keep an eye on their kids.

“Ideally, you should be able to have fun at the park without ever interacting with a lifeguard,” Lemer said.