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May 25, 2011

Kids learn to paddle at the annual Y swimming program

With temperatures in the nineties, News Five’s Andrea Polanco caught up today with an eager group of children at the annual Y swimming program.  During the course, the children acquired valuable like skills and learned how to feel comfortable in the water. The training concluded today with a short and long distance competition and the kids were all too happy to show off the new techniques they’ve mastered.

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Today over a hundred students gathered at the Y.W.C.A. for the culmination of nine weeks of intense swimming lessons, which Principal Delarai Sanchez says is held in the memory of Fiona Stevenson, a volunteer who was listed in Belize, but died during the 2005 London bombings. Stevenson had a dream and for four years now that dream is being kept alive at the Y.W.C.A.:

Delarai Sanchez

Delarai Sanchez: Principal, Helping Early Leavers Program, Y.W.C.A.

“When she was here in Belize, she saw some young people just dying of drowning and really this disheartened her. And she was what you call a challenged volunteer from England and when she was finished she went back to England. Unfortunately she died in the London Bombing and after her death, her family decided to have the Fiona Stevenson charitable foundation to assist young people in Belize to learn how to swim The purpose is to train young people to learn the skill of swimming and as well as life guard. In this way it is going to make her dream come true a little bit where young people will not be drowning because of not having the skill of swimming.”

During the nine week swimming course, lifeguard Daron Gentle says the students acquired a variety of techniques that they can use through-out their lives:

Daron Gentle

Daron Gentle: Lifeguard, Y.W.C.A.

“For the last nine weeks we have been teaching them umm a lot of different other strokes, we have the front stroke, the back stroke. We have some floats, the front floats, the back floats. We have some glides, we have some survival floats yuh know and different things that they can use when they go out to the see or the river wherever they go swimming.”

And it this valuable lesson that was taught to many students, who principal Sanchez says wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to do so:

Delarai Sanchez

“What we do we choose schools umm who have students where their parents would not necessarily have that money to pay for their children to learn to swim, because this is also I must tell you is also a free umm activity.”

And today the top participants in this swimming meet told us about why their love for the sport and the new things they learned:

Andrea Polanco

“Swimming dah something weh you love?”

Paul McFoy

Paul McFoy: Belize Friends School, 1st Long Distance

“Yes ma’am.”

Andrea Polanco

“I know unu learn wah lotta new things over the past nine weeks, tell me some ah the things weh you learn?”

Paul McFoy

“Front Crawl, back crawl, front stroke, back stroke, glide, threading  and other stuff.”

Andrea Polanco

“So swimming dah something you do regularly?”

Victoria Marin

Victoria Marin: Salvation Army, 2nd Short Distance

“No, I do track and field.”

Andrea Polanco

“So before this competition you didn’t know how to swim?”

Victoria Marin

“Yes I mi know how fi swim but not good I neva know how fi swim good.”

Andrea Polanco

“You came in first, Jason dis dah something you mih expect?”

Jason Ellis

Jason Ellis: Trinity Methodist, 1st Long Distance

“Yes ma’am.”

Andrea Polanco

“Suh tell me how you prepare for this competition yah today?”

Jason Ellis

“Miss I come every Tuesday dah swimming class and I practice it.”

Andrea Polanco

“You di compete with wah lotta other students I mean how you feel right now?”

Shaqueda Ellis

Shaqueda Ellis: Trinity Methodist, 1st Long Distance

“Hype, good miss.”

Andrea Polanco

“Suh when you mi di out deh and when you mi di swim, how you mi feel at that moment?”

Shaqueda Ellis

“Fun and nervous.”

Andrea Polanco

“Suh when you reach the end ah di pool you mi expect dat deh mi wah seh you win?”

Shaqueda Ellis

“No ma’am, because I mi left last and nuh know weh I mi deh and when I finish the race so I mi think I mi wah come een last but then I come een first.”

Andrea Polanco

“Swimming is something that you do regularly?”

Marion Young

Marion Young: Trinity Methodist School, 2nd place: Long Distance Division

“Yes ma’am because sometimes we guh dah Foreshore and deh other places guh swim.”

Andrea Polanco

“So now that you’re a competent swimmer, you’ll be able to teach your brothers and sisters as well?”

Marion Young

“Yes ma’am.”

Emory Flowers

Emory Flowers: Stella Maris, 3rd Short Distance

“I like swim eena deep, float and suh.”

Andrea Polanco

“Suh now when you guh dah sea, you sure you nuh wah drown easily?”

Emory Flowers

“No ma’am”

And while the students received trophies and medals with anticipation, for the hosts, it was a celebration of major achievement from the new swimmers to the application of techniques.

Delarai Sanchez

“They are showing what they have learnt yes, when they came some of them or I should say the most of them didn’t know how to swim but we have able body lifeguards here who teach them how to swim.”

Daron Gentle

“Yes I see a lot of them use the techniques very well and they make me very proud because I as the teacher I can see that they are learning and they pay attention and yuh know they put to practice what they have learnt.”

Reporting for News Five, I am Andrea Polanco.

According to organizers, about two hundred primary school children participated in the summer program.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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