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City’s swim lessons prove popular
by Andrea Tyrell
Jul 17, 2013 | 1288 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by John Byrne -- Sparks Parks and Rec. swimming instructor Mariah Barbato works with 5-year-old Presten Smith during a lesson Tuesday.
Tribune photo by John Byrne -- Sparks Parks and Rec. swimming instructor Mariah Barbato works with 5-year-old Presten Smith during a lesson Tuesday.
With the summer heat hitting its peak, there is nothing more refreshing than jumping into a swimming pool. Swimming safety is key with everyone, especially young children.

According to the Center for Disease Control, children between the ages of 1 and 4 have the greatest risk of drowning. Parents in Sparks can breathe easier knowing that their children know how to swim and play safely in and around the water. The Alf Sorenson Community Center, located at 1400 Baring Blvd., offers swimming lessons to kids from ages three months to 12 years.

For $53 a child, parents can sign their families up for swim lessons taught by a certificated instructor from the critically acclaimed Swim Lessons University. Lessons at the Sorenson Center are offered year-round, with the exception of the month of December.

During a course of the lesson’s session, swimmers meet at the pool four times a week to practice. Each session lasts for two weeks.There are five levels of classes offered: the Level One class is offered primarily for infants and toddlers, where they are introduced to the water and get comfortable with being emerged. Levels Two through Four teach basic breathing techniques and a basic freestyle stoke.The Level Five class is for the most advanced swimmer, teaching kids diving and more advanced strokes like the breast stroke.

Swim instructors take online courses and are tested on their skills before teaching each class, solidifying their swimming knowledge. There also are CPR certified lifeguards on duty at the pool during each lesson.

“People come because they like the results and the lessons are affordable,” said Cindy Brantener, Sorenson’s recreational specialist.

Because these lessons are friendly for your wallet, they are also popular. The lessons have expanded out to Deer Park’s public pool. For July’s lessons, the wait list is long but Brantener encourages parents to keep calling to sign up and seek out open spots. Registration for August’s lessons begin August 8 at 6 a.m. online. In order to register, one must have their household ID number available.

“The Level One and Two classes are popular year round, especially during the summer,” said Brantener. “However, there are always open spots in the other levels. Fall is a good time to take those lessons.”

Unfortunately, accidents do happen, in and out of the pool. Parents can take preventative measure at their pools and other waterways by being educated in CPR and life-saving skills. The Northern Nevada Red Cross offers CPR and first aid classes for adults and teens, starting at $55 per participant. With these classes, participants learn how to resuscitate, using mouth-to-mouth, the Heimlich maneuver and how to treat minor cuts and burns.

“We offer a bunch of different classes,” said Diana Bradfute, the training scheduler at the Northern Nevada Red Cross office. “Each one is taught by a certified instructor. We have retired fire fighters, EMTs, local doctors and nurses teaching. By the end of that class, you’ll know how to save a life.”

For those looking for complete swim safety and CPR lessons, the Red Cross offers a lifeguarding training program. There are several classes offered online, as well as blended classes where one could read the online materials and practice on the dummies at the education site.

Call the Alf Sorensen Community Center at (775) 353-2385 or visit for more information about swimming lessons. For more information about CPR and first aid classes sponsored by the Northern Nevada Red Cross, call (775) 856-1000 or visit
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