Winnipeg woman offers backyard pool to help kids learn to swim
Published Monday, August 5, 2019 9:40AM CST
Last Updated Monday, August 5, 2019 3:05PM CST
A Transcona woman says her pool is open to any child who’s learning how to swim.
Julia Puranen said she’s opening her pool to local kids looking for a place to have their swimming lessons this summer – after witnessing her son nearly drown 32 years ago.
She believes swimming is a skill every child should have.
“You have to respect the water,” said Puranen, “And you have to able to get into it.”
Puranen said it all began in 1987, when her three-year old son David was practicing in the family pool, kicking his legs while holding on to the side steps. She said when a visitor came to her gate she turned away briefly and came back to a scary sight.
“There was David, in the deep end, under the water, eyes open, mouth open, and non-responsive,” said Puranen.
“I thought he was gone, and I can't imagine my life without him."
Her son was rushed to hospital and recovered from the incident.
Puranen said if parents have a swimming instructor for their kids, they’re more than welcome to use her pool.
She siad children who already know how to swim are also encouraged to come, but must be supervised by a parent or guardian.
She says she’s been hosting instructor lessons about three times a week and nearly 30 children have come to her pool.
Christopher Love from the Lifesaving Society Manitoba believes swimming is a life-skill everyone should have.
He said all swimmers should be able to meet the Swim To Survive national standard: possesses the ability to rise from the surface from a disoriented or unexpected entry, tread in the water for at least a minute, and be capable of swimming 50 metres without stopping.
“If you ask people, ‘do you know how to swim?’ the vast majority will say yes,” Love said.
“As soon as you put a qualifier on that, 'Can you swim 50 metres non-stop?' the percentage goes way way down.”
Love said if everyone is capable of meeting those standards, he believes it would cut down on drowning incidents.
“Based on the research we do on drowning, if everybody in Canada can do those, we could cut our drowning death rates around 50 to 70 percent.”