Tacoma is one of the greatest places to live in the Northwest, especially for access to lake, river, and Puget Sound water sports and recreation. Boating, kayaking, water skiing, jet skiing, and river rafting encourage many of us to venture out on the water. Others of us just want to float on a raft or cool off in pool on a hot day.
Unfortunately, a number of adults put themselves and others at risk when they enjoy these activities simply because they never learned to swim. Over 20 years ago I looked out my window at the apartment where I lived to see a big commotion by the complex pool. The pool was relatively small and there were a bunch of people in it and outside on the deck that day, but despite all the eyes, ears, and potential helping hands a man drowned. No one around the pool noticed him until he was motionless at the bottom of the pool. Drowning tragedies are largely preventable. The old adage, better late than never, certainly applies to learning to swim.
If the average adult thinks about taking swim lessons, most likely they envision a group of rug rats bobbing up and down in a pool screeching because the water feels cold. Fortunately, there are great alternatives available to joining the kiddies in the pool. The options range from private lessons to group classes at private gyms, Metro Park pools, or the YMCA.
Private lessons will probably get you in the swim fastest, but they are likely to cost the most. In Tacoma Metro Parks offers adult private swimming lessons at the Eastside Pool 3425 East L Street in Tacoma, (253) 591-2042 and the Centre at Norpoint, 4818 Nassau Ave NE, (253) 591-5504. Instructors teach swimming using the skill-based Swim America model. Private 30 minutes cost $20 for 1 adult and $25 for 2. Another option is to check for private swim instructors through Craigslist, local colleges, or through your health club, but expect to pay a premium for a trained, certified instructor. I found a couple listed, but if they don’t have access to time at a local pool you may have to pay to provide that too.
Metro Parks in Tacoma also offers adult group lessons weekdays Monday and Wednesday evenings at 7:30pm at the Eastside pool throughout the year. The cost for eight 30 minute lessons is $36 for Tacoma Residents and $39 for non-residents. Proof of residency is required.
If you belong to a gym or the YMCA check their class offerings for adult lesson options. In the Tacoma Pierce County area three branches of the YMCA offer adult beginning swim classes. Classes are generally free with your paid membership. Remember the YMCA has special programs for low-income or special needs adults so check if you may be eligible.
In Tacoma a number of private gyms, for example Bally’s and LA Fitness also offer pools and water programs. Group swimming lessons are not too common, but you if you are a member ask if the facility has a list of certified instructors. You may have to pay for private training services, but if the instructor is associated with the gym you will probably find it is fairly easy to find time to use the pool for instruction. In my experience at local clubs pools are generally used less often than other areas, with the exception of the popular water exercise classes that appeal to seniors and folks rehabbing from surgery or injuries.
Be safe, have fun and learn to swim. It’s never too late to start and, who knows, it may just save your life.