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Make Way – Linn-Mar Students Are Making Waves

For one week during the school year, Linn-Mar elementary students “dive” into learning about aquatic safety.

Each year, approximately 1,500 students participate in Aquatic Experiences, the district Aquatic Safety program for elementary students. During this program, all second, third and fourth-grade students visit the Aquatic Center for five days during the school year to learn how to swim better and about aquatic safety.

“The goal is to help students learn to swim better. We do not make students learn to swim, they choose to learn to swim.” – Bobby Kelley, Aquatic Center Manager

The Linn-Mar Aquatic Center opened in the fall of 2013 and the Aquatic Experiences program started in the spring of 2014. When the program began, 33 percent of the district’s fourth-grade students were able to pass the deep end test. In the spring of 2020, (before the district shut down due to COVID), the percentage had grown to more than 87 percent.

“Aquatic Experiences is not only a fun experience that the students absolutely love, it also helps give parents a peace of mind knowing that their child is receiving water safety instruction from a certified instructor.”  – Kari Ross, parent

All students learn from a Linn-Mar certified aquatic center staff member. Lessons are taught using the SwimAmerica teaching curriculum and are individually based allowing each student to progress at their own pace. As students advance to the next station, they ring a victory bell celebrating their accomplishment of learning a new skill. 

“My daughter would come home and proudly declare her progress in the program.  Ringing the bell was a big deal. The big deal to me however is that I still see the benefits of this program in her swimming today.” – CJ McDonald, parent and Echo Hill Elementary Principal

The Aquatic Center pool is 33 1/3 meters long which is 2/3’s the size of an Olympic pool and has eight lanes for competition and diving.

“The Aquatic Center is an amazing facility for swimming and diving. However, the time dedicated to teaching Linn-Mar students to swim – far exceeds the time that the facility is used for competitive swimming and diving.” – Bobby Kelley

Click here for more information about the Aquatic Center including information about swim lessons.