It’s not too late.
It’s never too late, says Dale Cary, who teaches beginning swimming to adults at Forest Park Swim Center in Everett.
For for those who work and play around lakes or the inland marine waters, learning to swim is a must. For people who want to be good role models for their kids and grandchildren, it’s a great idea.
Lots of adults who can’t swim had bad experiences when they were kids, Cary said. Near drownings, poor instruction and missed opportunities because of parental fear are among the heartbreaking stories he has heard.
Cary finds that his first job is to get people relaxed and floating in the water. He figures people can learn as long as they know they are in a safe setting.
“I’m relaxed and that makes it easier for people,” Cary said. “And I’m 56, which I think makes people feel more comfortable than if the class was taught by a teenage lifeguard. There’s no pressure.”
Cary, of Everett, is a 1975 graduate of Mountlake Terrace High School, where he competed on the swim team. His swim experience came in handy during his service in the Navy.
Then, while studying full time at the University of Washington, Cary taught swim classes at the Mountlake Terrace Recreation Pavilion.
“I loved teaching kids, and teaching them to have fun and love the water as much as I do,” he said. “It helps with your self-esteem, your confidence and it’s transformative when you do something well and feel good about it.”
His degree in mechanical engineering landed him a job at Boeing, from which he retired last year. With the extra time, Cary has returned to teaching swimming.
Over the years Cary also has participated in U.S. Masters Swimming competitions and he swims laps as often as he can. He is proud of his own kids, who also are good swimmers.
In short, Cary loves to swim and he is eager to help other people develop a similar interest.
“I found out early that I was good at, and I still swim to keep fit,” he said. “It’s the best form of exercise for people getting older.”
With adults, Cary talks about the physics of swimming before he gives his students the tools to “move the water.”
Jeremy and Jennifer Blair of Lake Stevens, both 41, were members of the beginning swim class earlier this year. Their son Curtis, 10, also takes swim lessons and has since he was a baby.
Their goal has been swimming together as a family, the Blairs said.
For Jennifer Blair, the adult class was more of a refresher.
“Swimming is easy, but now I am working on my breathing,” she said.
For her husband, however, the beginner class was a must.
“Swimming wasn’t a priority with my parents,” Jeremy Blair said. “But I want to show my son that I am comfortable around the water.”
Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Forest Park Swim Center’s next round of beginning swim classes for adults is 7 to 7:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, March 3 through 26. Cost is $44. Register by calling 425-257-8300, ext. 2.
The city’s swim center is in Forest Park, 802 E. Mukilteo Blvd., Everett. More information is available at www.everettwa.org/parks.
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