Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando kids swim camp teaches fundamentals

WEEKI WACHEE

Child safety is a top concern for any community, and Hernando County is no exception.

When Hernando County Recreation Department employee Linda Christian spearheaded the plan to implement a set of learn-to-swim classes for area youths four years ago, this was the main reason. Since then, the class has grown from two days a week to five and from one type of class to five.

Originally, the plan was to offer classes for Level 1 beginners and Level 2 advanced swimmers. Now, those classes are offered at the Heather swimming facility in Weeki Wachee in addition to private lessons, parent and infant classes and an "adaptive aquatic" class targeting disabled youth.

Since the county has no official public swimming facility, the first hurdle the recreation department had to clear was finding a venue for the program. The Heather, a golf community in northwest Hernando County, was eager to step up when representatives were told about the goal to teach children safety around the water.

"Drowning is one of the leading causes of death for children in Florida, so we felt there was a need to hold some safety classes," Christian said. "The Heather was very nice about it and did a lot to accommodate us."

A second factor in the growing success of these lessons has been the help Christian got from two other instructors, Mackenzie Mackert, 19, and Krystal Gunderson, 18.

Mackert and Gunderson are both in their third year as certified American Red Cross Water Safety Instructors for the HCRD program, or WSIs for short. Gunderson just graduated from Springstead High in Spring Hill and was a member of the Eagles' swim team for her entire high school career.

"I just find joy in teaching," Gunderson said. "I love helping someone else be safe swimming at home or at the beach."

Christian, 54, also has a background in swimming. Growing up in England, she also swam for her high school program, and when she moved to the United States, she became involved in swim instruction at the YMCA. She has been involved in the county swim program since 1987 and was the Hernando High swim coach from 1998-2000.

Now a certified WSI instructor, Christian has the ability to train new instructors and raves about how important Mackert and Gunderson, have been to this program.

"Without (Mackert and Gunderson), we couldn't run this program," Christian said. "The kids who return from last year are familiar with their instructors, and you can't understand how important that is to them."

One accomplishments for the program has been the ability for the county to work around the tough economic conditions. The cost — $50 for eight 40-minute classes — hasn't changed since the camp's inception four years ago. Private lessons, a feature Christian added this summer, are also affordable at $100 for six lessons.

Either way, the proof is in the results. No one can argue with the popularity of the program. Since it started June 8, every class has been packed, and the spots available for the next session, starting in early July, are limited.

"We'd been doing morning lessons until this year, and because of the popularity, we had to expand to afternoon, evening and Saturday sessions," Christian said. "Every class has been filled to capacity."

Submit feedback, story ideas to communitysports@tampabay.com.

Fast facts

Swimming camp

Sponsor: Hernando County Recreation Department

Head instructor: Linda Christian

Class instructors: Mackenzie Mackert and Krystal Gunderson

Where: The Heather Golf & Country Club, Weeki Wachee

Fees: $50 for eight classes.

Private lessons: Christian also offers six private lessons at $100. For more information, contact Christian at (352) 540-6358.

Hernando kids swim camp teaches fundamentals 06/18/09 [Last modified: Thursday, June 18, 2009 5:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays journal: Archer has strong outing, with two mistakes

    The Heater

    TORONTO — Two pitches RHP Chris Archer didn't execute are the ones that stood out Thursday as Josh Donaldson hit them out of the park. But the two solo home runs aside, Archer turned in a sterling outing that went atop the pile of good pitching the Rays keep wasting.

    Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) works during the first inning. [Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP]
  2. Tim Tebow continues wowing fans as he wraps up bay area games

    Minors

    CLEARWATER — Tracey Fritzinger has seen Tim Tebow play baseball a few times this year. The 40-year-old St. Petersburg resident went to two of his games against the Tampa Yankees, along with Joy, her little sister from Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

    St. Lucie Mets outfielder Tim Tebow, middle, hangs out in the dugout during the first inning of Thursday night’s game against the Clearwater Threshers at Spectrum Field.
  3. Rays vs. Mariners, 7:10 Friday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Mariners

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Austin Pruitt (50) in the dugout during the ninth inning of the game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays on Opening Day at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, April 2, 2017. The Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees 7-3.
  4. Rays waste repeated opportunities in 5-3 loss to Blue Jays

    The Heater

    TORONTO — Rays manager Kevin Cash made a case for urgency before Thursday's game, in both actions and words, making significant changes to the structure of the lineup and sincere comments about time running short.

    Trevor Plouffe of the Rays reacts as he pops out with the bases loaded in the sixth inning. [Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images]
  5. Confederate statue: Why Bucs, Lightning, Rays took a stand

    Bucs

    They didn't want another Charlottesville.

    Marc Rodriguez, a member of the "Florida Fight for $15" organization, stands in protest along with other activists demanding the Confederate  monument be removed from the old Hillsborough County Courthouse in Tampa. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]