From Competitor to Instructor and Coach
Beki Moke has been a swimmer since she was six years old. She was simultaneously enrolled in both swimming lessons and a summer league in northern Virginia. She caught the competitive bug and enjoyed it quite a bit, especially since she was good at it. During her fourth grade year her family moved to Virginia Beach where she continued swimming competitively, first for a team in Norfolk and then on the Salem Woods summer league. She stayed with Salem Woods through high school and also competed on her high school team.
In college, Beki earned certification as a lifeguard and after a summer outdoors, came to work at the recreation center. She recalls observing how much fun the swim instructors had, so she was inspired to earn her Water Safety Instructor certification. She loves teaching; she especially loves seeing kids "get it," when they transform from being fearful to realizing they can do it. Because she had such great competitive swimming experiences, Beki decided to try her hand at coaching summer league. It was quite challenging to step into the leadership role at first, but she really enjoyed helping kids improve their swimming. With some coaching under her belt, Beki earned a spot coaching for Winter Swim League. She says coaching swimmers of different ages has helped her learn to interact differently with swimmers based on their needs, abilities, personalities and learning styles.
One swimmer she coached really stands out in Beki's mind because he reminds her of herself as a young competitor. Even though he's young, he understands what he needs to do in order to improve and pushes himself to get it done. She admires his effort and advises him and all the other competitors in her care not to be too hard on themselves, work on one thing at a time and try not to get discouraged. That's good advice from someone who has experienced it firsthand.
How to Protect Yourself from RWIs
You may be asking yourself, what are RWIs? RWIs stands for Recreational Water Illnesses and according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, are caused by germs spread by swallowing, breathing in or having contact with contaminated water in swimming pools, hot tubs, water parks, lakes, rivers and oceans. By following a few simple tips, you can ensure that your swimming experience is healthy and free of RWIs.
- Don't swallow the pool water. Avoid getting water in your mouth.
- Practice good hygiene. Shower with soap before swimming and wash your hands after using the restroom or changing diapers.
- Don't swim when you have diarrhea, you can spread germs in the water and make other people sick.
- Make sure the pool you are swimming in has a free chlorine level of 1-3 parts per million (ppm) and a PH of 7.2-7.8.
- Encourage pool operators to take steps known to kill germs; like using ultraviolet lights and hyperchlorinate regularly.
- Get educated and educate others on RWIs.
By following these steps you too can help promote and encourage a healthy swimming environment for all. Visit the CDC website for more information.
City of Virginia pools have added preventative measures to make sure the public is provided a healthy and safe swimming environment. Those measures include:
- Requiring all patrons to shower before entering the pool (per Health Department regulations)
- Maintaining a chlorine level of 2.0 - 2.5 ppm and a PH level of 7.2 - 7.8
- Requiring bathing suits be worn by all patrons. No short pants, leotards, t-shirts, or street clothing are permitted in the pool. This enables the filters to maintain a level of efficiency when filtering the water and prevents any additional body perspiration from entering the water through clothing.
- Requiring all un-potty trained children to wear tight fitted rubber pants over their swim diapers
Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Please Note Our Upcoming Facility Closures
Seatack Recreation Center will be closed through March 20 for maintenance.
The pool at Kempsville Recreation Center will be closed through Spring 2011 for renovations.
Don't forget that your membership is good at all six Virginia Beach Recreation Centers! If your usual center is closed for maintenance, take the opportunity to visit another center. Use this locator to help you find one!
Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation believes all of our diverse citizens have a right to participate in community recreation and we are committed to creating equal access for everyone who may have a challenge or barrier. If you or your child require additional support, we can help. Learn more about our accommodation and inclusion services.
We welcome your comments and questions. Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation is accredited by CAPRA,
the certifying agency of the National Recreation and Park Association.