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Aquatics Newsletter | March 2013 |
Know the Facts; Save a Life!


Boy in PoolDid you know that drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in children under 5 years of age? This is just one of many startling statistics out there about drowning. Here are a few more from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
  • Children are 100 times more likely to be killed in a swimming pool than by a firearm.
  • Nearly 700 children fatally drown each year.
  • For every child that dies, another four are sent to the hospital with submersion injuries that can lead to permanent disability.

Those are some scary numbers, but here's where it really hits home: 69% of drownings were instances where one or both parents were supervising. Yes, this includes good parents. Children drown quickly and quietly.
On the positive side, we CAN reduce these numbers. Some tips from the CDC include:
  • Research has shown that swimming lessons reduce the risk of drowning in children aged 1-4 years.
  • When supervising young children in the water (including the bathtub), stay within arm's reach of the child and avoid other distracting activity.
  • Ensure that home pools are fenced to prevent unsupervised access.
  • Learn to perform CPR.

Also, check out the article below about the Advanced Water Safety classes that we're offering this Spring. Having the right knowledge and skills can make all the difference in saving a life.
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safetyAdvanced Water Safety Classes Available  

LifeguardWith 59 square miles of water in Virginia Beach, it's important to be safe in and around the water. We offer advanced water safety classes that build upon basic swimming skills to help you prevent, recognize, and respond to emergencies near the water.

Participants age 10 to 14 in the Junior Lifeguard class learn elementary forms of water rescue and skills to assist lifeguard staff. This class helps youth get on the path to becoming a Lifeguard. The cost is $30 and it's offered at Great Neck and Kempsville.

The American Red Cross Basic Water Rescue class, for ages 12 and up, prepares students to recognize swimmers in distress and teaches safe ways to assist others. This one -day class is recommended for anyone who supervises children in or around the water, such as babysitters or day-care providers. It is $25 and offered at Kempsville.

Those ages 15 and up looking for more training should consider American Red Cross Lifeguard Training classes. After successfully completing this class, students will be certified as pool lifeguards, and able to respond to emergencies in the pool, including medical emergencies. Classes are $150 and offered at Bayside, Kempsville, Princess Anne, Seatack and Williams Farm.

Love swimming and want to help others learn how to swim? The American Red Cross Water Safety Instructor class is perfect for ages 16 and up who wish to teach swimming lessons. Sessions are offered at Bayside and Great Neck, and cost $175.

Each swimming class requires a Virginia Beach recreation center membership. You can register online using the links above, or in person at any Virginia Beach Recreation Center.

Aquatic Staff Receive Lifesaving Honors


Frank Pia Award
Ryan Solar, Carol Fernheimer & Josh Waltz

Three members of our Aquatics staff were recently honored with the 2012 Frank Pia Lifesaving Award at the Virginia Lifeguard Association Conference in Williamsburg. Carol Fernheimer, Aquatic Supervisor, Josh Waltz, Recreation Specialist, and Ryan Solar, Lifeguard, were recognized for their response to a cardiac arrest incident that happened in December at Great Neck Recreation Center.


The three were summoned to the men's locker room, where 77-year old Dr. Vasilios Roussis had collapsed and was unconscious. They reached the doctor quickly, applied an automatic external defibrillator (AED), began CPR, and administered oxygen. By the time the rescue squad personnel transported Dr. Roussis from the recreation center, he had a pulse and was breathing on his own. The swift response of our staff members likely saved Dr. Roussis' life that day.

"We are very proud of Carol, Josh, and Ryan and their quick response to this situation," said Teri Dalone, Aquatic Unit Coordinator. "The safety of our patrons is our first priority, and we train frequently so that we can respond to medical incidents quickly."

Swim Tip: Backstroke and Butterfly


When doing starts and turns for the backstroke and butterfly, only let your hands go back to the streamline position. Aim for your hands to enter the water at eleven o'clock and one o'clock relative to your head, which is at twelve o'clock. Reaching out farther than that may seem to offer an extra amount of pull, but the return on invested energy is very low.

Please Note Our Upcoming Facility Closures


Bow Creek Recreation Center is closed for a long-term modernization project. Expected re-opening is Fall 2014.
All Virginia Beach Recreation Centers will be closed on Sunday, March 31 for Easter. Parks will be open.

Don't forget that your membership is good at all 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
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Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation is accredited by CAPRA,
the certifying agency of the National Recreation and Park Association.