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Aquatics Newsletter | April 2014 |
Understanding the Circle Swim


Gone are the days of splitting lanes, or swimming down the center of the lane all by yourself. Our centers are busier and lane space is at a premium. Princess Anne and Seatack have joined the rest of the recreation centers in enforcing circle swimming. If this is a new term for you, here are the basics: 


1. Think of each lane as its own highway, each side going a different direction. Swimmers should first go to the lane that best fits their speed. Lanes are noted with fast, medium or slow. Pick the lane that best fits you. 


2. When entering a lane, it is important for others using the lane to be aware you have entered. Acknowledge one another. Start swimming by proceeding down the right side of the lane and continue to stay to your right to form a circle swim pattern. 


3. If you find that you're swimming behind a slower swimmer, you may choose to pass them. Make sure you pass with caution. To avoid collisions, do not pass near walls. However, give enough space to safely pass someone and only pass on the left. 


4. If in doubt, ask a lifeguard. Lifeguards are there to help. They ensure that proper safety protocols are followed and can assist in moving swimmers into appropriate lanes.

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Learn to Save a Life with Free CPR Class

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), about 92% of sudden cardiac arrest victims die before reaching the hospital, *but* statistics prove that if more people knew CPR, more lives could be saved. Immediate CPR can double, or even triple, a victim's chance of survival. You can learn the lifesaving skills of adult, child and infant CPR at no cost through the AHA's Friends & Family CPR. 

Skills are taught in a group environment by certified EMTs, paramedics, and CPR instructors. This class uses the AHA's practice-while-watching technique, which provides the most hands-on CPR practice time possible. Register online or download a registration form to submit by mail. A $20 deposit is required at registration, but will be returned to you when you attend the class. 


Many class dates are available: Saturday, April 19; Sunday, May 18; Saturday, June 14; Sunday, July 13; and Saturday, August 16.

This class is offered by Virginia Beach EMS and Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation. Certification is not provided upon completion of this class.

Swim Tip Video Clip: Bobbing to Safety


Bobbing to Safety is a skill that is taught in Learn to Swim classes to assist swimmers in reaching a comfortable standing position if they suddenly find that the water is over their head. It is similar to a bunny hop that uses the arms to propel the swimmer forward as they bounce to more shallow water. In many cases, the swimmer may not have realized that they have reached a place that they can no longer touch the bottom, so this skill will help them get back to a safer location in just a few seconds.


The steps are outlined below. You can watch the technique in action in this video.   

  1. Relax and hold the arms out in front.
  2. Take a breath and hold it.
  3. Bend the knees to submerge.
  4. Push off the bottom, or kick up if not at the bottom, and sweep down with the arms to rise to the surface. Position the body at an angle to move forward. 
  5. Exhale slowly (blow bubbles) right before reaching the surface.
  6. Inhale when your mouth clears the surface.
  7. Repeat steps 1-6 until you can reach a point where you can stand comfortably, or until you reach a wall for assistance.

Moving Through the Ranks: Meet Alex


Meet our newest instructor at Williams Farm Recreation Center: Alexandra "Alex" Newhart-Fortner. Her aquatic story goes all the way back to her days as a toddler when she took the Tiny Bobbers swim class at Kempsville with her grandmother. From there, she participated in all of the varying swim levels offered by the City and eventually joined the Winter Swim League. "I have been in the pool for as long as I can remember, and probably before that," Alex laughs. "My mom made sure that my sister and I learned how to swim and be safe in the water."  

As soon as she was old enough, Alex jumped right into both the Junior Lifeguard and Junior Instructor classes. She was inspired to volunteer at the recreation center because she wanted to help teach others like her mom, an aquatic supervisor who is very involved in our swim programs. "Being a guard, even a junior guard, made me more responsible. You have to be mature; you are in charge of peoples' lives."  

At age 15, Alex was old enough to take the Lifeguarding course and at 16, she was eligible for the Water Safety Instructor (WSI) course. All of her volunteer experience made the courses much easier, and she emerged with certifications in both. Alex particularly enjoyed the instructional tools she learned in the WSI class and felt empowered to use what she learned to help others. She notes, "I was responsible for the future of my swimmers and I wasn't going to let them down." 

After summers spent volunteering at the recreation centers, there was really no question where Alex would begin her search for a job. "I had positive relationships with staff at every rec center, so it felt like family. I knew that I could grow and gain even more experience working for Parks & Recreation."

Since then, Alex has demonstrated skill as an instructor and role model, even having her own junior instructor shadowing her during a session. "It's a little strange having someone else looking to me for cues, but it's a new challenge. I didn't just learn how to teach swim lessons and lifeguard; I learned skills to help me care for and develop other people, kind of like my mom and teachers did for me. That's pretty cool."

To learn more about our aquatic programs, check out our Spring Catalog, or stop by any recreation center to speak with an aquatic supervisor. 
Please Note Our Upcoming Facility Closures


Bow Creek Recreation Center is closed for a long-term modernization project

All Virginia Beach Recreation Centers
will be closed on Sunday, April 20 for Easter.
The gym at Bayside Recreation Center will be closed April 21 - May 4 while moveable walls are sanded and repainted. 


Don't forget that your membership is good at all Virginia Beach Recreation Centers! If your usual center is closed, 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 requires 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.