GRPS Swim Lessons

Kroc Center pool supervisor and swim instructor Nicole Wheelock works with a student.

2022 marks the fifth year the Kroc Center has been able to partner with Grand Rapids Public Schools to teach basic swim lessons to second-grade students. The program started with Brookside Elementary in 2017, then grew to three schools in 2018, and four schools in 2019. While the COVID pandemic put the lessons on hiatus in 2020, the Kroc was able to bring back virtual classroom water safety training in 2021 and is excited to have kids back in the pool for 2022!

At its peak, 225 total students participated from Brookside, Burton, Buchanan, and Dickinson Elementary Schools. Each class spends one hour a day at the Kroc Center for a full week, learning the basics of how to be safe around water and setting a foundation to develop simple swimming skills. All the lessons take place from late March through the middle of May.

Results from a pre- and post-test of water safety information show that students gain significant understanding of how to prevent potential tragedies around backyard or public pools, as well as how to stay safe at the lake or any other natural body of water.

The program is supported by a grant from the USA Swimming Foundation, covering the cost of instructors; and, donations from the Kroc Center’s advisory council, which help to supply each child with a swim bag, goggles, and more, and to provide lifejackets, swimsuits, and towels to kids without access to them.

“Thank you for teaching me how to swim. It was so much fun!”

Emmanuel, 2nd grader