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Hundreds Hit Pool For Lessons

School may be out for the summer but there is still plenty of learning going on at the Escalon High School campus.

This time, though, the learning is taking place in the community pool adjacent to the school, with local youngsters from toddlers to teens getting some instruction in swimming. Offered through the City of Escalon Recreation Department, swimming lessons are being hosted at the pool throughout the summer in two-week sessions. Except for some shutdowns due to poor air quality during the past week, the lessons are going on Monday through Friday. Sign-ups are accepted through the Friday before the start of each new session by signing up at City Hall on Main Street.

"We had 93 kids in the first session, Level 1, 2 and 3 are the biggest," Recreation Director Denean Santos explained. "The night classes are bigger, we actually had to put extra lifeguards on."

There are morning, afternoon and the early evenings classes in a variety of levels, everything from those just beginning to get used to the water to those ready to start their own lifeguard certification with the upper level classes.

Santos said the trend toward later classes is probably due to it working better into the schedule of working parents.

The lifeguard and swimming lessons instructor corps includes several returning veterans, with Krysten Diniz and Jessica O'Kane serving as pool supervisors. There are 19 lifeguards working at the pool this summer, 15 of them returning. Newcomers are Amanda Diniz, Pearl Rivers, Bianca Terry and Chelsea Voral.

The final day of each session features some fun for the kids, along with presentation of certificates of completion for passing a level or for participation if they need to stay in the same class for another session.

"I like working with the kids," said lifeguard Amanda Franklin. "I like to see them learning how to swim, watch the progression."

Working with four different classes, levels 1, 2, 3 and 5, Franklin said the lessons are beneficial and the participants gain confidence as they work through the two-week program.

Lindsay Farmer had two children, Tyler, 5 and Whitney, 3, enrolled in the lessons.

"It's helpful and they had a good time," she said of the experience.

David Fleming, 6, happily displayed his certificate indicating he has passed the Level 2 class.

"I have two in the classes," said mom Jamie Fleming, noting that four-year-old Gavin was in Level 1. "I love the fact that they're outside every day, burning energy, and you see the progress they make each week.

"We always do two sessions, the instructors are excellent, good with the kids."

Making progress and helping kids stay safe in the water is what the swimming lessons are all about. That, and having some fun in the sun.

"I like that we get to dive in the pool," young Devin Carpenter said of the final day of his session, getting to go off the diving board into the deep end.

Emily Bavaro was happy to jump off the board, to the waiting arms of a swim instructor in the deep end.

"This is her third year and she goes for three sessions," mom Amy Bavaro said of her daughter spending her summer in the water. "Both of my kids are in swim lessons, they do good and they meet new friends."

John Bavaro, 4, successfully completed Level 1 and was moving up to Level 2 while older sister Emily - turning seven later this month - was enrolled in the Level 3 class.

Working her fourth year at the pool, Danielle Voral said she continues to enjoy the assignment.

"The best part is that all of them are so excited about lessons," Voral said of the summer students. "They are so eager to get in the water and work with a teacher."