By: Jim Donnelly
Ever heard a mother scream in pain after her child has been found floating in a pool of water?
It’s something you can never forget. Yet South Florida First Responders hear these cries on a daily basis, especially now that summer is here. The sad fact is, these senseless deaths are truly preventable if parents teach their children how to swim. By living in South Florida, consider It your obligation as a parent to make sure every child in your family has been taught the basics of swimming.
This week, Emma and Layla Rogan, a set of very rambunctious twins, received their first swim lesson because their grandmother wanted to make sure her family never had to face the pain of her angels drowning in the back yard pool or lake behind their home.
The twins’ mother, Alexa, hired a longtime family friend, Carina Tenaglia, 21, who grew up in the water as a member of the Coral Springs Swim Club and is an AED CPR certified life guard and water safety and swim instructor for Swim America. This recent FSU graduate earns money by teaching swim lessons to attend George Washington University to study law, but her passion is teaching kids to swim and be safe.
“It’s very important to teach every kid to swim,” said Tenaglia. “We hear all of the time about kids drowning, even ones who know how to swim. It’s always important for them to be supervised as well, and for them to learn these safety techniques in the water in case anything should happen, it could help prevent some of these tragedies.”
The twins fought and cried the entire time, but their mother saw progress.
“By the end of their first lesson they were kicking and screaming but they also learned to reach for the wall and to float on their backs. Not a bad first lesson,” said their mother Alexa.
Tenaglia, at times, looked like an alligator wrestler as the toddlers fought their way through their lesson, but she was undeterred.
“At first they are going to be scared,” she said. “They are not comfortable in the water, but they are never going to get any more comfortable by keeping them out of the water, so it’s really important for them to have these lessons, whether it be a one of the city pools or at private lessons. It doesn’t have to be anything expensive, but something to get them more comfortable and eventually actually learn how to swim – because there are pool parties, there are camps – we are surrounded by bodies of water in South Florida as well.”
Lesson costs vary by instructor, certification level, location, private or group, and abilities of the child involved so each circumstance is different. Water safety classes are available through Swim America, The Red Cross and many other places online. If you want to help out a future lawyer, and a very accomplished swim instructor you can always contact Carina: CarinaTenaglia@gmail.com.
- A Coral Springs resident for over 30 years, Jim Donnelly has had a 40-year career as a photographer, videographer, and editor for South Florida affiliate news stations, along with CNN, ESPN, ABC Sports and News, NBC Sports and News, Fox News, and CBS. Donnelly has won several awards, including EMMY’s, for his team coverage. Currently, he owns Image Masters Photography and works as a Realtor.
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