Babies in the water a the Walla Walla YMCA

Parents and kids gather in a circle, Maggi Banderas sends her son, Nico, through a hoop to the waiting hands of instructor Meagan Kimball at the YMCA’s large therapy pool.

Parents and kids gather in a circle, Maggi Banderas sends her son, Nico, through a hoop to the waiting hands of instructor Meagan Kimball at the YMCA’s large therapy pool. Photo by Jeff Horner.

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Bobbing toddlers and proud parents are in the swim.

As in “swimming class.” As in the parent-and-child swimming class at the Walla Walla YMCA.

Although the giggles and splashing may look like simple fun, the twice-weekly lessons have a serious purpose, said class instructor Meagan Kimball.

The class is aimed to get the youngsters, ages 6 months to 3 years, feeling comfortable in the water and taking instructions with an overall aim of starting them on the road to swimming safety.

“Safety is the main focus,” Kimball said as parents (and one grandparent) arrived for a Monday-night session.

Classes are basic, with participants being walked (or in this case, being swum) through various exercises.

“First they learn how to breathe, then we work on back floats,” Kimball said. “Then there’s body positioning, gliding and floating, then learning how to kick and then learning to use the arms.”

But best of all is what comes last.

“And then there’s playtime,” she said.

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