February’s chilly mornings may not immediately bring to mind ocean waves and swimming pools for Bryan County residents, but Sam Wilson, a Georgia Coastal Aquatic Team (GCAT) volunteer at the Richmond Hill Swim Club, hopes to make them a priority.
Wilson has started up ‘Water Safety Seminars’, weekend classes for families to learn more about general swim topics such as how to put on a life jacket, beach and pool safety, and even basic swim skills and water rescue.
“I would love to be able to help provide a resource in the area where [residents] can go and learn about how important it is to be safe and aware about not only the dangers but also the opportunities that the aquatic world has to offer,” Wilson said.
The classes are open to ages 6 and up, according to Wilson, but he is hoping that parents will join their kids in learning more about water safety as well.
“I would love to engage any adult that’s looking for a swim program at any age,” Wilson said.
“And they can bring the kids in as well, and we can all have some fun and learn a bit about how to be safe around the water.”
About the lead instructor
Sam Wilson grew up in the Outer Banks region of North Carolina, where life in the barrier islands naturally led him to the water earlier than most. He got into competitive swimming in his youth and even became a club swim coach at Atlanta’s Dynamo Swim Club shortly after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Health and Wellness.
As a result, Wilson’s experiences in sports have since fueled his advocacy for swim safety and awareness for all ages and abilities.
“I’ve always had a passion for safety and wellness because you can’t necessarily be healthy unless you’re [also] safe at the same time,” explained Wilson.
After moving to Savannah, Wilson became the injury prevention coordinator at Memorial Children’s Hospital and led the hospital’s ‘Safe Kids’ Savannah program, a non-profit dedicated to preventing accidental childhood injuries and deaths.
“I’ve always had a background in public health and safety, so with the swim safety classes, I’m able to combine my passion with the water while also hopefully, making people safer around the community as well,” Wilson said.
How to join
The Richmond Hill Swim Club is currently accepting class enrollments for its next set of weekend classes on February 24 and 25. According to Wilson, up to six or eight more classes will be offered at the Swim Club until the ‘swim season’ opens in late March.
Having a low student-teacher ratio is one of Wilson’s aims for the program–to provide quality instruction while keeping new swimmers safe.
“We are conscious that any new swimmer will need some assistance if they’re jumping in for the first time,” Wilson said.
To join the Water Safety Seminars, call the Richmond Hill Swim Club at (912) 459-0404. Cost is $25 per family.