MARQUETTE — With the temperatures heating up recently in the Upper Peninsula, Yoopers are ready to hit the waters for some fun in the sun.
The U.P. is surrounded by two of the five Great Lakes, which makes for some scenic beaches. However, some that feature rip currents are dangerous to swimmers. No matter what skill level you are, there are some tips you can follow when going out for a swim in Lake Superior.
“Always swim with a buddy. We teach that from day one,” said YMCA Aquatics Director Shawn Robinson-Sobczak. “You should always swim where there’s a lifeguard, and if you don’t and you go to the tourist places where there aren’t lifeguards, check out the area first to see there are lifejacket stands and know that they might be there to help your friend or yourself. And just like the weather in the U.P., the water conditions can change in 10 minutes, so you have to be aware of your surroundings and how quick they can change,”
Robinson–Sobczak is the head swim coach and she prepared Sam to battle the wild waves at the YMCA of Marquette County. She says it’s not very often that they get adults who need swimming lessons, but it is different than teaching children.
“Some of the adults I get that I have taught how to swim have the fear that has built up for 20, 30, 40 years and it’s so hard to get rid of that fear and their bad habits,” said Robinson-Sobczak.
One of the first things she taught Sam was how to float. Doing a deadman’s float was pretty easy, but he needed help with floating on his back. But there was one main reason why he had a hard time with it.
“You have to relax. If you’re stressed out and rigid, you’re not going to float,” Robinson-Sobczak said.
With two kids of his own, it was then he realized why it’s important to teach children how to swim, especially if you live near large bodies of water.
“Get the swim lessons in. We provide swim lessons all year round. We start with parent-child swimming at age six months and up. And then we have group lessons. We have some private lessons all the way up to the swim team,” said Robinson-Sobczak.
For more information, head to the YMCA’s website.
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