Study: Most Americans can’t swim

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) - The water might be a bit chilly now, but soon enough you’ll want to dive in to cool off under the hot summer sun. But not so fast, you might be overestimating your swimming abilities.

A Red Cross study found 80% of us believe we can swim, but less than half of Americans can do the 5 things required of most basic swim tests:

  1. You should be able to stay afloat or tread water for one minute
  2. Swim a full length of a pool without stopping
  3. Be able to get out of a pool without the use of a ladder
  4. Jump into deep water and come up for air
  5. Spin around in water and find a way out

For some people who have been swimming for years, these skills come easily. “It becomes a second nature when you jump in the water, you just know how to swim, but I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have those instincts already in me,” said Shannon Robitaille from Ludlow.

However, it’s not second nature for everyone. “It definitely makes me nervous. My parents never gave me swimming lessons and I wish I had swimming lessons,” said Carol Landers of Springfield.

Former swim coach Trisha Wilson knows how important the swimming skills can be when it comes to saving your own life. She said, “Definitely life saving. you never know when you’re going to have to swim. You don’t know what kind of situation you’re going to be put in in the future, so it’s a good thing to know.”

According to the Red Cross, 10 people drown every day. Swimming lessons are a good place to start. Check with the “Y,” or your city or town’s park department.

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