Learning to survive in water is an important life skill, and Fort Bragg’s Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation offers swim lessons to help all ages feel comfortable in the water. All lessons are offered at Tolson Indoor Pool, which is the only pool at Fort Bragg open year-round, said Nathan Berry, assistant aquatics program manager, FMWR Aquatics Department.
During the week, Tolson is strictly an indoor pool, with water aerobics, swim club and swim lessons taking place throughout the day. On weekends, the pool is open for recreational swim to FMWR patrons from noon to 7 p.m. with an entry fee of $3 per person.
Tucker Indoor Pool is the only other indoor pool located on Fort Bragg. According to Berry, this pool is reserved for lap swim and military training. It is free and open from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the week and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. Recreational swim is not offered at this facility.
Adults and children interested in swim lessons at Fort Bragg have several options from which to choose, Berry said. Group and private lessons are available for both adults and children. Group lessons consist of eight sessions that are 30 minutes each. Students who take private lessons will receive six sessions that are 30 minutes long.
“Group lessons are offered on a monthly basis,” Berry said. “We try to stay within the month and it’s usually broken up into Monday, Wednesday and Friday or Tuesday/Thursday lessons. I rotate them every month to work with people’s schedules.”
For adults, group lessons consist of no more than six swimmers and stick to the basics of water safety and beginner swimming. Berry recommends them for anyone who has a fear of the water and wants to get more comfortable in it. He suggests private lessons for more advanced swimmers because the instructor is able to tailor lessons to that person’s specific need — whether it is training for special warfare school or mastering a certain stroke.
FMWR Aquatics offers several levels of swim lessons for children. The youngest swimmers (ages 6 months to 3 years old) can participate in Parent-Tot swim lessons. In these lessons, parents explore the water with their children and both will learn to feel comfortable in the water; submerge their eyes, nose and mouth; change body position; explore buoyancy and more.
Preschoolers (ages 4 to 5 years old) can participate in three different levels of lessons.
Level 1 is appropriate for children who want to learn basic aquatic skills such as entering the water, blowing bubbles, back float, gliding and more.
Level 2 is for children who are basically comfortable in the water and want to gain more independence. Skills taught include bobbing, front float, opening eyes underwater, treading water and more.
Level 3 teaches children basic swimming skills, including holding their breath underwater, rotary breathing, combined arm and leg actions, and more.
The Learn-to-Swim program at Fort Bragg offers four levels of instruction for children about 6 years old and older.
Level 1 is appropriate for children who want to feel comfortable in the water and learn basic aquatic skills. These include entering the water, back float, rolling from front to back, alternating swim and leg actions, and more.
Level 2 is for children who want to improve fundamental skills. Participants learn rotary breathing, how to change direction of travel while swimming, front and back glide, bobbing and more.
Level 3 builds on skills taught in level 2 and introduces children to swimming in deeper water. In level 3 lessons, children will learn headfirst entries from the side of the pool, flutter, dolphin, scissor and breaststroke kicks, elementary backstroke and more.
Level 4 helps children master skills taught in all other levels. They will also learn survival swimming, open turns, feet first surface dives and more.
Once a child or youth has mastered all four levels of lessons, Berry said his team recommends that the child move on to the Fort Bragg Fighting Fish Swim Team.
For more information about swim lessons at Fort Bragg, visit https://bragg.armymwr.com/us/bragg/programs/aquatics or call 643-8533.