Non-profit emphasizes need for swim lessons in light of drowning
By: Rebecca Turco
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A local non-profit is renewing its push to make sure every kid knows how to swim, in light of Sunday’s drowning in North Attleboro.
Rescue dive crews pulled Jonathan Lozada, 16, of Providence, from Whiting’s Pond on Sunday evening.
Ray Rickman is the executive director of Stages of Freedom, an organization that empowers low-income children of color to learn how to swim. Rickman says 80-percent of black people do not know how to swim.
Rickman believes Lozada knew how to swim but wasn’t a strong swimmer, adding when people of varying swim levels don’t always think twice about going in the water when the weather heats up.
Plus, the extreme heat can impact your swimming. "When your body loses fluid and electrolytes, you can not only get dehydrated but you can feel weak and tired, you can get muscle cramps,” explained Dr. Peter Graves, chief of the emergency department at Kent Hospital. “All of those things could be potentially relevant if you choose to go out for a swim."
As the temperatures keep climbing, Rickman is encouraging people to know their limits – and to swim with a buddy. "Swim on the level you're capable of,” he said. “You get out there and they're having a good time and all of a sudden you're tired, say: ‘I'm tired, I am turning around and would you come with me.’"
Rickman estimates for every drowning, there are ten near drownings.