80 children take swimming lessons this summer

Published 3:36 pm Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Few instructors can help students relax and feel confident as well as Brian Lilburn, who was in charge of Saluda Community Land Trust’s (SCLT) free swim lessons that will end this week at Twin Lakes Park, Saluda.

Lilburn and Varinia Cid helped instruct over 80 youngsters in the three-week survival swimming program, supported by a grant from Polk County Community Foundation (PCCF).

Lilburn has taught the youngest to float, turn over in the water and generally feel confident and comfortable. Cid was the stroke instructor for students who returned after learning the basics from Lilburn last year.

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Classes will continue this week from 8:50 a.m. to 6 p.m., with a break and warm-up period for Lilburn and Cid. Last year, Lilburn was busy each day, from the beginning to end.

This year, Cid was added as an instructor, with course popularity demanding a third week.

This year’s classes began on June 19, the only day when lightning stopped the classes. Those students whose lessons were interrupted were able to make them up later that day.

So popular was Lilburn last year (for the two weeks of free lessons) that one mother who experienced car trouble while taking her child to this year’s lessons, completed the trip by bicycle, delivering her child to the lesson.

Rain was no stranger to this year’s lessons, but students were undeterred and hardy, apparently disregarding the cool lake water.

This week’s lesson schedule is full.

Scott Launer, who with Lilburn, is co-owner of Aqua Child, will be teaching strokes this week.

A grant from PCCF’s Saluda Fund to SCLT has covered the costs of these three weeks of lessons.

Lilburn noted, “We are grateful to be able to teach in such an incredible setting, and have such a warm response from the community. We are looking forward to a nice sunny and hot week, as we conclude our lessons on Friday, July 7. We hope everyone was happy with our efforts.”