Create a lifelong love of water with swim skills

By: Kristyne E. Demske, | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published June 19, 2017

ST. CLAIR SHORES — Even living within steps of Lake St. Clair, there are still many people who don’t know how to swim or aren’t comfortable with the water, said St. Clair Shores Aquatics Manager Jason Harms, and that’s something that’s easy to change this year.

“A lot of people grow up in Michigan and Lake St. Clair but yet still do not know how to swim, and it’s so crucial to get young children comfortable with the water at an early age,” he said. 

St. Clair Shores offers swim lessons at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. weekdays at the municipal pool throughout the summer for people of all levels and capabilities. Harms said it’s a gift that parents can give their children that will last a lifetime.

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“Once you break that fear at an early age, it’s broken for good, and we find that kids ... they develop a love for the water instead of a fear for the water,” he said. “It’s something that sticks with them for life.”

The municipal pool, located next to Lac Ste. Claire Harbor, 27600 Jefferson Ave., offers a “Mom and Me” class for parents and infants on Saturday mornings to help them get used to the water. American Red Cross swim classes begin at Level 1 for children when they are 42 inches tall and go up to Level 6 for advanced swimmers. 

Harms said the pool also offers American Red Cross lifeguard training during the summer for teenagers who want to get certified. 

“Local pools are always dying for lifeguards during this time,” he said.

Lessons began June 19, after press time, and run in four two-week sessions, with the next session beginning July 3.

“It’s very critical that you enroll them (children) in some sort of swim lesson and get them comfortable with the water as young as you can,” Harms said. 

Registration is also open for the summer swim team, the Sea Serpents, coached by Catherine Leix, who is the assistant varsity coach at De La Salle Collegiate High School. Practices are held weekday mornings from 8 to 10 a.m., and the team competes against the Grosse Pointe pool swimmers on Wednesday evenings.

One-on-one lessons are also offered for those who need a more tailored experience, Harms said. 

To register for swim lessons or the swim team, go to the pool 8 a.m.-8 p.m. any day, call (586) 445-5270, or get more information on the Parks and Recreation tab of the city’s website at www.scsmi.net. Lesson prices range from $42 for a two-week session up to $57, depending on the swimmer’s level.

Parks and Recreation Director Greg Esler said that those looking to get out on the lake can also take advantage of the city’s boat ramps. Residents and nonresidents can launch at the Nine Mile boat ramp, which costs $10 daily for a Michigan resident and $15 for an out-of-state boater. Lac Ste. Clair and Blossom Heath harbors are only open to residents of St. Clair Shores for a daily fee of $10 or an annual fee of $65. 

Esler said boaters are catching a lot of bass, so Lake St. Clair is popular with anglers.

He said he saw license plates from Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin on one June day, “and that’s getting to be the routine — a lot of out-of-staters.”

“The fishing has been outstanding. They’ve been catching bass left and right. A guy from Ohio, he was out there four hours and ... they were catching fish every two minutes!”