Summer calendar and community news edition

Vol. V No. 1   ·   29 June 2001 


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B.U. Bridge is published by the Boston University Office of University Relations.

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I am interested in doing water sports like canoeing, sailing, rowing, kayaking, and wind surfing this summer. However, I cannot swim. I am currently taking swimming lessons, but I'd like to start participating in water sports right away. How can I accomplish this safely?

"It's never too late to learn how to swim as an adult," says Ann Richie, director of aquatics and promotions in BU's Department of Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance. "Adults who are highly motivated often have excellent success learning how to swim in a relatively short period of time.

"While an invigorating row at sunrise or a peaceful afternoon sail on the Charles River sounds like the perfect way to start or cap a summer day in Boston, open-water conditions present potential hazards - wind gusts, waves, currents, and cold water - that can challenge even the most skilled swimmer. While capsizing in the Charles is rare, even crew shells can overturn in strong winds. Sailors and kayakers wear life jackets, but rowers do not. Yet even with a life jacket on, a boater may end up under the hull of a small craft if it capsizes or he accidentally falls into the water.

"There is no getting around the fact that learning to swim is fundamental to your personal safety in the water. This is why, for your well-being, PERD requires anyone taking a boating class to pass a boating swim test before any on-the-water activity. The boating swim test is an evaluation of your ability to plunge into the water (by jumping or diving), hold your breath and swim under water, kick up to the surface, demonstrate forward locomotion using rhythmic breathing (putting your face in and out of the water comfortably), and stay in one place while holding your head out of the water (treading water).

"I encourage you to be persistent, continue your swim lessons, and improve your skills before attempting activities held out on open water. Be sure your instruction comes from a qualified teacher (such as an American Red Cross-authorized water safety instructor) who encourages you to work at your own pace and who teaches floating and breath control before moving into the more difficult strokes such as the crawl. PERD offers Adult Learn to Swim classes in the summer and throughout the academic year. After attaining a comfort level and confidence in deep water, you'll find participating in water sports - boating, scuba diving, water skiing, surfing, or even fishing from a small craft - even more enjoyable."


29 June 2001
Boston University
Office of University Relations