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News > Swimming can be fun, and deadly
Swimming can be fun, and deadly

Posted 6/14/2011   Updated 6/14/2011 Email story   Print story


by Will Harding
17th Training Wing Safety Office

6/14/2011 - GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --  In the summer of 2005, my son Richard's best friend Mike drowned in the river near Christoval, Texas. He was only 18 years old. So swimming safety is near and dear to my heart. Mike and Richard were planning on joining the Air Force on the Buddy Program in just a couple of weeks. Needless to say, that didn't happen. My son struggled for a long time with the loss, as did my wife and I. It was a senseless tragedy that could have been prevented by following a few precautions.

· Never swim alone. Always swim with a buddy.
· Know your swimming limits and stay within them.
· Swim in supervised areas only.
· Watch out for the dangerous "toos" - too tired, too cold, too far from safety, too much sun.
· Obey "No Diving" signs, which indicate the areas that are unsafe for headfirst entries. If unsure of the depth of the water, you should enter the water feet first. In addition, learn the correct way to dive from a qualified instructor.
· Never drink while swimming. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance, and coordination. It affects your swimming and diving skills and reduces your body's ability to stay warm.
· Do not chew gum or food while swimming; you could easily choke.

Swimming should be fun and relaxing. So, if you follow these precautions, you can spare yourself the pain of losing friends and loved ones.

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