LIHUE — Nevaeh Ibanez, 11, will be one of the youngest instructors to take the pool when the Learn to Swim program starts during spring break.
“Leigh Idica is 10, and she’ll be the youngest instructor,” said Aileen Ibanez, Nevaeh’s mother. “Nevaeh took Learn to Swim when she made 5 years old. I wanted her to learn to swim because we live on an island. Parents have certain milestones for their children, you know, like learning to ride a bike by a certain age. I wanted Nevaeh to learn to swim at age 5.”
Mokihana Aquatics coach Orlando “O” Anaya said following a two-year hiatus, the Learn to Swim program co-sponsored by the County of Kauai is back. The first session starts March 16.
“The phones have been ringing,” Anaya said.
There will be four sessions this spring, starting with spring break and followed by three after-school programs of 15 classes each. During the spring break session, Mokihana Aquatics will be hosting a competitive swim camp for swimmers who want to get a feel for racing.
Tyler Tanaka, 10, is a Mokihana Aquatics swimmer who will be participating in the Sparky Kawamoto swim meet this weekend on the Big Island.
“I took Learn to Swim when I was 5 years old,” Tanaka said. “I took it again when I was 10 years old, and it was very fun. They really helped me perfect my strokes. It teaches you while you’re having fun.”
Another component of the Learn to Swim program is ocean safety.
Anaya said the 3- and 4-year old Tiny Tot program has restricted enrollment because of its one-to-one teacher ratio.
Aileen said Nevaeh’s young brother Luke, 6, is already enrolled in the spring break session.
“Having Nevaeh as an instructor in the water will help him with the nervousness,” Aileen said. “When Nevaeh took the class, she couldn’t even touch the bottom of the shallow end of the pool and all you could hear were the sputterings and nearly-drowning.”