Writer & Photographer / JJ Kaplan According to the Chinese calendar, this is the year of the horse. Supposedly, people born this year have ingenious communicating techniques and they always want to be in the limelight. But in our community calendar, this may be the year to learn to swim, as this year Governor Pence issued a proclamation endorsing statewide programs that help adults learn to swim. The Zionsville Aquatic Masters Club is supporting the Swimming Saves Lives Foundation by offering several swim programs designed for all ages and abilities. Zionsville Community High School is the home of a vibrant, multifaceted swim program that offers a variety of aquatic programs. From “Swim into Kindergarten” to adult “Learn to Swim” lessons, students of all ages are welcome to learn to navigate these shallow waters. The U.S. Masters Swimming program is trying to create awareness that only a dismal 37 percent of adults know how to swim. This program will save lives. According to Lisa Brown, Aquatics Director, there are several benefits of swimming, ranging from physical to psychological. First, knowing how to swim provides safety and we all know that swimming saves lives. Second, there are definite health benefits with a low impact activity that also provides a cardio workout. Third, swimming helps your mental health by offering peace of mind to escape from your busy life. Fourth, swimming has a social component that makes it so much fun! This lifelong sport has a positive impact on your health regardless of your age or ability. Some of us take swimming for granted. We learned to float, dog paddle, cannonball, and glide through the water at a young age. Swimming almost seems like second nature. But others who never learned to swim often insist that their children learn. They feel nervous around water, and regret never learning to swim. Many of these parents want to join their children and are learning to overcome their fear of the water by taking adult swim lessons. And they are loving it! When I asked Lisa why she does what she does, she easily explained, “Because I’m lucky. I get to work in a wonderful school and area that I love. It is more than just a job. It impacts and saves people’s lives.” Chetan Dave (pronounced Da-VAY) is a participant in the adult swim program. He insisted that his children learn to swim because he wasn’t taught in his native country of India. He knew how to dog paddle but had a fear of the water. However, spending family time outweighed his fear of the water when he went on a Level 4 whitewater rafting trip. He is determined to feel more comfortable in the water and is planning even more family excursions centered around water. According to Mr. Dave, “As a parent, we invest in our children’s life skills. My children knew how to swim from a young age. Now I want to enjoy this family activity with them.” The Aquatic Center offers programs for everyone. Learn-to-swim programs are offered to people of all ages and abilities. Triathletes can hone their competitive skills with private coaching. In addition to lessons, the pool offers special events for the community. It hosts a monthly movie night, where they turn out the lights and guests enjoy pizza and candy…all for only $6 per person. Can you imagine going to a nighttime pool party with a large-screen movie? Or what about having your own birthday party at the pool for up to 50 of your closest friends? You can reserve the pool for your two-hour private party for only $210, complete with two certified lifeguards. Why not make this the year you learn to swim? Learn a sport you can enjoy for the rest of your life. We invite you to come on in…the water really is fine. For more information about swim lessons, family movie nights, birthday parties, and much more, visit http://pool.zcs.k12.in.us.