“My friends jumped and I jumped with them and I almost…” 10-year-old Gabriela tried to explain the time she almost drowned. “It was deep and I didn’t know how to swim.”
It was just a few years ago she jumped into a river with her friends. The only problem? She didn’t know how to swim. Her mother remembers running into the river to rescue her.
“She started freaking out and I just had to jump,” said Holyoke resident Dailly Martinez. “She almost drowned so I said wait this is not for fun anymore this is serious stuff.”
Right after that, Dailly signed her daughter up for swimming lessons at the Holyoke YMCA. Swimming instructors recommend parents start getting their kids in the water as early as three months.
“We teach them how to float, how to just walk around the water and be comfortable with it so they’re not freaking out because that’s really how they can hurt themselves in the water,” said swim coach Kevin Morton, who also instructs swim lessons at the Holyoke YMCA.