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What?! You want to “throw” my child into the water with their clothes on?! Why would I want you to do that? Well, answer this…What would your child do if they fell into a body of water with their clothes on right now?

The sad fact is that From Memorial Day through Labor Day 2017, at least 163 children younger than age 15 fatally drowned in swimming pools or spas, according to media reports compiled by the USA Swimming Foundation.  Of the 163 reports, 112 of the victims -- nearly 70 percent -- were children younger than age five.  Texas had the second highest number of those drownings, only behind Florida.  These numbers don’t include the children who drown in other bodies of water, nor do they include the non-fatal drownings. Did you know that, according to the CDC, “for every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries”?!

Houston Swim Club is determined to move the needle on the statistics stated above. OUR ULTIMATE GOAL is to ensure that we are doing everything we can to prevent any more children from drowning. This has been our goal since Phill Hansel opened our doors in 1961 when he began teaching the “back float method” that we still use today. 

My sister, Tracy, and I began working for Phill back in the mid-1980’s (Yes, I know I just dated myself). Even then, we taught children how to float on their back, roll over to swim to the side, and climb out of the pool, much the same way HSC Instructors still teach today. Since then, we have continued to improve those teaching methods with continued education, childhood development classes, training with other swim instructors from around the world, and working with Drowning Prevention Organizations. WE SPEND EVERY WAKING MOMENT trying to make sure we are doing the best job we can to improve the terrible drowning statistics in the USA!

float_test2One thing that we haven’t changed much since the mid-80’s, though, is the use of the HSC Float Test. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have been asked, “Are you the swim school that throws children in the water in their clothes?” The answer to that question is “Yes…and we are proud of that!”  When, AND ONLY WHEN, a child has had enough training to be successful at floating in their clothes, we schedule them for our Float Test. Well…we don’t actually “throw” them, but we do simulate an accidental fall into the water.

The reality is that MOST drowning incidents do NOT happen when a child is wearing a swimsuit and goggles. Our goal is to prepare each child to handle an unexpected situation.  So, we Float Test them, in class…in a controlled environment, to prepare them for what COULD happen when no one is around to help them. 

“Back in the day” when Tracy and I Float-Tested our students, we didn’t ring the cowbells like we do today, and the t-shirt that the student earned wasn’t quite as bright and fun as it is now, but the parents still sat out on deck, filmed, and cheered for their little ones! Knowing that your child is safer in the water than when they started their lessons is a HUGE relief! You should be cheering!!! It’s comforting as a parent to know that your child has been equipped with the skills to know what to do if they fall in a pool or other body of water. 

floating_kidWe feel it is extremely important to train children and then test them in clothes so that they don’t panic if a real emergency occurs. It can be difficult to watch your child be dropped in the water with their clothes on, but watching them “save” themselves is SOOOOO rewarding!

NOW HEAR THIS…just because your child has passed the float test does NOT mean they should be left alone in the water…EVER!!!! No child is ever water safe…but they certainly can (and should) be taught to be safeR (emphasis on the “R”) in and around water!


Watch a Float Test

Apr 10, 2018
"Swim Lessons" 

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