Swimming (cont.)

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Are there swimming organizations that I can join?

Check your local pool to see if they have a club that you can join. You can also check out United States Masters Swimming (http://www.usms.org/), a national, nonprofit organization with 500 clubs in 53 regions throughout the United States that organizes workouts, competitions, clinics, and workshops for adults ages 18 and over, with members as old as 100!

Can my young child start swimming?

There are many clubs and pools that offer swim lessons for infants and children, but parents should be cautious. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), a medical organization of 55,000 primary care pediatricians and pediatric medical specialists that sets guidelines for pediatric health in the United States, states that children are not developmentally ready for formal swimming lessons until after their fourth birthday. According to the AAP and its policy statement "Swimming Programs for Infants and Toddlers," drowning is a leading cause of unintentional injury and death in the pediatric age group and that drowning rates are highest among toddlers ages 1 to 2 years of age. They go on to say that while an estimated 5-10 million infants and preschool children participate in aquatic programs, these should not be promoted as a way to decrease the risk of drowning. They emphasize that parents should not feel secure that their child is safe in water or safe from drowning after participating in an aquatic program. They state, "Whenever infants and toddlers are in or around water, an adult should be within an arm's length, providing 'touch supervision.'"

What about triathlons?

Triathlons combine swimming, running, and biking into one event. Distances for each event vary with six-mile runs up to full marathons, 25- to 100-mile bike rides, and half-mile lake, river, or pool swims to two-mile ocean swims. Triathlons are growing in popularity across the United States and combine the athletic challenges of strength, endurance, determination, and discipline. Check out the USA Triathlon Web site at http://www.usatriathlon.org/ to learn more about triathlons.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/6/2014