Child drownings prompt urgency for swimming classes

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They are three tragedies too many–three children in three days have drowned in pools in Central Indiana.

Two-year-old Damon Nicley was found in his grandma’s backyard pool in Morrisville Wednesday night. Family members say the toddler somehow wandered outside. Preliminary autopsy results show Damon was in the pool for about 10 minutes. His death has been ruled accidental.

“He was a very high-spirited kid. He loved to do stuff. He was a mover. It’s horrible because my son had his whole life ahead of him,” said Bobby Nicley, Damon’s father. “A 2-year-old boy was outside, at pitch black darkness at 10:30 at night. He was around a pool with no gate, no fence, where you can walk right into it.”

Damon is the latest victim who drowned in pools this week.

A 6-year-old girl was found in the bottom of the pool at a northside apartment complex Tuesday.

11-year-old Sarai Perez of Lawrence died after she was found tangled in the cover of her family’s pool Monday.

While these families find a way to heal, safety officials are urging parents the importance of getting your children swimming lessons.

“It does snap you back into focus,” said John Fero, YMCA Ransburg aquatic director.

At the YMCA, kids at a young age, learn not to just brave the water, but also life-saving skills. The facility offers classes to children as young as a few months old.

“It just helps build that confidence in the water. Along the way, we teach respect for what a dangerous situation it can also be,” said Fero.

Myrna Stuart started taking her 8-year-old great-grandson, Jacob, to swimming lessons.

“Jacob’s not afraid of anything,” said Stuart. “That’s one of the reasons why I have him take swimming lessons. He thinks he can do anything. He has no fear.”

Bobby Nicley has a message for parents too.

“Put more effort into knowing exactly where your kids are doing at all times,” he said. “Accidents do happen, but you can also prevent them.”

Certain facilities in Indianapolis offer swimming classes year-round.

Resources for parents:

Carmel Swim Club
Five Seasons Family Sports Club
Goldfish Swim School
Indy Infant Swimming Resource
Indy Parks
IUPUI
Southeastern Swim Club of Fishers
YMCA