Cool in the Pool

by Michael Porter
Swimming is the most fun way to get the best workout!
When the smell of sunscreen and chlorine permeates the campus it is a sure sign that swim season is in full swing at Jacksonville Country Day School!

JCDS students are fortunate to have both a Junior Olympic-size swimming pool and a small “kiddie pool” for their use during their regular PE classes in the fall and spring. In fact, JCDS is the only elementary school in Jacksonville with dedicated aquatic facilities.
“It is great for our students to participate in swimming at school,” said PE specialist Leif Noren. “Swimming is an important skill to learn that will benefit our students' overall well-being and health.”
Regular swimming keeps you in great physical condition because it stresses virtually every muscle in your body. Unlike jogging or contact sports, it is also very low impact. 
Since Florida is surrounded by water, and Jacksonville has an abundance of water sports, the St. Johns River, the Atlantic Ocean, and neighborhood or personal pools, making certain that children are comfortable and safe in the water is important.
Third-grader Bentin P. actually learned to swim at JCDS. He and his classmates started out using wrist floats and life jackets. By the time he was in Pre-K 4, he was able to swim without the wrist floats and could jump from the blocks into the pool. He also learned to hold his breath underwater!
“In Kindergarten, we didn’t have to wear a life jacket anymore,” Bentin said. “In first grade, we were practicing the arms. In second grade, we pretty much learned everything so we started playing water games, and that’s kind of how this year is going.”
The PE specialists emphasize stroke development by having students play games they enjoy. Catching a Nerf ball in mid-jump into the water is both challenging and fun — and very satisfying when a good catch is made!
“The children love to swim with their friends and challenge each other to become stronger swimmers by playing tag games, participating in relay races, and/or working in small or large group team games,” said PE Specialist Doug Postell. 
Our PE curriculum includes a 5-week swimming unit that begins in late August and another 5-week session in the spring. It is one of the highlights of the school year.It’s great for your entire body,” said PE specialist Kamryn St. Thomas. “It strengthens your heart, lungs, and overall cardiovascular system.”