Ready for a summer of fun in the water? Olympic swimmers give their swim safety advice

Yep, it’s May, which means it’s time to remind everyone about swim safety. Actually, drownings can happen at any time of the year, but, of course, in summer, we’re especially aware and the number of drownings go up as more of us are in and around water. Get my ultimate water safety guide, which reminds you that drownings can happen in very little water and is silent. Forget what you’ve seen in movies; it doesn’t look like that at all. Remember to always have one adult on duty that is doing nothing but watching the water (and the life guard doesn’t count).

Four-time Olympic gold medalist Missy  Franklin competes in the 200 LC meter-freestyle swim  during the Championship Final round for the 2013 Austin Grand Prix USA swimming meet at the University of Texas in 2013.  Ricardo B. Brazziell/American-Statesman

Four-time Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin competes in the 200 LC meter-freestyle swim during the Championship Final round for the 2013 Austin Grand Prix USA swimming meet at the University of Texas in 2013. Ricardo B. Brazziell/American-Statesman

Olympic medalists and USA Swimming Foundation ambassadors Cullen Jones, Missy Franklin, Jessica Hardy, Mel Stewart, Nathan Adrian and Jason Lezak share these tips as part of USA Swimming Foundation “Make a Splash” program:

  1. “It’s not always easy for someone who is not comfortable in the water to take a swimming lesson. Be sure not to force it but give yourself the time that you or your child needs to be comfortable in the water. Find an instructor that’s right for you — everyone has a different style so find one that’s the best fit for you!” – Missy Franklin, four-time Olympic medalist
  1. “Reach, Don’t go …  Don’t jump in to save someone: Either reach out to help them or get something to help them get out of the water, don’t go in.” — Cullen Jones, four-time Olympic medalist
  1. “Drowning can be a silent death. You’d rather be overly cautious when seeing someone in distress while swimming.” — Jessica Hardy, two-time Olympic medalist
  2. “Learn CPR. Just do it. It’s not difficult to learn and it could save your child’s life.” — Mel Stewart, three-time Olympic medalist
  1. “There is no such thing as being ‘water safe.’ No matter how strong a swimmer your child might be, it’s important for parents to stay present and know where their child is while in the water.” – Missy Franklin, four-time Olympic medalist
  1. “Never swim alone. No matter how confident you are as a swimmer you should always have someone with you or watching you when you enter the water.” — Nathan Adrian, three-time Olympic medalist
  1. “When a child learns to swim they become safer in the water but still need to be watched. Accidents happen to even world class swimmers so never assume your child is safe.” — Jason Lezak, four-time Olympic medalist
  1. “If you’re a parent or guardian in a pool environment, turn your phone off and set it down. You cannot talk, text or surf the web. All too often, you lose sense of time when engaged with technology, time when your child could be in danger and in need of your help.”  — Mel Stewart, three-time Olympic medalist
  1. “Identify your risks when you are around water and learn how to reduce those risks. Putting up a fence around a backyard pool is a great way to reduce risks of drowning at home.” — Jason Lezak, four-time Olympic medalist
  1. “A child is never entirely water safe. They can only get safe-ER. Enrolling them in swimming lessons will help, but don’t take your eyes off of your child while swimming.” — Jessica Hardy, two-time Olympic medalist

Since 2000, the Austin American-Statesman has tried to improve local children’s chances at being swim safer. Our Swim Safe program raises money to provide swimming lessons to families that would not be able to afford them. You can find out more or make a donation, at community.statesman.com/swim_safe.php