Splashing around in the cool crisp water of a pool is a favorite among many in the summertime. However, this leisurely activity is no longer just for this time of year. Swimming is being brought to Woodland.
Physical Education instructor Ray Donaghy has incorporated swimming into the curriculum for his physical education classes.
Naturally, when the idea was presented to classes, there were various emotions that ran through students. Some were happy and excited. Others, like me, were dreading it.
Dr. Arnold Frank, principal at Woodland, stated that swimming during gym class needs to be discussed further and that issues such as dress code need to be addressed.
Swimming is a fantastic sport and a great way to exercise. It includes movement of all areas of the body and is a less stressful way to work out.
While there are facts that support how beneficial swimming is, that does not mean it should be a part of gym class.
A common fact is that before entering a pool, both men and women put on a bathing suit. However, something that should be common knowledge is that most men and women are conscious about their bodies.
Whether they have the “perfect” body or not, some still can feel uncomfortable. I do not exclude myself from this group.
Also, the fact that any type of bathing suit can be worn does not help. That only makes others feel rather inferior and even more awkward. On top of being around boys in a skimpy piece of fabric, seeing other girls in bikinis re-enforces the fact that I don’t look like that. Therefore, my self-esteem has dropped dramatically.
Yet, the issue of confidence is not the only reason why swimming should not be a part of gym class.
There are students that do not know how to swim or cannot swim well. There are also students that have phobias about drowning which causes them to shy away from the water.
How are these students supposed to participate?
Swimming is rather important to learn because it could behoove individuals later in life. However, this does not mean that it should become part of the curriculum for physical education.
If people want to learn to swim, many choose to learn by trained lifeguards in an environment where they are comfortable and surrounded by people in the same position as they are.
By singling out these students, it gives others an incentive to tease and bully, even though that was never the intention of the instructor.
Also, the students that have a phobia with relation to water are obviously not going to enjoy getting in the water or even being near it.
Donaghy has a solution to this problem. These students will be able to sit at the shallow end of the pool and dip their feet into the water.
However, many of these individuals may want to opt to sit on the deck and watch their classmates. Some may not even go so far as dipping their feet in the pool.
Are they going to receive a zero for the day over a fear that they are not ready to conquer yet?
I understand that swimming is a wonderful exercise, but students should not be made to participate.
However, according to Donaghy, swimming in gym class “is going to be mandatory because it will promote water safety.”
My opinion remains the same. Swimming in gym class should be optional. I understand the motivation behind making it mandatory, but I still feel that the students should have a choice. When dealing with swimming, whether it be in public or not, everyone has different comfort levels.
Gym is supposed to be a fun and carefree class. With the addition of swimming it becomes nerve-racking and awkward.
Photo Credit: Rachael Conti