Local swim instructors “completely overwhelmed” with new requests for lessons

SANFORD, Fla. — One Central Florida swim instructor says she’s struggling to keep up with a recent increase in the demand for lessons.

The COVID-19 pandemic meant many people avoided swim lessons for their kids last summer.

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Kelly Wiggins is the owner of Swim Life in Sanford. They specialize in providing “survival-oriented” swim lessons for children as young as 6-months of age.

During the first months of the coronavirus pandemic, Wiggins says their pool stayed covered for weeks.

Now, more than a year later, she says things have taken a sharp turn.

“Now we have been completely overwhelmed with requests for swim lessons,” Wiggins says.

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This week, Orlando Health officials explained to  Eyewitness News that a year-long pandemic without swim lessons has contributed to record numbers of child drownings and near-drownings across Central Florida.

Wiggins sees the sudden surge in requests as a sign that parents are taking action against that trend.

“They are panicked because their children didn’t get a chance to learn how to swim last year for whatever reason,” Wiggins says. “They’ve witnessed their child falling in the pool and not knowing what to do.”

It only takes 20 seconds for a one-year-old child to drown after falling into a pool undetected.

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Wiggins wants to remind parents to always keep their kids within arms-reach around water.

“If somebody escapes your supervision, they’ve got to know what to do if they fall in the water,” Wiggins says. “That’s why we’re here, to teach every child to know what to do if they fall in.”

Swim Life has also formed a partnership with Orlando Health to hand out more than 10,000 water safety coloring books to kids across Seminole County.