TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Age makes no difference when it comes to learning how to swim and once you learn how, you always know what to do if you get in over your head. East Texas Medical Center has been offering swimming lessons for all ages.
Not knowing how to swim can have terrible consequences. August 2, 2010, a multi-family picnic turned to tragedy in Shreveport when six teenagers slipped into deep water and drowned. If they had known how to swim, they might have come out of the Red River alive.
In Tyler, Malora Johnson is swimming. It is not something she has been doing all her life. About three years ago her doctor told her to start an exercise program.
"I didn't like all that jumping up and down so I said I'll just go down to the pool, and this is where I've been ever since," said Malora. "When I came to learn how to swim it wasn't a big thing. It was just I didn't know how and I didn't know what to expect...My husband knew how to swim, my brothers knew how to swim…but my sister and I we didn't learn how to swim."
Malora was in one of Gay Tyra's first adult swim classes at East Texas Medical Center.
"I was so thrilled and exited that Malora, in her sixties, wanted to learn how to swim," Tyra said. "You're never too old to learn how to swim. We started out just blowing bubbles. I wanted her to feel comfortable…putting her face in the water. Then, we started floating. Then, we started gliding. She's made a lot of progress. I'm real pleased. I think everyone needs to learn how to swim. You never know. What you learn could save your life or someone else's."
Malora never had a fear of the water.
"Oh, I love it," she says. "I love it!"
Turns out, exercising was not as bad as she thought and it may save her life in more ways than one.
Malora, 69, says she never really paid much attention to swimming pools, but now she will be watching for them everywhere she goes.
E.T.M.C. offers swimming classes year-round for five different levels of ability: Splash Babies, Aqua Ducks, Turtles, Dolphins and Sharks.