Everyone Can Learn to Swim at the JCC


Posted on Feb 20, 2014

Spring Session Adult Learn-to-Swim Classes in Squirrel Hill start Sunday, March 16
Sundays, 1:30-2 pm
Thursdays, 6:30-7 pm

Register: At the Centerfit Desk or call 412-521-8011, ext. 202, or online

Learn more about JCC Aquatics

Squirrel Hill Aquatics information: Stephen Patrick, 412-521-8011, ext. 276

South Hills Aquatics information: Earleen Birkner, 412-278-1975

Delilah's Story
Growing up in New York City, Delilah Picart had what she describes as "a crazy fear of deep water.”

A year ago, the Shadyside actress was vacationing in Curacao and forced herself to reckon with her fear. Wearing a life vest, she managed to go snorkeling and realized, "I can do this."

A few months later, she received a birthday gift of 10 JCC swim lessons and began her first formal introduction to the water. As suggested by her new swim teacher at the JCC, Michael Smickle, Assistant Aquatics Director  in Squirrel Hill, she prepared for her first lesson with appropriate gear: a one-piece bathing suit, swim cap and goggles.

Adults are taught to swim with goals similar to those given to children, Smickle says. "The primary focus of lessons is first to get students comfortable in the water. Then, once they can relax in the water, they begin to learn to float and to kick.”

At Delilah’s first lesson, Mike asked her to stand in the shallow water of the Training Pool and put her face in the water up to her ears. “I felt safe and comfortable,” Delilah says. At subsequent lessons, she practiced floating with a board, the first few times pulled by Mike.

Both credit her determination – she tries to practice two or three times between each lesson—for her rapid progress. Delilah also credits the supportive Aquatics staff at the Squirrel Hill and South Hills pools. When at the end of her tenth lesson, she swam a full length in the lap pool, she was thrilled.

Swimming has become an important part of Delilah’s week. “I wanted to incorporate something else into my health plan, to challenge myself,” she says. “It’s one of the best things you can do fitness-wise.” Her new goal: to build her endurance to swim 10 laps.

She wants to share her enthusiasm: “Now is a great time to learn to swim at the JCC, if you are 8 or 88.”