Children in the Statesman Swim Safe program participate in a class. Photo by Mark Matson for the American-Statesman


Remember when you first learned how to swim?

I do. I took swim lessons at Northwest Pool in Austin in the 1970s, and still remember the excitement of gliding, all by myself, across the pool by myself.

Swimming’s one of those life-long skills that opens up a whole world of adventure. Because of the basic swim skills I learned as a kid, I learned how to water ski and scuba dive. I swim on a U.S. Masters Swim team today, and head to Western Hills Athletic Club for swim practice four or five times a week. I even teamed up with a friend to swim a relay race around Manhattan Island a few years ago. (Yes, the one in New York.)

Readers are asked to donate to the program, which provides swimming lessons to underserved children. Photo by Mark Matson for the American-Statesman

I know how important – and fun – it is to know how to swim.

Statesman Swim Safe, a fund-raising program of the Austin American-Statesman, has launched its annual campaign.

Readers are encouraged to donate to help teach underserved children in Central Texas how to swim. The City of Austin Aquatics Division and the YMCAs of Austin and Greater Williamson counties teach the lessons. Since the program started in 2000, more than 12,000 children have participated.

To donate to Statesman Swim Safe, go here.

More than 12,000 children have participated in the program. Photo by Mark Matson for the American-Statesman.

All donations are tax deductible, and the Austin Community Foundation administers the fund.