ST. LOUIS – Young children, ages 11 and 12, face the troubling statistic of being ten times more likely to drown. But one swim team is combating this trend.

The Makos Swim Team is the only African-American swim team in the St. Louis Metropolitan Area. Wednesday, they held free swimming lessons for International Water Safety Day.

“This is the first one in St. Louis. And I said, ‘Come on, let us join in and let us be a part of this safety and get our community, our people.’ If we can save one life, we did our job,” Terea Goodwin, head coach of the Makos Swim Team, said.

With Memorial Day approaching and the potential for rising waters with the recent rain, the YMCA locations at O’Fallon and Bayer are offering indoor swim lessons for as little as $5 per person. There were over 60 participants Wednesday.

“I really liked the kickboards, and I liked going inside the stream,” Ava Johnson, swim team lesson participant, said.

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Participants ranged from two years old to adults, learning essential water safety practices. Parents were grateful to the Makos Swim Team for this free life-saving lesson.

“I don’t even know how to swim, but it’s so important for me to have Ava know how to swim because she needs to save herself. I just love this,” Arika Parr, parent, said.

Parents shared how important it is for all children to know how to swim and how the Makos Swim Team has benefited their child.

“Three years ago, (she was) just learning how to swim and now she trends in the top 20% of 50+ girls that swim in her age bracket. And all of the girls, all of the kids on the team swim (are) just as well,” Joshua Krump, parent, said. 

In addition to their efforts in water safety, the team has received an exciting invitation to attend the USA Olympic Trials in Indianapolis in June. They’ll compete in a multicultural swim meet before witnessing the trials as spectators.

Their dedication to swimming and safety continues to make waves both in and out of the pool.