March 22, 2019

Active Living hosts free intro swim lessons for students, staff and campus community

Learn how to stay safe in the water March 25-28 with a one-hour dip in the pool


Danielle Chicoine, Faculty of Kinesiology

Active Living is offering free introductory swim sessions next week for adults. Open to staff, students, and the campus community.

Active Living is offering free introductory swim sessions next week for adults.

Candice Ward

If you’ve always wanted to learn how to swim, here’s your chance to test the water. Active Living is inviting university staff, students and community members to try UCalgary CANswim, a free one-hour swimming lesson to help adults get comfortable in the pool.

Choose one of the sessions running March 25 to 28 from 6 to 7 p.m. for an opportunity to get acquainted with the water at your own pace.

“Not everyone gets the chance to take traditional swimming lessons as a kid,” says UCalgary Aquatic Centre Manager Dominique MacDonald. And while one hour with an instructor won’t make you a professional swimmer, she says it’s enough time to learn how to stay safe in the water.

The most essential skill any new swimmer can have, according to MacDonald, is learning how to turn over and float on their back. This simple skill can be a lifesaver, she says.

“If someone who isn’t a strong swimmer has the ability to roll onto her back and float, she’s now in a position where she can breathe, she’s able to call out for help, and it decreases her chances of drowning before help arrives,” says MacDonald. “We want to give people the confidence and tools to stay calm and help save themselves.”

According to the World Health Organization, there are 42 drowning deaths every hour across the globe. MacDonald hopes that by teaching some basic swimming skills to the campus community, the University of Calgary can be a positive force in stopping these preventable tragedies.

“Sharing our knowledge and expertise with the community is something we take pride in as a university and a member of the local community,” MacDonald says. “Saving just one life by passing on these skills will make it all worthwhile.”

For more information, email