A pirate theme is what ties together the educational aquatics curriculum at B-T Aquatics, operating at the Brownell-Talbot Theisen Day School.
Open to students and the general public, the indoor facility introduces young students to “Face-Up First” water safety classes, followed by a wide range of children’s programs designed to teach life skills through participation in sports. Based on age and skill, students are classified as Plebes, Pirates or Voyagers, a hybrid swim lesson/swim team group.
Two years ago, B-T Aquatics chose to dismantle its USA Swimming-registered team to maintain its focus on learn-to-swim and water safety programs. But that doesn’t mean participants are losing their competitive edge. The facility hosts monthly Splash Meets, which are no experience-necessary, open-to-the public swim meets that encourage kids to embrace the challenge and fun of competition. And once a year, local grade schools gather to take part in the All City Grade School Meet, a team competition where trophies are awarded to all participating schools.
The K-8 school offers a volunteer program for students ages 10 through 14 called Shipmates. Their motto: “Individually, we are each one drop; together, we are an ocean.” Participants receive two hours of training, where they are taught to check pool water chemistry, implement emergency procedures and provide customer service, with an additional emphasis on job responsibility. Student volunteers are expected to show up on time for their shifts, perform their assigned tasks and remain eager and ready to learn new skills.
B-T Aquatics reaches beyond the school grounds by offering an online “Water Safety Education for Parents and Caregivers” course, which has been completed by enrollees in 47 states and is recognized by Texas and California as fulfillment of required water safety training for parents wishing to adopt. — I.H.