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Gallons of Fun at Water Carnival

Children show off their swimming skills at the Chatham Memorial Park Pool.

Children splashed up a storm at the Thursday, as they showed off their swimming prowess at this summer's Water Carnival.

“The Water Carnival is a way for kids to show off what they've learned from our swimming program,” said Amy Nauta, one of the swimming instructors in charge. “They are asked to show off a different technique that they've learned in the past three weeks and are evaluated based on their improvements.”

Some of the children were as young as 4, with skills ranging from beginner to intermediate. The older students kicked off the event as they proudly displayed their aquatic techniques.

Families cheered as they set up their chairs close to the pool's edge, while others set down towels to comfortably bask on. Mothers and fathers pulled out their cameras and phones, hopeful of catching that perfect shot of their own kids.

Lifeguards stood by as they kept watch over the young swimmers. Every so often, they lent a helping hand to those who've wandered off course or sunk down a little too deep.

“The Water Carnival ... serves as a recap of the season,” said Carol Nauta, the deputy director of Chatham Recreation. “The older students usually go up first before the younger ones. Ultimately, the carnival is a way to show the parents how much they've progressed.”

According to Amy, the Water Carnival was the end result of their three week swimming program, having started back since June 27. The lessons were offered to children between the ages of 4 and 8 years old. Lessons were generally held rain or shine and encompassed the basics of swimming, such as being able to float and move across the water.

For the more experienced swimmers, a Stroke Clinic ran parallel to the standard swimming lessons. According to Nauta, the clinic was designed for children between the ages of 9 and 12 years old. During the three-week long class, students learned to harness the technique of their backstroke, freestyle, breaststroke, freestyle and butterfly. The clinic was also meant to increase students' stamina and endurance.

According to Carol Nauta, a total of 35 kids enrolled in the program. Of the 35, the largest age group included those between the ages of seven and eight years old.

“Ribbons and medals are awarded to students who've shown the most improvement,” said Carol. “Each award is based on age group, so at least each student has something to take back with them and show off to their parents.”

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