BAUMHOLDER, Germany - There's a place in the water for young and old at Baumholder's Aquatics Facility. Swimming lessons can begin as soon as a child turns 1 year old with the parent and child aquatics class. This course involves the parent being in the water with the child who is 1 to about 3 years old.

"We usually start this program with the parent in the water because the parent also needs to learn about safety in, on and around the water. What we're doing in this program is trying to teach a readiness to learn to swim," said Kimberly Bailes, aquatic manager.

"Children don't usually learn recognizable swimming strokes at this young of an age but they can certainly develop propulsive skills such as learning how to pull, learning how to kick and more importantly learning how to come up for air on their own and even turning over onto their back and floating," said Bailes.

The parent and child aquatics class focuses on many of these rudimentary skills, on developing personal safety skills and instilling safety with the parent.

Cassie Maxfield's 2-year-old daughter Lexi is one of the students enrolled in the parent and child aquatics program. "I decided to sign my daughter up so that she could learn the basics of beginning to learn how to swim just for safety so that when she's older she'll know how to swim. And I have been very pleased with the program here," said Maxfield.

Preschool aquatics classes are also offered for children ages 3 to about 5 years old. These classes do not involve the parent being in the water with the child. "Again, we're working on swimming readiness skills. They're becoming a lot more independent at this age. We start talking to them about alternating arms, alternating legs, simultaneous arms, simultaneous legs and we interchangeably use that with the names of some of the swimming strokes," said Bailes.

After preschool aquatics children can participate in the learn-to-swim levels one through six. "We usually start children there at about age six. It's a pass or fail so they move from level to level based on completion requirements, expert skills assessment and performance criteria. By level three and into level four they are actually learning the names of the strokes, the coordination of the strokes, the arms, the legs, the breathing and working on refinement techniques by level four and going into level five," said Bailes.

There's also a learn-to-swim program for adults that uses the same one through six levels of learning. "We work the levels one through six at the learn-to-swim program for adults the same way we do with the youth," said Bailes.

For the advanced swimmer the aquatics facility has lifeguard training courses throughout the year. There's also lifeguard instructor courses and water safety instructor courses, which is the course to become a swimming instructor.

"We also offer a guard start program, which is a junior lifeguarding program for those children ages 11 up to about 15 years old so they can learn about lifeguard readiness. It better prepares them for the lifeguard course when they turn age 15 so they can become a certified lifeguard and get a job somewhere," said Bailes.

Military units that have specialized water training requirements can fulfill all their training at the aquatics facility. Types of training include water survival training, shallow water egress training, vehicle rollover simulator, in water victim retrieval and transport, combat water survival testing and more.

Rounding off the facility's program is a full complement of alternative water activities such as water aerobics, aqua jogger, water exercise, circuit training, relays and more.

Baumholder's Aquatics Facility is truly oriented to meet the needs of the entire military community. To find out more about Baumholder aquatics call mil 485-7093 or civ (06783) 6-7093.