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5 swimming skills that can save your life

A woman holds a child in a pool.

May 28, 2021—How well do you swim? Having some basic skills around water can come in handy at a pool or a beach. It could even save your life in a pinch. Water Safety USA and the American Red Cross say these five abilities are vital when it comes to water safety:

1. Going under the water and resurfacing. You should be able to safely step or jump into water over your head and come up again.

2. Floating or treading water. Can you keep yourself afloat for at least one minute?

3. Turning over and around in the water. You should be able to turn in a circle and start making your way out of the water to safety.

4. Swimming a short distance. Can you swim at least 25 yards using any type of swim stroke? (That's the length of a typical community pool—or the same distance as one-fourth of a football field.)

5. Getting out of the water safely. If you practice this skill in a pool, you shouldn't have to use a ladder.

Need to sharpen your swim skills?

If you don't know these five useful swimming skills, it's never too late to learn them. To find classes, contact a local chapter of the American Red Cross, the YMCA, or your local parks and recreation program.

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