YMCA Fact: Swimming Since 1888

The Y has been teaching swimming since the first Y pools were built in 1888. In 1906, a Y staff member started a revolutionary style of swimming by teaching groups swim strokes using land drills before going into the water.

Even the military relied on the YMCA’s new swim instructions with WWI soldiers using land drills to learn strokes and survival swimming by wearing 60 pounds of gear in deep water. During the 1930s, the Y developed Canada’s first national standards for drown proofing, resusitation and scuba diving as well as test standards for swimming lessons that are still used today.


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