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Staying safe in the water

Molly Shore

Max Barbieri is used to splashing around in the bathtub, so his mom

decided to enroll the 11-month-old in the Infant/Toddler/Parent swim

class at the Verdugo Park pool.


Bonnie Barbieri enjoys water sports, and wants her son to be at

ease in a pool.

“At first, he was skeptical of the water and hung on to me, but

now he’s doing great,” she said.


Water plays a big part in the recreational life of local

residents, which is why children should be taught to swim at a young

age, according to Courtney Collier, head lifeguard at McCambridge


“If [children] don’t take lessons, it’s detrimental to them,”

Collier said. “To be exposed to the water at a young age is helpful;

it gets them swimming faster.”

The city offers swimming lessons at both pools for people of all


ages and ability levels. Lessons range from $24 to $30 per two-week


Geri Maddern has been bringing 10-year-old son Connor to the

Verdugo pool since he was 1.

“He’s taken some sort of swimming lesson every year,” Maddern

said. “It’s important to improve on his skills.”

Even though Connor can swim, Maddern does not allow him to go in

the water without supervision and a swimming buddy.


To prevent drownings, Burbank Fire Marshal Dave Starr recommends

that no one should swim alone. Drownings, he added, even happen to

people who can swim.

The Burbank Community YMCA, meanwhile, offers year-round swimming

lessons to members young and old.

Lessons for adults are free with membership, water aquatics

supervisor April Houle said.

“We believe if [adults] don’t know how to swim yet, it’s very

important that [they] do, and we’re not going to charge [them] an

additional fee,” Houle said.

For more information about the YMCA swim program, call 845-8551.

For more information about the city’s aquatic program, call 238-5330.