The Los Angeles Clippers continued their summer of giving back to the community by hosting free swim clinics for local children at the John C. Argue Swim Stadium at the Expo Center in Los Angeles.
Over the course of the six-day program, more than 360 kids ranging from ages 6-to-14 will have the chance to hop in the pool and receive free lessons from professional swim instructors.
In addition to the free swimming lessons, the children in attendance also receive a free t-shirt, lunch and goodie bag with books courtesy of the Clippers Read to Achieve program.
“This is the first year we’ve done the Los Angeles Clippers Swim Clinic Program,” said Denise Booth, the Clippers Director of Community Relations & Player Programs. “It is a program initiated by our owner, Donald T. Sterling, in an effort to provide summer activities for children and give back to our community.
To start off the fun-filled day in the water, the kids first learned some valuable tools by watching an instructional video based around water safety.
After the children were done with the video, they happily bounced outside to jump in the beautiful outdoor pool located in the shadow of the historic USC Coliseum. As their parents watched from the side (and caught some nice rays in the process), the kids acclimated to the water quickly, splashing and enjoying themselves on a hot day.
As she watched her daughter, niece and nephew swim in the pool, Joana Esquivel couldn’t help but laugh.
“They were really excited,” Esquivel said. “As they watched the video they said, ‘Wow, I thought I knew swimming!’ So they’re getting some pretty good ideas from it. They want to get into some swimming classes here, and I’m hoping they’ll continue to like it later on.”
Esquivel was just one of the many parents in attendance who got the pleasure of seeing their kids learn something new and make new friends. Although some of the more novice kids started off hesitant, by the end of the hour and a half lesson they were all practicing their newly acquired skills.
“I learned backstroke and freestyle,” said Esquivel’s 12-year-old daughter Denise. “It was fun!”
Denise’s 8-year-old cousin Brianna said, “My favorite part was learning the backstroke.”
No matter their skill level or age, the instructors and employees had an individual plan for each child.
“For the kids who have never had swimming instruction, they can have the opportunity to get in the water and find out what swimming is all about,” Aquatic Facilities Manager Libert Welch said. “For some of them, they’ll probably be floating for the very first time.”
“On the other end of the spectrum, we’ll have some kids who have already taken swimming lessons and will have the opportunity to swim. Now with this clinic, we can spend some time with them and help them perfect their strokes. The instructors can work with them almost on a one-to-one basis and give them a new perspective on what swimming is all about.”
With thousands of kids provided free opportunities throughout the summer already, the Clippers are already looking at what else they can do for the community in the future.
“There’s a good possibility that this will become an annual event,” said Booth. “We’ve had a really good turnout and a lot of appreciative parents and excited kids.”
After a day full of fun and valuable instruction, don’t be surprised if those excited kids turn into some excited fans pretty soon here.
“My nephews are huge basketball fans, they love it,” Esquivel said. “I asked them ‘Now are you going to root for the Clippers?’ and they said ‘Yeah!’”
Click here for more information on the Clippers Swim Clinics.