To the editor of THE EAGLE:
It is time for the Southern Berkshire Community to app-
laud Bill Meier, aquatic director at the Kirkpatrick Athletic Center of Bard College at Simon’s Rock, and the program SwimAmerica.
As a new resident of Great Barrington in early 2013, Bill invited me to join the Masters Swim Program. I may have been the slowest member of the group but with Bill’s encouragement, extraordinary smile and whimsical suggestions, I tried and mastered new strokes, gained confidence and made new friends. To prepare for teaching children and adult non-swimmers in this terrific program, I studied Bill’s carefully crafted "Adult Swim Lesson Manual" as if I was taking a mid-term examination.
SwimAmerica is a National program that structures teaching in stages which builds confidence at each stage. When the Swim America participants recently gathered at the pool for their classes, I was ready for my assignment. I helped a young woman who had never learned how to swim. At the end of our sessions, she held her breath for 10 seconds while she flutter-kicked her way to the side of the pool. She smiled broadly at her accomplishment, and I smiled back.
As I looked around the pool, in my neighboring lane was a situation similar to mine. A sturdy young man was being taught the fundamentals of swimming by a fantastic master swimmer. This individual had been one of the first members of the group to introduce himself to me when I joined the team.
Bill Meier and his team give so much to our community, to the master swimmers and those who are just learning. I believe as a result, lives will be saved, in and out of the water!