Swim Lessons Without the Suit

Twist on swim lessons teaches kids to swim with clothes on

By Lindsay Wilcox
|  Tuesday, Aug 16, 2011  |  Updated 5:40 PM CDT
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Emler Swim School is preparing its students for a real life situation they say could easily happen.

Lindsay Wilcox, NBCDFW.com

Emler Swim School is preparing its students for a real life situation they say could easily happen.

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A North Texas swim school is recreating a real-world scenario to prepare kids for backyard pool accidents.

Once per session at the Emler Swim School, children come to class in their clothes, not their swimsuits.

They jump in the pool -- shoes and all -- and practice getting out.

The students seem to think it's fun, but one mother says it can make all the difference in a pool accident.

Suzanne England said her daughter fell in a pool in church clothes as a toddler but was able to get right back out after doing this exercise several times.

"It's totally important, because chances are, when a child is around a pool and they do fall in, they'll be in regular clothes, and they need to know what to do," she said.

"When you talk about preschoolers, anything can throw them off," said Jan Emler, Emler's founder. "When they practice over and over again with goggles and the swimsuit, they think that's the only way they swim, so it's really important that we broaden their horizons and show them that swimming can occur -- maybe not as well, but it can occur -- with your clothes on."

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