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      Lack of public pools may cause poor swimming skills

      With temperatures rising, the region's lakes, bays and rivers are a haven for families looking to cool off.

      Even though swimming is so common to the area, a poll conducted by the YMCA found that forty percent of local 7th graders can't swim 25 yards and that the region has three times the state drowning rate per capita.

      "We think it's just because there just aren't enough pools," said Tom Van Deinse. "There aren't enough places for kids to learn to swim so we're looking to change that with the new YMCA."

      The new YMCA will be complete by the spring of 2014 and will have two indoor pools for teaching kids to swim. The Grand Traverse County Civic Center already has a swimming lesson program and has seen an increase in enrollment lately.

      "It's a water safety issue first and foremost," said Jason Jones, parks and recreation director for the Civic Center. "We're amidst so much water, inland lakes and the bays and the great lakes. It's also important because it's a life long activity, we have a new focus on health and wellness in the community, swimming is one of the few sports you can actually participate in as young as 18 months through the rest of your life."

      Local parents say they feel more comfortable taking there kids to the beach if they have enrolled their kids in a swimming lesson

      "It's really risky having kids by the water so i think it's a number one priority to get lessons," said Olivia Lopez, a mother of three.

      Jason Jones tells us that more than eleven hundred kids are currently enrolled in swimming lessons at the Civic Center for this summer, that number is up from a thousand last year.