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Swim Classes Focus On Safety
Four year-old Aiden Bostwick was reluctant at first to get in the swimming pool - it might have been his bad experience of the day before with a cloudy day and cold water - but he soon changed his mind and joined the other three children splashing happily on the second day of Riverbank Parks & Recreation Department swim classes.

Bostwick took swim classes in his hometown of Modesto last year, his mother Catherine said, but this was the first year trying the Riverbank class.

"We have a pool at home and it has a safety gate. Nobody has fallen in yet. But we feel more comfortable as parents knowing he is able to kick and make it to the side," she added. "He's pleased to see the sun on the pool today."

Another four-year-old Hailey Astle also came for the class Monday but preferred Tuesday's weather with some patches of sun. The Astles also have a home pool in Oakdale and Hailey started taking swimming lessons early, having come to the Riverbank program for the last three years.

"We do it for the kids to keep them safe by knowing how to swim," said her mother Lara, who was keeping an eye on both Hailey in the tiny toys class and her six-year-old Caleb and eight-year-old Steven in the beginners' class.

Another Oakdale resident Sarah Kibler was watching her daughter Madeline, who was also among the tots and the only one wearing goggles. She likes to open her eyes underwater but the chemicals in the water irritate her eyes, said Kibler.

"We live close to the river and we swim in it quite a lot," said Kibler, adding another daughter Elizabeth had come with her to take the beginners class. "But this year the river has been running too high and fast and cold for safe swimming."

Amanda Guthrie of Oakdale had both her son Cameron and daughter Hannah enrolled in the tiny tot class.

"We have a pool at home but the kids are not allowed near it. I have her in this class to learn to swim better. Eventually I want her to get on the Oakdale swim team. I took swim lessons early and became a lifeguard in Sonora. Her dad is a good swimmer too," Guthrie explained.

There were only a handful of children attending the morning classes but the mothers said there would be more for the noon and evening lessons.

"We have classes in Oakdale. But I prefer the Riverbank classes," said Guthrie, noting that they "have more instructors for one on one instruction" in the Riverbank program.