Residents Venturing Into The Water This Summer Are Urged to Play It Safe

This follows a recent drowning in the Potomac River.


Frederick, Md (KM) Swimming is a lot of fun during these hot summer months as it is a way to keep active and cool yourself down. But you still need to be safe when wading into the water.

Samm Meddaugh, the Aquatics Director at the Frederick County YMCA, says if you’re planning to swim in a lake , pond or a river, get to know the area. “What the depth of it? Is there a current or moving water? Are there  possible underway hazards? Are there lifeguards on duty? Never swim alone, particularly if there are no lifeguards present. Respect your own abilities.. If your gut says something that might not be safe or a  good choice for you, it’s  probably right,”: she says.

There’s a concern if the water is dark where you can’t see the bottom. Meddaugh says that’s more of  a hazard than clear water.

Even if you stick to a swimming pool where the water is clear, Meddaugh says it’s still important to be careful. “Make note of the depth of the water and different areas of the pool and respect your own ability,”: she says. “And read and  respect any rules that the facility might have posted.”

And, Meddaugh says, it’s important for parents or other adults to keep watch over their children as they play in the water, regardless of whether it’s a pool or open water. “The single most important thing that you need to do to keep your child safe around water is make sure an adult in your group is actively paying attention to them at all times,” she says. “If lifeguards are present, they’re there as a backup in case primary supervision methods fall through. They’re not meant to provide primary supervision for children.”

And for those who cannot swim, or whose swimming skills are little rusty, Meddaugh says swimming lessons might be in order. “Leaning to swim is a life long skill. It has many benefits for both adults for children. And one of the biggest benefit is safety in the water,” she says.

These water safety tips follow a recent drowning in the Potomac River. Montgomery County Police say Frankly Gonzales Sapaico, 26, of Springfield, Virginia, was swimming in the Potomac River near Scotts’ Run in Fairfax County on Monday evening, May 31st, when he went under the water, and didn’t come up. His family located his body on Friday, June 4th.

The Frederick YMCA offers swimming lessons. You can call 301-663-5131 for more information.



By Kevin McManus