NMU makes ‘superior splash’ to educate youth

Rebecca Morstad

Next week, Superior Splash will be hitting Marquette County to educate third grade students on water safety and swimming. Northern Michigan University’s Rec Sports and Marquette County’s YMCA are partnering up with local schools to make this free event possible.

Northern Michigan University’s women’s swim team will be helping out with Superior Splash by volunteering to help kids learn how to swim. The swim team is lead by head coach Heidi Voigt, who will be volunteering with them. NMU’s PEIF recreational sports staff will also be volunteering at this event.

Superior Splash will be held at the PEIF pool at Northern Michigan University from 5:30 to 6:15 p.m. Monday, April 21 through Wednesday, April 23. The women’s swim team and PEIF staff will help volunteer at the event. (Courtesy of NMU Communications and Marketing)
Superior Splash will be held at the PEIF pool at Northern Michigan University from 5:30 to 6:15 p.m. Monday, April 21 through Wednesday, April 23. The women’s swim team and PEIF staff will help volunteer at the event.
(Courtesy of NMU Communications and Marketing)

YMCA aquatic director Matthew Williams said water safety is important for young children.

“Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death in children, and it’s entirely preventable,” Williams said. “With the water that surrounds us in the U.P., every child needs to be a swimmer.”

Superior Splash will include a variety of fun activities for kids, all involving aquatics. The event will include the U.P.’s largest swimming lessons.

There will also be safety instructions which include life jacket use, ways to help a distressed swimmer and small craft safety. Rescue personnel from the Marquette County Sheriff’s Department, the Marquette County Fire Department and the U.S. Coast Guard will be volunteering to help teach the kids rescue techniques and explain proper equipment use.

Students will also learn swimming techniques aside from learning about skills and techniques to be safe within the water.

Superior Splash’s goal is to teach kids how to avoid water danger and, furthermore, what to do if they find themselves in trouble in the waves.

Superior Splash will encompass four different locations on three different days. Each location is equipped to take up to as many as 40 third-grade students. Pre-registration is required and students will be chosen on a first-come, first-served basis.

NMU is offering the use of the PEIF pool from 5:30 to 6:15 p.m Monday, April 21 through Wednesday, April 23. To register for the NMU PEIF event, call (906) 227-2421.

The Marquette Area Public Schools Pool, YMCA Pool and Westwood High School Pool will also be available locations on these three days. MAPS pool training will be available 5:15 to 6:00 p.m., YMCA pool will be available 4:45 to 5:30 p.m. and Westwood High School’s pool will be open 4:30 to 5:15 p.m. To register for one of these three pools, call (906) 227-9622.

Katie Theut, a fitness and informal recreation manager with Northern Michigan University’s Rec Sports, said Superior Splash is great for the kids.

“This is a great opportunity for students to participate in not only the largest swimming lesson in the Upper Peninsula, but also a chance to have exposure to information that could potentially save lives,” said Theut. “We want every child to be a safe in and around the water and this is a great way to start the process, especially with the summer beach season on the way.”