Helen Newton ’14 started her lesson at the LeRoy Greason pool by instructing two novice swimmers in goggles and swim caps to sink to the bottom of the pool. They obliged without hesitation, but did emit shrieks as they entered the cold water.
Newton explained that she has her swimming students begin by sinking like stones as a way to develop their ease in water. “What I like to teach is comfort with the water,” she said. “You can control your breath and your stroke better when you’ve established authority over the water.”
Newton is one of six volunteer coaches — five Bowdoin students and one Bowdoin employee — who this spring, from March to May, offered six weeks of Women’s Swimming Lessons at the Farley Field House pool. The women-only program is in its fourth year, and is open to any Bowdoin student, staff or faculty member who does not know how to swim or who would like to improve their swimming skills.