Sure, swimming can be fun. But it's also a critical skill to be safe around water.

"Swimming is a life skill. Everyone needs to know it whether you are six months or 98 years old. You need to know how to swim," Amanda Roland said.

That's what kids are learn at the YMCA.

Five year old Owen Leonard demonstrated his technique while standing beside the pool at the Davis Y.

"Swim like this. Swim with your arms out hold on to it and do this."

It's a different class than children used to take.

Aquatics Director Amanda Roland said the Y recently changed its approach to swimming lessons

"Our first few levels now deal with just water safety and teaching our children how to be safe around the water. And if they do fall in what do they do next in order to help save themselves," she said. "Being able to float on their back is very important. Being able to know that if they can touch the bottom and push off then that can give them a little leap to move toward the wall or a safe exit point."

A grant from YUSA is allowing the YMCA here to give free swim lessons to 200 kids.

"They can come, if they can't afford it then we have them covered. We can give them 8 lessons, a whole session of free swim lessons just so they can learn those basic skills to keep them safe around the water," she said.

Safety first for all the swim students no matter their age of ability.

At more advanced instruction levels, students learn specific strokes like freestyle and breast stroke but only after they have mastered those safety skills.

Six year old Mariah Bush is learning the basics and something else.

"If you don't know how to swim a swimming lesson teacher can help you," she said.

Sign up for swimming lessons on the Y's website.