Free St. John swim classes return to Regala; La. Splash & Water Safety offers lessons, recreation

Published 12:22 am Wednesday, April 10, 2019

RESERVE — After a year of absence, cost-free swimming lessons and water aerobics classes are returning to the Regala swimming pool in Reserve.

The classes are part of an ambitious summer schedule by nonprofit Louisiana Splash and Water Safety foundation, which aims to make swim education accessible to all.

Red Cross certified instructor Melynie Wright doesn’t need to know how many lives she’s saved in nearly a decade of offering swim lessons in St. John the Baptist Parish; it’s enough to know the 300 poolside volunteer hours she has planned this summer makes the community safer.

Drowning is the leading cause of death in children under 2 years old, Wright said, and older children and adults who haven’t learned to swim are just as prone to a disastrous accident in a backyard pool or in one of many local waterways.

“Accessibility to swim lessons is not limited to financial need,” Wright said. “It’s inclusive of all people. We’re so happy to be going back to the parish because we reach a whole different segment of the community that maybe doesn’t know a country club is accessible.”

Classes were offered at Belle Terre Country Club in LaPlace throughout summer 2018, and the location will be utilized again this year. According to Wright, classes at Belle Terre are open to all, regardless of country club membership.

Classes at Regala are free and offered through St. John the Baptist Parish, and sign up for children’s swim lessons is from 1 to 4 p.m. May 19 in front of the LaPlace Walmart.

Swim lessons are offered June 17-21 at 194 Regala Park Road in Reserve. Three 40-minute classes will be held per day, starting at 6:15 p.m., and approximately 90 to 100 participants will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Anita Hefler, left, guides Raymond Campbell through the pool in Reserve.

Wright and fellow Red Cross certified instructor Anita Hefler are teaching the classes.

Cost-free water aerobics classes for adults start at Regala from 8 to 8:45 a.m. Monday through Friday June 3-28 and July 1-26.

According to Wright, water aerobics is easy on the joints and supports a greater range of motion.

Water aerobics are also offered at Belle Terre Country Club, beginning from 8 to 8:45 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from April 30 to May 24.

Classes continue in the evening in June and July, and morning and evening classes are scheduled for August. Costs have not yet been determined.

Adult swim classes, paid for by the Louisiana Splash and Water Safety Foundation, will be held at 6:30 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. July 22-25 at Belle Terre.

“You’ve got to stop the bleeding from the artery,” Wright said. “We need to start with parents and grandparents and get them on board as well. There are many functions when a child falls into a pool and there are no adults that know how to swim.”

Louisiana Splash and Water Safety also offers swim classes for St. John Sheriff’s Office, St. John Office of Fire Services and other first responders. Classes will be held at 6:30 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. August 12-15, and the classes are also paid for by the foundation.

Special needs swim classes will be scheduled on Mondays at Belle Terre, and Wright said she and Hefler can schedule private appointments in backyard swimming pools.

Please check and the Louisiana Splash and Water Safety Facebook page for scheduling confirmation as the dates draw near.

For more information, call 225-328-6084 or visit