Growing up in Miami with its “uncommon numbers” of drowning victims has created a singular mission in life for William Romero, 41.
“How many times do you see how desolated a mom and dad become after losing a child in a swimming pool tragedy?” said the Hammocks father who taught his daughter to swim at age 1. Now he heads “Swim for Me,” a coaching program that teaches youngsters and adults not only how to swim but how to protect themselves and help save lives of loved ones in water emergencies.
“Knowing how to swim and how it can save a life is vital in a community like ours,” he told a West Kendall audience on Aug. 29 at the Miami-Dade Police Hammocks District station. He displayed safeguards from toy life preservers and swimming aids to gadgets to shatter a car window and provide escape from a car in a lake or canal.
“There’s up to five minutes to save a drowning victim, including you,” he declared. “Lack of oxygen after two minutes underwater will cause a person to pass out but the heart can remain beating for up to two minutes thereafter.
“Drowning is actually a heart failure, occurring at least two to three minutes after someone loses consciousness,” he said. “Those precious seconds are the difference between life and death.
“I’ve seen CPR administered to bring back a ‘drowned’ child back to life because someone acted quickly by knowing what to do in the critical time frame given to act,” Romero stated.
His safety demonstration began with a simple precaution: replacing a standard swimming pool drain cover with a “$5 replacement” sprinkled with added outlet holes to decrease suction action that can grab and tangle a child’s hair underwater.”
A variety of children’s devices are often deceptive, he added, showing a foam block flotation “frog” bearing a warning: “Not a lifesaving device!”
Noting that he “can get anyone to begin swimming in two weeks or less,” Romero said he teaches individuals as well as small and large groups in his Swim for Me program using techniques based on six basic steps from blowing bubbles to taking the first stroke.
He teaches individuals and groups at reasonable cost, emphasizing safety while making swimming fun for first-timers with instruction also covering basic CPR and first-aid for newborns, infants or toddlers.
For information, call 786-233-3966 or visit online at www.swimcoachmiami.com