It used to be that when Karla Hernandez-Walton was invited to swimming pools or to the beach for a friend’s birthday party, she would have two options: Wear floaties or stick to the shallow edges.
“I’d be embarrassed that I was the only one who didn’t know how to swim,” she says.
That changed one summer when her family visited her grandmother in Mexico and both she and her younger brother Rafeal were afraid to try swimming in the water.
Karla remembers that she was about 9 years old at the time, and her mother declared that she was going to sign up the two siblings for swim lessons.
Once Karla had mastered the swimming basics, her parents, Marcela and Jorge Hernandez-Walton, signed Karla and her brother up for Goshen Swimming Inc., Goshen’s competitive swimming club.
Karla was afraid to learn how to swim, but those feelings quickly subsided.
“They really did support you throughout the whole thing,” she says.
GSI is a non-profit swim club, separate from Goshen Community Schools’ own swim teams, but use the schools’ pool. “The goal of our team,” according to GSI’s information, “is to provide every member an opportunity to improve swimming skills and achieve success at his or her level of ability.”
Before long, with the help of the club, Karla was a competitive swimmer.
“I did pretty good and made a lot of friends,” she says.
Besides swimming competitively, she listed other reasons she has enjoyed swimming: making friends, having fun in the water, and “you could save a person from drowning.”
Now a freshman at Goshen High School, Karla has taken a year off to adjust to being in high school and focus on academics. She said she may join the high school swim team at some point, though.
On her experience at GSI, Karla says, “It was really life changing.”