Training, Testing for East Hampton's Nipper Guard Program Begins Sunday

Children in the 2017 Nipper Guard program at Albert’s Landing Beach in Amagansett

Training, evaluations, and testing for East Hampton Town's Nipper Guard program, an open-water swim program for children 6 through 8, will begin on Sunday at the Y.M.C.A. East Hampton RECenter.

Similar to the town's Junior Lifeguard program, which trains children 9 and older at ocean beaches, this program offers younger children a solid foundation of beach readiness and water safety awareness. Instruction by certified lifeguards is offered weekly from late June through early August — Tuesdays and Thursdays at Albert's Landing Beach in Amagansett or Wednesdays and Fridays at the East Lake bay beach in Montauk, both from 9 to 10:30 a.m.

The training, evaluations, and testing at the RECenter is a prerequisite for participation in the summer program.

Sessions will be weekly from 1 to 2 p.m. through June 24, but children need not attend every session. Returning Nippers will be tested, and if they pass swim tests, they will not need to take part in the training or further evaluations.

Six-year-olds will be expected to swim two laps in two minutes or less and an additional two laps demonstrating good form in combined strokes. Seven-year-olds will be expected to swim two laps in 1 minute and 45 seconds, and to demonstrate good form in the various strokes in an additional three laps. For 8-year-olds, the expectation is two laps in 1 minute, 30 seconds, and three laps demonstrating good form.

Children new to the program will be pre-tested on their first day by swimming one lap using the freestyle stroke, treading water in the deep end of the pool for at least two minutes, and diving to retrieve rings from the middle of the pool. Instructors will evaluate their freestyle, back, and breaststrokes. Those who need additional work will be given basic instruction in subsequent Sunday sessions prior to testing.

Registration for the Sunday sessions begins at 12:30 p.m. The cost of the summer program, payable when registering at the bay beaches in June, is $60.

Summer sessions include swimming, running, paddleboarding, and beach and marine educational activities. Instructors impart a range of water and beach smarts, from the importance of sunblock and staying hydrated to how to swim out of a rip current.