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‘Learn to Swim and Snorkel’ program brings Red Cross water safety training to the territory

 Water Safety Instructor trainee James Tamasese
ASCC-ACNR & Hawai‘i Sea Grant Extension Agent

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The easing of travel restrictions to American Samoa allowed the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) and National Park Service (NPS) Learn to Swim and Snorkel program to bring Ms. Kimberly Lytle, a Red Cross instructor trainer, to the Territory. Ms. Lytle held a community adaptive swim clinic for the Parents of Children with Special Needs network this summer at the Pala Lagoon Swim Center. During the adaptive swim clinic, parents learned techniques to help them support their children’s swimming and water safety goals. One participant, a twelve-year-old child with autism, had never been in the ocean or a pool, and he and his mother were able to discover his love of the water in a safe setting.

Ms. Lytle also led a Red Cross Lifeguard Instructor training for four trainees, resulting in our community now having four Red Cross Lifeguard Instructors who can certify additional Red Cross Lifeguards for the first time in decades. Ms. Lytle also led a Red Cross Water Safety Instructor course that certified ten new Water Safety Instructors who are now certified to teach Parent and Child Aquatics for children ages six months to three year; Preschool Aquatics for four and five years old; Learn to Swim for six to fifteen years old; Adult Swim courses; and a variety of water safety trainings for the community.

Two of the new Lifeguard Instructors and three Water Safety Instructors are ASCC Marine Science students. "These Red Cross trainings are the first our pool staff have had under my management, and I’m excited about the enormous increase in capacity we gained in being able to certify guards locally without sending anyone off island for certification, and having a team of certified Water Safety Instructors. Once we complete some internal training, we are looking forward to offering swimming lessons to our community!" said pool manager Vaegaau Fe'a.

Training participant and two-time Olympic swimming competitor Tilali Scanlan said, “Kimberly Lytle’s Lifeguard Instructor and Water Safety Instructor trainings were both fantastic capacity builders in our local water safety training skills. This is a big step towards better equipping us with the skills we need to be water safe and enjoy our aquatic environment.” Now that the pool is open and we have increased our capacity for lifeguarding and swim instructors, swim lessons will tentatively begin to be offered to the community by the Pala Lagoon Swim Center in November. For more information on swim lessons or applying as a lifeguard, email the pool at

In addition to grant funds from the NPS, this training was also supported by the Red Cross Centennial Program, which aims to serve communities with higher rates of drowning than the national average. Additional lodging support for Kimberly was provided by Tom Drabble. To find out more about Marine Science courses at the College, see the ASCC Catalog available online at