"We want them to be able to swim a short distance by themselves, to trust the water, and not to panic," said instructor Skyla Townsley.
Ward and Townsley were working with a Tiger Shark class for novice swimmers age six to 12.
As an instructor, Townsley said she remembers being on the other end of the learning curve.
"I learned to swim at SECA," she said.
She and Ward are working with their third group of novice swimmers this summer. Both are in their first year as instructors and life guards.
Teaching children to swim requires more than helping them master the basic swimming skills, Ward said.
"Working with this age children requires patience. Sometimes they are still a little hesitant to get in the water," Ward said. "You just have to go slow and listen to their concerns. You have to let them know nothing bad is going to happen and it's going to be OK."
While Townsley took her first swimming lessons at SECA, Ward was already an accomplished swimmer when she came to the local pool.
"I learned when I was two," she said. "I've been swimming forever but I worked on my skills here and became part of the Sharks [swimming team]. … I love it and I'm excited to jump at the opportunity to teach others and get them to love it as well."