Lynn marine biology students get scuba lesson
DANVERS — Lynn English High School Marine Biology students got to put scuba diving book smarts to the test when they got a crash course in the real thing.
“That was so awesome; I wish I was a fish,” said junior Rochelli Jiminez after swimming the length of the pool in scuba gear at the Paul J. Lydon Aquatics Center in Danvers.
LEHS science teacher Joe Skahan said his students have been learning about scuba diving and underwater exploration, and he “wanted the kids to have an opportunity for a hands-on lesson outside the classroom to see what it’s like to breathe underwater.”
Skahan, who said he’s been diving for a few years, put in a call to Undersea Divers in Beverly, and instructor Shaun Maguire offered to give the kids a free lesson.
Seven of Skahan’s students fidgeted and giggled nervously as Maguire walked them through the process of diving while outside the pool. Once in the water, Maguire helped the students strap on vests outfitted with air tanks, regulators and gauges and showed them how to use them. Maguire had the kids get used to the weight and the feel of the equipment and try out the regulator before they donned masks and sank to the bottom of the shallow end of the pool.
After splashing around the kids made for open water in the deep end led by Maguire.
Jiminez popped up several times before she got the hang of actually breathing underwater.
“I was nervous at first,” she said. “I thought I might drown.”
For Jiminez being under the water proved a little claustrophobic, but once she got the hang of it she was sold.
“It’s awesome,” she said.
LEHS junior Paige Newhall agreed that at first it was tough to wrap her head around the fact that she could breathe underwater.
“It’s weird,” she said. “But I definitely want to do this again.”
Although the equipment, which also includes flippers and a weight belt, is a little awkward, Jiminez said in the water it all felt light and right.
Skahan said he was proud of his students.
“The ones I thought would be nervous were great,” he said.
Kassidy Reyes called it a great experience, Pablo Calcono agreed it made him feel like a fish, Conor Martin said he also would love to try it again and Jamie O’Neil called it “different.”
“There’s this pressure on your face but you get to breathe,” he said with a grin. “You can go straight down and you can stay there as long as you want.”
“Nobody wouldn’t want to do this,” added Martin.
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