Just last week, Dells businessman Bud Gussel announced that both himself and his wife will be donating $3.6 million to the Wisconsin Dells School District for a swimming pool at the proposed new high school. For Bud, his commitment to funding the pool is based upon his own experience of losing a childhood friend as  well as other community members to drowning.

In a prepared statement, he mentioned that he is aware that quite a number of people feel that a swimming pool is not a necessary part of the planned new school. However, he disagrees with it. “I feel it is very important. I believe more students will benefit from the pool than the gym and football field. By learning to swim and to swim well they will have a lifetime of pleasurable recreation. My real reason to finance this pool is that it will save lives. There is a difference between being able to swim across a pool and being able to swim across a lake. Most drownings are because the swimmer does not know how to tread water or float. With instruction, anyone can learn this lifesaving skill,” he explained.

In fact, Bud’s passion derives from an incident, where he lost a childhood friend to drowning back when he was only 13. At that point, the city didn’t even have a public pool. The boys decided to go swimming off a beach below the dam. Initially, his friend asked him to come along too. However, Bud had to work, so he declined his friend’s offer. “I was not swimming that fateful day when I heard the drowning siren. I ran to the beach just when they were pulling … one of my classmates out of the river. My friend could swim, but not very well. To see my friend’s lifeless body sprawled on that beach has never left me,” he recalled.

Bud is also a member of the Kilbourn Fire Department. Hence, he has taken a fair share of bodies out of the river. According to him, most of them were also swimmers. He felt that the most essential part about swimming is learning to float and thread water. “My family has spent many summers on the beach on Jordan Lake, and during that time my wife and I have each saved a child from drowning. If the pool saves just person’s life, it will be well worth it,” he stated. For the full story, you can check it out here.

As it is the school holidays period now, it would be a good time to pick up or improve your child’s swimming skills. Happy Fish Swim School has a school holiday intensive swimming programme for kids. The aim is to provide them with swimming knowledge over the course of the holiday. For more information, please refer to our website.