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Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
A Butler Middle School student learns to scuba dive at Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center as part of a lifetime sports program for a P.E. class on Friday.

Some 70 Butler Middle School students experienced a different world Friday.

It was "weird, "odd" and "eerily silent" — but most said they would do it again in a heartbeat.

Leaders say the school has been holding scuba experience classes for the past few years as an incentive for students. And since the school is right next door to the Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center, students can simply walk across the street to get to the pool.

"It's really quiet and a totally different world," said ninth-grader Gentry Wade after pulling herself out of the pool and nearly falling due to the large tank strapped to her back.

"You're weightless and you don't hear anything, you feel it — it's just a completely different experience and I loved it."

For Chris Castleton it was a matter of teaching his body to breathe underwater against years of instinct.

"It's really odd — you are down there and you are used to holding your breath anyway so you forget to breathe," Castleton said. "Then when you do breathe it feels really weird— it's just so odd."

But would he do it again?


Mike Tuckerfield, Butler physical education teacher, said the scuba experience is just another part of the lifetime sports program. For the past decade the trend in P.E. has been moving from competitive team sports, where only a few excel, to a wide range of activities that students can continue to participate in for the rest of their lives.

"How often do you play dodgeball once you get out of school?" Tuckerfield said. "We try to evolve into sports where they are going to be able to keep fit and do things for the rest of their lives, and that's part of what our physical education program is all about."

Before actually getting into the water Friday Butler students spent a class period watching an educational video of scuba diving and then going over the things they need to know.

Then they were grouped with instructors from SCUBA Utah who taught them the ins and outs of taking the plunge.

E-mail: terickson@desnews.com