With its scuba class, UC Irvine’s Anteater Recreation Center staff has given a new meaning to ‘sleeping with the fish.’ Scuba diving allows someone to swim underwater with compressed air in order to reach greater depths and really see the marine life.
‘It’s very relaxing [since] it’s just you and the ocean,’ said David Leong, a fourth-year biological sciences major who has been scuba-certified for the past year. While there are various classifications of diving, advanced divers are able to explore the ocean under ice, in caverns and caves, or even in sunken ships. Scuba diving definitely offers a type of marine experience unlike any other activity.
To promote scuba diving across the college campus, the ARC offers quarterly scuba certification classes to students. Although the first class meets at the ARC, students are trained at the Liburdi’s Scuba Center in Costa Mesa by Professional Association of Diving Instructors-certified instructors. The ARC provides its students with ‘non-personal’ equipment, such as a tank, regulator, weight belt, and wet suit, so each student is only responsible for their mask, fins, gloves and booties. The class is also available to the general public, with a non-member fee of $20. At the end of three short weeks, each student will have completed four beach dives and received his or her dive certification. Each quarter, anywhere between five to 20 students participate in this class.
Swimming level is not an issue either. Mike Puritz, associate director of programs at the ARC, insists that students ‘just have to be capable swimmers and be comfortable in the water.’ Each student is required to complete a simple swim test, however, that consists of swimming 200 yards and treading water for 10 minutes. And don’t let the 10 minutes of treading water daunt you