Anna Hernandez used to swim at the gym, but instead of getting the full benefits of exercise, she was hurting herself.


"Everyone was telling me I was doing it wrong," she said. "My daughter goes 'Ma, you look like you're drowning.'"


So Hernandez, 53, signed up for swimming lessons offered by the Hesperia Recreation and Park District at Lime Street Park.


"They told me, 'All the mommies stay over there,' and I was, like, 'No, I'm a student, too,'" Hernandez said.


Carol Hearn, who was there with her 10-year-old son, was inspired by Hernandez's example. The two knew how to swim, but neither swam as well as they would like.


"I sat here for years saying I want to do that, but it's hard to get over being the amazon among these little ones," Hearn, 48, said.


The two women are the oldest swimmers at the 8:30 to 9 a.m. swimming lessons. They said they love learning water safety and having fun in the water. Surrounded by little ones, the ladies said they felt discouraged at first, but inspired by learning what they always wanted to know.


"You're never too old to learn something new," Hernandez said.


Both women ended up in the same class, taught by Robert Marchese.


"He wasn't afraid of telling you what you were doing wrong," Hearn said.


Although most students are children, park district officials encourage adults and older children to take the lessons as well.


"Every child and adult should know how to be safe around water," said Steve Hamm, recreation supervisor for Hesperia Recreation and Park District.


"We try to emphasize to always watch your child around water, and that water is a dangerous place," pool manager Mallery Wassink said.


Swimming lessons are available at Lime Street Park for all levels of swimmers, including students as young as six months old. Call (760) 244-5488 for more information.