PORTLAND, Maine — In a swimming pool with with children, Tacko Fall looks like a whale among minnows.

The towering center for the Maine Red Claws and his teammate, Tremont Waters, joined a swimming lesson on Friday, November 22, at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southern Maine in Portland.

At 7 feet, 5 inches tall, even the deep end of the pool seems shallow to Fall. Despite their size difference, the two basketball players and the kids were on roughly the same level with their swimming abilities.

Instructors taught them breathing techniques by blowing bubbles. But learning to float didn't come quite as easily to Fall as some of the others. His struggles were part of the lesson. The kids gained confidence in their own efforts by seeing that even a professional athlete need to work hard to learn new skills.

"For me, it's an indescribable feeling," Fall said. "In there at some point I was just looking around to see all these kids. And when I was a kid that would have meant a lot to me if I had someone come, someone I was looking up to, come and be a part of the fun and, you know, hang out."

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The thrill of the experience might be even bigger in hindsight for the dozen or so kids in attendance. Three days after his dip in the local pool, Tremont Waters got promoted to the Boston Celtics. The same kids who swam beside him could watch him on television Monday night as he scored seven points in his first NBA game.