February is the month of Valentine’s Day, the month of love. And who doesn’t love swimming? When you take the family to the pool on a sunny summer afternoon, the kids screech with joy and never want to leave. I’d like to share my swimming love story with you.
My dad grew up with 13 siblings on a farm. Their mother, afraid of water, never allowed her children to even go near the water, and instilled her fear of the water on most of her children, including my dad. He did not want his children to fear the water, however, and made all of us take lessons. He put a pool in the backyard, and I lived in it with my friends every summer of my life. I don’t ever remember a time in my life when I didn’t enjoy the water. I also remember that my dad never so much as stuck his big toe in that pool. My mom enjoyed cooling off now and then, but was not much of a swimmer either.
My high school had a pool, and for PE, I always chose swimming. I wasn’t very competitive, so I stuck to classes that were for fun and fitness. I took a lifeguarding class, and one of my first jobs was for the City of Racine as a lifeguard splitting my time between beach guard at Lake Michigan and pool guard at one of the city pools. I taught my first swim lessons when I was 16. Summers in Wisconsin are short, so I took a position as an instructor at the YMCA when I was 17. It was a fun job, and I continued working part-time as an instructor and lifeguard throughout college and into adulthood. I taught my first parent/child class when I had my first baby. My children started lessons at 6 months old and continued through middle school. I worked part-time at the pool even when I worked fulltime while teaching at a high school. I loved having the ability to swim laps and work with all people learning to swim. When I was in my 40s, I realized I could work fulltime in the aquatic environment, managing a pool, teaching lessons, and training lifeguards. How awesome it is to be able to work in a field I have loved since my childhood.
I have met and worked with so many amazing people, and have had so many great experiences because of my love for swimming. As an aquatic professional, I have lifeguarded for Senator Mark Warner, assisted in the development of countless successful competitive swimmers including Para-Olympian Samantha Tubbs, helped thousands of children learn to swim and be safer in the water, trained and mentored hundreds of teens and young adults as lifeguards and instructors, experienced working with hundreds of physically and developmentally challenged students learning to enjoy water, met and worked with professional swimmers (Olympians) for special events, enjoyed working triathlons guarding thousands of amateur athletes, worked together with Federal, State, and Local officials working to make our communities safer and so much more.
I thank my parents for ensuring that I learn to swim. I am thankful every day that my love of swimming has given me the opportunity to watch your children and our adults grow in their confidence and love of swimming too. Keep swimming!
Watch the interview about Adapted Aquatics with Vicki on ABC 15 TV station and more on our YouTube channel.
To enroll in our premier water survival and swimming program call British Swim School East Valley at (480) 725-9292 to find the right class for you or your child, or enroll online. Classes are available to those located in Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, Ahwatukee, Tempe, Santan Valley and Queen Creek.