Swim Instructor

Swim Instructor


30 Years Experience

Reisterstown, MD

Female, 54

I'm a Red Cross certified WSI Swim Instructor, specializing in Stroke Mechanics and Technique work. (All ages and abilities.) I've instructed off-and-on for somewhere around 30 years. In addition to instructing, I coach triathletes for the swim portion of their triathlons. (Indoor and Open Water.) For me, "water is home". So in addition to instructing and coaching, I manage an aquatic center for a local gym chain, lifeguard, and also instruct Red Cross lifeguard classes. Life's good!

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15 Questions


Last Answer on February 08, 2016

Best Rated

Have you ever taught anyone who went on to be a professional swimmer?

Asked by Diane in SF over 9 years ago

Hi Diane.  I teach and coach all ages and levels of swimmers -- everyone from beginners, to open water swimmers and triathletes.  The short answer would be "no".  I have assisted future Naval officers prepare for their swim tests, I have worked with adults who nearly drown as children, I have coached triathletes and distance swimmers who have dropped incredible amounts of time off their swims after working with me.  All those things -- every single client's breakthrough -- is what gives my heart the warm fuzzies, and keeps me doing what I do.That said, if you want the inside goods on Phelps?, I've worked for him.  I'll leave you with that little tidbit.  (Wink.)

Do you think it's easier to learn to swim as a child or adult and why?

Asked by Krome over 9 years ago

Wow...Tough question.  Ya know, actually, I can't put a finger on that, and here's why: people are all different.  Right?  No matter the age, we all learn at different rates.  So, it wouldn't be fair to say that a child can learn faster than an adult.  Nor would it be fair to say an adult can learn faster than a child. 

I truly believe that no matter the person learning to swim, finding time to practice between lessons makes all the difference in the world.  Diligence plays an active role.  Practice, practice, practice.

Do they still use the yellow / green / blue / etc badge system for swim instruction? If so, do you think it's a good system or would you revise it if you could?

Asked by Arvin over 9 years ago

I'm not familiar with the colored badge system used by Splash Swim School and others.  So, I'm not really able to answer your question, properly.   As far as certificates, ribbons, medals, etc. being given to swimmers at the end of a (said) session, I am a HUGE fan of them.  Kids all want to feel gratification in their accomplishments.  Shoot...for that matter, adults do, too!   In regard to instruction levels and advancement: What I can tell you is that under even the best instruction, people all learn at different rates.  Parents often become frustrated when their child doesn't advance as quickly as they would like; but it would be unfair to the child and their learning process to advance them when they're just not ready. 

OK, I'm a really good athlete: 21, male, strong, quick, flexible. I played division 1 baseball and football. I'm good at most sports, but I'm a TERRIBLE swimmer. Why do so many otherwise good athletes suck in the pool? Is the skillset THAT unique?

Asked by David about 9 years ago

Hi David!

Short answer (to your second question):  YUP.   ;-)  Athletes who aren't swimmers find a whole new respect once they enter the water.  But isn't that the way it is with all sports, really?  When we all commit to trying something new?  Something not within our athletic skill set?

I've taught, then trained, some fantastic athletes who were runners and bikers but not good swimmers at all.  Not in the beginning anyway.  Working with water is an entirely different beast.  I would tell you that if you are REALLY interested in becoming a stronger swimmer, look to hire a swim instructor &/or who has experience, who has certifications -- this doesn't mean they are better, just that they've put the time in for their certs and also may give you peace of mind if  one of those certs happens to be an LG or LGI.  (We can discuss further, if you'd like me to throw you some more direct questions to ask your possible new coach, to know if they're on their game.)

As a swim coach and instructor, I will give you some personal advice: don't EVER let anyone tell you that body fat percentage is a factor in regard to a person's buoyancy level.  If you think about it, this makes perfect sense because if this were a "fact", people like Phelps or Cullen Jones wouldn't be able to float.

I hope you chase your dream of becoming a swimmer!  And...If you live in the MD area, keep me in mind for your Tri-coach!  :-) 

Good luck!!! 

Why do competitive swimmers wear two swim caps?

Asked by PItown over 9 years ago

Some wear two caps to help control the goggles.  Cap...Goggles...Cap.  Some prefer to wear two incase one comes off.  Some distance swimmers & triathletes prefer to wear two different kinds of caps, preferring a lycra cap over their hair and then a silicone cap over the lycra cap.

I'm 43 and never learned to swim but it's because I have a paralyzing phobia of being in the water. Doesn't matter whether it's a pool or open water. Have you ever taught a student who suffered from this, and how did you help them overcome it?

Asked by Gerry over 9 years ago

I've taught adults with a huge fear of the water, many times; some have experienced a near drowning (at some point in their lives) and some have been the unfortunate witness to a drowning.  Fear of the water is serious -- for good reason.  Water demands respect.  Because learning to swim is serious enough, but it's "crazy-serious" for someone who has a huge fear of the water: It's important that you find an experienced, qualified instructor to teach your lessons.  Ask them if they're certified and or how many certifications they have.  (For example, if you're afraid of the water, wouldn't you feel a tad more safe if your instructor were not only WSI certified but also Lifeguard certified?)   And it's equally important that you find someone of whom you can relate to and build a bond of trust with.  In your case especially -- whether you choose group or private lessons -- if you can't trust your instructor, it just won't work. 

Oh, also can you give a swimming insider's take on just how spectacular Michael Phelps' 2008 Olympic performance was?

Asked by David about 9 years ago

Hello again, David!

Simply put, his Olympic performance was ... Off the chain.  8 medals in all.  Nothing like him had been seen in the sport (in regard to male swimmers) since the days of Mark Spitz.  And Phelps literally blew that outta the water.