I am a Florida native, born in Fort Lauderdale, FL and moved to Central Florida at the age of three. Having lived in Florida all of my life, I am certainly no stranger to water. My family has always had a backyard pool, from the time I could crawl. I grew up surfing, swimming, snorkeling, jet skiing and by the time I turned 16, I was SCUBA certified. I cannot remember a time when water was not a part of my daily life. I absolutely love the water and outdoor activities, and know how fun it can be for children and families to enjoy. I also know how dangerous the water can be when it is not understood or taken seriously.
When I was in high school, I had a friend who lost her brother to a drowning accident. He was at his father’s house, and while the family was eating dinner, the child got into the family pool with no warning, and by the time they found him, it was too late. Since then, he and his family have continued to always be on my mind.
Moving forward to when I had my first child, I did a bit of research, and found that children as young as six months old can learn how to swim and float. It was surprising to me since I knew of a lot of parents with kids ranging from two to four years old that could not swim. I was skeptical at first myself, so I did some more digging and found this wonderful news to be true. I signed my son up for survival baby swimming lessons the very next day. As a parent on the sideline, these lessons were quite hard to watch. The child works, and works hard, during their lessons. The first few days I was not sure if I had made the right decision, but by the end of the third week, I knew that it was the best decision I had ever made for my child and my family. I cannot express how proud I was of my son, and how relieved I was to see him independently roll on his back and float. I could not wait to share my experience with other parents! The feeling I got watching my son transform from a helpless baby, to a little person with confidence in the water enjoying the pool alongside his older cousins, was indescribable.
When my son finished his swimming lessons, I began my journey of spreading awareness that babies, as young as six months old, could swim and learn techniques to save their own lives in case of an accident. We would take our son to resort pools, back yard barbeque's, and friend’s apartment pools to let him swim. People were blown away by how little he was, and what a wonderful swimmer he was. After seeing much older children in the pool with "water-wing" swim floaties on, I soon realized baby swimming is not something that is well known or publicized, but I knew I could help change that. It was in that moment that I knew I had found my true calling in life. Raising awareness by helping children learn to swim is something that I am truly passionate about. I searched all over the country in an effort to ensure that I received the best possible training available. Ultimately, I found and attended the PediaSwim Academy at Southwest Aquatics with Joy McGinty. This is where I learned the skills and techniques needed to teach babies and children how to swim, and I become a certified swim instructor. I have also been CPR/AED and First Aid certified by the American Heart Association since 2000. I look forward to swimming with your child soon.