When a student comes to me who is afraid of water, whether he or she is an adult or a child, I start them out the same way – slowly. I teach in a step-by-step fashion. I establish comfort, relaxation, and eliminate any panic reflex before ever building a stroke. Once someone trusts me and the water, then I begin to teach them how to swim.
My son, John, was terrified of the water. When he was six years old I began enrolling him in swimming programs, from groups of two to four children. Two years and three different programs later, he was still afraid, and would not put his head under the water. After a few months of lessons with Beth, he told me he loved swimming, and now after a year of lessons, he is swimming across the pool with his head under the water. Beth is a wonderful instructor: patient, kind, and an excellent athlete. I feel very blessed that she is teaching my son. — Mary Wallace
When my son, age four, started taking swim lessons with Beth, he wasn’t comfortable in the water and had a very weak set of swimming skills. He wasn’t interested in learning to swim and he didn’t show much aptitude for improvement. Beth adjusted her teaching style repeatedly over the years as he changed, grew, and became more comfortable in the water. Today, he is a certified scuba diver at age ten. He impressed instructors and other divers with what a strong swimmer he is and he even helped two adults complete their swim tests by serving as a pilot fish in the waves guiding the swimmers around the boat. The dive instructors all commented on his complete joy and comfort in the water. We are grateful for your hard work, expertise, and patience in helping him achieve this milestone. He is a beautiful swimmer and is completely comfortable in the water. — Wynn Martens
My son started lessons with Beth when he was six. He was not born with a natural affinity for water, and his memory of earlier group lessons at the city pool was of a scary instructor who made them do things even if they were afraid. Beth spent quite a bit of time helping him learn to feel safe in the water. Her approach is empowering: first she listened to his concerns, and then she told him that she would always check with him before he tried something new. As he accomplished each new skill, his confidence grew and the water became a more comfortable place. When a particular new skill seemed especially daunting and fear crept back in, Beth was encouraging but firm. They talked about the things he had already accomplished, how good he felt about them and how important it was to try something that seemed scary so he could get past it and go on. He was the one who decided when he would try, but it was Beth who helped him find the strength within himself to push beyond his fear so he could experience that sense of exhilaration and accomplishment. Beth was teaching not only a specific swimming skill but, more importantly, a life skill of finding the strength within to push past adversity. From a technical perspective Beth is an excellent swimming instructor, but what I value even more is her ability to empower kids so when they face a challenge they know they can draw on their inner strength, face the challenge, and, in so doing, succeed. That is a universal skill they will benefit from for the rest of their lives. — Mary Horsey, mother of Ry