The two founders of Aquachild Swim School—Scott Launer and Brian Lilburn—came to embrace aquatic education through disparate means. When Scott took his then 2-year-old daughter, Jaya, to swim lessons, he was amazed to see 10-month-old babies floating on their own and began his journey to becoming a youth swim instructor. Brian, who nearly drowned in a backyard pool as a toddler, learned to love the water rather than fear it after his mom enrolled him in swim lessons. Scotty and Brian now share their life-saving knowledge alongside a staff of instructors that are all certified in water safety, first aid, and CPR.
Through Aquachild Swim School’s specially designed lessons, infants as young as 10 months learn to roll from facedown positions to back floats where they can breathe easily, and 1-year-old students begin to swim with their heads down, then twist onto their backs for air. As kids progress, they learn the four major strokes (front crawl, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly), brush up on the basics to keep them confident, or start snorkeling. The instructors lead adult lessons to help older students learn how to paddle at pool parties or triumphantly retrieve their boss’s golf ball from a green’s lagoon during corporate outings.
Since 1984, swim gym has work towards one goal: to maximize pool safety by making people comfortable in the water. Since splashing onto the scene, the facility has schooled more than 45,000 students?most of whom happen to have feet instead of flippers. Coach and director Robert Strauss leads the facility's efforts, having taught in Miami himself since 1973. But these days, swim gym spreads its teachings across a trio of South Florida locations, where students of all ages can boost their floatability during group or private lessons and fitness classes, such as Waterobics and Aqua Zumba.
CitySightSeeing Miami encourages tourists not just to see the sights around them, but also to explore them. Professional multilingual guides educate tourists on historical facts and fun city locations, leaving visitors with a deeper knowledge about Miami. When the urge strikes to linger at a tour stop, guests can hop off their double-decker buses and roam alone. Throughout the day, more buses arrive at each stop in intervals to pick up wandering customers and continue their tours while pairing them once again with the bus’s free WiFi and interior AC.
Wading through indoor heated pools, the instructors at British Swim School teach independent swimming skills to learners aged 3 months and older, adhering to a curriculum devised by British national swimmer Rita Goldberg. The 30-minute one-on-one sessions and small-group lessons, containing six or fewer swimmers, elucidate essential techniques for water safety and the importance of speaking fluent manatee. Swimboree (ages 3 months–3 years with parents) and Young Minnows sessions (ages 1–3 years without parents) teach wee swimmers basic water-survival skills, such as the back float. Turtle One and Turtle Two classes focus on freestyle, backstroke, and breaststroke maneuvers, honing more structured swimming skills in older kiddos. British Swim School's Shark courses enhance stamina and speed and teach even more demanding strokes, such as the butterfly and little-known mountain-goat flail. Certain British Swim School classes require parents to participate in the water or to supervise from the pool deck, and adults-only lessons allow grown-ups to refine their own abilities without the supervision of a toddler.
At Baby Otter Swim School, a team of nationally certified instructors demystifies the water for infants and adults alike, thwarting tragedy with techniques for lifelong safety. After raising their own children to fear neither pools nor natural bodies of water, owners Mindy and Marlene pioneered their flagship Turn, Kick, Reach program—a method that teaches children 10 months and older how to handle a spill into the water—as a tool for preventing drowning. For other classes, they follow a five-day model that demonstrates basic and advanced aquatic skills, such as mastering strokes or putting out fires with nothing more than a drinking straw, a glass of water, and elbow grease. Their curriculum has helped firefighter and police cadets, three-month-old babies, senior citizens, and celebrities. Baseball Hall of Famer Andre Dawson grew so enamored of the program after it taught him to swim that he became the school's spokesperson and set out on a water-safety campaign featured in the Sun Sentinel. Gwyneth Paltrow has also praised the instructors for the "tremendous confidence" that her daughter, Apple, gained as a result of the training.
Navy Special Operators are recognized as some of the world's most feared warriors. Run using the same aquatic training program that tests the mettle of real-life divers and explosives techs, Hellbender's Amphibious Bootcamp sends exercisers plunging in and out of the water as they blast through a blend of calisthenics and aquatic exercises. A diverse collection of former sailors, soldiers, and firefighters lead the classes, shouting encouragement as as students switch from pushups and pull-ups to freestyle, breaststroke, and sprint swims. Movable obstacles including sandbags, weights, and decommissioned bathyspheres also wait beneath the depths, challenging endurance as they bulk up screaming muscles. Classes welcome all fitness levels, but exercisers should be able to tread water, swim at least 25 yards without stopping, and arrive with their own goggles and swimsuit.