Swimming in Parkland

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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.

16604 NE 2nd Ave
Miami,
FL
US

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.

11155 SW 112th Ave
Miami,
FL
US

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.

9800 W. Atlantic Blvd.
Coral Springs,
FL
US

Children in goggles and swim caps emblazoned with United States Swim Academy's patriotic logo kick and glide through an indoor pool heated to a comfortable 91 degrees. Instructors help them practice proper body and head positions, as well as efficient arm strokes and kicks, following a curriculum developed specifically for children by founder Karen King, the former national director of SwimAmerica. Besides these courses for children, the academy's team of competitive swimmers and rescue professionals also leads classes for adults that emphasize safe aquatic habits, such as never swimming alone or chewing on pool noodles 30 minutes before going into the water.

744 Riverside Dr
Coral Springs,
FL
US

The sound of little limbs cutting into clear water with increasing confidence fills Quality Swimming's facilities, where instructors keep class sizes small in order to give individual attention and encouragement to each student. All instructors bear Red Cross certifications in CPR, standard first aid, and general lifeguard skills, and some hold additional honors such as degrees in infant teaching from the United States Swim School or certifications in instruction for developmentally disabled students. The trainers also undergo extensive training in Quality Swimming's in-house program, which includes observational sessions, seminars, and shadowing with senior teachers. Despite this intensive program, they continue to hone their skills year-round with local and national workshops, regular in-house refresher training, and international Marco Polo tournaments.

Students of all experience levels slowly grow to revel in the dreamlike effortlessness of movement through water in outdoor pools at three locations. Instructors pass on basic water-safety skills and more advanced swimming techniques, always with the principal aim of teaching students to exist comfortably within water and respect the pool noodle's natural ecosystem.

5601 Regency Lakes Blvd
Coconut Creek,
FL
US

On the Beach's owners, Ken "The Sun Tan Man" and Captain Tony, provide all the gear needed for a relaxing and adventurous day at the beach. Behind the Royal Vista Resort, the beachside shop rents out maritime toys—Wave Runners, sailboats, kayaks, and boogie boards— to help tourists and locals to soak up sun, skim across waves, and lounge on the sand. The shop’s seasoned mariners—all with at least 25 years of experience—pull from their stores of knowledge and Old Bay seafood rub to devise custom lessons for sailors of any ability. Ken and Tony recognize that some people and all wicked witches might rather gaze at the water than be dampened by it. To cater to this landlubbing demographic, On the Beach rents out bicycles or shaded stays underneath beachside cabanas.

1110 S Ocean Blvd.
Pompano Beach,
FL
US