Lynn Li and Abi Liu know a thing or two about swimming; between the two of them, they have earned four Olympic medals, set several world and Chinese national records, and won awards for their coaching skills. Together, they oversee and train each of the coaches that become part of Saratoga Star Aquatics’ staff at the 12,500-square-foot indoor facility. Two swimming pools and a comprehensive training studio are climate controlled, so their students can take lessons and practice with the elite swim team year-round.
Santa Clara Swim Club was founded in 1951 by decorated swim coach George Haines, and its swimmers have been making headlines ever since. The club has produced 33 summer-games gold medals, and members run the spectrum from beginners learning the basics of swimming to competitive swim-team athletes working toward becoming real dolphins. With classes for children and adults, private swim lessons, and three heated outdoor pools, Santa Clara Swim Club is a popular place exercise or go for a dip.
Since 1978, Brenda Athletic Clubs has stood out from other gyms for its staff’s focus on offering all the amenities of a modern fitness facility while still fostering an inviting atmosphere. Its founder, Al Brenda, believed in fitness programs for all age groups, a mantra that the club continues today with youth fitness programs, including basketball clinics and yoga lessons, as well as a SilverSneakers fitness program for seniors. In addition to tennis, swimming, and standard strength and cardio equipment, the fitness centers supply its members with an ample amount of group classes including cycling, Zumba, and kickboxing.
The encouraging coaches at SwimAmerica teach swimming skills that build confidence and coordination in kids. The CPR- and first-aid-certified aquatic instructors acquaint wee ones with splashing during parent-child classes, begin building technique in elementary-school-age classes, and welcome older pupils to join them for adult classes, including water aerobics, an arthritis aquatics program, and underwater poker.
Jeff Smith, a college swim coach and swim-club aquatics director, and Joan Smith, an NCAA all-American swimmer and triathlete, joined forces to open a swim academy that teaches youngsters how to swim safely while having fun. The pair operates two facilities, each with its own heated pool staffed by instructors who have all graduated from King's Swim Academy's training program. Their program begins with Parent and Me classes for kids as young as 6 months old, which introduce children to the water and teach basic skills such as kicking and changing their own diaper underwater. As students progress through the levels, they eventually learn skills such as freestyle swimming, backstroke, flip turns, and survival swimming. Instructors also lead a swim-technique and fitness class that prepares swimmers for swim team while promoting a healthy lifestyle and honing stroke skills.
Adventures by the Sea is owner Frank Knight’s love letter to Monterey Bay. As an avid cyclist, kayaker, and surfer in his youth, Frank decided to share the gift of the bay by providing land- and sea-activity rentals for tourists. But, what started out as a small bike-rental shop frequented by local hotel guests eventually transformed into a four-location recreational company that now offers kayaking, bicycling, SUP paddling, and surrey-carriage rentals and tours.
Bicycle renters can cruise along 17-Mile Drive and the rocky shorelines of Pacific Grove, while surrey-carriage rentals provide a low-key communal pedaling adventure for up to four riders. Patrons can also enjoy the serene environment of Monterey Peninsula as they glide through the waters of Cannery Row and Stillwater Cove—both part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary—on the company’s kayaks and standup paddleboards (SUP). During tours, knowledgeable guides rattle off facts about the area while pointing out its wildlife, such as harbor seals lounging on the rocks and otters snapping pictures of kayakers.
Along with providing land and water activities, Adventures by the Sea helps guests build stronger relationships with one another through their local group adventures, which include scavenger hunts. When customers are ready to invest in their own trustworthy gear, the company’s pro shop helps them stock up on boogie boards, snorkeling equipment, and paddleboards from brands such as Surftech, Naish Hawaii, and Paddle Surf Hawaii.