It’s safe to say Catherine Fox knows her way around a pool. She won an Olympic gold medal for her ability to find her way from end to end. Partnering with Swim Jim owner Jim Spiers, a trainer for 2012 Olympics Bronze medalist Lia Neal, the pair transformed their expertise into a curriculum that helps others learn to love the water as they do. The resulting program, titled the Underwater Schoolhouse, forms the cornerstone of every class held at SwimJim.
Teachers take on students of all ages, focusing first on helping to cure land dwellers’ inherent nervousness around water. To do this, they use a combination of encouragement and humor, never pushing a student further than they’re willing to go. Once students take the plunge, the coaches focus on teaching the mechanics of a variety of strokes, such as how to kick during breaststroke or how to emerge gracefully from the chrysalis before butterfly stroke.
For more than 20 years, Aqua-Tots Swim Schools? 18 locations have taught water-safety skills and basic strokes to youngsters 6 months and older. To accommodate different ages and skill sets, their private and small-group lessons span eight levels, from Tadpoles to Stingrays. In Tadpoles sessions, parents introduce babies to the aquatic environment. By the Stingrays level, kids learn to travel the length of the pool without jet-propelled arm floaties, relying only on their unassisted freestyle techniques and backstrokes.
On the school?s swim teams, proficient swimmers can hone their skills in a noncompetitive environment. Alternatively, kids and adults alike can train for swim tournaments in the competitive swim program. The Adaptive Aquatics Program, meanwhile, targets special-needs students, fusing water therapy with customized swim instruction.
Celebrating its tenth season, Bahama Beach Waterpark draws visitors to its cooling oasis filled with soaking attractions. Visitors go to the park, which is just a 10-minute trip from downtown Dallas, to lounge in inner tubes as they bob on the serene current of the Calypso Cooler Lazy River. Children join in the action and race through the nearby Coconut Cove, a rainforest-style playground with rope ladders, slides, and a 1,000-gallon dumping bucket. Two intertwined slides, the Riptide Slide and Bahama Bullet, descend from a 45-foot-high platform, and the nearby Bermuda Triangle's trio of open and closed slides deposits riders into a high-speed splashdown.
Bahama Bob's Island Eatery crafts a full menu of sandwiches, burgers, and snacks for diners, and the Island Traders store dispenses necessities such as sunscreen, locker rentals, and emergency rubber duckies. The park also offers party-sized seating, including group pavilions and private cabanas.
At River Place Country Club, a championship golf course designed by Jay Morrish and Tom Kite, winner of the 1992 U.S. Open, invites golfers to launch balls over sand bunkers and twisting creeks that wend their way through the landscape’s hilly contours. The course’s superintendent draws on experience at Baton Rouge Country Club and Colonial Country Club, as well as a degree in Plant and Soil Systems, as he ensures that the greens and rolling Bermuda grass fairways are more carefully manicured than a prize-winning pet wooly mammoth. The course’s PGA professional instructors are on hand to improve individual games, and a driving range lets players practice at 15 hitting stations.
Adjacent to the course, eight lighted tennis courts abut a 40,000-square-foot clubhouse with an outdoor pool, fully equipped fitness center, and locker rooms whose dry saunas and whirlpools melt tension quicker than butter melts on the calves of a sprinter. The Grille invites clubgoers to sup on steak or seafood, and a pair of outdoor decks let guests drink in scenic views.
Course at a Glance:
Trainer and fitness guru Justin Bradshaw modeled SGT. H20's CombatSwim after the rigorous training he received as an Army diver. His challenging exercises encourage full-body fitness, using workouts that build stamina, boost metabolism, improve swimming skills, and promote weight loss. Incorporating the best of land-based cross-training systems, CombatSwim includes plenty of high-intensity interval training and pulse-hiking calisthenics. In the pool, water adds extra resistance that amplifies the effects of the exercises, which include swimming sprints, endurance swimming, and treading water with weights. Designed to sharpen the mind as well as the body, CombatSwim leaves exercisers with the same confidence and conditioning as some of the world's elite military warriors.
In 1931, aviation legends such as Howard Hughes and Amelia Earhart traversed the hallowed halls of Floyd Bennett Field, New York City's first municipal airport. Today, the same site harbors Aviator Sports and Events Center, which accommodates recreation in all of its forms, equipped with 20,000 square foot indoor field house, which includes newly resurfaced hardwood courts and new turf field, two outdoor synthetic-turf fields, and an outdoor space for events that can seat up to 4,000 people?the same number of people it takes to crack open a life-size Big Bird pi?ata. Twin NHL-regulation rinks host open-skate sessions, a majority of which are held on Rink B, every day of the week, with skates as late as 11 p.m. on weekends. Inside the center is a brand new CrossFit gym, which offers workout classes Monday through Saturday. Only youngsters enjoy summer or after-school camps, but adults and kids alike can take advantage of a roster of sports and leagues, including flag football and rock climbing, ideal for those looking to shorten morning commutes by cutting through the quarry.