For years I was searching for the right Swimming School here in the San Juan area of Puerto Rico for my daughter.
I can now say that I was able to find the right one that will bring me peace of mind when my daughter is in the ocean or a pool.
Learning how to Swim from Professional
Time does fly and when you look back you realize your daughter is 6 years old. I thought she was just a baby a few days ago. Little by little she seeks to become more independent from mom and dad. That is a great thing except when you are near a body of water and she wants to go swimming.
In our case, we have chosen to homeschool Daniela and teach her as much as we can in order for her to find her path early on in life.
But there are subject areas that we feel we have little expertise on and we think it's critical for her to learn.
The Importance of Water Safety
Since Daniela has lived most of her life near the beach, it's critical for us to learn water safety. Having said that, we have a life preserver for her. I also watch her like a sentinel when she goes into the Ocean. We have instilled in her the importance of respecting the ocean and being aware of it at all times.
I had not realized how effective we were until my dad and brother came from Connecticut to visit us this summer. She went with them to the ocean. Both my dad and brother are better swimmers than I am. They were amazed at how aware Daniela was of the incoming waves. I was told that on many occasions she was the one warning them of larger waves coming in. I guess living 4 years in front of the beach can help a kid get in touch with the ocean in such a detailed manner. Even with all her awareness, I still knew she had to learn how to swim and learn from those that are professionals.
Searching for a Swimming School or Instructor in San Juan
For a while I had searched for a swimming school or instructor for her. I had failed in finding one that worked around our schedule. Homeschooling and trying to run your own business can make it tricky to find the right time. We are either teaching Daniela, working on client work, and many other extracurricular activities.
Running into Marlon owner of School of Fish at the Gym
While training at Fit 911 Studio, I ran into Marlon who runs a swimming school for kids. I have to say not only has Fit 911 helped me keep my weight issues in check, I have also meet some of the greatest and most brilliant folks there.
When Marlon mentioned the name of his business, School of Fish, I immediately liked it. Marlon is Andres "Choko" Vazquez's swimming coach. Andres is my friend, Personal trainer and owner of Fit 911 Studio. Marlon arrived at the gym with the same goals I had in mind. Both of us are staying as fit as possible, which will ultimately help our businesses in many ways.
An Invitation to try School of Fish
After chatting with Marlon about wanting to take my daughter to classes, he invited me to a lesson at Montehiedra West on Saturday morning. School of Fish also offers other lessons during the week.
Saturday morning works perfectly for me for many reasons. I first told him that I would like to go at 10:30 am. Then we changed our mind and on the same morning Marlon accommodated my daughter to an earlier time.
Daniela was a bit nervous with taking her class. As parents we were trying to make sure that she felt as comfortable as possible. Although I believe in allowing our kids to choose what activities they want to be a part of, having her learn how to swim can save her life in the future. It was more of teaching her a set of survival skills necessary to prepare her in the future.
The right Swimming skills take time to learn and acquire. Although I waited till she was 6 years old for professionals to help her, she is good at following the water safety rules we have taught her through the years. At 6 years old she might even point out when someone is acting silly or putting themselves in danger while swimming in the Ocean.
The most critical part of Water Safety was having her learn how to swim properly. This way she can move around the water without her life jacket. I am sure with time she will enjoy the freedom.
Arriving at School of Fish Lessons at Montehiedra
We arrived at Montehiedra West, one of the School of Fish locations. This is one of many locations where they have swimming instructors. Their main focus is teaching young children and kids how to swim. But I believe they also have a set of classes for adults.
A Very Warming Hello and Welcoming
We came into the pool area and were greeted immediately by Ian Carlos. Ian Carlos is one of the Swimming Instructors and he quickly made me feel at home.
Sometimes businesses don't realize the importance of acknowledging a customer when they arrive. It is even more critical to acknowledge your customers when what you offer might make some of them a bit nervous. Teaching survival skills is a serious business. Making small children and their parents comfortable with swimming has to be challenging.
Ian explained the next steps as he was finishing off a class. He confirmed that Daniela was ready to start the lesson and I had to fill out some paperwork.
Daniela was a bit nervous and shy but pushed through and went to her instructor Cristina.
Cristina started her with some exercises that would get her comfortable in the water. She had her kicking next to the pool and series of other exercises.
Immersing the kids into the Swimming Lessons
Then Cristina asked Daniela if she wanted to put her face in the water and make bubbles. Daniela has never been a fan of putting her face in the water so she immediately resisted and said she was not ready. Cristina patiently asked a few more times and kept her doing some other exercises.
At that time Fabian, another instructor, came in and alternated with Cristina. They both helped Daniela learn a few basic skills on the first day.
In a matter of minutes Cristina had convinced Daniela to put her face in the water. This is something I have not been able to accomplish in years. That is why when I feel I can't push through something, I bring in the professionals.
Daniela went from being uncomfortable and apprehensive about trying to put her face in the water, to smiling and giggling. Lucy and I could tell that Daniela was having fun.
Although the class is a group class, she had individual instruction. There were three instructors available for around 3 kids that day.
The class lasted approximately 45 minutes.
Daniela came out of the pool and immediately asked her mom if she could return again. My daughter's attitude was completely different than when she went in.
At the age of 6 years old, Daniela probably does not understand how much she accomplished in just 45 minutes. This proved how knowledgeable the School of Fish instructors are when dealing with kids.
Small Win for her, Big Win for US (As Parents)
What might have seem like a small win to her was a big win for Lucy and I. The patience Cristina and Fabian exercised helped Daniela overcome those small barriers. I thanked them both for being so patient with her will conducting the lesson.
A New Student at School of Fish
Daniela kept on asking if she could come back. I said she would. I am enrolling her in weekly classes because I saw how well the School of Fish operates.
Not only did Marlon's approach at inviting me to his first class seemed genuine, I immediately felt I could trust him. Later I found out that Marlon and I share some close friends.
One my closest friends, Armando Navarro, who had many swimming titles while we were in college is a mutual friend of Marlon and myself. Armando also happens to be one of the most talented individuals working in the banking industry on the island. Armando was happy we both met.
One of the reasons it took me so long to sign up Daniela is because of trust issues. I know many swimming schools use methods that might not be up to date in 2016, much less aligned with the way we are raising our daughter. We go with her natural flow of learning; Marlon and his team won my trust immediately.
Nurturing Approach at Teaching Swimming Basics
Marlon and his School of Fish staff have a very nurturing approach at teaching young kids how to swim. They go at the kids pace and don't try to push them through certain obstacles.
Water safety is critical if your kids are near any type of body of water or a pool. Many parents take it upon themselves to teach their kids how to swim. I was not successful to get Daniela to a point where she could be safe.
It's hard to be a parent and teach them survival skills.
I did my best to make sure Daniela was comfortable around water and some basics.
Now it's up to the professionals at School of Fish to do the rest and teach Daniela how to swim properly.
More importantly, build the confidence Daniela needs to continue progressing in order to become a swimmer.
As a parent, that will bring me peace of mind when I am in the water with her.
It’s hard to stumble upon a business like Marlon's School of Fish. The benefits that are offered is a trillion times the value of the price of his service.
Life is priceless and learning how to swim can save a life or many.