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The art of swimming is like a
masterpiece that is created and inspired by
someone with vision and passion: a parent,
teacher, or coach. Susan Wainscott,
founder and CEO of Swimtastic Swim
School, compares the
creation of this
masterpiece to putting
together a thousand-piece
puzzle. Like each corner of
a puzzle or the four
corners of a swimming
pool, the foundation for
success begins with four
key pieces: a 90 degree
warm-water pool,
professional teachers,
small class sizes, and
individual attention. Susan
and her husband Barrett
have provided this foundation for
twenty-five years, teaching thousands of
infants and children the art of swimming.
They have taken Swimtastic from their
backyard pool to a franchise brand, and
over the past ten years they have owned
and operated two indoor, year-round
swim schools in the
Milwaukee area.
As Susan explains:Nature provides the
first piece of
the puzzle;
an infant’s
innate ability
at birth to
hold his/her
Beginning at
the age of six
months, every skill we teach focuses on
breath control. An infant learns to hold his
breath during our water adjustment phase,
as we gently squeeze a water-filled wash
cloth over the baby’s head and face. Then,
with the first dip of facial
immersion, we teach the
infant to increase his
breath hold from one
second, to three and then
five and beyond. When a
committed parent
faithfully brings his baby
to the once a week
program, we can often
teach him to swim before
he learns to crawl or walk.
This paints a clear picture
that infant swimming is a
tremendous activity for parent/child
bonding, but it is also a development tool;
promoting strength, muscle coordination,
safety skills and social interaction, as the
child learns to move and swim
comfortably and confidently through the
water with precision and expression. This
is another important piece of the puzzle
and a part of the journey of creating a
As when an infant discovers his ability to
hold his breath underwater, an awakening
occurs when a child first learns to swim
independently. This is the moment every
parent, teacher and child celebrates. It is a
gift that every parent treasures and this
gift lasts a lifetime. I still hear my son
saying, "Hey mom! Look at me!" When an
infant kicks through the water and
surfaces for a breath, or an Olympic
champion glides through the water with
beauty, grace, and style, leaving us
breathless, an awakening has led to a
form of art.
Life is about relationships. Relationships
are fundamental to any child learning the
art of swimming. Whether a parent is
giving a newborn a bath or a coach is
working with an Olympic swimmer, the
parent-child-teacher relationship is another
key piece of the puzzle that creates a
genuine love for the art of swimming.
Effective communication is critical in this
Special Interest Article
Smart Fish
Swim In Schools
Creating a
The Art of
By Susan Wainscott
Born to
easier then
crawling or
8 month
old infant