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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 mas-terpiece 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, profes-sional teachers, small class sizes, and individual atten-tion. Susan and her hus-band Barrett have provided this foundation for twenty-five years, teaching thousands of infants and chil-dren 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 oper-ated 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 breath

underwater. 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 masterpiece.


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 relationship.

The personality type of the child: eager, terrified, or timid, determines the type of teacher best suited for his needs. It is our hope, that through these relationships, each child will learn to love the water. This leads to the ultimate beauty of the art of swimming; the relationship between the child and the water. Over time, with practice, focus, and determination, the puzzle pieces fit together as the masterpiece begins to take shape.


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.

Born to


easier then crawling or walking

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