The Swim Professor

Jim Reiser, M.S.

Register now for the Swim Lessons University Super Conference

The Swim Lessons University Super Conference is a one-day, information packed event with an EARLY BIRD RATE of just $75.00 (the rate will increase 30 days prior to the event).   Don’t miss out on Jim’s enthusiastic delivery of four state-of-the art presentations featuring video and power point content that you can actually take home and put to use in your swim school!

Plus–the SLU Conference is conveniently held the day before two other great conferences you may want to attend:

  • ASCA World Clinic: You could attend the ASCA Conference in Indianapolis during the SLU Conference.  The SwimAmerica portion is held on Saturday.  Call Julie Nitti at ASCA to register at 1-800-356-2722  for more information.  ASCA Clinic Registration is $380 prior to July 31st, $400 on site.
  • US Swim School Conference: You could attend the U.S. Swim School Association’s conference on the Wednesday following the SLU Conference in Las Vegas thru USSSA.   Registration is $450 thru September 11th, and then increases to $600 on September 12th.  Call Holly Holmes at 480-837-5525.


Friday, September 3, 2010

Indianapolis, IN

Embassy Suites Indianapolis – Downtown

110 West Washington Street

Indianapolis, Indiana, 46204
Tel: 1-317-236-1800

*ask for Swim Lessons University group rate of $149 which includes Hot Breakfast Buffet & Free Happy Hour Drinks!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas Hilton

3000 Paradise Road
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, 89109

*ask for Swim Lessons University group rate of $109.00. Mention the group code “SGSWIMO”

“The Swim Professor” speaks:

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM Teaching Babies Better


10:45 AM – 11:45 AM Tricks to Making Learning More Fun for Preschoolers


12:05 PM – 1:30 PM Lunch Break

1:30 PM – 2:30 PM More Effective Ways to Teach Skills, Strokes, & Progressions


3:15 PM – 4:15 PM Secrets to Growing Your Swim School


Register Online  & GET the Early Bird Rate of just $75.00!

PLUS register this week and receive five (5) FREE Online certification programs (a $50 value)!

Register at Swim Lessons University or call 1-866-498-7946

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June 28, 2010 at 5:57 pm Comments (0)

What can Swim Teachers & Parents Learn from the late, legendary coach John Wooden?

There is so much we can learn from the late, legendary UCLA Basketball Coach John Wooden.     As a teacher, coach, and parent, I try to apply Coach Wooden’s life lessons every day.    I liked the 7 Point Creed so much I had it printed on my competitive swimmer’s t-shirts some years ago.   Since his passing, I have pulled it out of the closet and I have been wearing it frequently.

I loved his books, especially “They Call Me Coach” and “Wooden,” A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court.   I would like to share with you an excerpt of that that book on Parenting and Coaching:

Wooden writes:  “I think parenting and coaching are the same thing.  And they are the two most important professions in the world.

Parents are coaches, the first coaches a child has.  Too many parents expect the coaches and teachers at school to do what they are not doing at home.  The parents must set the foundation early.  It is often too late by the time a child goes to school.


The greatest word in the whole dictionary is love. Love your children.  Listen to them.  Remember that love is the most powerful medicine in the world.

Do not force them or drive them too hard.   Set the example of what you want them to be.  Try always to be a good model.

Children are impatient.  They want to do right, but they maybe don’t know how.  Maybe you haven’t taught them how.   Being a good example is a powerful teaching device.  This verse is accurate:”

No written word

Nor spoken plea

Can teach our youth

what they should be

Nor all the books

on all the shelves

It’s what the teachers

are themselves.

– Unknown

Coach Wooden comments:  “I think that’s it.  Those teachers are the mothers and fathers, and their most powerful tool is love.”

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June 21, 2010 at 6:27 pm Comments (0)

What more can a good two-year old swimmer learn in the SLU Parent & Me classes?

Dear Teachers & Parents:

I received an email today with a VERY COMMON QUESTION from a parent who has a young two year old in our Parent & Me class who is doing wonderfully.  However, and I think this happens often, there was a misunderstanding that because of the progress the little one was making, that continuing in the same class may be a waste of time.  As instructors and swim school owners, it is vital that we communicate the message that I did today.  If we don’t, the child’s progress will likely stop.   So here it is, enjoy:

Dear Coach Jim,

We are really pleased with Laura’s progress in her swim lessons.  Her teacher, Coach M.,  said she thought Laura was physically ready for the next class, but your 101 class is 3 and up…Laura is only 2 and 6 weeks.  Do you think she could enroll in 101 despite her age, or is that a strict rule?  We just don’t want her to lose the skills she has already gotten, and it seems a waste to take the Parent and Me class again.



Dear Allen,

Your question is a common and I believe this is a great question and one that I will blog about for you and other parents, not to mention to “hammer home” to my Swim Lessons University teachers.   Secondly, I also want you to know that what I am about to recommend for Laura and all of our other wonderful young toddler swimmers, is the same route that I take for my own children.  My oldest, Jeb, now almost 7, did my Parent & Me curriculum until he was 3.  Nolan, now 23 months, will do the same.

Here’s a little background on toddlers and swimming progression and why the Parent & Me class is the right one for toddlers under 3 years of age:

#1  For safety reasons, I always want the parent with the toddler until they are 3 because they need that “hands on” supervision while they are learning to follow directions.   It is too risky for a 2 year old to be in even a semi private lesson without the parent because of the risk of them entering the water without the instructor seeing it.  One extended submersion could cause a toddler who was doing great to take major backward strides, not to mention the other risks.  This is also another reason we use the Power Swimmer flotation device with our 3’s and I recommend it for our 2’s.  However, unless the child has his/her balance in the water, they could still take in water even with the Power Swimmer or Type 3 Lifejacket (ski vest).

#2  From a progression standpoint, the skills Laura is developing in Parent and Me, i.e., front kicking, back kicking, breath control, breath holding, and swimming are the same skills we practice in Swim 101.   All of these skills will continue to improve with more classes and practice no matter which course she is enrolled.

For example, let’s touch on the skills we are teaching in Parent & Me:

  • Kicking on the Front: The kicking technique will continue to evolve and become more efficient with repetition no matter which course a toddler is enrolled (Parent & Me or Swim 101 (which we don’t do).
  • Back Kicking: You should be (with the guidance of your instructor) going thru our back kicking progression in Parent & me to the point that Laura can kick on her back without any assistance from you or the teacher.  To make this progression more achievable, I recommend coupling the SwimWays Power Swimmer and a Noodle at about age two, and then eventually going away from the noodle to where you are using the head and hip support, head support, and then no support at all.  This is taught in Parent  & Me the same way we teach it in Swim 101.
  • Breath Control: The dolphin dips (breath control exercise) teaches toddlers how to get their breath in a hurry and return to the inline position.  Some form of breath control exercise is not only practiced in Swim 101, but also Swim Strokes 201.   The only difference is at three years of age, the child is asked to put their face in the water by their own will, using their won decision making abilities, whereas we “assist” the toddler’s face in the water in Parent & Me unless they are resisting.  But here again, the end result is the same skill is being continuously refined throughout the “Parent & Me” learn to swim class.
  • Swimming: The swimming will improve as her kick improves coupled with her breath holding ability.  All this will occur in Parent and Me and just as it would improve in Swim 101.  Kick practice is kick practice.  The kick will become more refined over time thru manipulating the legs properly and simply more class time / practice time to refine the skill.

*The ONLY exception in terms of a “new skill” that we introduce in Swim 101 is the “Pop up Breath” or “Roll-over Breath.”  My experience is that from a motor development standpoint, most 2 year olds aren’t ready to do the pop-up breath.  If the toddler can kick on her/his back without assistance, then the roll-over breath is possible upon mastering back kicking.  I have had some older two year olds do the “pop-up” breath, but it is a skill that you have to pay close attention to because of the risk of the child breathing in water before their neck muscles, etc. are strong enough and their breath control skills are so well developed that they have the ability to get the breath in a hurry.

  • Safety Skills: At age two, my son Jeb could perform Safety Skill #2 without any assistance.  I remember one day spotting him and he jumped in and swam back to the wall at least a dozen times in a row without any assistance from me whatsoever.   This is a skill that we DO NOT practice in Swim 101 AND WE DO PRACTICE in PARENT AND ME because it is so appropriate for two year olds.   In Swim 101, we spend the additional practice time on learning the “pop-up breath” whereas the toddlers generally aren’t ready for that as I mentioned earlier.   I believe the toddlers are better served by working on the Safety Skills, which require less swimming and they can focus on learning how to swim themselves back to the side of the pool, which is why we do that in the Parent & Me curriculum.

Lastly, I want to just touch on the way we begin our Parent & Me classes.   We start it with some “one on one” time to get the infants and toddlers acclimated and then we do the group acclamation songs, etc.   I have found no matter how monotonous it may seem for us adults, the toddlers absolutely love that time and the socialization aspect of it is quite beneficial.

I hope that all my teachers and swim parents can see that I put a tremendous amount of thought, time, research, and regularly apply my countless experiences with Parent & Me classes into developing the Swim Lessons University curriculum which is what I feel is the best infant-toddler curriculum possible for my children and yours.

I hope my input and feedback will help you and all our current and future students.

Jim Reiser, M.S.
“The Swim Professor”

2010 Life Saver of the Year by National Drowning Prevention Alliance
2008 Adolph Kiefer Water Safety Person of the Year by USA Swimming
Water Safety Chairperson – Safe Kids Midlands
Local Partner – “Make a Splash” Initiative

Founder, President -Swim Lessons University

Founder, CE0 – The Swim Lessons Company, LLC

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June 9, 2010 at 2:15 pm Comments (0)

COMING SOON! Strategies for teaching Swimming Lessons to the “Terrible Two!”

I just got off the phone with my dentist, who called for some advice about her two year old’s swimming lessons.  She said, “Coach Jim, we just had our first lesson and it was awful!  Am I wasting my time?”

I put together a list of 5 Strategies and an analogy that will help make sense of it for you!  I am about to record it and make it a podcast You will be able to access it at Swim Lessons University by 6/11/2010 and I will announce it in my next newsletter (sign up free if you haven’t already).

Hope you enjoy it!

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June 7, 2010 at 6:37 pm Comments (0)