Getting to know SwimWest Swim Instructor Kristina Bauer
At SwimWest, we believe every child deserves a positive experience at every swim lesson. We accomplish this through our amazing team of passionate and well-trained swim teachers. Each month we like to sit down with one of our instructors and ask them a few questions that help you get to really know them. This month we talked with Kristina Bauer, SwimWest Swim Instructor who teaches a variety of swim lessons for all ages.
Kristina grew up in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin where she discovered her love of the water. She was what she describes as a “pool rat” – the kinda kid who was at the pool every single day in the summer even on those chilly 65 degree days. She joined her local swim team at age 9 and swam competitively through high school. After graduating, she moved to Madison to attend UW-Madison where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and a certificate in African Studies.
Why did you decide to work for SwimWest?
After not having a job my freshman year of college (and blowing through my savings), I knew I had to find a job. I decided that I wanted something off campus so that I could see more of Madison and get to know the community outside of the university. I quickly realized that the longest I have ever gone without swimming was my freshman year of college which helped me discover that I truly missed my time being in the water during those 9 months. Coincidentally, SwimWest had repeatedly been popping up on the UW Job Center so I finally decided to fill out an application to keep my love of the water alive. Little did I know in 2011 just how much this job would change the course of my career path.
What do you like the most about teaching children how to swim?
My favorite part about teaching children to swim is building trust with my swimmers. The water can be a scary place, especially with young swimmers, and building that trust is crucial to help them effectively learn to swim. One of the best feelings in the world is watching a swimmer gain enough confidence to complete a skill on their own.
What is your best experience as a swim instructor?
Hands down, my best experience as a swim instructor was teaching swim lessons on the beach in Roatán, Honduras 3 years ago. It was also that day that I realized how truly passionate I am about the learn to swim industry.
I am so excited and grateful to be returning in just a few short weeks.
What is your funniest experience as a swim instructor?
It’s so hard to choose just one, but I would have to say that one of my 4 year old swimmers nearly brings me to tears from laughter every week. One week, I told him while he was kicking on his back that he needs to look up at the ceiling. He very seriously looks at me and said, “But how am I supposed to kick my feet if I’m not looking at them?!” This year for Valentine’s day he made me a very sweet card that had a chocolate candy on it and a co-worker had let him bring it to me in the office before I got in the water to teach. I opened the card and as I am reading it to him, he takes the candy off the card and proceeds to start unwrapping it. I asked him if he was going to eat it and he said “No! I’m unwrapping it for you!” and then he promptly pops it in my mouth.
Do you have any little tips or tricks you use when you want to help your students overcome any difficulties?
Making skills into a game where it seems less scary can drastically help nervous swimmers become more comfortable. Distracting swimmers from what they are afraid of or nervous doing is one of the major tricks I use to help my swimmers overcome difficulties.
What recommendations do you usually give parents to help their children with swim lessons?
My biggest recommendation to parents to help their children with swim lessons is to talk about swim lessons during the week prior to their lesson. Communicating clear expectations of what you would like to see your child do in their next lesson helps them prepare for it. Also celebrate the small successes! Getting their nose wet may not seem like a huge stride for many, but for some swimmers that’s the most difficult part!
What is your favorite past time outside of swimming?
If I have to choose a non-water related past time, it would be my passion for language. I love learning languages and am always looking for new ways to learn about different cultures. Throughout middle school and high school, I took French classes which inspired me to continue my passion of language into college.
Thank you Kristina!
As Kristina mentioned above, she will be joining several other members of the management team April 20-27, 2019 on a humanitarian mission to bring needed supplies to the people of Roatán, Honduras. If you see her before she leaves make sure to wish her bon voyage!