Lifeguarding and Water Safety: What you need to know

March 3, 2016 by Liz

Dan M

By Dan Malone
MSED School Administration, MSED Special Education, Lifeguard Instructor, Water Safety Instructor Trainer, CPR Trainer

In the northeast, we often associate aquatics with the opening of summer pools. Students are on break for several months and the local swimming pools are open from morning till early evening. Children and parents of all ages anxiously await the opportunity to enjoy the water and bask in the sun.

This spring make a cohesive plan to ensure your child is water ready! Successful swimming programs explicitly teach children how to be safe in, on and around water. Children learn to bob to safety, float on their backs, change directions while swimming and swim to safety. Students are instructed on how to properly size and wear a life jacket. Most importantly children ascertain how to identify water hazards and stay safe. Children learn to identify lifeguards, read water depth markers and made educated decisions when around water.

Parents need to remain vigilant when their children are around water.

The best swim programs in Westchester County promote and teach water safety while allowing children to have fun. Water Safety Instructors need to be highly qualified. Signs of a quality program include several lifeguards on deck, water safety instructors who are in the water, adequate teaching equipment and a clean structured environment.

Club Fit in Briarcliff offers one of the most comprehensive aquatic programs in the area. Swim lessons are offered for children and adults of all ages. Programs start for children as early as six months of age. School age children develop their swimming skills in the Learn to Swim Program, which spans across six levels. Adults have opportunities to enroll in beginner, intermediate and fitness swimmer classes. The water in the recreational pool is a comfortable 86 degrees.

Club Fit also offers lifeguard training, CPR/AED training and the Water Safety Instructor Course for teenagers and adults who are interested in working in aquatic environments. Dedicated professionals, including former collegiate swimmers, EMT’s and NYS certified teachers and school administrators provide pinnacle instruction on how to teach water safety and save lives. When examining programs this spring, seek out professionals who are caring and passionate about aquatic safety.

Meet Marc Quintiliani, Master Swim Instructor, Assistant Swim Coach and Lifeguard

July 30, 2014 by karen

Lifeguard Marc Quintiliani
Club Fit Master Water Safety Instructor, Assistant Swim Coach and Lifeguard Marc Quintiliani

“One step at a time” is a common sense approach, but not everyone practices it. For a child with special needs, it’s a recipe for success. So says Club Fit Master Water Safety Instructor, Assistant Swim Coach and Lifeguard Marc Quintiliani, who teaches students of every age and skill level, but has a definite connection with this particular group of students.

Marc, a former mechanic who has been with Club Fit for five years and has been a swimming instructor for close to fifteen years, loves to see his students realize they can accomplish what once seemed out of reach. “I like breaking down their walls,” he says of his special needs students. “It’s especially rewarding when I hear parents say they can’t believe what their child is doing, milestones they couldn’t imagine reaching,” he says.

Most parents opt for private lessons, which is helpful because Marc can focus on a child’s particular needs. And “one step at a time” is key. “The first thing I focus on is getting them to be comfortable with me,” he says. He tries to schedule these lessons when the Aquatics Center is quiet, so the student doesn’t have to deal with sensory overload. On the other hand, a certain amount of distraction can sometimes be helpful with children who are nervous about being in the water. “One of my students had a previous bad experience, so I gave him things to do like counting drills to take his mind off of being in the pool.” Another boy would get in the water but actual swimming was a particular challenge…today he is comfortable swimming in all areas of the pool. “I try to get the kids to let their guard down and just relax,” says Marc.

Kaleb is a current student whose grandmother Linda Schulman can’t say enough about the strides he’s made. Kaleb, who turns three on August 2, had a stroke at a very early age, leaving him with motor issues, and one side of his body weak and less functional. Hoping swim lessons would strengthen him, but not completely optimistic, Linda turned to Marc, and has seen improvement in the short amount of time that Marc has worked with her grandson. “Kaleb has a great attitude, and our sessions got even better after I realized that he sometimes uses sign language to communicate,” said Marc, who now supplements his vocal praise with encouraging signs. “We focus a lot on getting him to use his left side more, since that is his weaker side.” Linda is extremely happy with his progress. “Kaleb is almost fearless in the water now,” she says.

Marc’s experience includes more than 10 years of competitive swimming, including Junior Olympic, County and State meets. He currently has a diverse clientele at the club, including everyone from his special needs kids, to triathletes, to seniors. He also serves as Assistant Coach for the Club Fit Swim Team under Head Coach Bill Walsh, and has seen a great improvement with the team. “We had some work to do, but the kids are starting to come together and I’m excited about the upcoming season,” he says, which begins in September.

As for kids like Kaleb, Marc will continue to work his magic and help them achieve what once seemed impossible. “It’s great to see the kids succeed,” he says. “They come in thinking they have so many limitations, and realize that it’s not so hard to overcome them.” For more information on programs available, contact braquatics@clubfit.com.