Wizard of Water – Larry Koffer

August 1, 2018 by jeanne

Meet the Wizard of Water

By Jeremy Brown

Larry Koffer has been swimming all his life, but his biggest challenge is yet to come.

For Club Fit swimming instructor Larry Koffer, being in the water is just a way of life. “I love swimming,” he says, “and I’ve been doing it all my life, one way or another.”

Born and raised in the Bronx, Koffer began swimming in the Bronx River and was a competitive swimmer in high school and college. “I wasn’t the fastest guy on the team,” he said. “I remember when we’d swim, my coach would use a sundial to time me!” Koffer, however, is just being modest. In fact, he was the Bronx Park Department 100-meter swim champion in 1964.

From swimming in the river to swimming in the pool, Koffer knew that he had found a second home in the water. From then on, he was always trying to find a way to get wet, diving in whenever and wherever he could. When he sold his construction business, the opportunity suddenly presented itself to make swimming a full-time pursuit. “Looking at retirement, I thought, what am I going to do?’” he said. “So I became a Red Cross instructor.”

Koffer’s Red Cross training eventually paved the way for him to become a swimming instructor at Club Fit. At the club, he says that he gets a particular thrill from passing on his love of swimming to people.

“I love teaching people how to swim,” he says. “It’s magical to me. Swimming is an out-of-this-world experience. It’s the perfect exercise and it’s very meditative.”

He says that he really enjoys being able to work with people who aren’t used to being in or around the water and seeing that “moment” when it all clicks for them. “I teach a lot of adults,” he says, “and they haven’t learned how to swim, and they’ve got some anxiety about it. And to get them loosened up and approach swimming as fun, when they get it, it’s like bells go off. Suddenly it all fits.”

Koffer’s enthusiasm and passion for swimming has earned him the nickname “The Wizard of Water.” Although, in the interest of full disclosure, he admits that he is responsible for the moniker.

“On some memo, I signed off as ‘the Wizard of Water,’ and it stuck!” he says, laughing.

After a lifetime of swimming, Koffer is about to undertake his most exciting challenge on the water, a one-mile swim across the Hudson River, from Newburgh to Beacon, on July 28. The swim is a charity event to raise money for the care and maintenance of the River Pool in Beacon. Even more than the challenge of swimming across the Hudson, Koffer is excited about the feeling of unity that comes when a group of swimmers all get together. “I love being on the beach with hundreds of water babies, swimmers who are all loving the water, some are skilled, some are Olympians or near Olympians, national champions,” he said. “But they’re all loving the water, and it’s just like this camaraderie. Some want to swim for a record, some just want to be in the water.”

After crossing the Hudson, Koffer might try for a two-mile swim, he said. But, whatever comes next, he is just grateful for every day in the water. “When I was in junior high school, my best friend’s family had a house on Lake Mahopac, so I came up here 50 years ago,” he said. “And now, to be back here as an adult, living here, swimming in the lake, having wonderful friends…this is perfect.”

Fall is on its way! Are you ready?

August 24, 2016 by Liz

Fall is coming and you know what that means! It’s time to hit the ground running. Literally and figuratively. It’s a busy time of year for everyone . . . especially families. It’s about coordinating schedules, getting kids back into the routine of heading to school every day, preparing for meetings, switching up your gym routines and restoring a sense of order back to life.

It doesn’t have to be a bummer and maybe even some of you can’t wait for the heat to break and the school bells to ring. We have some great things for kids that you might just love! Check out Breakfast Club Fit Kids at Club Fit Briarcliff. Drop off the kids at 7am and let them hang with us, work on homework, have breakfast or just chill out until the buses arrive! We’ll have movie nights and plenty of Parent’s Nights Out, so you’ll be able to relax while the kids are having fun! Keep an eye out for the School’s Out Camp Calendars too. That’s always a favorite during the school year! Of course we’ve always got your kids covered for various sports programs and swim lessons! Not to mention the awesome Swim Teams at each location! Our Jefferson Valley Swim Team deserves a special shout out for all their accomplishments last year!

For those of you who will mourn the Summer, don’t worry! Summer will be here again before you know it. Try to take advantage of the awesome Fall weather- take a hike with the Hiking Club, go for a run . . . maybe register for a Turkey Trot or any 5K! We’ll have a Paint Nite at Jefferson Valley on September 23rd that is sure to be a great time!

Be sure to look for the new Group Fitness Schedule, coming out on September 19th! There are so many great things to be excited about this Fall and we can’t wait to see you in the club!

Group four friends in helmets riding bikes on a forest path
Group four friends in helmets riding bikes on a forest path

Tips for Water Safety this Memorial Day and All Summer Long!

May 20, 2015 by Liz

Memorial Day is coming up and this is the time of year people begin opening their pools for the Summer. To ensure your family has a happy and safe Memorial Day and a great Summer packed with Swimming, here are some tips to help keep you and your family safe all season long!

Here is some helpful advice from Club Fit Briarcliff Aquatics Director, Ruth Garcia!

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 3.14.24 PM If you are a pool owner, make sure your pool is surrounded by an adequate fence or barrier to protect your family as well as potential wanderers.

Children should start learning to swim around 2.5 years of age. We recommend starting even sooner with infant/parent classes to get them acclimated to the water.

If swimming in an unsupervised area, make sure you have another person with you. Children should never be unattended.

Do not consume alcohol while swimming. It impairs coordination, judgement and your ability to function normally in an aquatic environment.

Use Coast Guard approved gear and non-inflatable pool toys and swim aids. Inflatable floatation devices pose an increased risk of drowning as they are prone to popping. We also do not recommend using mermaid-like/uni-fin fins. This new trend is cute, but not necessarily safe as it positions the body in an unnatural way and has the potential to cause a distressed swimmer.

Be sure to protect yourself from harmful UV rays. Here are some suggestions from the American Cancer Society on how to stay safe in the sun!

Sign up for a CPR class so you are prepared in the event there is an emergency. Click here for dates in May.

If you need further information on water safety, visit the American Red Cross for their top recommendations.

Interested in swim lessons at Club Fit? Contact braquatics@clubfit.com or call and speak to someone in our Aquatics department for more information! Club Fit Briarcliff: 914.762.3444 ex. 2108)

Kids should Lead Active Lifestyles!

February 13, 2015 by Liz

By Summer Camp Co-director and School Teacher, Kristyn Reczek

Get kids off devices and into an active lifestyle! They may just thank you for it!

In today’s society, most of us rely on technology to communicate with our friends and family. Cellphones, iPads, and computers have become such a large part of all of our lives, including even our youngest children. Kids today are using various types of technology to learn from, play on, and stare at. Although, there are many benefits from our ability to use technology so readily, we should also want to show our children how beneficial it is to put down our technology devices and be active. “Regular physical activity in childhood and adolescence improves strength and endurance, helps build strong bones and muscles, help controls weight, reduces anxiety and stress, increases self esteem, and may improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

During the school year, kids are allotted time for activity during physical education. Over the summer months, camps can provide a great source of physical activity for our kids. Educator, author, and psychologist Dr. Peter Scales stated “Camp is one of the few institutions where young people can experience and satisfy their need for physical activity, creative expression and true participation in a community environment.” Activity during a camp day can include playing games and sports, dancing, swimming, or even just running around. But, camp can also help children to build healthy social skills. Camps help children to interact with friends but can also help them to interact with new peers that may turn into new friends. Many children of today find friends not only in school but also online, through social media websites and even by playing video games. Camp provides them with the opportunity to interact face to face with peers to create new friendships.

Summer camp is a fun and interactive way for kids to put down their cellphones and iPads, step away from their computers and enjoy physical activity with some old friends and maybe even some new ones.

Meet our Summer Camp Directors, Kristyn and Ashley!

Click here to learn more about Summer Camp at Club Fit Briarcliff or Club Fit Jefferson Valley! We also offer Tennis Camp at Briarcliff and Jefferson Valley and Swim Lessons at Briarcliff and Jefferson Valley!

Sign up today and receive 15% off enrollment!

Summer Camp Fun
Summer Fun at Club Fit