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.”

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.

Oops! I did it again! Having your children wear swim liners is better for you, the environment and the pools!

June 29, 2015 by Liz

Swim Liners at Club Fit
By: Ruth Garcia, Aquatics Director
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Club Fit strives to provide our members and guests with the safest and cleanest facilities possible. In an effort to pool schedules running smoothly, Club Fit Briarcliff’s Aquatics Department has rolled out a new swim liner policy.

What is the new swim liner policy?

Accidents happen! In order to prevent as many fecal related incidents in the pools as possible, all children ages 4 and under are now required to wear 2 Reusable Finis Cloth Liners when using the pools. They are available for purchase at the Service Desk and in the Aquatics Center. Please do not use the pools or club if you or your child are showing any sign of a gastrointestinal illness. We take keeping a safe and clean pool environment very seriously. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.

If you have any questions, please contact Ruthie, the Aquatics Director, at (914) 250-2796 or rgarcia@clubfit.com. We are asking all our members to help us by making sure your child is wearing these great Finis!

Here are some benefits of using Finis Reusable Cloth Diapers:

1. They are reusable! Great news for the environment and for your wallet! Go green, use them at home and at other public pools over and over!
2. They are machine washable . . . no hand washing needed. Just throw it in with your laundry and your all set!
3. They are very effective at containing accidents. Unlike disposables which can leak and even fall apart in the water!
4. They are a comfortable material, just like a bathing suit! It’s not like wearing those bulky disposables which will make your child feel good!

Accidents happen, but why the change?

Due to the volume of swimmers in our pools, we have increased likelihood to have fecal related incidents over the course of time. In the past, our policy required children age 3 and under to wear two disposable swim liners, and we found that this policy was not effectively decreasing our incidents. We have found that disposable diapers are not the most effective way to prevent contamination.

Why is it important for us to prevent Accidental Fecal Release (AFRs)?

When we have a fecal related incident in a pool, we have to shut our pools down properly clean and treat the water. We are trying to minimize having to do this to enhance your experience with us!

Where can I pick up Finis Swim Liners for my kids?
Finis Swim Liners are conveniently available for purchase at our service desk for 2 for $24. You can also purchase them online from various vendors!