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Mary Kerr

Founder & Creator of Just Swim Program

About

Having been a competitive swimmer from age 4 until 18, swimming was second nature to me and at age 15 I began lifeguarding and teaching swim lessons. At age 19, I began coaching swimming. During these years aquatics was a job for me and I never really absorbed the importance of what I was doing. I was a teenager; I loved the water; I was a swimmer: I had a great job! But at age 20, my life and attitude about swimming and learning to swim took a drastic turn.

During one of my spring semesters in college, I became friends with a single mother who lived a few doors down in my apartment complex. She had two beautiful children ages two and five. She expressed her concern over her daughter not knowing how to swim but claimed many reasons for not enrolling her in swim lessons: lack of money, scheduling, and most importantly her daughter's fear of the water. I suggested ways to help with these issues and encouraged her to get her daughter into swim lessons. I promised my friend that if she could not find anything that would suit her needs, I would teach her daughter when I returned to school in the fall. I returned home for the summer and it was during that time that I received a letter from my friend telling me her daughter had drowned in a pool not far from where she lived.

I was devastated. This tragic event had an enormous impact on me so much so that I began to research the statistics on drowning only to be shocked at what I learned. I quickly became committed to changing these statistics. I began a quest to increase my knowledge and skills for teaching swimming and drowning prevention.

In 1995 I began to design a program of my own. My focus was on simplifying the process and creating a program based on survival and learning to swim with confidence and proper stroke mechanics.

Being a mother of four, including one with special needs, my passion for teaching children has intensified because I understand how important it is to know your children are safe in and around the water. I make it part of my mission to inform each parent of the importance of teaching their infants and toddlers how to swim and be in and around any body of water. One of my ultimate goals is to educate parents as well as children on the dangers associated with water.

It is with great pride and joy that I am rewarded time and again with stories of success and survival of swimmers from my programs. But mostly what I enjoy is being a part of and watching the children grow to not only respect the water but love being in the water. I have watched many children develop into fantastic competitive swimmers after graduating my programs.
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