Residents Participate in Stress-Free Swimming Lessons
Tony Vladimirov and his wife Anna teach swimming lessons multiple times per week.
When Tony Vladimirov and his wife Anna taught their three-year-old daughter Angela how to swim, they went about their lessons a little differently. Their technique was a friendly, "stress-free program," according to Vladimirov.
Rather than thrusting Angela into the unknown and "forcing her to learn basic exercises of blowing bubbles," Vladimirov used educational swim games to teach his daughter. The method was a success.
The Vladimirovs were inspired by their personal experience, and it resulted in their current organization of swim lessons with Aquatic Stars, a Maryland-based company.
The classes are offered in packages of six at the Piney Branch Elementary School Pool, as well as Bethesda's Georgetown Preparatory School and DC's Lab School.
"The most common problem for a child to learn swimming is the unknown that the water environment will offer, fear of drowning, fear of deep water, unpleasant sensation of water going in the nose, ears, eyes, improper breathing, fear of drinking water, et cetera," said Vladimirov. "So, the traditional methods of learning to swim that are taught nationwide do not work for everyone. With our stress free program we [have] so far taught more than 600 people how to overcome their fears, how to enjoy swimming, [and how to] become better swimmers and be water-safe."
But while the business has grown outside of the family, the method remains personalized for each individual who jumps in the pool. In fact, there are three swim programs for children and their parents to choose from, and a personal assessment is conducted when a child requests to join a particular group.
Levels include beginner, where participants learn to tread water for 30 seconds and swim on their backs; intermediate, where they learn the four strokes; and advanced, where they get the opportunity to swim competitively. Private lessons are especially encouraged in the beginning stage when a child is still becoming accustomed to his or her environment.
What exactly does the stress-free program incorporate? According to Vladimirov, "a friendly approach by playing educational swimming games, using a lot of toys, and encouraging [kids] to follow our instructions without creating any undesired frustration."
Participants agree with the success of the method. In fact, Silver Spring resident Patty Owens, who enrolled her daughter in swim lessons with Vladimirov, found the method so successful that she was able to transition from "water phobic to half-fish" throughout the six 30-minute lessons.
According to Owens, Mr. Vladimirov teaches on Wednesday nights while his wife teaches on Mondays and Sundays, at the Piney Branch location.
For further information, visit www.aquaticstars.com.
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