In our Swim Instructor Spotlights series, we would like to introduce you to some of the best instructors in the nation. Sunsational Swim School is proud to be working with passionate and dedicated instructors, and we would like to thank them for being so sunsational! We hope that our readers will get inspired by their stories, and perhaps learn a thing or two about their favorite instructors!
My name is Briana Thompson. I learned to swim at age three, fell in love, and began swimming competitively by the age of five. Throughout the years I competed in numerous competitions where I represented Jamaica, my home country. It was this love for competing and being in the water that pushed me towards becoming an instructor.
When did you become a swim instructor? For Sunsational Swim School?
In 2015 I turned my dream of becoming a swim instructor into reality and began teaching swimming at a swim school in south Florida. In hopes of expanding my swimming lessons, I began searching for parents looking for at home swimming lessons when I came across Sunsational swim school late last year.
What is your favorite thing about swimming?
My favorite thing about swimming is that it is the only sport that can potentially save your life or the life of someone else.
What is your favorite part about being a swim instructor?
My favorite thing about being an instructor is seeing how excited parents get when their child learns something new in class. I love when parents record the classes, and cheer their little ones on from the sidelines, it shows me how interested and dedicated they are to their child's swimming education. I think being able to play all day with the children is a very close second for why I enjoy teaching swimming.
What is your best memory from being a swim instructor?
My best memory from being a swim instructor is the first time I taught a child to back float. Back floating can be scary for little ones. Many of them tell me they don't want to go underwater and I completely understand why they think they will. The first child I taught to back float, when I met her, she was terrified of the water, especially being on her back - She would roll over at the first sign of me letting go. However after getting over her fear and learning to trust me she began to excel in her lessons thus learning to float. Not only were the parents jumping for joy but so was I. I was so proud, it was then that I knew I was on the right path in becoming an instructor.
What advice would you give to young swimmers just learning to swim? To parents of young swimmers?
My advice to young swimmers just learning to swim is though it may seem scary, we will never know what we can do if we never try and most importantly your instructor is there to help you! So don't ever think your on this path alone. Swimming can be so much fun once you learn to do it.You can enjoy a day at the pool or the beach with your family and you don't have to worry about water getting in your eyes because you would have remembered your goggles, and your parents can truly relax not feeling anxious that their little one is wondering away from the steps because your just pushing off to show them all your amazing skills you learned in class.
My advice to parents is to pay attention to your child's class. One of my favorite things about when I was learning to swim is that my mother was there everyday. And not only there but on the pool deck yelling Go Briana! This allowed her to see and know what I was learning each lesson so she was able to ask my coach tips on what I should practice on days when I didn't have class. When I started competing she would walk up and down the pool deck with each lap I swam cheering me on, and she would be right there at the finish line to tell me how well I did at the end. I would also tell parents to never put swimming lessons on the back burner. I believe the key to learning to swim is regular practice. And lastly don't allow your little one to give up! It’s common and normal to be afraid of the water, and some children are more afraid than others. And while you don't want to force your child to do something they don't like, giving up isn't a good idea either. Start gradually, with lots of positive reinforcement.
What is your favorite place to go swimming? Any specific place?
My favorite place to go swimming is at the pool. Don't get me wrong I love the beach however swimming laps in a pool can be very relaxing after a long day.
If you were a sea animal, which one would you be? OR what is your favorite sea animal?
If I were a sea animal I would be a sea turtle. Ironic as they're not the fastest of swimmers however they are beautiful and have a long lifespan, some live up to 100 years , wouldn't that be amazing! Sea turtles also eat seagrass which is harmful to other marine life so they can be very useful.
Any fun facts about yourself or anything else you’d like to share?
Fun Fact about myself, I was meant to be a dancer. My mother signed me up for dancing lessons at school, however every afternoon I saw a bus leaving with children and curious Briana got on the bus to see where it was taking them. When we arrived at our destination, it was a swimming pool and though my mother had not paid for classes I went every day for a month. At the end of the month my mother received a bill for swimming lessons and she was furious as she thought the school was randomly charging her. In the end they figured out what was really happening and my mother decided I could stick with swimming since I was obviously interested in it, and so my swimming path began. Always follow your heart.