The beautiful South Florida weather always makes water sports such as swimming a year-round activity. However, all too often, along with the joy and fun come tragedy. Drownings occur so frequently which prompted Marlene Bloom to create the Baby Otter Swim School, a state and nationally accredited drowning prevention program.
Bloom, an educator, founded the school over 40 years ago when she herself couldn’t find an appropriate program for children under the age of three. She then met Mindy York, who became a co-founder of the lifesaving school. York, became involved when she found her 17-month-old child at the bottom of the pool. Luckily, she was able to save her and decided to make saving lives her life’s passion.
The traveling swim program, servicing Miami to Orlando, for both children and adults emphasizes the five-day Turn, Kick, Reach® program. Personalized instruction is also now available in the comfort of one’s own pool. The goal of the program is to make Florida a zero-drowning state.
Recently the duo and the Baby Otter Swim School teamed up with Ryan Lochte, 12-time US Olympic Medal Swimmer, and current world record holder in the 200-individual medley, to host an event at Plantation’s Central Park Aquatic Complex. More than 40 children, ages 12 months to 18-years-old, attended the clinic. Baby Otter instructors taught the babies, and Lochte worked with the older children on their stroke.
“A few months ago, a two-year-old drowned in a pool in Boca Raton, and that should never happen!” exclaimed Baby Otter Swim School Founder Marlene Bloom. “Drowning is the leading cause of death in Florida for children under the age of five,” explained co-owner Mindy York. “Our goal is to make our programs accessible in Florida, and throughout the world.”
Olympic Swimmer Lochte is not the first celebrity to team with the school. Hall of Fame Baseball Player Andre Dawson became involved with Baby Otter in 2006 when Baby Otter taught him to swim at age 50. His personal success in five days prompted him to become a national spokesperson, promoting lessons for adults who were afraid to swim. Currently, he serves as chairman of the non-profit Baby Otter Scholarship and Education Fund Inc., created so no child is ever turned away, regardless of ability to pay.
“Stars like Gwyneth Paltrow, Barry Gibb and Rondell White have personally used Baby Otter for their children. Now, we will be teaching the son of one of the most decorated Olympians in the world in our new Gainesville location,” added Bloom.
For more information, call 888-SWIM-KID or email firstname.lastname@example.org.