Aqua-Tots Swim School

Sarita Schumacher helps her 10-month-old son Tennyson float with Water Safety Instructor Lizzie Dallas explains the next activity at Aqua-Tots Swim School on Friday, May 6, 2016.

May is National Water Safety Month and time for the May 2 opening of Aqua-Tots Swim Schools in Ahwatukee.
The school teaches the importance of swimming and pool safety, just in time for the summer heat.  
Swimming lessons at Aqua-Tots are broken into eight levels depending on experience and age. Swimmers can be anywhere from 4 months to 12 years old.
Each swimming level has its own specific lesson such as equipping parents with information on how to be confident with handling their children in the pool and developing students to become better swimmers. Each class is 30 minutes long. 
Aqua-Tots also offers a Swim Club and Swim Teams for those interested in a more competitive swimming experience. 
“Our No. 1 goal is safety first,” said Keri Priest, general manager of Aqua-Tots Ahwatukee. “Once the swimming lessons are over, our instructors take a few minutes with each student and parent to let them know what’s going great in the water and what needs to be improved.” 
Students are given a weekly report card to track their performance throughout each swim session. 
Lessons are taught in either a private or group setting. Each class has one to four students in the water at a time. 
Parents are given the option to be inside the pool with their children during the swimming lessons, or spectate in Aqua-Tots’ lobby area. 
Classes can be taken once or three times a week. 
“A lot of our families start at the beginning levels, and it’s where they develop the building blocks they need to continue to progress up to the more advance levels,” Priest said. 
A key element provided at Aqua-Tots is ensuring parents and children are aware of all safety precautions in and around the pool area. 
Ahwatukee resident Amy Byers said she enrolled her son into Aqua-Tots so he could learn the importance of pool safety. 
“I want him to learn the basics of swimming and how to be safe in the water,” she said. “I think water safety, especially in Arizona, is extremely important.” 
Sarah Hoopes, swimming instructor at Aqua-Tots Ahwatukee, said consistent learning throughout each swimming level is vital to ensure students are safe. 
“We work with them on getting comfortable with being in the water, their technique, and knowing all the boundaries around the pool,” she said. “We treat the pool as a very dangerous area for children because it can be ... we like to treat it that way and have a respect for it.” 
Hoopes said water safety for young children and adults is crucial in Arizona since there are many public and private pools around the Valley. 
“It’s very important to at least teach kids the basics of swimming and safety,” she said. 
Priest said she anticipates classes will become more popular with summer around the corner. 
“Our classes will continue to expand as we get busier,” she said. 
Aqua-Tots Swim Schools in Ahwatukee is located at 4735 E. Ray Road, Suite A0011. For additional information, visit

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