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Indoor pool offers year-round lessons

Sea Otter program teaches children not to fear water
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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Winter’s chill hasn’t stopped kids from jumping into a local pool and learning to swim like otters. Students of all ages are learning how to swim and improve their technique inside the cocoon-like warmth of the heated, tented pool at Sea Otter Swim Lessons on Brace Road. Instructor Cassie Records, of Loomis, recently gave Hunter Hodson, 2, a private lesson. While still about 6 months shy of his 3rd birthday, Hunter was able to flip onto his back and float, hold his breath for 15 seconds and dive for rings with the help of Records. Traci Hodson, of Rocklin, is Hunter’s mom and she watched his lesson from the pool deck. Hunter has been in lessons at the school for almost a year. “He’s comfortable and confident in the water. I’m happy with his progress,” Hodson said. Records said Hunter is “pretty advanced for his age,” and credits the tot’s relaxed attitude about being in the water with his advanced swim status. She said a student’s level of fear is part of what determines their level of progression. “If they have a lot of fear you have to work through that,” Records said. Sea Otter instructor Nancy Sarkisian, a retired early childhood education teacher, said instructors at the swim school “play a lot” with their students so they can “feel the pleasure of moving in water.” “We teach them that water is your friend,” Sarkisian said. According to Dana Percival, general manager, Sea Otter offers year-round private and semi-private lessons for children and adults. “We teach to the whole person and build relationships of trust between the student and instructor,” said Percival, who is also the assistant coach for girls varsity water polo at Del Oro High School. Rebecca Sassenrath, and her husband, Paul, are founders and owners of the school. The couple opened the facility in 1999. “My goal was to build a high-quality program with a loving, well-trained staff. Over the years, we’ve taught thousands of children to swim,” Sassenrath said. “We wanted children to learn to swim through pleasure and joy. We believe the parent-tot classes are a good place to start and provide a bonding experience for families,” she said. The parent-tot classes pair babies and toddlers with their parent to build the foundation for swimming. A trained instructor leads a group of up to six parents and their children in classes that allow for water exploration and teach breath control, water movement and safety skills. Davin and Rebekah Anthony participate in a parent-tot class with their 8-month-old twins, Dani and Eli. “We started them in swim lessons when they were 5 months old and they really took to it,” Davin Anthony said. Sea Otter will soon launch an adaptive swim program for special needs children and adults. According to Rachel Miller, assistant manager, specially trained instructors will work one-on-one with students on an initial out-of-water assessment to create an individualized lesson plan designed to fit each swimmer’s personal goals and needs. Lessons will be for those with acquired and developmental disabilities of all types. “Our goals are to help each swimmer push past their physical, cognitive or neurological challenges to be successful in learning to swim, learning water safety, developing confidence, increasing fitness and having fun,” Miller said. __________ Sea Otter Swim Lessons Where: 6151 Brace Road, Loomis Hours: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2:20 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Closed Sunday and Monday. Contact: (916) 660-9492