Have you ever wanted to take swim lessons, but were turned off by the price? For three semesters now, a group of dedicated Rowan University students has made it possible for adults to learn how to swim, free of charge. Opportunities such as these are hard to come by.
It all started with a vision. Oscar Hu is a graduate student, swim instructor supervisor, and lifeguard whose love for teaching and the water inspired him to open swim lessons for adults. Before the program, Rowan REC only offered swim lessons to children. Hu wanted to change that.
“I started working at the REC center back in January of 2022 and then…I got promoted to a swim instructor supervisor. I’m trying to be a teacher right now so I felt like teaching adults would be something that’s good for me and also for the student,” Hu said.
Students range from beginners to already competent swimmers who want to improve.
Kayden Heinz is a Rowan student, swim instructor supervisor, and former youth and adult swim instructor. He works alongside Hu and other swim instructors.
“We are there to help students through whatever steps they want to take,” Heinz said.
Students aren’t forced to follow a set schedule, rather; instructors tailor lessons for their swimmers. This builds a mutual relationship between instructors and their students.
“Signing up for lessons doesn’t mean that you are dedicating yourself to swimming in 12 feet deep water… I have literally celebrated with students for literally just being able to have five pool noodles around themselves in the six-foot deep water,” Heinz said.
There are two sets of four-week sessions per semester and to ensure students follow through with the commitment, there is a “deposit system.” Students who sign up must deposit 20 dollars and for every lesson they miss, five dollars is withdrawn from the initial deposit. If students show up to all their lessons or cancel ahead of time, their entire 20 dollars is given back to them.
“To compare, our kids’ lessons are 20 to 25 dollars per 30-minute lesson, and for adults, we’re offering 20 dollar deposit for lessons where that goal is to get all that money back at the end,” Heinz said.
Since this project is still developing, finding advertisements for it isn’t possible. Everything is word of mouth, as of now.
“We don’t have any flyers out or we don’t have anything from the Rowan announcer..it’s pretty much word-of-mouth,” Hu said.
But, as the program continues, there is more interest among the student body. As of this semester, Hu and Heinz have had the most outreach from potential instructors.
“We are currently training about seven instructors,” Heinz said.
Those who sign up must be CPR and AED certified but the rest of the training is provided by Hu and Heinz, who have both trained new instructors.
Hu and Heinz are passionate about their work and hope the program grows, even after they graduate.
“I really hope to see a lot more undergraduate students starting to take lessons because I’ve seen a lot of community members and a lot of graduate students taking advantage of it. I’d absolutely love to see more and more undergrad students taking advantage of it,” Heinz said.