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John was 54 when he learned to swim ending years of social awkwardness
Ever since he was a child, “John” has always loved the water. Throughout his life he has enjoyed boating up and down the water ways of East Tennessee. Each time John takes his boat out on the water, he is careful to always remember his life jacket. In fact, he always wears one while he is boating and never removes it until he is safely back on shore. While he admits he finds boating to be relaxing, he is fully aware of the dangers of the water.
John’s fondness of boating seems like an odd pastime considering he never learned to swim. While he finds comfort in the confines of his boat, he is surrounded by a body of water that could quickly end his life should he fall overboard. John’s inability to swim has put the local businessman in what can best be described as awkward social situations.
“I sometimes take friends out on the boat and they often dive in to take a dip,” said John. “But I stay on the boat and watch them have fun. If we were close to shore I might wade into the shallow water. I wouldn’t get in the deep water even with a life jacket on because I just didn’t feel comfortable. It was embarrassing.”
John never had anyone to teach him the art of swimming as a child. His siblings tried but lacked patience with the awkward adolescent. His frustration mounted, he never learned to swim, and a fear of the water soon developed.
At the unlikely age of 54, John decided it was time to conquer his fears. A friend suggested he call Ed Pemberton, the owner of Adventureswim.com. Pemberton holds a Masters Degree from the University of Kentucky specializing in Exercise Physiology and Sports Medicine. He pursued Doctoral work at the University of Iowa in Mechanical Analysis of Motion (human motion in water). Pemberton is a certified teacher at Farragut Middle School where he has served as the main instructor in all classes for 13 years. As a professional teacher, he teaches more than 1,500 children, babies and adults each year. Most students return for advanced lessons and frequently refer their friends.
Over the course of a career that has spanned 30 years, Pemberton has taught more than 30,000 babies, children and adults to swim and certified more than 5,000 SCUBA divers. Some of his former students have grown up to adulthood, married and had children of their own. These same former students are now bringing their children to “Mr. Ed” to learn to swim.
John admits that at first he was reluctant to seek Pemberton’s instruction. He was concerned he would be the oldest student in the class and concerned he had waited too late in life to learn to swim.
To assuage John’s concerns, Pemberton has him attend private lessons where he can instruct him on a one-to-one basis. Pemberton reassures the reluctant businessman that he is not by any means his oldest pupil. That distinction belongs to two elderly sisters. Both were great-grandmothers and learned to swim at the advanced ages of 84 and 86. They succeeded in learning to swim and in proving the old adage that “You are never too old.” Their success was an inspiration for their families.
In a period of two weeks John took four classes in which Pemberton instructed him on the dynamics of swimming. He learned breath holding exercises, the breast stoke, under water swimming and diving from a diving board and swimming the length of the pool. After four classes that collectively spanned about four hours, John emerged as a capable swimmer that had conquered his fears. He admits he still has a lot to learn but, with practice his skills will improve.
“I am much more comfortable on the water now,” said John. “I can swim under water better than above water. I still keep a life jacket near by when I am on the water but I don’t need it to swim. I would recommend Mr. Ed’s class to anyone. If that guy can’t teach you to swim then you can’t be taught.”
A new innovation by inventor and swim instructor Ed Pemberton, is receiving rave reviews from swimmers. The Playboard is a floatation device that is revolutionizing the art of swim instruction while ensuring the safety of young swimmers.
The Playboard is made of EVA foam and is designed in the form of a mat. EVA is a high quality foam that will last for years. The versatility of this board is amazing. The Playboard is a specially designed mat that is flexible and can be rolled up. It is extremely durable and buoyant.
Though it is designed with smaller children in mind, it is also useful for larger kids and adults.
Pemberton has taught more than 30,000 students to swim in a career that has spanned three decades. In a quest to facilitate teaching the life saving skill, Pemberton has invented several swim related devices that ensure safety while enhancing mobility in the water.
Beginning swimmers can lie across the middle of the board which keeps the child horizontal and in the swimming position. The child’s face can be over or under the water helping the child to feel secure. Children develop strength and endurance in kicking as well as proper foot positioning in a natural way. As the child gets accustomed to water on the face, he or she can blow bubbles while kicking which is two-thirds of learning to swim.
Stacking two boards safely allows two to three children can learn to swim using the buddy system as they learn to swim side-by-side. Once the children begin to develop confidence, one board can be removed. Children are now in a few inches of water, feeling the lift of the water, blowing bubbles, kicking, staying horizontal and developing better swimming skills.
Competitive swimmers and intermediate swimmers can lie on the board lengthwise (one child per board) and kick many lengths having fun and learning kicking skills. This places their body in a good position and the board promotes proper foot position. The swimmer has the choice of exhaling underwater while kicking if they desire. Swimmers can kick synchronized (holding on to each other's board), have races and perform many other fun swimming activities.
The play board is receiving wonderful reviews and endorsements from other swim instructors and aquatic therapists.
Adapted Aquatics Instructor at the Achievement Centers for Children in Cleveland, Ohio, Karyn Kaschalk, noticed the versatility on the product and gave it her recommendation.
- “For the child who is averse to being touched, the mat provides a means to support the swimmer without skin to skin touching.
- For the child who is gravitationally challenged, the mat provides increased input to their body, lessening the fear of falling while learning to swim.
- For the child who needs to be re-focused, a child can sit on the mat and be spun around by their instructor.
- For the child who needs increased head positioning when floating, the mat provides a tunnel to push through or to gaze through the “dolphin windows” with their head back in the correct position.
- For the child who tends to bicycle kick when on their front, the mat increases hip extension with flutter kick.
- For the adult with limited shoulder range, the mat enables the swimmer to maintain a comfortable shoulder flexion with less stress on the lower back for increased sustained kicking.”
All boards come with our "Fast and Fun Swim System" logo on one side in three dazzling colors, red, yellow or blue.. For more information about our products or our programs visit our web Site at www.adventureswim.com. A demonstration of the Playboard can be seen on youtube.com at this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_F1s3xaTDd8n.