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Thursday, October 21, 2010

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Swim classes dive into shopping center

Published: 10:13 p.m., Wednesday, October 20, 2010
  • Wings Over Water, a Brewster, NY-based swim school is building a second facility in Fairfield, CT. The new, state-of-the-art facility is located at 2215 Black Rock Turnpike, beneath Old Navy. Photo: Contributed Photo / Connecticut Post Contributed

 

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FAIRFIELD -- Shoppers know that they can go to the Black Rock Shopping Center to pick up a pair of shoes, a camera, clothes, maybe a bagel or get their teeth cleaned. Soon, they'll also be able to learn how to swim.

In what was once the lower level of an Old Navy store, a hole has been dug, awaiting the concrete and tiles to transform it into a swimming pool and the space as a whole into Wings Over Water.

Co-owners Edie Flood and Melissa Flannery can't wait, although Flannery said it's hard to visualize the finished space as she stands in what will become a parking garage for the facility.

"Right now, the target date is Thanksgiving, depending on the permit process and getting all of our approvals," Flannery said.

Flood opened her first Wings Over Water swimming school in Brewster, N.Y., in 2001, after starting her business out of her home and renting pool space.

"I've been a lifeguard instructor for the American Red Cross since I was 15 years old," Flood said. It was a meeting with Bill Boomer, a former U.S. Olympic swim team coach, and later collaboration between the two of them and competitive swimmer Milt Nelms that led to development of the Swimplicity learn-to-swim curriculum.

One aspect of teaching youngsters how to swim, the partners said, is involving the parents. In some instances that might mean having the parents in the pool, on the pool deck or behind the glass of the viewing area.

Class sizes are kept small, Flannery said, averaging three to four children, with no class larger than six students.

The primary goal is safety with students first learning to "quiet their bodies and minds through breathing, floating and travel experiences." When ready, the students then are introduced to underwater propulsion experiences. Over-the-water armstrokes are introduced when breathing, balance and aquatic line are attained.

Wings Over Water will start accepting online registrations Nov. 1. While prices are not set for the Fairfield location, tuition at the Brewster facility ranges from $397 for 16 weeks of 30 minutes lessons to $478 for 17 weeks of one-hour lessons.

For more information, visit www.wingsoverwater.com.