A Mahncke Park swim school for children, including those with disabilities, is diving into fundraising to provide a bigger pool and additional inclusive programs.
Good Swim Inc., a nonprofit founded by Diana Perry in 2016, also will train more instructors.
“I bring my swim brain and my pediatric-developmental brain to the pool,” said the retired nurse practitioner and developmental-disability specialist.
Not long ago, Perry began a GoFundMe campaign to pay for the creation of a Midtown indoor-pool facility to better serve students of all ages and skills.
Good Swim is renowned for focusing on children with disabilities or kids in families unable to afford close-to-home lessons.
With more than 30 years as a swim teacher, Perry provides tutelage from her backyard, instructing swimmers from 17 counties.
“It’s not formulaic swimming here,” Perry said, adding each learner advances at a pace comfortable to the individual. About 20% of her students have medical or developmental disabilities.
By Thanksgiving, more than $4,450, out of a $50,000 goal, was raised.
To learn more, visit https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/good-swim-inc-rescue
Perry wants the future pool center centrally located along a bus route, accessible to those near and far.
Such a natatorium, the coach said, should have more space for flexibility, while accommodating instructors and students year-round.
The facility also would be designed for kids with autism, containing design elements to buffer noise and reduce or eliminate sensory overload.
Perry also envisions a solar-powered and self-sustained building.
“We know exactly what we want to do here,” she added.
One of her goals is to train more instructors, and give lessons to parents and grandparents who can’t swim.
Good Swim has adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic by restructuring classes to meet public-health guidelines, and readjusting the teacher/student ratio in each class.
A smaller balance of trainers and learners means even better personalized attention, Perry said.
“I tend to like it this way because we’ve had better outcomes,” she added.
Safety cannot be overemphasized at Good Swim, Perry said, where one of its objectives is to reduce aquatic accidents.
She said drowning is the leading cause of death in children under age 4, with a large number resulting from falls into water when no one’s around.
“There’s been a big push to prevent drownings,” Perry added.
Inclusivity is another priority at Good Swim, she said.
Physicians have determined some children with a disability might experience shortened life spans, according to Perry.
“We want these kids to do as much as they can in their life,” she added.
Andrea Pichler’s youngest daughter, Sara, started swimming at 8 months old. Sara has Down syndrome, so it was important to the family that she learn to swim from an early age. “We heard about (Perry) and her survival swimming class and thought that’s just about what we needed,” Pichler said.
“This is a very family-driven program,” Perry said.
For more on Good Swim at 355 Pershing Ave., visit good-swim.com or call 210-381-4308.