Water Aerobic Update

Carrie Vike-Hillary, our beloved Wednesday instructor, is taking an extended leave of absence from teaching. Her life is now full—traveling and enjoying time with her family. I am delighted for her, but she will be hard to replace.

Cathy, Jeri and I are working diligently to interview and hire instructors that will be a good fit for everyone in Carrie’s absence. During this time of transition, I am asking for your usual patience, kindness, and grace with our new instructors. I know change can be difficult, but I am confident we can build a loyal, dedicated team again.

Here is the current schedule for September and October.

– Gayle will be subbing Monday, Sept. 23, Wednesday, Sept. 25, and Monday, Sept. 29

– Victoria will be teaching on Mondays in October. I will introduce her on Friday, October 4th.

– Toni will be teaching Wednesdays in October.

All for now. I will keep you updated as soon as I have news to share.

Jill Robertson

Swim Lessons

Lindsay Williams

My name is Lindsay Williams and I am the new Aquatics Director at BAC! I am a native of Whatcom County, growing up in Ferndale. I graduated from Western Washington University with a degree in Communication. Some of you may be familiar with my mom, Jill Robertson, who has taught water aerobics at the club most of my life. I hear she is a staple around here, especially with her costumes.

I started working as a lifeguard in the summers at the Bellingham Golf and Country Club in 1997 when I was in high school. Eventually, I began teaching swim lessons and have grown to love helping children get over their fear of water and become competent swimmers. While working other jobs when I was newly married, I found ways to continue to teach lessons. In 2009, I became the Assistant Aquatics Director at the Country Club. Since then, every summer I trained their staff, organized over 2,000 swimmers into classes, and help run a hugely successful and popular swim lesson program.

I’m looking forward to meeting all of you! Our next lessons are October 1st – 24th (4 weeks/ 8 Lessons). Call (360) 676-1800 to sign up!

Press here for current Swim Lessons Schedule details and pricing.

Press here to go to the Aquatic Page.

BAC Welcomes New Aquatics Director!

Lindsay WilliamsMy name is Lindsay Williams and I am the new Aquatics Director at BAC! I am a native of Whatcom County, growing up in Ferndale. I graduated from Western Washington University with a degree in Communication. Some of you may be familiar with my mom, Jill Robertson, who has taught water aerobics at the club most of my life. I hear she is a staple around here, especially with her costumes.

I started working as a lifeguard in the summers at the Bellingham Golf and Country Club in 1997 when I was in high school. Eventually, I began teaching swim lessons and have grown to love helping children get over their fear of water and become competent swimmers. While working other jobs when I was newly married, I found ways to continue to teach lessons. In 2009, I became the Assistant Aquatics Director at the Country Club. Since then, every summer I trained their staff, organized over 2,000 swimmers into classes, and help run a hugely successful and popular swim lesson program.

My husband, Brett, and I are getting ready to celebrate 16 years of marriage this fall. We have 3 children: Jack is 10, Maelle is almost 7, and Carys is 3 1/2. We often wonder what we did for entertainment before we had kids as they are constantly making us laugh. We love playing games together, watching movies, going for walks (especially to Starbucks!), and just spending time together. We also enjoy rooting on our beloved Seahawks and were just able to attend our first UW football game as a family.

All three of our kids have been in and around the water their entire lives. Because of this, they are all-natural swimmers and very confident in the water. Our youngest actually passed the swim test this summer—swimming across the shallow end and back without touching the bottom. Our oldest has one of the most beautiful breaststrokes I have ever seen. And my sweet middle girl has made friends with every swimmer, instructor, and lifeguard at the pool. I really love being a mom and taking pride and joy in my children. Although, they do occasionally drive me crazy.

My biggest encouragement for families with young children is to expose them to water at an early age. Not only playing and splashing in the bath but also finding ways to get in a pool with them. It’s so much easier when they’re young and haven’t quite formed their own opinions. But, if you or your child haven’t spent much time around water, it is never too late to learn. I’ve had the opportunity to teach all ages of beginners, even adults, and it’s admirable and encouraging. I enjoy building trust with my students and pushing them to their full potential while being gentle and firm. There’s a lot of fun to be had in and around the water! I’m looking forward to building on my experiences here at BAC!

Swim Lessons

Summer ends, yet swim lessons continue on into the Fall! We will be going back to our usual 4 week/8 lesson sessions this month, and will be welcoming on several new staff along with our new Aquatics Director, Lindsay Williams! Lindsay has a rich background in Aquatics, and even runs another swim lesson program in Whatcom County during the summers. She will be around the pool in the coming weeks, so feel free to tap her on the shoulder and introduce yourselves.

Summer is wrapping up, and we want to see what you’ve all been up to! This year, since it has been so beautiful out, we are asking for photos of your summer that are ‘water’ themed! Whether it’s a family vacation to the beach or a water fight in the backyard, show us where you’ve been swimming this summer! Photo Submissions can be sent to memberservices@bellinghamathleticclub.com.

Next Lessons are Sept 3-26 (4 weeks/8 Lessons)

Call (360) 676-1800 to sign up!

Press here for current Swim Lessons Schedule details and pricing.

Press here to go to the Aquatic Page.

Swim Lessons

Our final round of summer lessons is coming up next week already!

With the change in season, there will also be a few other changes around the pool. Some of you may know that I am leaving BAC in September to pursue a degree in Film at Eastern Washington University! However, with Eastern located all the way across the state, it means I must say goodbye to all of my friends and students at BAC. I have enjoyed every minute of the 5 years (my, how the time flies!) that I have been teaching at BAC. You all have changed my life for the better and I’ve learned just as many things as I’ve taught over the years. We’ve all had a lot of fun in the pool, and I want to charge each of my students with a new challenge: Take the patience, joy and skills that you’ve learned here and bring them with you into the future! You may find yourselves swimming in places you could never imagine, so remember all of the important things you learned to get you there! And when you do, send us a photo of all the cool places you’ve swum. I will miss each and every one of you, and I want to thank you for making the last 5 years an absolute blast! I know you will all excel in the months and years to come. I’ll still be around for another few weeks, so feel free to tap me on the shoulder and say goodbye – I might even get the chance to teach some of you again before I go!

And now, on a less sentimental note, check out the schedule for the next round of swim lessons! As usual, please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments or concerns. I’ll see everyone around the pool, have a great end of summer! Brittany

Next Lessons are August 8-29 (3 weeks/6 Lessons)

Call (360) 676-1800 to sign up!

Press here for current Swim Lessons Schedule details and pricing.

Press here to go to the Aquatic Page.

Parents Supporting Swimmers

Summer is the season for swimming lessons, and the pool is busy! As a parent, it can be tough to know how to best support your student in their learning. Here are some tips for helping your child focus during class, and for supporting them outside of lessons!

During the lesson

If your student is anxious, it can be tempting to approach them during their lesson and provide verbal support. However, this can be distracting to your student as well as others in the class, since it pulls their attention away from their teacher, who may be trying to demonstrate or explain a key skill. We encourage parents to support silently from the benches during lessons. Your child may very well want to show you their skills during class! If this happens, a thumbs up and a smile can communicate your support without pulling attention from the class.

For young children, the basic separation from parents can also be unnerving. Sometimes having the parent in the pool area can cause a conflict for the child – the reminder that you are present but not participating in class with them can make this separation harder. We may encourage parents in this situation to take some space from the class by heading into the lobby for the duration of the lesson. We have found that this both decreases anxiety for the child, as they are able to concentrate completely on their lesson, and helps them to learn that they are able to participate even when mom is not in the room.

Come prepared for class! Many families who are new to lessons simply do not know what their child needs to succeed! Here’s a shortlist of things that most students need for their lessons:
Swim Suit
Goggles (Dolphin +)
Hair tie or swim cap for hair longer than shoulder length
Swim Diaper – if not potty trained yet

Ask them questions about their lessons! Did they learn anything new today? Have them explain a skill they worked on during their lesson! When your student is able to recall details about their classes, it will be easier for them to remember those skills the next time they have class!

Outside of Class

The best thing you can do to support your student outside of class is just to swim with them! Help them practice some of the skills they have been learning in class. Swimming can be a fun family activity and seeing their parents embrace the skills they have been learning can be incredibly validating for kids! Here are a few skills from each level to practice with your little fish:

Beluga: Mouth and nose bubbles, Listen for the fishies (Snap your fingers underwater and ask them to put their whole face in to listen), big jumps to you, ice cream scoops

Clownfish: Underwater bobs, ice cream scoops out to you, chicken/airplane/soldier, kicks on tummy and back

Dolphin: Scoops to you, practice rolling over to breathe, backstroke to you, kick w/ board (you could even do a kickboard race!)

Flounder: freestyle or backstroke races, underwater dolphin kick challenge (see how far they can go swimming underwater from the wall)

Jellyfish: Freestyle, backstroke, or breaststroke races, somersaults in the water, dive for rings

Manatee: 200-yard challenge! Have them swim 12 lengths without stopping, using any stroke. practice flip turns, treading water

Swim Lessons

The summer has been absolutely idyllic, I hope you are all outdoors taking advantage of the weather! The next round of lessons is 3 weeks long, with no breaks or missed days, so if your kids could use a quick mid-summer touch up on their skills, check out our lesson schedule!

 A couple of quick clarifications for those who may be new or out of the loop on lessons:

Hot Tub Tips:

  • Try to save hot tub time as a treat for after lessons! When students hop in the hot tub before class, the water in the pool can be difficult to adjust to, and waiting for after lessons give them something to look forward to!
  • Please do not bring toys into the hot tub. Save those for class!
  • It is unsafe for students to spend more than 5 minutes in the hot tub, or to swim with their face underwater in the hot tub. Kids do not have fully developed temperature regulation systems, so they can overheat easily.
  • When your student is using the hot tub, please stand close enough to see them. We do not have a lifeguard assigned to the hot tub, so while all of our instructors are lifeguard certified, keeping an eye on the hot tub is up to the parents. This is why students can use the hot tub during lessons, so let’s preserve this perk!

While it is important for your student to learn to adapt to having water in their eyes, feel free to bring goggles with you for lessons! It can be helpful to have a tool to keep water out of their eyes during lessons.

Please do not allow your student to swim in the pool before their lesson starts. It’s not safe for students to swim without a lifeguard on duty, and we want to keep everyone safe.

We do not provide bath towels for non-members who come in for lessons, so please remember to bring a towel with you if you’re not a member of the gym.

Sometimes swimming lessons can be scary! This can lead to distraction when Mom or Dad is in the room. With younger students, we may ask parents to wait in the lobby to allow their child to concentrate on the lesson. Please know that this will help your student become comfortable in a class environment, and help them to focus on the skills they are learning, plus they will be so excited to tell you about their lesson! We will work individually with families to provide the best learning experience possible for your student.

Next Lessons are July 23 – August 8 (43 weeks/6 Lessons)

Call (360) 676-1800 to sign up!

Press here for current Swim Lessons Schedule details and pricing.

Press here to go to the Aquatic Page.

Life Jacket Safety

How to properly fit and use a life jacket

by Brittany McIntosh, Aquatics Director

Did you know that in Whatcom County alone, there are 26 lakes, 21 rivers, and 2 bays? That adds up to quite a few opportunities for swimming, fishing, boating, and hiking. Since we are so active around water this time of year, it’s a good idea to refresh your knowledge on boating safety. Check out our tips below and enjoy all the beauty the Northwest has to offer this July!

Always wear a life jacket

In Washington State, all children under the age of 12 are required by law to wear a life jacket while on board a vessel. However, it’s recommended by the US Coast Guard that everyone on board wear a life jacket – even if you’re a great swimmer! For tips on fitting a life jacket, take a look at our handy infographic.

Know or learn how to swim

Everyone on board should know some basic survival skills. The more comfortable you are in the water, the better your chance of survival should an accident occur. We offer group and private lessons for both adults and children on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the morning, afternoon, and evening. Ask at the front desk for scheduling or visit our website at www.bellinghamathleticclub.com for more details.

Let someone know where you’re going

If you don’t have a Float Plan, let someone who’s staying ashore know where you’re going and when you’ll be back. Write out all relevant location information including phone numbers, a description of the boat and all communication equipment on board, and an accurate location of the destination and home ports.

Assign at least one adult to supervise all children

As we always tell parents in our Angelfish classes, once you teach your child to love the water it acts as a magnet, drawing them close. You won’t be able to keep them away, so make sure they’re supervised in their play!

Carry extra supplies and safety equipment

This could include extra food and water supplies, life jackets, a cell phone, blankets, and a well-stocked first aid kit. Additionally, make sure passengers know where these supplies are located and how to use them.

Avoid alcohol

While we all want to have fun in the sun, boats are not the place for alcohol. It can affect balance, judgment and reaction speed – three things you will definitely need out on the water. More than half of all boating accidents in the US involve alcohol – don’t be a statistic! Leave the party on the shore and stay safe on your vessel.

Be wary of heat exhaustion

Wear lots of sunscreen, and bring extra water bottles. It’s also important to remember that sunscreen does wash off, so always reapply after a dip. Hats and sunglasses are always a big help, especially if you’ve got kids on board.

Swim Lessons

Summer will be in full swing by the time this next session starts, and school gets out this week, so if you’re looking for something to do with the kids, consider Swim Lessons! We are offering additional times in the Morning, afternoon and evening on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so take a look at our expanded classes.

Additionally, we are still running our swim lesson raffle! Just come into family swim 3x throughout the month of June and turn your completed family swim pass to the front desk. They’ll have you fill out an entry form and you’ll be entered in a raffle to win a free round of swim lessons! It’s worthwhile if your kids are in the pool for lessons, and gives the whole family an opportunity to enjoy the pool.

June 25 – July 18th (4 weeks/7Lessons)

Call (360) 676-1800 to sign up!

Press here for current Swim Lessons Schedule details and pricing.

Press here to go to the Aquatic Page.