2015-07-15 / News

All in!

Swim lessons aren't just for kids
By Anne Marie Kyzer


At top, Dedra Carter is cheered on by ladies in her swim class. Below, Lexie TenHuisen encourages Felicia Tuff as she takes her fist swim in the deep end. At right, Felicia's daughter, Malia Stone, is all smiles as she leaps off the diving board during her week of swim lessons. At top, Dedra Carter is cheered on by ladies in her swim class. Below, Lexie TenHuisen encourages Felicia Tuff as she takes her fist swim in the deep end. At right, Felicia's daughter, Malia Stone, is all smiles as she leaps off the diving board during her week of swim lessons. When her 2-year-old daughter took a running start and soared off the end of the diving board, Felicia Tuff knew this just wouldn’t do.

She’d enrolled Malia in swimming lessons so she’d have a potentially life-saving skill that Felicia had grown up without.

What Felicia hadn’t expected was to see her daughter fall in love with the water without an ounce of fear.

“When I saw her, I realized I had to learn,” says Felicia, a special education teacher in her early 40s. “It was almost a necessity.”

So, Felicia joined more than a dozen other women for evening swim classes taught by longtime Waynesboro swim instructor Lexie TenHuisen.

Among the diverse group are two grandmothers, teachers like Felicia, bank tellers, nurses and others.

This summer, though, they all had one common goal—learning to swim.

Mastering that skill brought them just as much excitement as the children Lexie teaches to jump off the diving board for the very first time.

As each one of the ladies mastered the strong arm strokes that would take them from one side of the pool to the other, the others cheered them on the entire way.

“I’ve wanted to learn for 38 years and I’m finally doing it,” says 56-year-old Doris Carson, a veteran teacher at Burke County High School. “I’ll be the only one of my sisters who knows how to swim.”

Carson plans to surprise her family when she visits them in Philadelphia later this month.

Another class member, Tonya Bradford, said spending time on the ocean last summer made her vow to learn.

“I went on a cruise this time last year and said that by this summer, I will know how to swim,” she says.

Last week, Tonya made good on her promise.

Lexie beams as she watches these ladies tackle swim lessons with even more fervor and fun than the youngsters who splash in her pool by day.

While she spends much of the summer teaching infants and children, she enjoys these adult swimmers as much or more.

“Of all the classes I’ve ever taught, I think this must be my favorite because of who all is in it,” she says.

She plans to add more classes in the coming weeks due to increased interest. She may be reached at 706-554-0618.



Dominique Barnes flies off the end of the board. Dominique Barnes flies off the end of the board.

Lexie TenHuisen demonstrates swim strokes for a class of beginners. Lexie TenHuisen demonstrates swim strokes for a class of beginners.

Ava Herrington, 3, practices her kicks with her father. Ava Herrington, 3, practices her kicks with her father.

Londyn Rozier, 2, gets help from her father. Londyn Rozier, 2, gets help from her father.

Braxton Walden sails off the diving board. Braxton Walden sails off the diving board.

Mykeldrick Jackson and Max Smith, both 6, prepare to race. Mykeldrick Jackson and Max Smith, both 6, prepare to race.

Nola Waltower, 3, jumps in the water. Nola Waltower, 3, jumps in the water.

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