- Desert Swim School/FitnessFest Janice Jaicks is the owner of Desert Swim School, and teaches lessons every Tuesday at Fitness Forum Health Club (Chandler Blvd. & Dobson Rd.). Janice began teaching swim lessons in 1985 at the Mesa YMCA and found that she had a real knack for it. She immediately sought additional training and received her Lifeguard Training Certification and WSI (Water Safety Instruction) Certification. She then started teaching children all over the East Valley in their own backyard pools. Janice became so busy with this endeavor that she started training and hiring other instructors to join her team. From that time forward, Desert Swim School blossomed into the outstanding business it is today! Janice adds: “All kids are unique. I try to take their individual temperaments, including any fears or anxieties, and learn for that child how to best teach him/her to swim and be water-safe. As for my instructors, I choose my staff based on experience with all ages and abilities, as well as his/her ability to understand a child’s strengths, weaknesses and psyche – when to push, when to hold back and what step to take to achieve our goals is key! The final ingredient to an outstanding instructor is someone who genuinely cares about each and every child and has patience. I personally enjoy teaching the Parent/Tot class at Fitness Forum. It thrills me to see the little ones, even at 15 months old, going underwater and kicking their little legs to get through the hula-hoop. I also love to see that child a year later doing well enough to join the “big boy/girl” class!”
- Desert Swim School/FitnessFest Gretchen Carter, BA English (ASU), headed west to Arizona from West Virginia in late 2000 to attend Arizona State University. After completing her degree, Gretchen worked as an editor, trainer and instructional designer for several years before meeting Janice Jaicks and accepting the opportunity to work for this unique and exciting business. Gretchen currently serves as the office manager/coordinator for both Desert Swim School and FitnessFest. Janice’s notes: “Without Gretchen running the ship, the ship would have crashed and/or lost course more times than I’d like to mention. Everyone who runs an office, a business or a company needs someone who can “keep it together”, and Gretchen IS what keeps Desert Swim School and FitnessFest going and growing. Her humble bio does not indicate her assets, which include organization, dedication, intelligence, diligence, friendliness in person and on the phone, and being a fantastic editor and writer. When you have a small business, it is also important to have someone you can trust and someone who is loyal. I am lucky to have this in Gretchen. Together we look to continue to bring you excellent customer service with swim lessons and with our fitness conferences.”
- Desert Swim School/FitnessFest Libby Treadway is a swim instructor for Desert Swim School as well as the Expo Coordinator for FitnessFest (Desert Swim School’s sister company). She is very focused and goal-oriented. Libby grew up in Arizona and began swimming for the City of Chandler when she was five. She also swam with Rio Swim Club and was a varsity swimmer at McClintock High School. Butterfly is her favorite stroke. Swimming and teaching lessons are her passion and she loves to convey this passion to the kids. “I love to see the progress kids make,” she says. “To see a non-swimmer gain the confidence and skill to swim across the pool is very rewarding to me!”
- Swim Instructor Barbara (Barb) Williams found a love for the water at an young age. Growing up in Southern California with a backyard pool, she started swimming early on and never stopped! “I might have been a clown fish in another life,” says Barb. “I’d much rather be in the water than on dry land!” We’re sure the ‘clown fish’ part is because of her bubbly, carefree personality! Barb was introduced to competitive swimming at age seven when she realized that hardly anyone could catch her once she was in the water. She fell in love with breaststroke and diving, and over the years grew into a fabulous swim instructor. In addition to swim instruction, Barb has pursued careers in Architecture, Interior Design, Home Care Nursing and even as a Disc Jockey! After an accident in 2007, Barb learned the benefits of aqua therapy “Aqua therapy saved my life,” Barb says. “I love the water, I love to help people, and I look forward to seeing your child’s excitement as WE learn together through each lesson.”
- Swim Instructor Kourtney Stapley is an experienced swim instructor and lifeguard with more than 4 years of experience in aquatics. She was also a competitive swimmer and brings her knowledge of proper technique to Desert Swim School. In addition to teaching swimming lessons Kourtney is also a licensed Massage Therapist. In her free time she enjoys playing piano, running and going to the gym.
- Swim Instructor Kailey Mattheisen is a fun and energetic lady and has been teaching swimming lessons for about 6 years. She loves working with children and enjoys seeing them progress and improve their swimming techniques. She finds no greater joy in life than to help others succeed with their dreams. She has been swimming with the City of Chandler aquatics since she was in the Parent-Tot classes. She has since become a Water Safety Instructor, Lifeguard Instructor, and Manager to Lifeguards to expand her teaching horizon. She is entering her last year of study to receive her Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics degree from ASU. In her free time she likes to go dancing, read, write, and learn new things.
Christina Haneghan, BA Kinesiology (Exercise Science), has been with Desert Swim School for over 10 years. When she isn’t working for Desert Swim School, Christina works for a cardiac clinic in Phoenix, AZ. Some of Christina’s other interests include health and wellness and sports medicine. Christina spends her free time exercising, watching sports, listening to music, and hanging out with friends and family. Recently, one of our clients shared a wonderful note with us about Christina: “We wanted to drop a note about our children’s swim instructor, Christina. She is such a phenomenal swim instructor. She is very aware of the kid’s abilities and challenges each child to his own level even within the same class. She is also firm, yet gentle, and so very patient. Kids will often try to get out of doing things that are challenging (e.g. by whining) but Christina never falls for this; she has a very gentle but firm way of getting the kids to participate. The other parents also always comment on how patient and good she is. She always stays calm even with the frequent whining or disruption (the kids that scream through entire sessions or won’t sit still). I don’t know how Christina does it! We believe that Christina is truly an asset to your school. We really appreciate having her and our kids look forward to going to swim class each week mostly because of her.” -Viviana
- Swim Instructor Katherine (Katie) Ellingsworth is a current student at Mesa Community College transferring to Northern Arizona University Phoenix Campus for a degree in Business. Katie is very energetic, happy and driven. While not teaching swim lessons , Katie likes to spend her time reading, doing projects on her house, playing with her dog and relaxing. Katie grew up in California and began swimming for Irvine Nova Aquatics at a young age and from there moved on to being a part of the Petaluma Riptides. She also swam as a varsity swimmer at St. Vincent DePaul High school all four years. Butterfly is her favorite stroke, in addition to freestyle. Swimming and teaching lessons are something she gains a lot from, and enjoys the smiling faces from the kids when they achieve their goals.