WINNIPEG - A Winnipeg swim academy that had to diversify to include a virtual babysitting course as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic says it’s making house calls and expanding the number of pools where it offers lessons, after changes to public health restrictions resulted in a flood of interest.
Aqua Essence Swim Academy owner Rishona Hyman says she and her 40+ other instructors had been running swimming lessons and first aid programs for over 1,000 students, offering lessons to seniors and infants alike. They had to stop in-person lessons in March and move online, and even launched a tutoring business called AquaDemics. With restrictions loosened, though, their first outdoor location in River Heights completely sold out in less than a day this week.
But Hyman says parents who had been looking forward to getting their child into a swimming lesson program needn’t panic, as the academy is planning to expand into at least two more locations in Winnipeg: one in the north end of the city, and another in the south.
And the 30 minute summer classes have another option: if a family has a pool in their own backyard, Hyman says an instructor can come to you. She notes that instructors adhere closely to COVID-19 protocols during both public and home-based classes.
As soon as restrictions around capacity in response to the COVID-19 pandemic change, the academy says they plan to add more spots, and notify those who are interested, right away.
Aqua Essence babysitting course, offered for free between January and March, was made possible with a $25,000 grant from the province’s Safe at Home Manitoba program. The academy also offers classes on safety for children 9-13, and a Red Cross Water Safety Instructor course for qualified swimmers 15 and up.
To learn about Aqua Essence’s diverse programming, you can visit their website or find them on social media.