Health & Wellness

YMCA Updates Swim Lesson Program

Justin Chaillet, a swim instructor at the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA, encourages a young student to jump into the pool. Credits: John Mooney
Deirdre Kelly works with a swimmer. Credits: John Mooney
The Fanwood-Scotch Plains Y teaches approximately 3,500 children water safety and swimming each year. Credits: John Mooney
Conor Gallucci teaches the proper technique of diving into the water. Credits: John Mooney
Almira Alvarez gives instruction to her swim students. Credits: John Mooney
Sena Hur with her swim students Credits: John Mooney
Justin Chaillet encourages a young swimmer. Credits: John Mooney
Sena Hur teaches safety measures for deep water. Credits: John Mooney
Deirdre Kelly talks with students. Credits: John Mooney
Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA (FSPY), 1340 Martine Ave, Scotch Plains. Credits: John Mooney

FANWOOD/SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- The YMCA is “America’s Swim Instructor” and the most accessible community resource to prevent drowning and encourage a lifelong enjoyment of swimming. In fact, the Y pioneered the concept of group swim lessons more than 100 years ago in 1909, and each year, the organization teaches more than a million children water safety and swimming skills at its over 2,000 pools.

Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA (FSPY), located at 1340 Martine Ave, Scotch Plains, teaches about 3,500 children water safety and swimming each year. This year, FSPY is following changes instituted to its swimming program to better meet the needs of the people the organization serves and to increase the accessibility and enjoyment of swimming to all ages and skill levels.

"The focus is on self-rescue and water safety," says Ellen Daudelin, Director of Aquatics for FSPY. "We are putting a focus on what to do if someone falls into the pool or any body of water. The children learn fundamentals at an early age and then move along more quickly."

Sign Up for E-News

The new Swim Lessons program accommodates students of varying abilities to help foster a sense of achievement as swimmers’ progress between levels. Instructors had to be retrained based on the YMCA's new guidelines. 

"We look for instructors who can swim, naturally, but just as importantly, they have to be able to relate to kids in a positive way," Daudelin added. "We want them to have the ability to challenge students while keeping it fun."

"There can be a lot of fear. The instructors must have empathy for the kids and to understand where they are at. We want kids to be comfortable and safe," Daudelin said.

The results are more confident swimmers who stick with lessons and develop a love for swimming that can last a lifetime.

Justin Chaillet, a senior at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School, has come full circle at the YMCA pool. He learned to swim at age 3 at the Y and 13 years later was hired as an instructor.  

"What is most satisfying is seeing a student who struggled at first improve to the point of pursuing specified strokes. It's always great to see," said Chaillet, who wants to pursue a career in chemical engineering.

There are three general categories of Y Swim Lessons, which start again on April 30. 

Swim Starters develops water enrichment and aquatic readiness in children ages 6 months to 3 years. This category focuses on developing swim readiness skills through fun and confidence-building experiences. Parents also learn how to supervise children in the water, how to prevent accidents and how to plan for emergencies.

Swim Basics develops personal water safety and basic swimming skills in students of all ages. Swimmers develop a high level of comfort in the water by practicing safe water habits, engaging in underwater exploration, and learning how to swim to safety and exit if they fall into a body of water.

Swim Strokes introduces and refines stroke technique in older students (school age, teens and adults). Once they have mastered the fundamentals, students learn additional water safety skills and build stroke technique, developing skills that prevent chronic disease, increase social-emotional and cognitive well-being and foster a lifetime of physical activity.

Registration for Y members will open on April 10. Registration for community members will open on April 17.

The Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA is dedicated to improving the quality of life of the individuals, families and communities we serve through programs and services that build wholeness of spirit, mind and body. The YMCA is a not-for-profit organization founded on Christian principles, serving people of all ages, races, faith, cultures and socio-economic conditions. For more information about FSPY and its programs, call (908) 889-8880 or visit


TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Scotch Plains/Fanwood

Summer Life Guard Job Opportunity in Union County

April 10, 2018

UNION COUNTY, NJ - Summer lifeguard positions are available at Union County’s public swimming pool, the Walter Ulrich Memorial Pool at Rahway River Park in Rahway.

“Union County’s Ulrich Pool provides our youth and adult summer job seekers with an opportunity to enjoy working outdoors in the fresh air all summer long while sharpening valuable life skills including leadership, ...

Why We Keep Kosher

Why We Keep Kosher

This week's parshah, Shemini, introduces the Torah's dietary laws. Animals must chew their cud and have split hooves to be kosher, fish need fins and scales, and a list of forbidden fowl is enumerated.

To those of us in Jewish education, it is a continuing source of disappointment that so many Jews still believe the kosher laws to be outdated.

Politics IS Government in Union County

April 21, 2018

Dear Editor:

After Bruce Patterson of Garwood was stopped from speaking at the Union County Freeholder meeting of March 22 regarding the politics behind refusing to give the party line to a sitting Freeholder, I thought this brazen suppression of free speech could not go unanswered.

At the April 19 meeting I answered with these comments.

After ten years of following government in Union ...

Helping Teenagers Deal with Prom Night Stress

April 18, 2018

Prom can be one of the most exciting times for your teenager but at the same time one of the most stressful. 

It can also be very stressful for parents as they prepare themselves to accept that their teenager is graduating and soon going away to school, while planning a weekend away after prom night. Going to the Shore for the weekend or somewhere overnight has become more of the ...

Wardlaw+Hartridge Students Share Talents at Music Recital

April 22, 2018

EDISON, NJ -- The Music Department at The Wardlaw+Hartridge School in Edison staged its annual Spring Music Recital, and it was another spectacular show.

Held in the new Berry Performing Arts Center for the first time, this year's recital featured many of the school's most talented vocal and instrumental performers.

Students who participated in the recital included: Aum Mehta ...

Upcoming Events

Sun, April 22, 1:00 PM

Miller-Cory House Museum, Westfield

Sheep to Shawl Festival


Mon, April 23, 3:30 PM

Scotch Plains Public Library, Scotch Plains

After School Club for Teens at Scotch Plains ...

Arts & Entertainment Education

Wed, April 25, 4:00 PM

Scotch Plains Public Library, Scotch Plains

Speak with Congressional Staff on April 25 at the ...