Mary Reilly-Magee’s mother could not swim, but she was adamant that her children would become proficient. Reilly-Magee not only became a strong swimmer, competing on her high school team, but she also has turned her passion into a career.

Today, she owns the thriving Love to Swim and Tumble Schools in San Antonio and Schertz, Texas, and as president of the United States Swim School Association, she’s  helping others become successful as well.

“Her commitment gave me the opportunity to discover my passion,” Reilly-Magee says of her mother and mentor.

As an English literature major at the University of Texas San Antonio, Reilly-Magee never quite expected she’d end up owning a swim school, but her passion for aquatics kept her involved in the industry as a swim instructor. Industry professionals she met through teaching encouraged her to remain in aquatics, and in 2001 she decided to open her own swim school.

Love to Swim and Tumble School was incorporated in 2003, and the first stand-alone location was opened in San Antonio in 2006. The second location opened in 2009, and today Reilly-Magee operates both with support from her husband, Don. 

Reilly-Magee joined the USSSA almost a decade ago, and as president she has outlined two main goals. First, she hopes to increase synergy between USSSA and other water safety organizations, through partnerships and joint efforts. That includes the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Pool Safely campaign.

Second, she hopes to build the organization’s brand through increased public relations and outreach efforts. To make that happen, USSSA recently hired Spanner Communications, based in Cincinnati.

“It’s really about helping membership see what resources are available to them to help in their own local messaging and impact on their communities,” says Reilly-Magee, 44.

For her part, Reilly-Magee says she still loves aquatics for all that it can teach in terms of life skills. She says first and foremost her work is about swimming and drowning prevention; business goals come second. She believes many of those involved in USSSA take the same approach.

“Why aren’t we [as a nation] creating opportunities for all children to learn basic water safety skills?” she asks. “The better we run our businesses, the greater the impact we’ll have.”