We’ve all seen the statistics and they’re disheartening: 70 percent of African-American and 60 percent of Hispanic/Latino children cannot swim; nearly 40 percent of U.S. adults can’t swim the length of a 25-yard pool.

One woman who has spent the past five decades working to turn things around is Stormy Cozad Bradley. At age 16, she began teaching swimming for the Red Cross in Southern California. Now Bradley is sharing her love of swimming in Hawaii, working on behalf of the YMCA and also giving private pool lessons. Children, adults and even those who fear water have come to embrace swimming thanks to this talented instructor.

Fortunately, she’s not alone. Aquatics professionals are working to change – and save – lives through swim lessons of all kinds across the nation. Two who specialize in teaching people with a deep fear of water, for example, are M. Ellen “Melon” Dash, founder of the Miracle Swimming Institute and author of the book Conquer Your Fear of Water (AuthorHouse, 2006), and Jeff Krieger, founder/director of the SOAP (Strategies Overcoming Aquatic Phobia) Program.

For her part, Bradley is busy with her own learn-to-swim efforts on the island of Kauai. She especially likes working with individuals who are water fearers and turning them into water lovers who can’t wait to dive into the pool. “I love to see them conquer whatever was holding them back,” she told The Garden Island newspaper. Read More