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University Researched Method

Swimming StudentThe nationally recognized SWIMkids USA method is the result of over 40 years of empirical research with over 50,000 swimmers. In 1971, Lana Whitehead began the development of this method. While employed as a high school teacher, the YMCA asked Lana to develop a swim program for babies. Her infant son Lance served as her guinea-pig. Ms. Whitehead later opened her own swim school in California in 1973.

The program received a great deal of local media attention during the next 11 years. Swimfants (the school's name changed to SWIMkids USA in 1987) was hurled onto the national stage in 1982 when "That's Incredible" filmed the television program for two different international broadcasts. Due to popular demand, these shows were quickly followed by tapings for an Omni Medical Documentary and Disney's "Epcot Magazine." Additional tapings were later picked up by "Good Morning America" and the "Montel Williams Show." During this time, the SWIMkids USA method was also reported in many local newspapers, national children's magazines and on local news casts. During the 1980's, Ms. Whitehead authored two books on water safety and swim survival techniques. In 1987, the SWIMkids USA video "Water Safety Lessons with Lana Whitehead" was sold nationally to parents interested in training their children at home.

As part of Ms. Whitehead's Master Thesis, she conducted three research projects (1988-1991) at Arizona State University to document and validate the SWIMkids USA teaching method. In her continuing graduate education, she trained at the Center for Neuro-Developmental Studies with Lorna King and incorporated many sensory integration principles into the SWIMkids USA teaching method. Ms. Whitehead holds Arizona and California Teaching Certificates and is a member of the American College of Sports Medicine. She is certified in American Red Cross Water Safety Instructor, Lifesaving, CPR and First Aid for the Professional Rescuer and in YMCA Adaptive Swimming Instruction. She has been a competitive swim coach and served as a State and National USA Swimming Official.

From 2000 to 2005, members of the SWIMkids USA staff trained yearly at the U.S. Olympic Training Center with Bill Boomer and Milton Nelms. Some of the "Boomer" ideology in core development and aquatic alignment were subsequently added to the SWIMkids USA teaching curriculum. The combination of proven survival techniques with a foundation of sensory integration principles and cutting edge stroke development threw SWIMkids USA back into the national spotlight in the 1990's and 2000's. Ms. Whitehead has been invited to be a speaker or key presenter nationally and internationally for Beijing Sport University, Swim Australia, Aussie Swim, Water Safety New Zealand, United States Swim School Association, National Drowning Prevention Symposium, Women on Water Conferences and World Aquatic Baby Congress in Japan, Asia and Vancouver. In November 2009, Ms. Whitehead was a member of the Sports Medicine Delegation to China. 2011 and 2012 brought more media coverage: CBS's Early Show, many national publications and all local television stations.

 Our purpose in providing aquatic safety and swim lessons is to:

  • Equip your child with an immediate method of survival in an emergency situation
  • Teach your child a love and respect of the water
  • Increase your child's sensory/motor development and self-esteem
  • Train your child in cutting edge techniques in advance swim methods