U.S. SWIM SCHOOL ASSOCIATION
ANNOUNCES 2011 AWARD WINNERS
At the U.S. Swim School Association’s annual conference in Orlando this past October, several awards were handed out to honor significant contributors who have made an impact on our industry. The Board of Directors nominated and selected winners for both the Humanitarian and Guiding Light awards while the “Best of…” awards were voted on by member schools in attendance at the conference.
The U.S. Swim School Association Hall of Fame honors individuals who have at least 20 years of experience and have made exceptional contributions to the swim school profession and learn-to-swim industry. Inductees are nominated by U.S. Swim School Association members and selected by the Board of Directors.
Bonnie Howe accepts award from Jan Emler,
Hall of Fame Inductee
Bonnie Howe, president and chief executive officer of Houston Swim Club, becomes the 34th inductee and joins an exclusive group of people who have been so honored by the U.S. Swim School Association since 1990.
Howe operates the Houston Swim Club, which was formerly known as Phill Hansel Swimming Academy and has been around since 1953. After managing the facility for eight years, Howe purchased Houston Swim Club from Hansel in 1994. Howe has maintained the standard set by Hansel, a 1999 Hall of Fame inductee and former University of Houston/U.S. Olympic coach. She continues to implement the structured teaching methods, safety and positive environment to ensure that students can achieve their swimming goals. Over a quarter of a million students have learned to swim at Houston Swim Club for the past five decades.
Howe, a member of the U.S. Swim School Association since 1994, has also led the expansion of the Houston Swim Club, which now boasts four locations in the area. In addition to the original location in Sharpstown, there are sites in Sugar Land, Katy and Pearland.
2010 Humanitarian Award winners, Johnny and Cindy Johnson,
Tara Girch as the recipient of the Humanitarian award, given to a member was nominated by the membership and provides outstanding service to the local community in some way related to water safety, drowning prevention or aquatic education. She becomes the sixth winner of the award, which was introduced in 2007.
Owner of MarTar Swim School in Ellicott City, Maryland, with her husband Marty, Girch has been teaching swimming since 1987 and has also worked for 19 years as a school teacher. Girch has a background in Special Education and holds an Adaptive Aquatics Certification from the International Swim Instructors Association. In addition, she started the pilot program for the Howard County Special Olympics “Begin to Swim” initiative in 2010. MarTar Swim School has specialized in teaching individuals with special needs, including children and adults with Autism, Down Syndrome, ADHD, PDD, Cerebral Palsy and Visual and/or Audio Impairments. Girch and the instructors at MarTar, who all have extensive experience or degrees in education as well as a background in swimming, employ a variety of techniques including but not limited to visual aids and sign language.
Board member, Dave Tonnesen presents the
Guiding Light Award
Tammy Anderson was honored with the Guiding Light award, given to a member who has made a particularly outstanding contribution to the organization during the previous year. She became the 16th winner of the award, which was introduced in 1995. The owner and chief executive officer of Aqua Pros Swim School in San Diego, Anderson has been a swim instructor for over 32 years. She is a member of the U.S. Swim School Association, the World Aquatic Baby Congress and is certified in Infant Toddler Instruction. In addition, Anderson co-wrote a book called “Swimming with Autism” with Cathy Ball. The Aqua Pros Swim School works closely with and supports the San Diego Chapter of the Autism Society of America. They are actively involved with a Pool Pals Program, Swim Lesson Program and Surf Camp, which all help provide swim and recreational activities to children and families in the autism community.
“Best of…” Awards
For the “Best of…” awards, member swim schools all across the world were invited to enter submissions in a variety of categories. Winners were then selected based on a vote by members in attendance at the conference. The 2011 “Best of Association” award winners are as follows:
Category Winning Swim School Location
Print Ad SWIMkids USA, Inc. Mesa, AZ
Photo SwimKids Swim School Manassas, VA
Website Iddy Biddy Swim School Sycamore, IL
Seal Swim School Tampa, FL
Blog Hubbard Family Swim School Phoenix, AZ
T-Shirt La Petite Baleen San Francisco, CA
Promotion SWIMkids USA, Inc. Mesa, AZ
Facility SwimKids Swim School Manassas, VA
Leadership SwimKids Swim School Manassas, VA
Congratulations to all our 2011 winners!