Swim Lessons

Meet the Miller twins

Once Fearful, Now Twins Dive In

When twins Cooper and Brooklyn Miller of Fairfield first started swim lessons at age 3, even standing on the first step of the pool made them anxious.

"They wouldn't put their faces in the water, they couldn't hold their breath," remembers John Zdankus, aquatics coordinator and fitness specialist at NorthBay HealthSpring Fitness.

Group lessons were intimidating because of the fear factor, he said.

Their parents, Cheryl Morales, a healthcare worker, and Jon Miller, a paramedic and firefighter, were determined that their children wouldn't be afraid of the water, so they enrolled them in private lessons.

"It made a big difference," said John. "First I taught them how to cup their hands and splash their face. We eventually worked up to submersions and breath control."

Cheryl was pleased that John could cater each lesson for each child.

"It's not one-size-fits-all," she said. "They're twins, but they have different strengths and weaknesses. John established trust right away. He didn't push their boundaries, but worked with them.

And that has paid off rather swimmingly.

"As their skills progressed, their fears were replaced by confidence and can-do attitudes," said John.

They learned how to jump in the pool and "self-rescue," by returning to the wall of the pool with no help. Now they're working on basic freestyle techniques and side-breathing.

Their grandparents, John and Patricia Miller, are impressed with their progress.

"On Day 1, Cooper didn't like the water. Now they can't get him out," said grandfather John.

The couple watch the twins - as well as another grandson, 4-year-old Samuel - take lessons four days a week.

"They ought to put up a reserved sign over this bench for us," joked John.

Cheryl doesn't mind making the trip from Fairfield to Vacaville for lessons, she said.

"This facility is always clean, it's not overcrowded, and it feels safe. Everyone here knows their names," she said. "I know there's a lot of eyes on them, keeping them safe here. Now we even come on weekends for free swim."

Lessons On Tap

Both group and private and semi-private lessons are available for swimmers of all ages and abilities, regardless of membership at HealthSpring Fitness. For more information, contact John at John.Zdankus@NorthBay.org or call (707) 624-8080.