Jan Thomas Swim School, 50 years and still kicking!

Frequently Asked Questions


Q. How old is Jan?  Is she still running the swim school?

A. If age has anything to do with how many hours a day someone works, then Jan is about 21!  She is without a doubt the hardest working 'senior' on the planet.  She still works 12-14 hours a day running the swim school she started in 1958.  Jan has always maintained that she would never ask her employees to work harder than she does, and she has kept her word!

Q.  Why do you NOT allow your swimmers to wear goggles?

A.  Instinctively kids will open their eyes in the water.  However, once they are accustom to goggles, they will close their eyes or try to swim with their head up if they do not have their goggles on.  Both reactions create anxiety; with their eyes closed they panic as if they are blind and if they try to swim with their head up, they also panic because they are not moving forward and get the sensation that the water is pulling them down.  If you introduce your child to wearing goggles you are creating a problem that wasn't there to begin with as they become dependent on using them.  Our goal is a safe swimmer and if we allowed them to wear goggles we would be doing them and you a disservice. 

Q.  Why do children cry on their first lesson?

A.  Kids love the water...they just love it under their own terms!  (Vertically with their heads up, walking through shallow water, splashing on the steps, in water wings, in their parents arms, etc.)  Once they realize they are NOT in control, they quickly test their teacher, (usually by crying) to see if they can win, not because they don't like the water.  We understand they are crying for control, and with over 50 years of experience, and a combination of 95% love and 5 % discipline,  we know just how to handle it, so we can move them forward quickly and have them swimming by the end of their first lesson!  (If they are under 21/2 it is 100% love, as we recognize that they may be a bit young to understand the structure or discipline)

Q. Why is the second lesson the hardest one for my child to come to?
A.  The 1st lesson your child will test US for control, and the 2nd lesson they will inevitably test YOU! The second lesson is a great lesson! They just HAVE to test you to double check to see if they have any control.  It is just a test! Don't cave in! You can do it!  The moment they are in our arms you will be amazed, they will be happy again, they just had to test you! To make it easier on you and your child, don't mention the lesson ahead of time to prevent unnecessary power struggles. Just show up right on time! The second lesson is really one of the best lessons, you will be thrilled!


Q.  Why should we NOT feed our kids 2 hours before the lessons? 

A.   When kids are younger and a little apprehensive, they tend to hold in more air than they need as they are holding their breath and learning to swim.  With all this extra air, they are bound to burp.  If they have eaten (or consumed liquid) 2 or 3 hours before they come to their lessons, then when they burp, the food or drink will come up too.  (Older kids, 6 years and older, can burp but still hold down their food, bit it's not as easy for the younger ones)  So please do not feed your children 2 or 3 hours before lessons. 

Q.  Why would you prefer our swimmers wearing a sun guard versus sun screen?

A.  Sun screens make your kids very slippery and almost impossible for us to hold.  Also as they wipe their face it gets in their eyes and hinders their lesson.  If you still want more protection than the covers over the pool, we would appreciate having them wear a sun guard or use a sun stick, (chap stick for the body)

Q.  Why do you have most of your swimmers wear flippers?

A.  Between running around all day and playing in shallow water with their head up or after wearing a tube or water wings, it is natural for kids to try to run in the water and swim vertically. Being vertical in the water (without their aids) gives the sensation that the water is pulling them down, which gives them a fear or anxiety of the water.      Flippers help to bring their feet up behind them so they can be horizontal, (the flippers also help produce a more coordinated kick) When kids are horizontal, not only do they learn how to swim properly, but they experience the buoyancy of the water, and their entire perception changes, they are relaxed and swimming in record time.  With flippers we can teach them 10x's faster and get them happier 10x's sooner!

Q.  Do we need to come again next year?

A.  Yes!!  Like with any other acquired skill, kids must have follow-through, especially after they have not swam all winter and have lost some of their confidence.  We will quickly get them back to where they were the previous year and then progress them forward!

Q.  Why do you ask the parents to come in the pool on the last lesson?

A.  We know your kids do not always cooperate for you, as they do for us.  As much as they love to swim, they love challenging you for control even more!  Parents are often confused because their child loved swimming lessons and did so well and yet will often resist performing for their families at home. 

We want your kids swimming at home like they do for us!  We invite you to come in the water so we can transfer the authority and allow the parent to take over and show their child that they have the same expectations and authority that their teacher did.  We have found that the transition to other pools is so much better once the parent has come in the water here. 

Q.  What are the benefits of getting an underwater video?

A.  Besides the entertainment value of watching your kids swim from under the water, (a value that only grows as they get older)  an underwater video is an enormous boost to their confidence, and therefore their safety.  When kids are not able to swim very much, like in the winter months, if they continue to watch their video even once a week, (which they love because its of them!) then when the summer comes its as if they never left the water.  They have visualized themselves swimming all year.  It does wonders for their confidence.  We highly suggest the underwater video, and if you are able, attach some music to it, and it will truly become their favorite video!!  (there is a sample of an underwater video on the home page of this website)

Q.  What is Becky doing in the water when she is not teaching a lesson?

A.  Becky is Jan's daughter, and she has worked in the business for most of her life.  She is overseeing all of the lessons, constantly educating her instructors on how to teach more effectively.  There are many solutions to one problem, she can pinpoint problems and solutions faster than anyone.  Becky is as passionate about swimming as Jan.  She and Jan both realize that the reputation and success of the swim school begins and ends with the quality of the lesson.  She is there to ensure you get the best lesson possible. 

We hope you enjoy the Jan Thomas experience; and it is an experience!!  From the moment you walk through the gate and meet our office ladies, the duck hut girls, the instructors and our underwater photographers, we are certain you will be pleased and amazed1  You cannot find this Experience anywhere else in the world.  We love what we do!  We are grateful you chose the Jan Thomas Swim School!