Ashley Haugen offers encouragement and instruction as her students splashed and imitated various strokes Thursday morning at the Clinton Municipal Pool.
Ashley has worked as a water safety instructor and lifeguard at the Clinton pool for the past four summers. For the past three years, she has served as the WSI coordinator.
On a typical day, Ashley will give private swim instruction from 9 to 11 a.m. and then be on life-guarding duty from 12:45 to 7:45 p.m. She usually has four 30-minute lessons each morning. On Thursday, however, she only had two lessons.
Before Ashley started her lessons, she got everything ready for the student. Depending on the student, she may need items like kick boards, sinking toys called “eggs” and other items, such as level sheets.
Ashley uses laminated level sheets during lessons. Whenever a student is about to pass a level in their swimming, she marks those sections with a dry erase marker. The student can then mark off what they accomplish. Ashley said it gives students a sense of pride and accomplishment.
Her first lesson was with 7-year-old Greta Greenley. Ashley swam with Greta, showing her what to do. They focused on different swimming positions and footwork. Ashley had her hang onto the wall and kick her feet.
The two of them laughed and joked as Ashley showed her various strokes and swim styles. Greta marked off different tasks on the level sheets. Finally Ashley had Greta push off the pool wall and swim toward her, backing up farther each time.
After practicing in the main pool, Ashley and Greta moved to the diving pool. After encouragement from her student, Ashley did a dive off of the high dive board. She then swam to Greta and had the girl practice diving off of the edge of the pool, having her angle herself farther away from the edge with each dive.
Next they practiced surface dives in the pool. Ashley showed her how to tread water, bring her legs straight and bring her arms up to push her down below the surface of the water.
Once Greta’s lesson was over, Ashley took a small break before her next student arrived. She instructed 5-year-old Brody Hemingway. While he is younger, Ashley said he also has a pool at home, so he is advanced for his age. She said she designs the lessons for each student and their skill level. She has a few pool items ready, such as the eggs, kickboard and a barbell.
Ashley started Brody’s lesson with having him lay on the pool step and practice his kicks. She then had him swim, first with a kick board and then without it. As he was practicing one of his kicks, Ashley noticed his head kept ave him the barbell to help him keep his head up.