"Make peace with imperfection, but be critical of lack of effort. Those who make the greatest effort
Just wanted to share my accomplishment yesterday. So excited I can't stop telling everybody. Yesterday was the best day of my life as a swimmer. I was able to swim 2 laps (from 3 ft to 9 ft). I also jumped into the pool at the 9 ft and swam over to the wall without help. Both of these are first time in my life. Big thanks to Jeff. He is amazing and I will remember him for the rest of my life. I can tell now that my fear of water is out of the door now. Any adult who wants to learn swimming should see Jeff. They will be transformed. I hope to keep learning and want to do a triathlon in the future. That'll be something to share:).
Swimmunity wrote: "Hey everyone, my friend Jeff Krieger, MS, is a water phobia expert. If fear of water is preventing you from learning how to swim, get in touch with Jeff. Anyone can learn how to swim with the right help!
Gracias Jeff !
It has been too long since my last correspondence - mea culpa. That said, I trust you are busily helping lots of people during this summer season. I am so glad I took my lessons in the winter so that I could be ready for the summer - for once!
I try to swim at least 2 times per week and love it. I saw an waterproof ipod shuffle which I may purchase to enhance the experience; I am tried of singing to myself! The pool is 75 yards long so it makes for a good work-out. At one point last week I had to share a lane and felt pretty good that everyone was happily swimming back and forth - including me! Thank you Jeff!
I have thought about my learning experience with you and think it was different for two big reasons:
1) You taught me to breathe correctly and didn't let me cheat - ever! Just like deep breathing on land, breathing in the water calmed me down and allowed me to get into a rhythm. Panic and rhythm don't co-exist - or at least not for me.
2) Because of my fear - I did not have the most basic instincts in the water. You taught me what to do - step-by-step - "in case" something happened. Surprises may be fun in daily life but nothing could be worse when dealing with phobia. Simple things like the "roll over" are wonderful skills to know that helps keep fear in check - especially when one gets a little tired.
So there you have it. I am forever thankful for your patience and wonderful lessons.
Hope you are well and happy. Thanks again!!!
I am writing to you a changed person who hardly even recognizes herself! Just a few short months ago, I was afraid of the water and could not swim. I would go in to a pool as long as my feet could touch the ground or I was on a floating lounger. The ocean, well, basically would only go in up to my knees. This was especially sad, considering I grew up just 3 homes distance away from the beach in Queens, NY!! At 46 years old, faced with the fact that my 4 year old daughter is an avid swimmer, and the fact that we just moved to a home with a pool, I realized it was just irresponsible of me to indulge my fear any longer. I had been looking for an adult swim class, and even went so far as to speak to an instructor at a local pool, but got the distinct feeling that his teaching style would just inspire more fear and did not enroll.
Coincidentally, I brought my daughter to a birthday party held at the Saw Mill Club. While she was enjoying the activities at the party, I was out in the hall with the parents and your flyer on the bulletin board caught my eye. "S.O.A.P. " Strategies for Overcoming Aquatic Phobias!" A swimming class for adults taught by an "aquatic therapist!" I contacted you, and we made our plans to meet at the pool. I still can't believe I got into my car and drove over there. Remember how frightened I was when we met for the first time? By the end of the first lesson, you had taught me how to breathe under water, got me to wear goggles so I could see under water, and had me gliding on the surface on my own!!!! I was so overwhelmed by that I couldn't contain my emotions and broke out crying! I did it!!! And it was fun!
I never dreaded coming back again. In fact, I looked forward to it each week. I was amazed at how fast I went from being afraid to really enjoying being in a pool and learning something new each week. When you had me jump in to a 9 foot pool, well, I just couldn't believe I did it.
I am now a swimmer. I really can swim! I swam all summer with my daughter and it was the most fun! I even went into the ocean on vacation and was jumping waves with my family! We will have years of fun memories together in the future, and it's all because I happened to glance at a flyer on a bulletin board while attending a child's birthday party! Who'd have thought?
Thank you, Jeff!! (It seems so inadequate, those little words!)
Shari F.W. Ruckh
I recently completed the SOAP Program with Jeff and wanted to send over some thoughts. I am 27 years old and my inability to swim was a problem that I've had forever. Up until I was 18 I tried many different things but then gave up hope. I've always picked up athletic things quickly so not being able to swim was incredibly frustrating. I had a huge fear of anywhere I couldn't stand in the water, and suffered a bad experience right before starting with Jeff. I believe towards the end, Jeff told me I was one of the most unnatural swimmers he's come across. 6 months later, I feel extremely confident in the pool, and even think I enjoy the deep end more than the shallow. Jeff was extremely patient, and moved forward when he thought I was ready. However, he also wasn't afraid to push me when I needed it. I think he does a great job reading his students and knowing how to handle them on an individual basis. I really believe he truly cares about my progress and knows how important of a skill swimming is. I hope to swim recreationally going forward and Jeff has offered to help any time I need. I would highly recommend Jeff to anyone.
JayTestimonial in support of the S.O.A.P. Program
Thank you so much for all that you did for me. You gave me the confidence to overcome the fear I had of deep water with your patience and understanding. You will never know how much this will change my life. As I said my husband and I own a boat and he is a scuba diver. I feel that I can now go out on the boat and enjoy it. I don't expect to scuba dive but maybe I can learn to snorkel that's something I always wanted to try. Jeff you opened alot of doors for me. As I'm building up my skills I'll think of all the pointers you gave me and just keep practicing everything you taught me. Thanks so much Jeff.
"As a child, I was considered a "dare devil" and often got myself into situations that would lead to injury. On one occasion, I decided to slide down the support pole of the slide in the playground. This resulted in a gash on my chin. (I still have the scar.) There were also several instances when I fell off my bike. Chances are, if I had been riding it in the conventional way I wouldn't have cut my foot open (which also left a scar), or broken my front teeth.
My daring ways were not limited to dry land. I also enjoyed exploring and playing at the beach and in the lake, undeterred by the fact that I didn't know how to swim. That adventurous spirit continued until one day when I was playing at the lake and almost drowned. I had jumped off the pier and a passing speed boat created a wake that pulled me under the pier, where I was caught in the undercurrent. Not knowing how to swim, I panicked. The more I struggled, the deeper I went into the dark, murky mass of seaweed. That experience left me with a fear of water that lasted nearly four decades.
As I wrote in Chapter 3, my high school had a swimming pool. However, although Swimming was part of the Phys Ed curriculum, I didn't learn to swim there. Because I had developed a fear of water, and was a "non-swimmer", I was a part of the class that was "taught" by a student assistant. This meant that while the teacher taught the "swimmers", the student assistant supervised the "non-swimmers" in the shallow end of the pool to make sure none of us drowned. In order to pass the course at the end of the semester, the "non-swimmers" had to jump into the deep end of the pool and grab onto a pole that had been inserted into the water. The teacher, who was holding onto the pole, pulled us towards the stairs and we climbed out of the pool. Not only did I not learn how to swim, but this experience exacerbated my fear of water. And so, for most of my life I shied away from water, unless I was in a swimming pool where my feet touched the bottom and I could stand along its edge.
As I neared retirement and was looking for ways to become more physically fit, I wished that I could swim. I knew that swimming was good exercise. It was aerobic and there was no impact on the joints. However, the few times that I did try a water aerobics class, my fear of being swept away into deeper water kept me from fully participating in the class.
Then, one day I saw an article in the newspaper about a program for people with aqua phobia a fear of the water. The article described a new course, SOAP (Strategies for Overcoming Aquatic Phobias) and Water (www.waterphobias.com) created by Jeff Krieger (jkrieger@WaterPhobias.com). Jeff, who was a guidance counselor and Red Cross certified swim instructor, had originally designed the program for children, in anticipation of the summer camp season. His unique approach made use of his guidance background to deal with the phobia, before beginning to teach swimming techniques. I called the number provided, and was impressed with Jeff's compassion and understanding when I told him about my swimming history and near-drowning experience.
When anxiety took over, and I missed the orientation meeting, Jeff called to encourage me and persuade me to join the first class. When I arrived, there were four other middle-aged adults. (To Jeff's surprise so many adults signed up for the program that he had to divide the class into three groups.) We sat in a classroom and talked about our experiences, our fear of water, and our expectations of the program. The pool, the focus of our fears, was nowhere in sight. After about a half an hour concentrating on our fears we went into the pool area, where there was a large metal tub with five yellow "rubber duckies" floating in the water. Jeff had us sit in the tub and choose a rubber duck. We used "our" duck as the focus of a "positive" water experience. Then, keeping that image in mind, we put our face in the water and blew bubbles.
During the ensuing five weeks, Jeff took us from that large metal tub, and taught us how to be in control and feel safe in the water. Using foam noodles, he showed us how to relax and float; then he taught us to float and tread water without the aid of a noodle. A major accomplishment for me was being able to put my face in the water and learning how to breathe. Jeff also dealt with the emotional aspect of our fears by having us write about our experience in a journal after each class. (I still have that journal.) His responses to my entries and his encouragement were very powerful, and played a major part in my progress. One of Jeff's favorite sayings was: "Setbacks, no matter how large are temporary; Progress no matter how small lasts forever."
Jeff eventually had me feeling comfortable enough in the water that I could swim to the bottom of the pool to retrieve water toys that had been scattered around. At the end of the six-week program there were several of us who wanted to take the next step and actually learn how to swim. Jeff put together a "post-graduate" course and created another six-week program for us. During that time, Jeff taught me a variety of basic swimming strokes and how to dive from a diving board.
It's been five years since Jeff helped me overcome my paralyzing fear of the water and gave me the tools to be able to "take care of myself" and enjoy the experience. Since then, a fellow graduate of his SOAP and Water program and I have been swimming regularly at a local Y. I look forward to meeting her each Monday morning to swim laps. We continue to motivate each other, as we try to swim faster and further each time. I have not only overcome my fear of water; I have learned to enjoy swimming and now reap its fitness benefits."
"Thanks to Jeff and the SOAP Program I have achieved something that I had completely given up on. At forty nine years old I found myself frozen in my car prior to the first class, almost unable to get out. That's how overwhelming my fear of water was. With Jeff's support and expertise I was able to make consistent progress. Now I will be able to take the cruise that I always wanted to take!!!"
Susan McCormick, Bronx, NY
"Besides the birth of my two children, putting my head underwater for the very first time was the most thrilling experience of my life. Without Jeff's SOAP Program this dream would never have come true."
Joe Cioffi, Armonk, NY
" I cannot tell you how fabulous my experience as been with Jeff. He is a perfect teacher!! After my last lesson, I can actually say - I love going to the bottom of the pool in the deep end! It is very quiet down there - who knew? One complete lap to the deep end doing the crawl was equally super! I will be joining a club soon so I can swim."
"I am a retired Marine Captain who served in both Korea and Vietnam and have experienced many dangerous situations, but nothing scared me more than the thought of jumping into a pool of water that was over my head. Now that I have completed the SOAP Program I feel comfortable jumping of the diving board and swimming laps"
Helping people find their smile in the pool.
It's unbelievable that an entire year has passed since I took my first tentative step into the pool at the Whitehall Club, Riverdale, Bx.
I must admit how amazed I am at my progress because although it's been one year, I haven't invested as much practice as I should and can only wonder how much further along I would have been on my journey had I dedicated more time to swimming.
Jeff Krieger, you are a Miracle Worker, according to my brother...you've made concrete float. LoL.
First, I'd like to thank Jennifer for choosing you as my instructor. I cannot imagine it being anyone else. Our chemistry is absolute perfection.
Second, although there's no comparison, none is necessary because I maintain that YOU ARE THE BEST!
Your professionalism, patience, words of encouragement, humor, sharing of experiences...and obvious pure unadulterated LOVE and PASSION for your vocation is unprecedented.
THANK YOU, Jeff, for seeing something in me that I couldn't/wouldn't see in myself and for your dedication to making that transformation possible.
I love you and wish you exceedingly well in your continued endeavour towards helping people with aquatic phobia find their smile in the water.
You are a Mensch.
I will forever "STAY GOLD!" Dawn Grosan